Multiple Liturgies

In the Catholic Church, there are multiple rites, such as Byzantine, Maronite, and Western (Latin).  The essence of the Mass is the same, but the style is different.

Within the largest, the Western Rite, there are further divisions, the Ordinary Form (OF), Extraordinary Form (EF), and Anglican Use, which is set up primarily for converts from the Anglican (Episcopal) Communion.

The OF is the post – 1970 rubric that is allowed to be celebrated in the vernacular. It is the most common. The EF follows the rubrics of 1962 laid out by Pope St. John XXIII.

The EF Mass is commonly referred to as the “Traditional Latin Mass” or the “Tridentine Mass.” The OF is commonly referred to as the Novus Ordo, after its Latin title. 

Why does this matter?  You are here because you identify as Catholic.  Yet, perhaps you don’t agree with the Church’s moral teachings on homosexuality, fornication, abortion, or birth control.  Maybe you think the idea of a virgin birth or an afterlife is preposterous.  Maybe you don’t even believe in God.

Your identity as a Catholic comes from your experience as a Catholic: the Masses, the prayers, the processions, the Rosaries.  These still mean something.

After the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, there was a purposeful experiment to reshape Catholic worship and identity.  Some embraced the changes, some rebelled against them, and some simply fell away.

The internet is full of debate on what was good, bad, and ugly.  I am not here to engage in debate.  Though I prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the Ordinary Form is a valid form of Catholic worship, despite the sometimes bizarre innovations some have engaged in.

The key, though, is that the liturgy provides us a sense of identity and unity with one another.  It holds people to the faith when they might otherwise fall away.  Atheist philosopher George Satayana considered himself Catholic because of the beauty of the liturgy.  Andy Warhol, despite being gay and living a lifestyle he knew was at odds with much of Catholic moral teaching, frequently attended daily Mass.

My hope is that you will come on your own to believe that the Catholic Church is all that she claims to be.  But if you cannot accept it all right now, you can make the steps you feel comfortable making.

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