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Author Topic: Ten Years Later and Looking East  (Read 547 times) Average Rating: 0
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wainscottbl
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"It is said to me...where is your God" --Ps. 41:4


« on: January 18, 2014, 06:41:03 PM »

So it's 2014 and I realized it was in 2004, a decade ago that I decided I wanted to be Catholic. I remember I was Mormon and believed but had always been attracted to the romantic beauty of Catholicism--the liturgy, or what I thought was their liturgy like in the movies. The priests and the whole thing. And for some reason I said in the middle of one night, "I want to be Catholic." I got on the computer, went into the Beliefs Catholic chatroom on AOL and asked how to become Catholic. And someone IMed me and told me to call the parish and ask abut RCIA.

Well although RCIA was horrible I found out quickly about traditional Catholicism. I was baptised at the Novus Ordo at Easter Vigil 2005 but by the end of that year was regularly going to the local Latin Mass. About 2008 I started growing closer to the SSPX, which I had only been attending on occasion. Part of the reason I went there more because of a job--their mass started at 3:00 PM which allowed me to go there right after I got off work and get there during the sermon. You can take communion if you get there before the Mass of the Faithful so it worked out. Ah yes, I spent time with the Institute of Christ the King in 2007, the group that no doubt has the most beautiful Latin masses and a great Salesian spirituality. But I liked the girls in the parish too much and decided celibacy was not for me.

Interesting now ten years later I am considering Orthodoxy, though much more slowly. Catholicism I went right in with full force. Maybe it is because Mormonism was so ridiculous once I examined it objectively. I could have gotten saved at the local Baptist church I went to with my friends instead if it were not for my romantic fancy for Catholicism. But I went to the Baptist church mostly to be with friends, especially the friend that I had a crush on. To me the whole youth group was ridiculous. All these people got saved but their spirituality did not change. They not only stilled sinned but seemed to think that their being "saved" excused it. Plenty of that hypocrisy in Orthodoxy and Catholicism (its a human trait) but the superficial nature of the youth group made it more obvious in the Protestants. No one there had any sense of Christian theology other than. "You're a sinner and you got to be saved or you are going to hell." But I do think my time with the Baptists kept me clean of getting to deep into Mormonism even though I served the Mormon sacrament and everything and went every Sunday.

Now ten years later I am looking into Orthodoxy. I might have done that before had I taken a slower approach and researched Christianity but I think leaving Mormonism you either become atheist, become Protestant, or become Catholic since that makes sense for those who do some research of history if they do it with a Western mind and are ignorant of the Eastern Church. I would not say I have become anti-Catholic and I do not like the term Papist for Roman Catholics but I do find myself critical of how they do things. I especially find frustrating the Scholastic cleverness or sophism as I call it. Or the way Catholic Answers takes issues. Catholic Answers is great for Protestants who think Catholics worship Mary and all that nonsense but I have yet to find a solid refutation of Eastern Orthodoxy. I have found some good ones but I just can't seem to find any real solid ones anywhere. The Orthodox look and criticism of the Latins just makes more sense than the Catholic criticism of the Greeks.

I will miss the beauty of certain Catholic things and if I become Orthodox still get excited when the Pope dies--not because he is dead but because I love the whole excitement of a papal election. I think we all do don't we? And gee the Latin Mass is amazing but I must admit it falls way short of the beauty of the Eastern liturgy. Even the Institute of Christ the King can't measure. What matters is truth though.
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 07:20:35 PM »

That was a nicely written enquirers post. It always gives me hope when people are motivated to seek the truth without the bias and vitriol that can accompany changing Churches.
From my perspective Orthodoxy can't be rushed (coming from Rome myself). It takes time, prayer and calm to navigate the journey.
I wish you well and prayers on your journey.
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Maria
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 07:32:28 PM »

My prayers for both of you.

I also converted from Catholicism. First I tried to go to Latin Masses, but I was not happy with the SSPX crowd. They seemed more like Protestants ... being Catholic without a Pope as they were forever attacking Vatican II and the current Pope(s). Then I tried the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and honestly thought that I had found a home, but Eastern Catholic Priests were afraid of more latinizations and the new code of canon law really scared them. In fact, at our first meeting with the Melkite Priest (our first day in the Melkite Church), we asked if we could take inquiry lessons with the Greek Orthodox. He said, "Yes, the Greek Orthodox are not heretics," and the rest is history. We became Orthodox.
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 08:00:14 PM »

Prayers and thanks Maria.
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wainscottbl
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 10:35:24 PM »

My prayers for both of you.

