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Author Topic: Latin vs Orthodox  (Read 8073 times) Average Rating: 0
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rhiamom
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« on: July 04, 2009, 07:26:26 AM »

I am investigating the Orthodox faith. I have a pretty good basic understanding of Roman Catholicism, and various Protestant churches. I came within a hair's breadth of joining the RCC, but God intervened and prevented it.

What I am perceiving, beyond the filioque and Papal supremacy issues, is a totally different approach to being Christian. The Roman Catholic Church seems to me to be about obedience, sin, and external appearances. You go to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, and not going is a sin. You confess all your sins to a priest, who absolves you of them after you do penance, which is going to be something like a couple hours of Rosary decades. It's all about following the rules and doing as you are told. There isn't much emphasis on actually striving to become a better person. You can confess the same set of sins every week, and you are good to go. This is not to accuse all Catholics of being shallow; I know very well there are many wonderful Catholics out there who are indeed trying to do better.

The Orthodox Church seems to me to place more emphasis on your daily life as a Christian and your relationship with God. There is a lot more asceticism, a lot more focus on trying to live a life with a deep connection to God. Yes, there are more rules about fasting, but fasting has long been used to increase sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. There seems to be a lot more emphasis on individual prayer and bible study, which I am accustomed to seeing in Protestant churches but not Catholic ones. Yes, there is confession, but it seems to be less about following the rules and more about the healing power of it.

So, are my impressions of Orthodox Christianity correct, or have I got something terribly wrong?
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2009, 09:02:48 AM »

Hi,
I think your assessment is pretty close.  I am an Orthodox and I truly believe that this is the faith of the Apostles.  One of the key differences of Orthodoxy is the mindset of how we approach our relationship with God.  Specifically, the question one should ask themselves is why did Christ have to die?
Most Western Churches, (Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical) will usually answer that Christ had to die to "pay" for our sins.  In other words, Christ death was payment for debt/infraction that we have committed.  Thus the Crucifixion is the main event in Western Christianity.  The orthodox understanding of reason of the death of Christ is a little different.  While we also believe that Christ died for our sins, it is His death and Resurrection that redeems us to God. 

I would suggest that you read up on Soteriology.  The study of Salvation.  The western understanding soteriology suggest that God the Father needs to have his honor restored, (Anslem) before He can accept us back, thus the sacrifice of his Son.  Orthodoxy holds that Christ's sacrifice and Resurrection was to restore us to God as He intended us to be.  He created us in his image, and when we fell from Paradise we became infected with Death and Sin. 

I know I am not explaining this properly but I think the links below might help you get a better understanding.

Best of luck

http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Salvation-The%20Atonement
http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/frjr_sin.aspx
http://www.antiochian.org/ancestral-versus-original-sin
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ytterbiumanalyst
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2009, 10:26:14 AM »

Welcome, both of you!
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2009, 12:22:21 PM »

Thanks for the welcome, ytterbiumanalyst.

Thanks for the links, ody30. I have always thought the common Protestant position on the state of man, that he is incapable of doing any good on his own, to be utterly preposterous. I find the other extreme to be just as preposterous. The link you gave me about Salvation was truly excellent. It makes more sense to me on an intuitive level that Salvation isn't all about punishment, but about bridging the gap between man and God.

Sorry if this post is a bit disjointed. It's very late here, and I have lots of things buzzing about in my brain.
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2009, 12:37:32 AM »

What I am perceiving, beyond the filioque and Papal supremacy issues, is a totally different approach to being Christian. The Roman Catholic Church seems to me to be about obedience, sin, and external appearances. You go to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, and not going is a sin.You confess all your sins to a priest, who absolves you of them after you do penance, which is going to be something like a couple hours of Rosary decades.
This has never been my experience. Prescribed penance depends greatly on the individual and the severity of his transgressions. The priest may suggest ways on how to avoid sin in the future. You make it seem very legalistic. It is not, and I speak from experience.
 
