First, a brief summary of the pivot. In 1890, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith responded to the requests of certain Latin bishops with a letter to the Archbishop of Paris, which was published in the regrettably-acronymed Acta Sanctae Sedis (Acts of the Holy See), a monthly publication containing the principle public documents issued by the pope which was later renamed Acta Apostolicae Sedis by Pope Pius X. All contents of this official gazette of the Holy See are considered "authentic and official."
This is the reason the Latin bishops had requests. Certain Eastern bishops aligned themselves with Rome and became Catholic while still practicing Eastern rites and maintaining certain of their Eastern traditions and compromising a little bit on others, thus forming the Eastern Churches of Catholicism. All of that goes without saying. This was the problem. Some of those people moved to other countries, ie. America and traditional Latin Catholic parts of Europe, and they needed to bring some priests with them. In most of the Eastern churches, however (all except three- the two Indian ones and the Eritrean Catholic church, which have traditions of celibacy much older than that of the Latin rite-) there is a tradition of clerical marriage. Bishops can't get married, but priests getting married is something that always happened in the East and it didn't stop happening when a few of the Eastern bishops aligned themselves with Rome.
The problem was this- the Latin bishops didn't like the idea of having married Catholic priests bringing themselves and their families into their traditionally Latin countries in order to carry out their Eastern rites for their Eastern-immigrant brethren. So they brought their request to the Vatican and they Got What They Wanted.
In 1897, the Congregation applied these rules to the United States of America, stating that only celibates or widowed priests coming without their families would be permitted to travel here for the purpose of being Eastern Catholic priests.
These rules were not applied uniformly or consistently, though, and it wasn't always a barrier to Eastern Catholics who disagreed with the rule. In 1929, however, the rule was restated in the decree Cum data fuerit, which restated the previous position with more explicit emphasis and more consistent enforcement. This was met with opposition by people like Basil Takach, but they were rebuffed. Cum data fuerit was reaffirmed in 1939 for another 10-year run.
You could say this was one type of effort on the part of Roman Catholicism to Latinize other churches in union with it. And if you said that, you'd be right.
Now for the pivot. I'm talking about the
DECREE ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCHES
OF THE EASTERN RITE
SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS
POPE PAUL VI
ON NOVEMBER 21, 1964
which states in part,
"5. History, tradition and abundant ecclesiastical institutions bear outstanding witness to the great merit owing to the Eastern Churches by the universal Church.(5) The Sacred Council, therefore, not only accords to this ecclesiastical and spiritual heritage the high regard which is its due and rightful praise, but also unhesitatingly looks on it as the heritage of the universal Church. For this reason it solemnly declares that the Churches of the East, as much as those of the West, have a full right and are in duty bound to rule themselves, each in accordance with its own established disciplines, since all these are praiseworthy by reason of their venerable antiquity, more harmonious with the character of their faithful and more suited to the promotion of the good of souls.
6. All members of the Eastern Rite should know and be convinced that they can and should always preserve their legitimate liturgical rite and their established way of life, and that these may not be altered except to obtain for themselves an organic improvement. All these, then, must be observed by the members of the Eastern rites themselves."
To summarize the pivot: No more does the Latin Rite tell the Eastern churches that certain of their ecclesiastical traditions and established practices may be prohibited exclusively on a Latin say-so depending on what part of the world they're in.
It's quite the pivot. I'm asking why, though. What specific reasons were there for such a change? This is as far as I've gotten so far. The cynic in me wants to say the Latin Rite wanted to see just how much it could Latinize the Eastern Catholics, and splinterings such as the 1936 formation of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese let them know that they went too far. I'm sure that unity was a concern at some level, along with a desire to make sure that mis-management by the Latin Rite did not stunt the growth of Eastern Rite Catholicism in general. But the less cynical side of me wants to believe there was something principled about this, in the sense that Latin Rite Catholics had some kind of change in their worldview concerning the Catholic Church, their own identity within it, and the place of the Eastern Rites within the Catholic Church.
Again, the Latin Rite once made (and re-made and re-stated) unilateral proclamations that placed restrictions on where and how Eastern Rite Catholics could practice the fullness of their more-ancient-than-Latin-tradition traditions. The Latin Rite now takes the position that the Eastern Rites must preserve their own traditions and decide for themselves when they should be altered for the purpose of organic improvement.
What was it about the mindset of Latin Christianity- from the highest points of the clergy all the way down to the laity- that changed in the middle of the 20th century? What is your description of whatever principled change there might have been, and what are the reasons you give for such a change?
Edited by cooterhein, 13 May 2012 - 05:16 PM.