I also converted from Catholicism. First I tried to go to Latin Masses, but I was not happy with the SSPX crowd. They seemed more like Protestants ... being Catholic without a Pope as they were forever attacking Vatican II and the current Pope(s). Then I tried the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and honestly thought that I had found a home, but Eastern Catholic Priests were afraid of more latinizations and the new code of canon law really scared them. In fact, at our first meeting with the Melkite Priest (our first day in the Melkite Church), we asked if we could take inquiry lessons with the Greek Orthodox. He said, "Yes, the Greek Orthodox are not heretics," and the rest is history. We became Orthodox.

Yeah with the SSPX that became my problem was the ever-attack on Vatican II. I was tired of the small parishes with no girls and the fact that I could go to a regular Catholic parish and find plenty. And if I wanted devout ones go to CatholicSingles or some site like that. But I would not let myself because I considered them modernists. I was willing to date a conservative Catholic but only if she would meet me on the SSPX. And I hated how the SSPX crowd was so negative on attending Indults, especially one there was no SSPX chapel near and the Indult was easier. It's like they are their own little group. And then there was the whole SSPX crisis recently where Bishop Williamson was critical and Fellay, who is a power-hog, refused to let him attend the chapter meeting for no other reason than Williamson's critical opinions of Fellay might influence more conservative priests. It had to do with the SSPX talking with Rome and everything. I just said, "This is nonsense. Fellay has no canonical jurisdiction and he is banning on of the bishops from coming to the chapter meeting. The SSPX has gotten more liberal under Fellay and there is confusion and disorder within. Priests are leaving to join the "Resistance" or go independent and families are disagreeing on the issue. It's not Catholic. That's when I said, "I live in a very Catholic part of Kentucky. I am going to my local parish and being with my actual community. This is not natural. I can't stand the Novus Ordo, but I can be critical from within. Maybe I'll find a wife without hoping that some young girl will show up in my little SSPX parish." But at that time I was already looking into Orthodoxy, too.
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 04:33:07 AM »

I became Catholic about ten years ago too.  Now I've just started to look into Orthodoxy.  It's really hard.  I used to think there weren't a lot of differences and it was all just silly misunderstandings, but now that I'm trying to study it and going to divine liturgy, I see how really different it is.  I love Catholicism.  It has so much beauty, but now that I'm going to divine liturgy and not horrible NO Masses, I see that the beauty was really more in my head than anything.  It is gone now and I see that some things were not so great.  I just accepted them because I thought it was that or nothing.  I just wonder how long it will be before I can get an Orthodox world view.  Some things I don't know what to think.  I don't like it when people say negative things about certain Catholic things like Saints or things that I was devoted to.  I don't understand Orthodox views about sin and salvation, even though I'm trying to learn it almost every day.  It's really hard I guess to get out of a Catholic mind you have been cultivating for ten years.  I was never any other kind of Christian but Catholic, so that's all I know. 
Hope we both can make it. Smiley  Thanks for sharing.
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wainscottbl
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 08:57:32 PM »

Yeah, it's a different culture. American culture is mostly Protestant at best historically but it has European roots, which is Catholic, though England was already Protestant. Eastern Europe is so much different. I am not too familiar with their literature or art. And what I know of theology was mainly Thomas Aquinas. It has always been that Aquinas says. And I know sometimes Orthodox can be harsh on Aquinas, but I got a lot from the Thomistic way of looking at things. But one thing I have noticed is that even traditional Catholicism looks to Aquinas and rarely the early fathers. Aquinas has become such an authority on things. I was ignorant of the first ten thousand years of the Catholic Church. I also think many Catholics do not understand how the medieval Church struggled with the papal idea. Sure they held the idea of papal supremecy but the wars of princes with popes shows that the idea of that was not clear in the medieval Catholic mind. I'd like to learn more on what some call Orthodox England since my ancestry is English mostly and I am somewhat of an Anglophile. I love the Anglican Use of the Catholic Church. Also my patron saint as a Catholic is Thomas More, who pretty much died for the idea of the papal authority. It's hard leaving.