Quote
It's all about following the rules and doing as you are told. There isn't much emphasis on actually striving to become a better person. You can confess the same set of sins every week, and you are good to go.
And away you go? It's not a drive-thru. This is serious business and not to be taken lightly. In RC theology, mortal sin cuts you off from God's grace, and as a consequence, the communion cup. For someone that is not a RC, you have utterly simplified it.

Just because some Catholics practice their faith in a very nonchalant manner does not mean that is what the Church expects of them. Just as in every Church, you'll see the regular people, and then you'll see the very devout. Some go through the motions of worship, and others do quite the opposite; they live their faith, day and night.

May God guide you in your journey.
 

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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2009, 01:42:46 AM »

You make it seem very legalistic. It is not, and I speak from experience.

Ah, but it IS legalistic. When I expressed a desire to join the RC church, I was required to take the RCIA classes. No allowance was made for the fact that I knew as much or more than the people teaching the class. It was the rule, you see, that all converts have to take that class. Having an equivalent level of knowledge, which could have been ascertained in a short interview, was not an option even though I asked about it.

Yes, some Catholics are devout people striving to live better lives. But that isn't the main focus of the RCC. The main focus of the RCC is on your sin, not your relationship with God. Yes, the priest tailors the penance to suit the gravity of the sin. But there you encounter more legalism in determining if a sin was mortal or not. It's always about the rules, and not the individual.

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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2009, 02:12:22 AM »

Ah, but it IS legalistic. When I expressed a desire to join the RC church, I was required to take the RCIA classes. No allowance was made for the fact that I knew as much or more than the people teaching the class. It was the rule, you see, that all converts have to take that class. Having an equivalent level of knowledge, which could have been ascertained in a short interview, was not an option even though I asked about it.
So you expected to whiz on in since you are extremely knowledgeable? Requiring you to take RCIA classes makes them legalistic? What makes you think that the Orthodox Church won't require you to go to faith classes? It doesn't make sense and the implication is absurd.

Quote
Yes, some Catholics are devout people striving to live better lives. But that isn't the main focus of the RCC. The main focus of the RCC is on your sin, not your relationship with God. Yes, the priest tailors the penance to suit the gravity of the sin. But there you encounter more legalism in determining if a sin was mortal or not. It's always about the rules, and not the individual
.Have you ever been to confession? I don't think you know enough about the RCC if you assume sin is just sin. According to RC theology, there is a difference between venial and mortal sin. There is a difference between stealing someone's stapler and committing adultery. But defining that is just pure legalism, right?


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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2009, 03:33:49 AM »

So you expected to whiz on in since you are extremely knowledgeable? Requiring you to take RCIA classes makes them legalistic? What makes you think that the Orthodox Church won't require you to go to faith classes? It doesn't make sense and the implication is absurd.

The issue is the inflexibility, the unwillingness to make any accommodation whatever for individual differences. I really didn't need 7 months of instruction in topics like Holy Days of Obligation, the Real Presence, and Baptism. I wasn't even allowed to ask questions; I did once and the RCIA teacher said that answering my question would only confuse the others, and to please save it until after the classes were done. It was an utter waste of time for me, and the RCIA teacher knew it. It's not that I don't expect any type of classes from an EO parish. It's that I expect the focus to be a bit different. I may be wholly off the mark in this expectation. I don't know.

Quote
Have you ever been to confession? I don't think you know enough about the RCC if you assume sin is just sin. According to RC theology, there is a difference between venial and mortal sin. There is a difference between stealing someone's stapler and committing adultery. But defining that is just pure legalism, right?

My husband is a cradle Catholic, and I see the legalism regarding sin even in the way he jokes. He's going to eat the last pork chop, knowing I'd like to split it, and he's going to do it with malice and forethought.   Roll Eyes  The intent of the RCC is good. They want to remove the barrier of sin between you and God. But the rigid hierarchical structure of the RCC leads to rigid, one-size-fits-all rules, promulgated from the top down, that don't fit anybody very well and give Bishops little wiggle room for adapting the rules to fit.

