ONE @ 50: A Catholic Mosaic

In honor of ONE magazine’s 50th-anniversary year, the CNEWA blog series, ONE @ 50: From the Vault, aims to revive and explore the wealth of articles published in ONE magazine throughout its history. Learn about how the practices and traditions of the Eastern churches were adopted by the Western churches in the years after Vatican II in this story, originally published in Fall 1976.

Read an excerpt from “Rites of the Church: A Catholic Mosaic” below, then read the full story.

In the past, many western world Catholics were astonished when they learned of the Eastern Rites. They took for granted that the Mass was celebrated in exactly the same way throughout the world. They regarded Latin as the Church’s universal language, and supposed that married men never could be lawfully ordained priests. When told otherwise, western Catholics often were puzzled, if not amazed.

Following the revolutionary changes after Vatican Council II, Roman Catholics have grown more accustomed (even within their own rite) to diversity in local Church practices. Yet, varying Church traditions, practices and disciplines still give rise to natural questions such as, “Why are there various rites? How did they come about?”

Any explanation requires a knowledge of those places and peoples among whom the faith took root and flourished. It presupposes some familiarity with 20 centuries of history which have left their mark upon the Church’s structure, and on the many forms in which our Christian heritage has been preserved.

We must also be aware of another governing factor. Every person manifests, as does every institution, two opposing tendencies: the need to affirm one’s equality and common humanity, and the no less powerful urge to display individuality and personal distinctiveness. Ancestry, environment, and experience, along with native endowments, make us different one from the other even as we remain conscious of our human oneness. This fact has a bearing on our consideration of the various Catholic rites.

Read more.

F.C. Edward, editor, correspondent and frequent traveler in the Middle East records his impression of Jerusalem.

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