Monday, March 15, 2021

Why don't Byzantine Catholics just become Orthodox?

Why don't Byzantine Catholics just become Orthodox? Like me, professor Anthony Dragani understands the desire to be "the real thing" so he rhetorically asks.

Devout born members of either church almost never switch now. This question is for Western walk-ons, "graecophile transritualists," like him, me, and the late Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky), whom I think should be our patron saint.

The answer: contraception, remarriage after divorce without annulment, and anti-Westernism. In short, I won't deny my non-Orthodox baptism and put on a show of fasting while signing onto contraception and remarriage after divorce without annulment. That's playing at being a super-strict Christian while joining the secular world. And I won't say that the Latin Mass, etc. has been a mistake or fraud the past 1,000 years. The Catholic Church doesn't make you hate one rite to love another. Other than all that I'm happy being effectively Orthodox, sharing a rite, the Slavonic language, and the first seven Catholic councils with them. I'm not trying to "Uniatize" the Orthodox by individually converting, splitting, or replacing them, and latinization is right out. Those who have known me online for more than 20 years know it's taken me a long time to find peace with all this. The answer didn't come to me neatly in a box. I go to the Orthodox for Vespers and to the Catholics for Liturgy and Communion. Born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt and I have four post-schism Orthodox saints' icons on my wall. Note my reasons are nothing to do with the textbook history about the Pope or the filioque.

Tracking the edits to the book The Orthodox Church by Kallistos (Ware), the best Orthodox instructional book, on contraception it seems the church that never changes has done, just like Protestants and at about the same pace. I asked the late Peter Gillquist, nice man, to his face about the issue and he changed the subject.

P.S. Real Western Rite Orthodoxy would be Benedictine monks in bare even iconless stone churches chanting Solemn Mass and Solemn Vespers in Latin, and priests and others doing charitable works such as schools, hospitals, and a safety net for the poor, among a generations-old community, not little groups of byzantinizing converts.

38 comments:

  1. What “benefit of the doubt” do born Orthodox get that I as a convert do not?

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    1. According to the Catholic Church, born Orthodox AND converts, IF they personally didn't leave Catholicism, get the benefit of the doubt regarding heresy and personal guilt for schism. We believe they're not guilty of either.

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    2. In my case, I investigated Catholicism, but chose the Orthodox Church, in part because I reject the Papacy.

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    3. You might be surprised how little the Pope has to do with my faith, certainly not his person. His office is a part of it, but much less than many think conservative Catholics such as me believe. He's largely a caretaker of our doctrine. Were you Lutheran to begin with?

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    4. I was Lutheran.

      Regardless of your feelings towards the Pope, and I agree the Pope doesn’t play much role in the regular day-to-day, the Pope still retains supreme, full, immediate, and personal power over the entire church. While the idea of submission to the Pope as a necessity for salvation isn’t much talked about today, I don’t think that notion has been repudiated either.

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    5. I don't feel oppressed by the Pope because I'm not. We don't have to believe that all non-Catholics are going to hell! As you can tell from the original post, I don't.

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  2. The most delatinized, liturgically Orthodox priests in the Byzantine Catholic churches were trained in... Rome. That's a clue to the mind and heart of the church on the matter.

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  3. Divorce and remarriage - Orthodox teach that marriage can be broken by sin and that if all sacramental and consummated marriages can never be broken, how could Christ have given an exception for reasons of fornication in Matthew 19:9? By giving this exception, the Orthodox maintain that no marriage is absolutely indissoluble since any marriage is liable to suffer adultery. And if you argue that the exception clause in Matthew 19:19 does not refer to adultery or the breaking of the marriage bond, why do the Oriental Orthodox also permit divorce and remarriage on these grounds? If this is a misinterpretation, it dates to the first half of the first millennium and was not influenced by the secular trends of Byzantium (to say the least). Economia enables the Orthodox Church to not enforce her rule of one marriage (this is only possible since Orthodox doctrine recognizes the possibility of a marriage ending by sin).