Adultery is a greater sin than swiping a stapler not because the sin itself is worse, but because you broke a sacramental vow. Why is missing Mass a greater sin than swiping a stapler?
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2009, 03:50:58 AM »

Have you ever been to confession? I don't think you know enough about the RCC if you assume sin is just sin. According to RC theology, there is a difference between venial and mortal sin. There is a difference between stealing someone's stapler and committing adultery. But defining that is just pure legalism, right?

It is legalism. The definition of sin is missing the mark. It doesn't matter how much we missed the mark, we missed it and therefore must repent.

While I cannot state what would go on in confession with a Catholic priest, an Orthodox priest would not be as concerned with how much you missed the mark, but why, and how we can work on you not missing it again in the future. Obviously something as serious as murder would need to be dealt with much more severely than swiping a stapler, but we don't need to classify the sins into different buckets to figure that out.
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2009, 05:22:55 AM »

Whew! Thanks, HandmaidenofGod. I was beginning to feel beleaguered. My intent was not to criticize the RCC, but to confirm whether my immature understanding of the Orthodox Church was heading in the right direction. I just used the RCC as a basis for comparison, because I am familiar with it.
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2009, 05:39:47 AM »

Whew! Thanks, HandmaidenofGod. I was beginning to feel beleaguered. My intent was not to criticize the RCC, but to confirm whether my immature understanding of the Orthodox Church was heading in the right direction. I just used the RCC as a basis for comparison, because I am familiar with it.

No worries. You're on the right path.

Have you contacted a local Orthodox priest yet? He would be the best one to guide you on this journey.
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2009, 06:04:18 AM »

No worries. You're on the right path.

Have you contacted a local Orthodox priest yet? He would be the best one to guide you on this journey.

Not yet. I'm pretty sure there is no Orthodox Church within 3-5 hours of here. There is a Russian Orthodox Church in Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket. Too bad I'm nowhere near those places. I will be back in the US in a couple of months. I have located an Antiochian Orthodox Church and a Greek Orthodox Church near where I will be.
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2009, 09:02:26 AM »

Hi,
I think your assessment is pretty close.  I am an Orthodox and I truly believe that this is the faith of the Apostles.  One of the key differences of Orthodoxy is the mindset of how we approach our relationship with God.  Specifically, the question one should ask themselves is why did Christ have to die?
Most Western Churches, (Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical) will usually answer that Christ had to die to "pay" for our sins.  In other words, Christ death was payment for debt/infraction that we have committed.  Thus the Crucifixion is the main event in Western Christianity.  The orthodox understanding of reason of the death of Christ is a little different.  While we also believe that Christ died for our sins, it is His death and Resurrection that redeems us to God. 

I would suggest that you read up on Soteriology.  The study of Salvation.  The western understanding soteriology suggest that God the Father needs to have his honor restored, (Anslem) before He can accept us back, thus the sacrifice of his Son.  Orthodoxy holds that Christ's sacrifice and Resurrection was to restore us to God as He intended us to be.  He created us in his image, and when we fell from Paradise we became infected with Death and Sin. 

I know I am not explaining this properly but I think the links below might help you get a better understanding.

Best of luck

http://www.orthodoxconvert.info/Q-A.php?c=Salvation-The%20Atonement
http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/frjr_sin.aspx
http://www.antiochian.org/ancestral-versus-original-sin


Yes, Christ died for us, but not instead of us.
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2009, 12:24:21 PM »

It is legalism. The definition of sin is missing the mark. It doesn't matter how much we missed the mark, we missed it and therefore must repent.
So don't define it and it won't be legalistic? That's what I am understanding here. I disagree with your conception of missing the mark. All sin is unhealthy for our spiritual health, but some sin has grave consequences. Mortal sin or sin unto death:

 
1 John 5:16
16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.
Quote

While I cannot state what would go on in confession with a Catholic priest, an Orthodox priest would not be as concerned with how much you missed the mark, but why, and how we can work on you not missing it again in the future. Obviously something as serious as murder would need to be dealt with much more severely than swiping a stapler, but we don't need to classify the sins into different buckets to figure that out.
[/b]and the sins that fall in the grey area? who is to decipher, or according to your statement, there's no need to decipher? There are many, many sins that we may consider trivial,off the mark, petty or whatever term you may want to use. If your priest doesn't know the gravity of your sin then how can he prescribe you the right spiritual medicine?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2009, 12:27:56 PM by ChristusDominus » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2009, 01:03:28 PM »

ChristusDominus, why don't you go harass some other poor soul for a while and leave me alone? You've already successfully hijacked my thread about the basic approach of the Orthodox Church contrasted with the basic approach of the RCC. Your work here seems to be done.