I do know that Orthodoxy can be very cultural. I know that brings with it a lot of people who are more in love with their culture than their faith, like some Greeks and Armenians. I know many or some in the parish will be there just because they are Greek or whatever and they are proud of that. To them going to church is part of being Greek, not part of being a Christian. So one has to deal with the same problems they do in Catholicism except there isn't the nasty Novus Ordo. Some parishoners might be liberal and overly proud of their culture but the liturgy destroys all that while it is going on. I always feel at the Novus Ordo that I cannot concentrate. The way it is set up is so that even though the priest is praying to God it's like he's talking to you. Even though the Orthodox liturgy is much more about the faithful following along there is enough distance between the priest and the people to allow the mind to draw itself to God. In the Novus Ordo you really have to try. It's why I prefer the Latin Mass in the Catholic Church. It will be hard getting used to not having a missal and not kneeling, but standing. I now stand to pray at home though! I like it better not so much because I dislike kneeling but because I find it's become the way I prefer to pray with many prostrations and signs of the cross.
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 09:26:32 PM »

Yeah, it's a different culture. American culture is mostly Protestant at best historically but it has European roots, which is Catholic, though England was already Protestant. Eastern Europe is so much different. I am not too familiar with their literature or art. And what I know of theology was mainly Thomas Aquinas. It has always been that Aquinas says. And I know sometimes Orthodox can be harsh on Aquinas, but I got a lot from the Thomistic way of looking at things. But one thing I have noticed is that even traditional Catholicism looks to Aquinas and rarely the early fathers. Aquinas has become such an authority on things. I was ignorant of the first ten thousand years of the Catholic Church. I also think many Catholics do not understand how the medieval Church struggled with the papal idea. Sure they held the idea of papal supremecy but the wars of princes with popes shows that the idea of that was not clear in the medieval Catholic mind. I'd like to learn more on what some call Orthodox England since my ancestry is English mostly and I am somewhat of an Anglophile. I love the Anglican Use of the Catholic Church. Also my patron saint as a Catholic is Thomas More, who pretty much died for the idea of the papal authority. It's hard leaving.

I do know that Orthodoxy can be very cultural. I know that brings with it a lot of people who are more in love with their culture than their faith, like some Greeks and Armenians. I know many or some in the parish will be there just because they are Greek or whatever and they are proud of that. To them going to church is part of being Greek, not part of being a Christian. So one has to deal with the same problems they do in Catholicism except there isn't the nasty Novus Ordo. Some parishoners might be liberal and overly proud of their culture but the liturgy destroys all that while it is going on. I always feel at the Novus Ordo that I cannot concentrate. The way it is set up is so that even though the priest is praying to God it's like he's talking to you. Even though the Orthodox liturgy is much more about the faithful following along there is enough distance between the priest and the people to allow the mind to draw itself to God. In the Novus Ordo you really have to try. It's why I prefer the Latin Mass in the Catholic Church. It will be hard getting used to not having a missal and not kneeling, but standing. I now stand to pray at home though! I like it better not so much because I dislike kneeling but because I find it's become the way I prefer to pray with many prostrations and signs of the cross.

One of my ancestors was Sir Thomas More, and I have lots of priests and nuns in my family. When I went Orthodox, my aunt was stunned. However, my parents were delighted as they had left Catholicism for Protestantism, which upset my aunt even more as my parents had become rather anti-Catholic and kept insisting that baptism as a babe was not valid. At least I am in the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church, so my aunt was not too upset, but my brothers became vehemently anti-Catholic and now they are anti-Orthodox as they view Orthodox Christianity as being Catholic without a Pope.

Have you seen this link? https://www.dropbox.com/s/2nxp5eiauhdn6e2/Thomas%20Aquinas%20in%2050%20Pages%20text%20CreateSpace%20June%2026.pdf

I have so many books on Thomas Aquinas. I do not need another.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 09:43:22 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 10:20:40 PM »

I know that brings with it a lot of people who are more in love with their culture than their faith, like some Greeks and Armenians. I know many or some in the parish will be there just because they are Greek or whatever and they are proud of that. To them going to church is part of being Greek, not part of being a Christian.

I do not know this. I am not sure how you know it. I will grant that there is possibility in the mind of some Greeks that if you are not Orthodox, you are not Greek. But again, I do not know. No Greek that I have ever met said this to me.
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2014, 10:26:38 PM »

I know that brings with it a lot of people who are more in love with their culture than their faith, like some Greeks and Armenians. I know many or some in the parish will be there just because they are Greek or whatever and they are proud of that. To them going to church is part of being Greek, not part of being a Christian.