    Contraception - No official change. Contraception misses the mark and is not strictly moral. The economia allows couples to continue functioning in the Church with reduced or removed spiritual effects. The Church has always had the power to determine how she pastorally ministers to those who fail to live the Christian ideal. This is as ancient as the prohibition on using contraception.

    Re-baptism - Historically, the Church (East and West) held a dim view toward sacraments outside of her body. While the administration of Baptism only inside the Church was more common in the East, East and West believed that the full effects of Baptism could only be enjoyed inside the Church. Personally, if I was a Protestant inclined to be bothered by these issues, I would find just as insulting the insistence on my baptism only being fully effective in another Church as I would being required to be fully baptized. Besides, Anglicans are told everyday by Catholics and Orthodox that their Holy Communions as Anglicans are not the true Body and Blood of Christ. That's not prejudice, it's just proclaiming the truth.

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    1. Economy applies to rules, not doctrine or morals. No matter how old it is or how you spin it, "sometimes adultery is okay" and contraception are bad theology. Church infallibility doesn't include the power to change morals. A lot of people who don't know better accuse Catholics of believing that the Pope can. Mainline Protestantism claims it can; we don't.

      I appreciate the logic of the Cyprianic view of sacraments outside the church, vs. Catholicism's Augustinian one, but don't agree. I understand that there are Orthodox who with no malice consider the Catholic Church void. I can't. As a born Anglican I understand the Catholic and Orthodox position on Anglicanism, the absence of malice therein, and the hurt some Anglicans feel about that position. All it means is they and I are not in communion. Beyond that I don't judge.

      There is an Orthodox tradition you and I are part of. There is an Orthodox communion I assume you belong to. There is no Orthodox Church. They're all independent. Although I am not trying to split them, that is the fact. Doctrine, teaching authority, belongs to the Catholic Church, but should be explained all in Orthodox terms, which probably still needs to be done. I'm not qualified to try.

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  4. *The second scriptural reference should be Matthew 19:9, not Matthew 19:19.

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  5. "Economy applies to rules, not doctrine or morals. No matter how old it is or how you spin it, "sometimes adultery is okay" and contraception are bad theology."

    I guess I understand economy to apply to rules (like the rules on how penance is applied), and not doctrine or morals. No Orthodox priest has permission to teach that divorce is moral or that contraception does not fall short of the standard of Christian life. However, I do believe that bishops (including through spiritual fathers under their authority) can excercise leniency with Church rules (not the doctrine, itself) on behalf of the divorced or those that use non-abortive contraception in some circumstances. The historic Church did not require the fullest possible penance for sinners, so the Orthodox Church continues this practice.

    Btw, I have enjoyed reading about the new developments in your spiritual life. May God bless you.

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    1. If you are absolved, do penance, and still use contraception or are in an invalid (Western lingo but you know what I mean) second etc. marriage, then the absolution is worse than useless and the penance for naught.

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    2. Regarding contraception, you are assuming that the Catholic position on the sinfulness of contraception (i.e. contraception is always a mortal sin, required to be confessed) is automatically the position of the early Church and of Orthodoxy. This can be disputed. We know that the Holy Fathers rejected contraception. However, the degree of sin is not clear. This can provide Orthodox with more grounds for leniency with how to minister to those who use birth control. While sharing with Catholicism a belief that contraception is a moral failing, Orthodoxy does not have a strict tradition regarding the gravity of birth control use. Again, this provides more flexibility in handling contraception use in the East than in the West.

      Regarding divorce and remarriage, the real difference is that Catholicism believes that the sacramental and consummated marriage can only end in death, while Orthodoxy believes that marriages can be broken by other means. If Catholics believed this, they would permit remarriage too. And if Orthodox believed like Catholics, they could no more allow remarriage than they could permit mistresses for married men.

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    3. Contraception is "grave matter." That's only one of the three criteria for mortal sin, the others being sufficient reflection and full consent of the will; Latin Catholic terms but anyway. Eastern Christians who make excuses for contraception - the non-Catholics used to agree with Rome on it; all Christians did until mid last century - sound just like Protestants.

      We know that the Holy Fathers rejected contraception. There you go.

      Again, "sometimes adultery is okay" is bad theology. The excuse isn't that the sacramental marriage broke; it remains but the second etc. one is allowed for pastoral reasons.

