Friday, June 21, 2013

The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Most people have heard of the "tangible" World Heritage Sites program. But UNESCO also has an effort to preserve the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

My only point in mentioning this is that, while the Confucian Rites and such are on this list, the Old Latin Liturgy (and, perhaps "in urgent need of protection," the other surviving traditional Western Rites) and the various Eastern Liturgies are not on this list.

While the Novus Ordo isn't really anyone's heritage, and while maybe the Byzantine Rite (especially in its Slavic recension) is still widely enough used to not require any particular "heritage" protection (though "in need of protection" is not one of the criteria for the broader list)...the Traditional Roman Rite, the other surviving Western Rites such as the Ambrosian and Mozarabic (in their unreformed forms), as well as the various Coptic and Syriac rites, are at this point "threatened" enough in their homelands and/or "vestigial" enough, I'd think, to warrant a designation to make sure they are recognized and respected as part of humanity's intangible cultural heritage, and not just some sort of obscure fundamentalist concern that can just be meddled with and discarded or allowed to fade away. One might also consider specifically designating various forms of Christian liturgical chant and music, as well as the tradition of ikon writing.

Anyone want to start an effort to suggest this?

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