Note that I asked this question on an Orthodox forum, not a RCC forum. Note that I asked whether my understanding of Orthodox ideas was heading in the right direction. I did not ask for RCC input. I responded to you to be polite. I will not respond further to your posts, because you want to argue RCC theology, not answer my original question.
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« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2009, 01:42:29 PM »

It really is mind boggling ,,Jesus says his yoke is light ,,,Old testament mentions the Jews trying to bind Gods hands by putting kerchief over them, Thur there own man made laws and not his...Catholic are doing the same ,,example when one confess his or hers sin it should be forgiven totally, though I'm not sure with the catholic confession heard different stories on it like reparation ,,confession In orthodoxy where sure its forgiven....

Whats with the legalistic obstacle course the catholic church throws in front of its faithful....Get out of confusion ,,Life is confusing enough...Orthodoxy is the way to go... The straight and narrow path ,After the schism no Latin popes and their created obstacle courses which i call legalistic stumbling blocks ...

Orthodoxy For eternal Life or Roman Catholicism with it purgatory ,limbo, indulgences  partial or full that's if one can get one,,One Has to be practically a saint to qualify for one ..why would one need it then ,,Also the treasury merits of saints one can apply  Huh Huh   ......
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« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2009, 03:58:01 PM »

ChristusDominus, why don't you go harass some other poor soul for a while and leave me alone? You've already successfully hijacked my thread about the basic approach of the Orthodox Church contrasted with the basic approach of the RCC. Your work here seems to be done.

Note that I asked this question on an Orthodox forum, not a RCC forum. Note that I asked whether my understanding of Orthodox ideas was heading in the right direction. I did not ask for RCC input. I responded to you to be polite. I will not respond further to your posts, because you want to argue RCC theology, not answer my original question.
I was trying to make clarifications, but that rubbed you the wrong way. I understand your original question, but saw some pretty broad generalizations. I don't think that is fair, and all I was trying to do was clear up what I saw as misconceptions.

You did title the thread "Latin vs Orthodox" and that's what peaked my interest, since I am still a Latin Catholic.

 In my own ,I was trying to be helpful and provide some clarifications based on my experiences and limited knowledge as a Catholic.

I won't post on your thread anymore. There's no need to.

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« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2009, 04:05:10 PM »

Have you ever been to confession? I don't think you know enough about the RCC if you assume sin is just sin. According to RC theology, there is a difference between venial and mortal sin. There is a difference between stealing someone's stapler and committing adultery. But defining that is just pure legalism, right?

It is legalism. The definition of sin is missing the mark. It doesn't matter how much we missed the mark, we missed it and therefore must repent.

While I cannot state what would go on in confession with a Catholic priest, an Orthodox priest would not be as concerned with how much you missed the mark, but why, and how we can work on you not missing it again in the future. Obviously something as serious as murder would need to be dealt with much more severely than swiping a stapler, but we don't need to classify the sins into different buckets to figure that out.

Well, he would be concerned about how much you missed the mark, but not for the sake of trying to figure out a legal way out of it, but because of how much it affects the state of the soul.   
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2009, 04:37:30 AM »

Have you ever been to confession? I don't think you know enough about the RCC if you assume sin is just sin. According to RC theology, there is a difference between venial and mortal sin. There is a difference between stealing someone's stapler and committing adultery. But defining that is just pure legalism, right?

It is legalism. The definition of sin is missing the mark. It doesn't matter how much we missed the mark, we missed it and therefore must repent.