      I'm not pushing latinizations but my religion needs to make sense.

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    4. "Eastern Christians who make excuses for contraception"

      No excuse - it's wrong. So is lying. But not every liar is excommunicated from the Chalice. And not all those who use contraception are excommunicated from Holy Communion either.

      "The excuse isn't that the sacramental marriage broke; it remains but the second etc. one is allowed for pastoral reasons."

      That's strange - I've never heard any Orthodox say that the first marriage bond endures after the recognition of the ecclesiastical divorce. This is why the ecclesiastical divorce is recognized - without it, it is considered adultery to enter a second marriage; with it, the second union, while not ideal, is not adultery.

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    5. I thought at least one famous Orthodox theologian, such as Schmemann, Meyendorff, or Hopko, said what I was referring to.

      No to contraception and to remarriage after divorce without annulment. You're not talking me into leaving the Catholic Church. Please don't construe my sharing a rite with you as a desire to.

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  6. "As a born Anglican I understand the Catholic and Orthodox position on Anglicanism, the absence of malice therein, and the hurt some Anglicans feel about that position. All it means is they and I are not in communion. Beyond that I don't judge."

    Well said. And this is how the Orthodox position on non-Orthodox sacraments should be understood.

    "There is no Orthodox Church. They're all independent."

    Independent in a way, but not divided. Like the unity of the Lamb of God in the Divine Liturgy, there are multiple Orthodox Churches, all fully the Church, but there remains one Church because all the bishops are configured to the one Bishop, Jesus Christ. In Orthodox ecclesiology, the validity of the episcopate ensures their unity since one cannot be a true bishop without at once being an icon of the one Jesus Christ.

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    1. I know the Orthodox explanation of how the church works, but:

      1. Why Byzantine/Chalcedonian Orthodoxy? Why not the Nestorians or the Monophysites? Or one of the Gnostic churches for that matter? Every ancient communion claims it's the true one. For that matter, why aren't Muslims "non-Nicene Orthodox"?

      2. The calendar dispute: fellow Byzantines/Chalcedonians, Julian-calendar fanatics (not just Orthodox who use the Julian calendar, such as the Russians) who've created their own church, claiming to be the true Orthodox. How/why are your bishops configured to the one Bishop, Jesus, as an icon of him and theirs not?

      3. Constantinople and Moscow are out of communion. Constantinople is wrong in the Ukraine. But there was former Metropolitan/"Patriarch" Filaret. Defrocked by one canonical Orthodox church but reinstated by another. A canonical Orthodox church is setting up bishop against bishop, altar against altar, on another's turf. I know about intermediate communion: "A's out of communion with B, but both A and B are in communion with C so that's fine, though not ideal."

      I'll stick to the magisterium and the great Catholic family of valid orders.

      My goal is not to turn the Orthodox churches into the present-day Byzantine Catholic churches, latinizations and all. But the Orthodox true-church claim doesn't work.

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  7. "Why Byzantine/Chalcedonian Orthodoxy?"

    Why be a Catholic? One belongs to the Church that they believe has preserved the ancient Faith, unchanged. Papal authority doesn't provide one with any additional certainty since authority can simply be interpreted as the pretensions of the misled (as non-Catholics do of the Pope) by those not already convinced of the truth claims of their chosen Faith.

    "The calendar dispute"

    These schisms arose from a violation of the Church order (e.g. somebody somewhere acted in disobedience to their bishop upon non-canonical grounds). This gross violation of Church order calls their orders into question, to say the least.

    "Constantinople and Moscow are out of communion"

    It's messy, I know. But the mess has not developed to a full, official schism yet. The whole mess reminds me of the Great Schism in its early years. But the dispute between the Patriarchates of Rome and Constantinople apparently did not nullify the Church of its day since neither of us are Protestants, so let's give at least as much leeway to the current ecclesial disagreements as we do our shared history of the Great Schism.

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    1. Catholicism used to have a strong community in America and I needed and wanted something like that. How many seekers really comparison-shop the Eastern communions? I know some do; "nope, Nestorianism misses the mark," etc.