I do not know this. I am not sure how you know it. I will grant that there is possibility in the mind of some Greeks that if you are not Orthodox, you are not Greek. But again, I do not know. No Greek that I have ever met said this to me.

For many I became Serbian when I became Orthodox, not simply Christian. Many of the SErbs would ask of the Russian Orthodox whether or not they were Serbian.
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 11:08:37 AM »

I know that brings with it a lot of people who are more in love with their culture than their faith, like some Greeks and Armenians. I know many or some in the parish will be there just because they are Greek or whatever and they are proud of that. To them going to church is part of being Greek, not part of being a Christian.

I do not know this. I am not sure how you know it. I will grant that there is possibility in the mind of some Greeks that if you are not Orthodox, you are not Greek. But again, I do not know. No Greek that I have ever met said this to me.

For many I became Serbian when I became Orthodox, not simply Christian. Many of the SErbs would ask of the Russian Orthodox whether or not they were Serbian.

I didn't bring this up because I naturally do this in my mind, but not outwardly.
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 12:01:35 PM »

Dear wainscottbl,

I do know that Orthodoxy can be very cultural. I know that brings with it a lot of people who are more in love with their culture than their faith, like some Greeks and Armenians. I know many or some in the parish will be there just because they are Greek or whatever and they are proud of that. To them going to church is part of being Greek, not part of being a Christian.

I am a member of a parish in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.  I am not of Greek heritage and have not found this to be a problem in any way.  I believe that everyone who attends Church faithfully loves God and desires to serve Him.  I, afraid when I 'know" something in advance, I may alter my own experience based on expectations.  I also think it is very good to be grateful to the people who worked hard to establish Orthodox parishes in America!

Love, elephant
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2014, 02:08:29 PM »

Its been about 10 years for me too! ...
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2014, 03:05:47 PM »

Like the OP I also grew up Mormon, was initially set on becoming Roman Catholic, but am now an Orthodox catechumen. Praise God.
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2014, 03:15:03 PM »

Like the OP I also grew up Mormon, was initially set on becoming Roman Catholic, but am now an Orthodox catechumen. Praise God.

We had some Mormon missionaries come to our house. We told them that we were Orthodox Christians, but they had never heard of us and thought that we were some kind of Protestant sect who had departed from Rome. Then they blacklisted us. Apparently the elder of the elders told them to leave us alone. Blessed silence.

What encouraged you to look toward Rome and then venture East?

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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2014, 05:08:50 PM »

What encouraged you to look toward Rome and then venture East?
Honestly, it is hard to look back and put all the pieces back together, but I will recount what I remember. I looked into a lot of different faith traditions and took a lot of religious studies classes at my university and I couldn't shake Christ. As interested as I was in religions like Sikhism, Janism, or Islam I still believed Jesus was God. Thus I looked for the most genuine Christian religion. Since Eastern Orthodoxy was not yet on my radar I thought the original Christian church was Roman Catholicism. I spent a few years in RCIA wrestling with my doubts, but was set on being baptized in my last year. Along the way I encountered Eastern Orthodoxy through Catholic books and forums. In Orthodoxy I found a faith that had a better claim to being the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.
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« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2014, 05:13:13 PM »

What encouraged you to look toward Rome and then venture East?
Honestly, it is hard to look back and put all the pieces back together, but I will recount what I remember. I looked into a lot of different faith traditions and took a lot of religious studies classes at my university and I couldn't shake Christ. As interested as I was in religions like Sikhism, Janism, or Islam I still believed Jesus was God. Thus I looked for the most genuine Christian religion. Since Eastern Orthodoxy was not yet on my radar I thought the original Christian church was Roman Catholicism. I spent a few years in RCIA wrestling with my doubts, but was set on being baptized in my last year. Along the way I encountered Eastern Orthodoxy through Catholic books and forums. In Orthodoxy I found a faith that had a better claim to being the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

Were you ever baptized and confirmed as a Roman Catholic?
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2014, 06:28:36 PM »

Were you ever baptized and confirmed as a Roman Catholic?
No. I was all set to be baptized. It would have happened two Aprils ago, but then I decided to give Orthodoxy one last serious look.
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2014, 06:58:29 PM »

My prayers. I hope you can be baptized soon.
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