While I cannot state what would go on in confession with a Catholic priest, an Orthodox priest would not be as concerned with how much you missed the mark, but why, and how we can work on you not missing it again in the future. Obviously something as serious as murder would need to be dealt with much more severely than swiping a stapler, but we don't need to classify the sins into different buckets to figure that out.
I don’t think so.
I think it just makes sense to have mortal and venial sins. Suppose the park has a sign which says do not pick the flowers. If you pick a flower from a bush which has hundreds of blooming flowers, then ordinarily this is a venial sin. You won’t go to hell for such a sin, but you will have to face up to some purification in Purgatory. However, if you murder your children, that is a mortal sin and you will go to hell for unrepented mortal sins.

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« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2009, 04:43:45 AM »

ChristusDominus, why don't you go harass some other poor soul for a while and leave me alone? You've already successfully hijacked my thread about the basic approach of the Orthodox Church contrasted with the basic approach of the RCC. Your work here seems to be done.

Note that I asked this question on an Orthodox forum, not a RCC forum. Note that I asked whether my understanding of Orthodox ideas was heading in the right direction. I did not ask for RCC input. I responded to you to be polite. I will not respond further to your posts, because you want to argue RCC theology, not answer my original question.
Your comments here are not fair, because in the original post you mentioned some things about RC, and further this is Orthodox=Catholic discussion section.
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2009, 05:34:39 AM »

I mentioned the RCC as a point of reference. Saying "The EO Church places more emphasis on one's internal spiritual life" makes no sense unless you mention the comparison from whence you get the "more." I specifically stated that these were my perceptions of the RCC,  not that they were absolute facts. I did not ask if my perceptions of the RCC were accurate. I asked whether my perceptions of the EO Church were anywhere near accurate.

Annoying posts that try to defend the RCC by nit-picking my examples, rather than addressing the concepts involved, only show how weak the RCC position really is.

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« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2009, 11:08:41 AM »

So, are my impressions of Orthodox Christianity correct, or have I got something terribly wrong?

You seem to have a good understanding at this point.  Do you have any specific questions that you may be struggling with?

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« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2009, 11:29:10 AM »

Other than wondering how you tithe on no income of your own? With a husband who thinks tithing is a money-grubbing scam by organized religion? *sigh* I don't want to go there. I do understand tithing, I just see no way to give it. And now is such a time of hardship for so many, that all charitable donations are needed in three places at once.

Actually, any questions I have are probably best posted in a different section of the forum, but thank you for asking. Which section of the forum is best for that? Faith? Convert?

Actually, I DO have one. What is the opinion regarding Judas? He is so maligned! His task was essential; no capture by the authorities would mean no crucifixion and no resurrection. No crucifixion and resurrection and we'd all be Jewish. That's bothered me my entire life.
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« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2009, 01:11:13 PM »

Other than wondering how you tithe on no income of your own? With a husband who thinks tithing is a money-grubbing scam by organized religion? *sigh* I don't want to go there. I do understand tithing, I just see no way to give it. And now is such a time of hardship for so many, that all charitable donations are needed in three places at once.

You could consider donating your time to the Church. I know people who help in bake sales or Church flea markets.  Others cut grass and landscape etc...


Actually, any questions I have are probably best posted in a different section of the forum, but thank you for asking. Which section of the forum is best for that? Faith? Convert?

Either one is fine.

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« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2009, 01:15:31 PM »

Actually, I DO have one. What is the opinion regarding Judas? He is so maligned! His task was essential; no capture by the authorities would mean no crucifixion and no resurrection. No crucifixion and resurrection and we'd all be Jewish. That's bothered me my entire life.

God has foreknowledge of everything, but He does not squash our free-will.  God knew that Judas would betray Christ, but Judas was given the opportunity to be one of the chosen twelve.  Alas, he became known as the son of perdition.

And there is a great lesson for us. 

St Peter denied Christ three times, wept bitter tears of repentance, and was forgiven. 

Judas fell into despair and hanged himself.
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« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2009, 04:34:19 PM »

I mentioned the RCC as a point of reference. Saying "The EO Church places more emphasis on one's internal spiritual life" makes no sense unless you mention the comparison from whence you get the "more." I specifically stated that these were my perceptions of the RCC,  not that they were absolute facts. I did not ask if my perceptions of the RCC were accurate. I asked whether my perceptions of the EO Church were anywhere near accurate.