      The ancient faith, unchanged, said no to contraception.

      It's messy, I know. But the mess has not developed to a full, official schism yet. The whole mess reminds me of the Great Schism in its early years. But the dispute between the Patriarchates of Rome and Constantinople apparently did not nullify the Church of its day since neither of us are Protestants, so let's give at least as much leeway to the current ecclesial disagreements as we do our shared history of the Great Schism.

      Which is why I believe in the great Catholic family of valid orders, with the truth subsisting in the Catholic Church, as Vatican II says, not the Cyprianic view of sacraments.

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  8. "The ancient faith, unchanged, said no to contraception"

    Still does. The ancient Faith, unchanged, also gave Christian leaders the power to establish rules for Holy Communion and penance and to apply them with leniency or strictness for the salvation of souls. Anything less risks giving one a partial understanding of the historic Christian Faith, which was at once both doctrine and practice.

    "Which is why I believe in the great Catholic family of valid orders, with the truth subsisting in the Catholic Church, as Vatican II says, not the Cyprianic view of sacraments."

    The early Church believed that she was the sole ark of truth and salvation and took a dismal look at any sacraments outside of herself. Orthodoxy continues this understanding better than modern Catholicism, IMO.

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    1. So denying my baptism and using contraceptives are okay. That's messed up. No sale.

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  9. "So denying my baptism and using contraceptives are okay. That's messed up. No sale."

    Contraceptives are no more okay than lying. But there can be lenient treatment for the sinner if their salvation requires it. Regarding your non-Orthodox baptism, why must the Orthodox Church recognize what is done outside of herself? Should Catholics recognize Anglican orders?

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    1. • Catholics: Contraception is a big deal. You can't use it and go to Communion.
      • Orthodox before around the 1960s per Ware in 1963: Contraception is a big deal. You can't use it and go to Communion.
      • Protestants before 1930: Contraception is a big deal. You can't use it and be a good Christian.
      • Orthodox and Protestants now: Contraception isn't great but not THAT big a deal. You CAN use it and be a good Christian, going to Communion.

      The "church," granted, one composed of churches, not just ecclesial communities, that doesn't change on essentials, the Cyprianic excuse for rejecting my baptism because it wasn't in their culture or empire, changed on an essential.

      Byzantine Catholicism is, sorry, pitiful in several ways, but an Orthodoxy separate from Catholicism is self-refuting.

      Catholicism and Orthodoxy take the Anglicans' framers at their word. The framers said, nay, screamed "NO MASS!" No Mass, no orders.

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    2. "Orthodox and Protestants now: Contraception isn't great but not THAT big a deal. You CAN use it and be a good Christian, going to Communion."

      A rare Protestant, indeed, who has any problems with contraception! How is this more lenient approach any different than how Catholics and Orthodox treat mixed marriages or charging interest? Both actions were condemned and treated as quite serious in early Christianity, but are now tolerated by Catholics and Orthodox. Catholics now interpret the ancient prohibitions to refer to only mixed marriages that damage the Faith or charging excessive interest, but this is a development of the original prohibition, which included no such nuances. Orthodox officially keep the ancient prohibitions on mixed marriage and usury and are lenient with folks. I like this approach better since it keeps the ancient canons unchanged. This same approach is used today for some uses of non-abortive contraception. I can live with this because I already live with such toleration on other issues in Christian history.

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    3. Nope. If you're giving Communion to people who contracept, you're part of the problem destroying Western civilization.

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    4. I could say that if you are giving Communion to people who charge interest you are part of the worldwide problem of creating economic inequity.

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    5. I am remaining Catholic. Please respect my decision.

