Herein lies part of my problem. The Orthodox have valid Sacraments. That means they have the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, correct? To me, that is the fullness of the faith. Since they have valid sacraments, would I jepordize my salvation by becoming Orthodox? How so? If not, then in a way, it does come down to what is more comfortable. I feel more at home with Divine Liturgy, icons, etc. From what I've read so far, it seems I agree more with the Orthodox beliefs on things. They have the Apostolic faith too. They have great Saints too. They have apparitions in the form of weeping icons as well.
So, I am confused.
***I hope anyone reading this will go easy on me as I am still learning, so if I have made errors, I apologize.
Well, from our perspective, the Orthodox churches are in schism. However, it does not mean that all Orthodox are schismatics. In other words, faithful Orthodox may be in schism, but they are not guilty of that rupture that happened long ago. Since the Orthodox churches have kept the sacramental theology and maintained the apostolic succession, they offer true sacraments. In the Catholic Church, sacraments act ex opere operato
, meaning that they "work" regardless of the status of the performer, who is only an instrument. Yes, the Orthodox churches are in schism, but Orthodox today are not personally responsible for that break, and since you have maintained apostolic churches, God, you could say, exercises a sort of economia
for the Orthodox. Faithful Orthodox are receiving the graces of the sacraments through the love and mercy of God and his Church (which is the Catholic Church).
Now, of course, as with all sacraments, they may be true
, but their efficacy
depends on the disposition
of the person receiving them. As St. Paul writes, the Blessed Sacrament can even pour judgment upon a person improperly disposed. This is where Catholic converts to Orthodoxy may have a problem. As schismatics, they are excommunicated and in a state of mortal sin (unless there are mitigating circumstances, of course; see the three conditions for mortal sin in any catechism). That would raise doubts (from our side) about the efficacy of any sacraments the schismatic would receive in an Orthodox church. The same would go with the sedevacantist groups. There is no doubt that a sedevacantist priest in SSPV or CMRI performs valid (i.e. true) sacraments, but we would be skeptical about their efficacy in the souls of the sedevacantists who receive them.
I hope this clears up any misunderstanding about our perspective. I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have. God bless you.
(as a side note, this perspective was a huge influence on my choosing Rome over Constantinople. I saw so many faithful Catholics and Orthodox on both sides, and I could not imagine God entirely denying one side sacramental grace because of the sins of proud prelates from long ago; the most common EO position is that there are no sacraments outside the visible boundaries of Orthodoxy, which I never was able to find tenable).