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What are some differences and similarities between the Maronite

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					What are some differences and similarities between the Maronite Catholic Church and the Latin
(Roman Catholic) Church?

In a very real sense the question is not phrased correctly. First, the question is too limited. There are more than just these two
great Churches. There are in fact 20 other Eastern Catholic Churches, and one might accurately ask, “What are the differences
between the Maronite Church and these others as well. People generally ask the question in this way (Maronite or Latin) for
very good reason: The Roman Catholic Church is quite obviously the largest Catholic Church in the Catholic Communion. Of
the one billion Catholics on earth today Eastern Catholics make up only 2%, or 20 million. When people think of Catholic,
they most likely think: Roman Catholic. This brings up the added consideration. Namely, that since the Roman Catholic
Church is the largest and the one that most people see, it is too easy to get the mistaken notion that the “normal” way of being
Catholic is Roman Catholic. Of course this isn’t so. Eastern Catholics must learn how to promote themselves more effectively
(one good example is this website). Latin Catholics must promise to learn more about the Eastern Traditions and to help in
their way to promote them—in Churches, schools, parish schools of religion, the RCIA, etc. Having said all this, some
similarities and differences are thus:

       Probably the best-known fact about the diversity               Also, not all holy days are the same in all the
    within the Eastern Churches regards their liturgical            Churches.
    traditions. This includes the form of the Eucharistic
    Service as well as those of the seven Mysteries and the           Eastern Church theology differs from Western
    Divine Office. There are many different traditional             theology. Even among Eastern Traditions themselves
    Eastern liturgical languages—such as Greek, Old                 there are differing theological differences. What is
    Slavonic, Syriac, Ge’ez, Coptic, and Armenian—many              important to note here is that the elements of basic
    of which are still used, even though most are no longer         Catholic theology cannot contradict each other. Rather,
    living vernaculars. Nevertheless, use of the vernacular         what we are dealing with are particular emphases of
    has been and still is the rule.                                 theology that each Tradition embraced in its initial
                                                                    evangelizing and subsequent development. Everyone
      Not unexpectedly, there are sacramental differences           knows, for example, of the debates of the early Councils
    too. The forms of the seven sacramental Mysteries differ        over questions of Christology. The liturgies, theologies
    greatly.                                                        and spiritualities that followed upon these emphases
                                                                    have lasted up to the present moment.
       Also, the administration of some of the Holy
    Mysteries differs. One obvious example is with the                 Eastern Christians favor the use of icons in sacred
    Mysteries of Initiation. Baptism given to infants is            artistic expression. One may think of icons as theology
    immediately followed by the administration of                   in color. As with statues in the Western Church, it is not
    Chrismation (West: “Confirmation”) in all the Eastern           the image that is worshiped or venerated, rather it is the
    Catholic Churches. Since Chrismation may only be                sacred persons they depict.
    given once, care must be taken that Eastern Catholic
    children in Roman Catholic settings (such as schools) do           Customs differ quite widely. Perhaps more than much
    not receive Chrismation again. Roman Catholic pastors           else, this area is the practical expression of one’s
    as well as those catechetical persons in charge of              particular Catholic Identity. Whether it is a particular
    sacramental programs must take care to observe this. In         way to make the Sign of the Cross, or on what days
    the Byzantine Churches Eucharist is also given to the           water is blessed, or what foods are prepared or avoided
    infant, who afterwards may receive Holy Communion at            on a certain feast day, particular customs are what
    any time. The Maronite Patriarchal Liturgical                   distinguish one type of Catholic Christian from another.
    Commission has been studying the possibility of the
    Maronite Church returning to its proper tradition of              Finally, the Eastern Churches have their own code of
    Communion at Baptism as well.                                   canons (i.e., laws), separate from that of the Western
                                                                    Church, to govern the faithful. The Eastern code serves
       While all live by the Word of God in the Scriptures,         general Eastern law, while at the same time allowing for
    the lectionaries of the Churches differ, reflecting the         the individual discipline of each Eastern Church.
    genius, theology and liturgical understandings of the
    interpretation of the Word. Some Sundays accord in the
    Churches. For example, on the Sunday after Pascha
    (Easter), the Gospel about (Believing) Thomas is read.
    Christmas and Easter (therefore, Pentecost) are
    celebrated on the same days in the Catholic Churches,
    except where permission is
    given in some places to celebrate Orthodox Pascha with
    a contiguous Orthodox population.

				
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