Annoying posts that try to defend the RCC by nit-picking my examples, rather than addressing the concepts involved, only show how weak the RCC position really is.


OK. I can understand that you are in a situation where you are trying to make the right decision. I hope that everything will work out for you in the end.
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« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2009, 04:52:42 PM »



Actually, I DO have one. What is the opinion regarding Judas? He is so maligned! His task was essential; no capture by the authorities would mean no crucifixion and no resurrection. No crucifixion and resurrection and we'd all be Jewish. That's bothered me my entire life.


Actually, the role of Judas is largely over-emphasized in the modern west.   Whether or not Judas betrayed Christ, the temple authorities would have simply found one of many options to capture Christ.  It was easier for them, and probably cheaper for them, to have one of his own simply lead them to him.   Several of the Church Fathers thought it to be obvious that had Judas not betrayed him, he would have still been captured and everythind accomplished for our salvation.   There were many hired hands who they could have hired to follow them and lead them to him.   The emphasis Scripture gives to Judas is not that he had a primary role in our salvation, but rather that he betrayed his master into the hands of men for money and did not repent.   It is a warning for all of us:  put not your trust in princes, in sons of men, in whom there is no salvation.   It is also a warning to those who handle money, Judas was the Apostolic treasurer, and his lack of priorities led to his spiritual demise and to this most horrific of acts.      
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« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2009, 10:26:23 PM »

Stanley123, thank you for your understanding.

Mickey and FatherHLL, thank you for your responses. I am particularly impressed by the argument that Jesus would eventually have been captured by the authorities anyway. Jerusalem was a large city of the time, but a large city then and a large city now are very different. No doubt he could have been found and captured. So, in that case, the betrayal by Judas wasn't necessary at all. That does give a very bleak image of him and his love of Jesus.
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« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2009, 10:47:50 AM »

Welcome Cheesy

I want to apologize for the RCIA teacher but you must understand with the number of Catholic parishes and the number of converts the bishops wanted to make sure that they were all learning the necessary things because there are many Catholics who don't believe everything the Church teaches so they were not sure if they were getting the full deposit of the Faith.

Ounce again I want to apologize for that teacher Smiley


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« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2009, 11:11:03 AM »

You make it seem very legalistic. It is not, and I speak from experience.

Ah, but it IS legalistic. When I expressed a desire to join the RC church, I was required to take the RCIA classes. No allowance was made for the fact that I knew as much or more than the people teaching the class. It was the rule, you see, that all converts have to take that class. Having an equivalent level of knowledge, which could have been ascertained in a short interview, was not an option even though I asked about it.

Yes, some Catholics are devout people striving to live better lives. But that isn't the main focus of the RCC. The main focus of the RCC is on your sin, not your relationship with God. Yes, the priest tailors the penance to suit the gravity of the sin. But there you encounter more legalism in determining if a sin was mortal or not. It's always about the rules, and not the individual.



That parish, maybe not, but that is not a universal law decreed by act of papal infallibility. I know people personally who have been worked with individually as well as read of others. That being said, there is something to be said for having a formal entry into the church. It is not something to be taken lightly. The Orthodox Church does not take it lightly either.
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« Reply #30 on: July 09, 2009, 03:07:29 AM »

ChristusDominus, why don't you go harass some other poor soul for a while and leave me alone? You've already successfully hijacked my thread about the basic approach of the Orthodox Church contrasted with the basic approach of the RCC. Your work here seems to be done.

Note that I asked this question on an Orthodox forum, not a RCC forum. Note that I asked whether my understanding of Orthodox ideas was heading in the right direction. I did not ask for RCC input. I responded to you to be polite. I will not respond further to your posts, because you want to argue RCC theology, not answer my original question.

I apologize if this sounds harsh, but I found your comments somewhat offensive since you claim to be highly knowledgeable of the Catholic Church.