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    6. IIRC, you departed from the Orthodox Church of which you were a member for many years after Pope Benedict reinstated the TLM on a permissive basis. Well, after Pope Francis' motu proprio, that is all out the window. The TLM is now like so over, and I mean over with a capital O. Uniatism is totally a cop out, a hotbed of contradiction. St. Gregory Palamas on the second Sunday of lent, anyone? Literally condemned RC theology as heresy on every key point of difference. How in the world is this more coherent than a decentralized Orthodox Church united in doctrine and praxis (with your occasional squabble between bishops and various regional disputes, granted, but these were just as common if not moreso in the pre-schism Church of the first millennium)? As for rules regarding marriage and

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    7. contraception, these would seem a strange hill to die on, especially since the Eastern practice on marriage demonstrably pre-date the Great Schism, the fact that this practice has varied at times throughout the history of the Church--even in the West, the fact of Christ's stated exception to the general indissolublity of marriage in the Gospel on the grounds of adultery and, finally, the reality that marriage after Catholic "annulment" is really just divorce and remarriage with a legalistic patina, in this case far worse, as there are no theoretical limits to how many times this can be done, with new marriages taking place in succession, one after the other, just as if the previous one sacramentally "never happened". We are talking about marriages that are obviously sacramentally valid by any objective standard, marriages which have produced multiple children. Literally everyone recognizes the ending of these marriages as a divorce, and in fact they are registered as such by the state. Any honest person can see clearly that someone in this position would literally be lying if they afterwards referred to themselves as "single, never married". So let's be clear. This practice of annulment is, save for the name, in all ways the functional equivalent of an ecclesiastical divorce which leaves open the possibility of one or both parties being married a second or third or fourth time while their former putative spouse or spouses remains very much alive and kicking. And now in the wake of Pope Francis's Amoris Laetitia (which falls under the scope of authentic magisterium, so you are dogmatically obliged as a Catholic to submit "mind and will"), even civilly remarried Catholics can under certain conditions be admitted to the sacraments. But this is not permitted in Orthodoxy. So really, it would appear that you have become fixated unduly upon what amounts to, at best, a bit of fatuous legalism or, at worst, clear indications of gross contradiction and hypocrisy at the heart of normative RC theology and praxis.

      Regarding artificial contraception, the Holy Fathers don't speak with much precision on the issue, except with regard to opposition to the use of abortifacients (killing of an already conceived child) and the act of of seeking to satisfy sexual lust while deliberately avoiding children. They never specify that such is condemned only on the grounds that the means used to achieve this is artificial. Orthodoxy retains this view while exercising economia in an act of condescension which recognizes the reality of human sinfulness and human weakness. This is not a license to contracept oneself into utter sterility, something which would obviously be condemned as sinful. The modern RC preoccupation with artificial contraception and the formal dogmatizing of a blanket prohibition with no exceptions is based on a species of legalism which is novel and that reflects a theology of nature rejected by the Orthodox as downplaying the effects of the Fall on the entire created order and thus the entire project of deriving a body of objective moral truths through the application of a purely rational process of contemplation to "nature" in it's current state.

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    8. Even more problematic, while erecting a bulwark of authoritative teaching pretending to maintain this draconian stance against the modern corruption of sterile sex, the same magisterium out of the other side of its mouth makes provisions for Catholics to engage in that very practice. Artificial means of avoiding pregnancy are banned, but "natural" means are *allowed*. Sorry, but this strikes me as yet another case of pharisaic legalism masquerading as sound theology. In either case, the outcome is the same! In every instance this takes place, the very possibility of pregnancy which is the normal telos and result of the sex act is intentionally and willfully thwarted, and thus also the reproductive end of marriage. Ultimately, the difference between Orthodoxy and Racism on this issue consists in the application of economia versus legalism, not contraception versus no contraception. And again, where the Fathers write

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    9. specifically on this matter, they are only clear on the basic points of repudiating abortion and the avoidance of children. They don't make such an issue of the means by which this is achieved. That one kind is righteous and permissible while the other is not. Because the result is the same. Dead is dead, enjoying sex while deliberately avoiding the begetting of children is the same thing no matter how you go about doing it. Orthodoxy isn't preaching bad theology. Bad theology is when you create dogma which teaches that calling a bad thing by some other name or achieving a bad end by some other means makes it
      something other than bad, simply because of the different name or category if which it is predicated.

