Catholic-Orthodox couple set out liturgy concerns

A married couple from Australia have set out points of concern about the liturgies in their respective Catholic and Greek Orthodox traditions.

Writing in Italy’s L’Espresso, Aniello Iannuzzi (Catholic) and Paraskevi Tsironis (Orthodox) say it is impossible for them to receive communion together.

“With many families like our own, we cannot wait for unification,” the couple, who are both physicians, noted.

Their article came after the meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Cuba this month.

Speaking of the liturgies of their traditions, the Australian couple stated: “If liturgy were to be resolved in a boxing ring in 2016, the Orthodox would knock out the Catholics early in the first round.”

“Until Vatican II, the two liturgical traditions could be compared with respect and seriousness,” they wrote.

“The “Novus Ordo” has plunged the Catholic Church into liturgical chaos and confusion, to the point that some Protestant liturgies would give the Orthodox more comfort and security.”

The couple continued: “The Orthodox would rightly point to the dilution and tendency towards banality in the modern Catholic liturgical texts.

“The Orthodox would frown upon the express Sunday liturgies that sometimes are over in 30 minutes.

“Other worries for the Orthodox include: secular music, Communion on the hand, Communion without fasting, priests facing the congregation, liturgical dancing, women at the altar and excessive use of the laity. “

The “filioque” clause in the Creed remains problematic, they noted.

The couple added that “Catholics do have a few weak counterpunches with respect to the liturgy”.

– Some argue that congregations are too passive and disconnected in the Byzantine liturgies. The long liturgies see very few present for the beginning of the liturgy, with many arriving just before Holy Communion.

– Communion on a spoon is not a reflection of the Last Supper. Many arrive not long before Communion yet still receive the sacrament. Infants are force-fed Communion.

– The “antidoron” – the blessed bread distributed at the end of the rite – is a source of confusion and distracts from the Eucharist.

– The fasting rules are too complex and outdated.

– Not enough use is made of the vernacular.


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