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   The Old Rites (Catholic and Schismatical)

A complete table of the old rites with an account of their mutual relations will be found in the article LITURGY. Here it need only be added that there is a Uniat body using each of the Eastern rites. There is no ancient rite that is not represented within the Catholic Church. That rite, liturgical language, and religious body connote three totally different ideas has been explained at length in the article GREEK RITES. The rite a bishop or priest follows is no test at all of his religion. Within certain broad limits a member of any Eastern sect might use any rite, for the two categories of rite and religion cross each other continually. They represent quite different classifications: for instance, liturgically all Armenians belong to one class, theologically a Uniat Armenian belongs to the same class as Latins, Chaldees, Maronites, etc., and has nothing to do with his Gregorian (Monophysite) fellow-countrymen (see EASTERN CHURCHES). Among Catholics the rite forms a group; each rite is used by a branch of the Church that is thereby a special, though not separate, entity. So within the Catholic unity we speak of local Churches whose characteristic in each case is the rite they use. Rite is the only basis of this classification. Not all Armenian Catholics or Byzantine Uniats obey the same patriarch or local authority; yet they are "Churches" individual provinces of the same great Church, because each is bound together by their own rites. In the West there is the vast Latin Church, in the East the Byzantine, Chaldean, Coptic, Syrian, Maronite, Armenian, and Malabar Uniat Churches. It is of course possible to subdivide and to speak of the national Churches (of Italy, France, Spain, etc.) under one of these main bodies (see LATIN CHURCH). In modern times rite takes the place of the old classification in patriarchates and provinces.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII
Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York