Well, this may get long...but I'm a terse writer.
My journey to Orthodoxy actually started 12 years ago as a Roman Catholic seminarian.
To make an 18-month story short, if any of you have read Michael Rose's Goodbye, Good Men!
, it accurately reflects the state of the 2 seminaries I was in (the book is only 150% true...).
Thus began the long winter of my discontent in the Roman Catholic Church.
In the 10 years after that, I drifted into and back out of the RCC. My faith was in tatters, and I went months without any effort at prayer.
I fell away from RCism for several months until a (Protestant!) friend of mine challenged me directly and said, "You get back to church!".
I went back to an RC parish, but there was nothing there for me.
At that time, I was still hanging onto the idea that I couldn't break communion with Rome. Enter the Byzantine Catholic Church.
Whatever the faults of the BCC, I will give them this - they "stanched the bleeding", for which I will always be in their debt.
I could go to church again. I could begin to pray again. I felt the anger begin to dissipate.
However, one cannot enter into the BCC and not learn anything of Orthodoxy. So I read.
And I made the acquaintance of a certain Orthodox nun who is near-infamous in these here parts (for entirely good reasons!)
And I read.
And I talked to the nun some more.
And I read some more, deciding to get to the bottom of the differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
And I began to pray with some desperation.
So I set some difficult criteria, such that "ties went to Catholicism." Orthodoxy was going to have to prove itself to me.
So I established the following questions-as-criteria for the purposes of my deliberation:
(1) Vatican II was irrelevant (i.e. Orthodoxy is not good only because Vatican II stunk up the joint)
(2) Who is more consistent with the first seven Ecumenical Councils?
(3) Who is today more consistent with the model of the Papacy that was held during the first seven Ecumenical Councils?
(4) Which Church most resembles the New Testament Church?
I focused on the Councils since both Catholicism and Orthodoxy regard them as authoritative.
I found out some astounding things - like how even the RCs admit there wasn't a universal papal jurisdiction in the first few centuries of the Church - like how the Filioque was a misguided defense against Arianism and turned into a Frankish political weapon against Constantinople - like how the spiritualities of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches are so radically different.
And I read
I wrestled with my soul
and my emotions
and my friends
and my Roman Catholic upbringing
and with my feelings toward my BC parish
and I prayed even harder - and then it happened...
I could no longer go to confession.
One of the first things you see in a Catholic examination of conscience is "Do I doubt or deny an article of the Catholic faith?"
The answer was yes
, and I didn't feel at all bad about it.
So, after a final prayer-check to make sure I wasn't on the primrose path to Hell, I decided to ask for admission to the Orthodox catechumenate.
I hope, with the Grace of God, to be baptized in September.