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Author Topic: books for curious catholic???  (Read 1714 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 11, 2008, 10:57:16 PM »

hello, I am a recently chrismated OC from a vehemently Catholic family.  I've posted before looking for prayer and support as I have suffered a lot from my family's reaction to Orthodoxy.

However recently my mother has asked me if various authors are okay to read.  She specifically mentioned Michael Whelton and Kallistos Ware.  Part of me suspects she is trying to figure out what I have read that has led me away from Roman Catholicism, and part of me hopes she is genuinely curious.

I have read both of Michael Whelton's books, Popes and Patriarchs and Two Paths.  I think both of them would offend any loyal Catholic.  Furthermore, he is a disaffected Tridentine Catholic, though he converted due to the truth of Orthodoxy; however, the fact that he was unhappy with the new mass and the modern Catholic Church has an anti-evangelizing effect on regular Catholics who don't relate to or long for the Tridentine rite, or worse, are opposed to the far right Catholic conservative movement.  Kallistos Ware is moderate but I remember my mom saying he says Roman Catholics believe things that they don't believe....like he got information wrong.  I've only read parts of his book. 

So here is my dilema....all of the books I've read comparing Catholicism to Orthodoxy contain some kind of sharp comments, angry responses, some actually call Catholics heretics.  You cannot evangelize someone through anger or self-righteous criticism of what they believe.  I'm currently reading Clark Carlton's book The Truth and though he isn't a former Catholic, even he says some things sharply, and in a way that would offend.  Honestly I sometimes think the Roman Catholic response to Orthodoxy is quite charitable in contrast to some of the things the Orthodox say about Catholicism.

So I ask you...what would you recommend?  Are there books I haven't discovered that are simply objective historiography or theological compare and contrast?  I really do need some guidance for my mother, keeping in mind she is looking for information, not conversion.

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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2008, 11:22:03 PM »

Former Roman Catholic asking, does your mother like history?  If she does, than I'd still recommend Bishop Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Church".  If she does not, than I would still recommend the same book.   Cheesy

I can not recall anything in his book that was inaccurate in terms of Roman Catholic belief.

Of course, what often helps is to actually attend a Divine Liturgy.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 11:24:09 PM by EmperorConstantine » Logged
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Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!

« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2008, 12:27:48 AM »

I'd go with The Orthodox Church...it's pretty irenic and non-confrontational. The book also glosses over a lot of points, but it should not provoke an  overly defensive response among Roman Catholics.

But, truly...attendance at a Liturgy will be the best way to present to your parents why you are entering the Church.

"As the sparrow flees from a hawk, so the man seeking humility flees from an argument". St John Climacus
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2008, 12:31:18 AM »

Personally, I did not like any of the books "geared" towards Roman Catholics.  

Michael Whelton's books, I found, were always poorly researched, and he often relied far too much on an small amount of sources.  With Metr. Kallistos, I enjoyed the Orthodox Way much more than the Orthodox Church, but it was good for a very basic, simple overview.  And Clark Carlton... *shudders*.

If one book stood out to me the most when I was inquiring, it had to be The Spiritual Life and How to Be Attuned To It by St. Theophan the Recluse.  Refreshing to read compared to Scholastic authors.  Tongue

I'd have to agree with EC and FrChris and see if she will attend a Liturgy.

As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future.
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2008, 12:59:27 AM »

I also would go with "The Orthodox Way" or "The Orthodox Church" by Bishop Ware. I have given "The Orthodox Church" to several people now and, while not all of them have rushed to convert (my son and his wife did) it is a book is straightforward and inoffensive; written by a man with the most generous of spirits.

God be with you. Smiley


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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2008, 03:40:22 PM »

From what I understand, the newer editions of The Orthodox Church are even less confrontational. Met. Kallistos has supposedly gone "liberal."
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2008, 08:48:53 PM »

From what I understand, the newer editions of The Orthodox Church are even less confrontational. Met. Kallistos has supposedly gone "liberal."

There are those, no doubt, who would claim that "generous of spirit" equates to "liberal".  Shocked Bishop Ware himself has stated that his views on many things have softened over the years. Perhaps due to the working of Grace?
« Last Edit: January 14, 2008, 08:51:34 PM by Riddikulus » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2008, 09:03:47 PM »

Well this book isn't geared specifically towards Catholics but it's a great introduction to the Orthodox Faith nonetheless. "The Truth of Our Faith" by Elder Cleopa of Romania is presented in question and answer form and covers an enormous range of topics. Every answer is thouroughly backed up by scripture, he does a fantastic job of demonstrating the firm scriptural support for the Orthodox Faith.

Yours in Christ
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2008, 11:26:48 PM »

Met. Kallistos has supposedly gone "liberal."


Not really a necessary comment in the Convert Issues section.

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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2008, 12:48:26 AM »

I concur on "The Orthodox Church" by Bishop Ware. I don't recall anything confrontational or offensive toward Roman Catholics. It is basic, but it is a good book. I have given copies of it to others. I also have "The Orthodox Way," but I haven't had a chance to read it yet...Most Borders and Barnes and Nobles bookstores carry "The Orthodox Church," but you may need to get the other book on eBay or Amazon.

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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2008, 04:53:47 PM »

I am a former, relatively-devout Roman Catholic who is now an Orthodox catechumen.  I had no bad feelings toward the church and left almost reluctantly - part of breaking away was fairly painful, despite the joy I am moving toward in Orthodoxy.  So I was somewhat sensitive to any polemical writings geared toward Catholics, including Clark Carlton's book - though because I was reading for information not much of it struck me too sharply.

I would really recommend Bp. Kallistos Ware's "The Orthodox Way," however, because he isn't really talking about many of the differences between the churches in that book but focuses on what Orthodoxy teaches about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This was the first place I encountered the idea that perhaps Christ would have become incarnate anyway, even if we hadn't fallen, an idea that struck me like a bolt from the blue.  It was easy to believe in a loving God after reading that book, and it presented me with a portrait of God I realized I had never been able to see in the RCC.  That was the clincher, not any doctrinal arguments.  The doctrinal differences I learned about later, and despite my love for the Roman church, because of this loving picture of God I had very little trouble accepting anything the Orthodox church teaches.  I had the feeling that any church that has such a picture of God - one that resonates so deeply - could not have wrong doctrines. 

I feel for your family deeply.  As I said, I loved the church - it was where I grew up, and my mother was a convert to Roman Catholicism, so our being there was not incidental.  It was where I first learned about God.  But it was just prep for Orthodoxy.  (Oh yeah - my father is still Roman Catholic, but he is coming this weekend to Divine Liturgy.  Maybe it will pique his interest.  My prayers are with you and your family.  It is hard not to wish that our loved ones would find all that we have in Orthodoxy.)

More than you should want to know about Cassiel.
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