      So as I stated before, TLM is over, time to realize the wisdom of your previous instinct in leaving Vatican II RCism for Orthodoxy and just come back. It's ok to be wrong and to become confused from time to time. Not happens to the best of us. I promise we won't think amy less of you. Just the opposite. Blessings to you Johnny boy

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    10. Thanks for stopping by and writing, Peterbuchan. I like being a private person so it's fine that few still read this blog, which is no longer active, but it's nice to get these comments. As much as I am still in the Orthodox tradition, and I know you don't accept that, my leaving the Catholic Church for the Orthodox communion was a mistake. A different standard applies to Catholics like me than to born Orthodox or to Protestant etc. converts to Orthodoxy.

      No, I'm not leaving the Catholic Church again because of Pope Francis' restrictions on the traditional Latin Mass (TLM). Catholic doctrine can't change. Even the Pope's office can't change it so either Amoris Laetitia is irrelevant or you don't understand it. And if one loves the TLM, it doesn't make sense to leave for a church that really considers that service merely an empty form since "Rome left the true church" 1,000 years ago. Western Rite Orthodoxy is a tiny, byzantinized mess. Real Orthodox don't care about Catholic services. Your side doesn't make sense about contraception and remarriage after divorce, even if/though your error on remarriage pre-dates the Catholic/Orthodox split. Annulments are abused but the theology is sound, not "Catholic divorce." I would sooner try Buddhism than try to be Orthodox again.

      The TLM movement is a young, strong minority in the Catholic Church that will outlive Pope Francis and his friends, and it seems most bishops are friendly and accommodating, giving permission for it, so he isn't getting what he wants.

      I believe that immemorial custom allows the TLM, but it's also good and humble to obey your bishop on things not sin or heresy. A possibility for many Catholics is to keep going to the parish's earliest, quietest regular Sunday Mass for the word and the sacrament. Many good priests have been sharing our teachings that way for over 50 years.

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  10. Ok. May God continue to bless you, John! May your remaining Great Lent be blessed.

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  11. Catholic must know Dogma > Ripped from your soul.

    If you're at all interested in knowing ... the Catholic Dogma ... that we *must believe* to
    get to Heaven, and which you have *never* seen ...

    I list it on my website > > www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com

    And no ... the anti-Christ vatican-2 heretic cult (founded in 1965) is not the Catholic Church (founded in 33 A.D.).

    Currently ... you are outside the Catholic Church and so ... have no chance of getting to Heaven.

    Physical participation in a heretic cult (vatican-2, lutheran, evangelical, etc) ... automatically excommunicates you from the Catholic Church (that is, Christianity) >
    www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com/section_13.2.2.html

    Mandatory ... Abjuration of heresy to enter the Catholic Church >
    www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com/section_40.html

    Dogma that one must Abjure to leave the vatican-2 heretic cult and enter the Catholic Church >
    www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com/section_40.1.html

    The BIBLE says ... 15 TIMES ... it is not the authority on Faith,
    the BIBLE says the Church in it's Dogma and Doctrine ... is the authority on Faith and the definition of the Catholic Faith ... www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com/section_6.html

    The Catholic God knows ... what we think and believe ...

    Catholic writing of Romans 1:21 >
    "They ... became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened."

    Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Deuteronomy 31:21 >
    "For I know their thoughts, and what they are about to do this day."

    Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Job 21:27 >
    "Surely I know your thoughts, and your unjust judgments against Me."

    Regards - Victoria

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  12. Dear Young Fogey,

    I am an Orthodox Christian thinking of becoming Catholic and would like to talk to someone about the process. I am currently waiting to discuss my situation with a prominent Byzantine Catholic Priest podcaster I heard recently on a youtube video.

    You say, "According to the Catholic Church, born Orthodox AND converts, IF they personally didn't leave Catholicism, get the benefit of the doubt regarding heresy and personal guilt for schism. We believe they're not guilty of either."

    As a Protestant convert to Orthodoxy, this does not ease my conscience. I used to feel indifferent, being pro-catholic, but wanting to stay in the Orthodox Church because it would be easier. The Balamand Statement encouraged this feeling. But today I feel more than ever that I need to be Catholic. My eyes are not blind to the crisis in the Catholic Church (modernism, homosexualism, liturgical abuses, etc...) so I feel like I am jumping from the pan into the fire.

    Also, my wife (also converted to Orthodoxy with me years ago) is not interested. She isn't anti-catholic, and talking with me has made her more friendly towards Catholicism, but she isn't interested. Our Orthodox parish is really amazing. It seems cruel of me to take that from her. I imagine that I'll need to balance attending at least two parishes. There are no Eastern Catholic Churches in the area. And only two reverant mass options: a diocsisan Latin Mass in a Novos Ordo church building on Sundays at 12:30 and an Ordinariate parish which I like. I can drive 200 miles to an ICTK oratory which is like heaven on earth.

    Practically speaking, I'm in the OCA, so would I belong to the Byzantine Catholic Church of Pitsburg? Would I bring my four children, all baptized into the Orthodox Church? I think my wife would feel like her friends in the Orthodox Church would judge her: Do I need to make my conversion public? Can our children receive the sacraments in both Churches for a little while? How can I properly inform them concerning the deep sadness of a broken Christendom?

    These are some of my many questions?

    Sincerely,

    Ryan

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    1. Welcome, Ryan, and thank you for sharing your story. I am loath to try to give advice on these matters. You are stuck between a rock and a hard place. What we in the Catholic Church are aiming for in situations like yours where you've thought and read your way to the door of the church on your own - we do not proselytize the Orthodox - is to receive people like you quietly. I wouldn't sweat it regarding your wife and children - as I wrote, they get the benefit of the doubt; the kids are born Orthodox! They all can stay put. No, the kids can't receive Communion at both places. I hope you remain in the Byzantine Rite and don't try to latinize it in your practices, but which rite you use is up to you. My guess is, since the OCA is the old Russian dioceses in America, the normal designated successor here to the Russian Orthodox Church (the Patriarchal Parishes and ROCOR are special exceptions), canonically you'd be a Russian Catholic, the Orthodox tradition I know best, with the local Latin bishop as your locum tenens as Russian Catholics don't have their own bishops. Better, as they wonderfully say, "We have a patriarch and bishops! But they're not Catholic." That's how I feel. As for your churchgoing situation should you change your affiliation, again I'm chary of advising you. I'd drop back to non-communing attendance at the Orthodox church. The church tells you that you'd have to go to the nearest Catholic church on Sunday. Between you and me, don't sweat it. Just stop going to Communion at the Orthodox church. Try to explain your situation to the local Catholic priest; I hope he understands. Confession and occasional Communion at his place. No, you do not need to make your conversion public - again, no proselytism. I go to the Orthodox for Vespers and never tell them I'm Catholic unless asked. Not exactly relevant to your situation but I love the ordinariate. I've only recently gone to Mass there twice. Then again I was an Anglican to begin with. Hoping of course that the Byzantine Catholic priest podcaster can help you.

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  13. Thank you. I've read some of your notes and comments on this and I appreciate your agreeable position on this.

    I have read that the Catholic Church expects Catholics to raise their children in the faith. I know my children are born Orthodox and get a pass, but they will eventually inherit my own feelings of cognitive dissonance. Whether I convert or not I was already catechizing them with Catholic Faith (Original Sin, Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, Papal Primacy) in terms appropriately Orthodox / Easter Catholic. Like me, they wouldn't have the excuse of invincible ignorance as they grow up.

    Concerning Rite: I don't think I would ever switch to the Latin Church. I'd remain in the Eastern Catholic Church I'm enrolled in. I personally love the Byzantine Liturgy more than the Roman Rite. I want to raise my kids to be Byzantine Rite Christians, preferably Orthodox Catholics. But there are no Eastern Catholic Churches near us.

    Despite my love for the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, I'm actually quite the Thomist and I have always had an immense interest in Anglicanism and the BCP -- even though I have never belonged to an Anglican jurisdiction. I prefer to pray the Dominican Rosary, with the Luminous Mysteries, to Saint Seraphim's Rule of the Mother of God, which is the same as the Rosary in essence, except that the version circulating on line has many Eastern Prayer -- which are fine -- inserted in between the angelic salutations. It is longer and more complex, as one would expect.

    Thanks again.

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