It's hard to have the comparison you desire when you've presented such a cartoon version of Catholicism. Your understanding is way off, and you say you didn't need those classes? You see the surface but not the depth. One cannot be a Catholic through knowledge alone---one must grow into it through lived experience. I'm a convert myself, and I have a long way to go.

Do you think, if Catholicism were as ugly and and simplistic and ridiculous as you describe it, it would have such an enormous worldwide presence and produce so many great saints and mystics? Any thinking person would have dropped the joyless prison you describe ages ago.

Why must Orthodoxy always be defined against a strawman version of Catholicism? I have more respect for Orthodoxy than that---it can stand for itself perfectly well without having to be defined against something else.

-

*Final note---you needed to go through such a lengthy period in the RCIA because you are unbaptized. If you were baptized, the period would have been considerably shorter. Mine was less than 3 months.

Should you swim the Bosphorus, do not be surprised if your waiting period before entering Orthodoxy is also quite long. That's how it goes. 
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« Reply #31 on: July 09, 2009, 04:34:52 AM »

[qu
*Final note---you needed to go through such a lengthy period in the RCIA because you are unbaptized. If you were baptized, the period would have been considerably shorter. Mine was less than 3 months.

I needed such a lengthy class because that's how long the class was for everybody, baptized or not. It began in October, and Easter wasn't until May. Don't assume all parishes work like yours did. Apparently I was dealing with a particularly rigid one, which required all people to take the same RCIA class, and all people to be received at Easter and no other time. Absolutely no provision was made for any difference among the people in the class.

And now, shall I  go find a Catholic forum where I can repeatedly post Lutheran doctrine in answer to questions about Roman Catholicism?
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« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2009, 05:54:05 AM »

Should you swim the Bosphorus, do not be surprised if your waiting period before entering Orthodoxy is also quite long. That's how it goes. 

The Orthodox priests whom I know are very flexible.  In effect it is the enquirer who helps the priest make the decision as to when he or she is ready to commit to the Church.    Some people may be ready in a few months.  Others may prefer to wait and think about the decision for several years.  I can think of people who have taken 5 years; others have needed only a few months.

One thing the priest will not do is prolong the time of waiting for reception too long for this could place too great a strain on the enquirer/catechumen and  lead to a feeling of rejection and a loss of interest.

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« Reply #33 on: July 09, 2009, 09:58:23 AM »

Should you swim the Bosphorus, do not be surprised if your waiting period before entering Orthodoxy is also quite long. That's how it goes. 

The Orthodox priests whom I know are very flexible.  In effect it is the enquirer who helps the priest make the decision as to when he or she is ready to commit to the Church.    Some people may be ready in a few months.  Others may prefer to wait and think about the decision for several years.  I can think of people who have taken 5 years; others have needed only a few months.

One thing the priest will not do is prolong the time of waiting for reception too long for this could place too great a strain on the enquirer/catechumen and  lead to a feeling of rejection and a loss of interest.

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That is my experience also, Father. I was dithering and dillydallying and my priest finally told me, in effect, it was time to fish or cut bait.
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« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2009, 12:02:22 PM »

*Final note---you needed to go through such a lengthy period in the RCIA because you are unbaptized. If you were baptized, the period would have been considerably shorter. Mine was less than 3 months.



Sorry to interrupt, but as rhiamom says, this is not true for everyone or every parish. Our RCIA was from September until Easter, and then 6 weeks after. The fact that I was baptized already had no bearing on the length of the class. My husband did not have an acceptable baptism and we both had the same amount of time in RCIA.
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« Reply #35 on: July 09, 2009, 04:28:10 PM »

[qu
*Final note---you needed to go through such a lengthy period in the RCIA because you are unbaptized. If you were baptized, the period would have been considerably shorter. Mine was less than 3 months.

I needed such a lengthy class because that's how long the class was for everybody, baptized or not. It began in October, and Easter wasn't until May. Don't assume all parishes work like yours did. Apparently I was dealing with a particularly rigid one, which required all people to take the same RCIA class, and all people to be received at Easter and no other time. Absolutely no provision was made for any difference among the people in the class.

And now, shall I  go find a Catholic forum where I can repeatedly post Lutheran doctrine in answer to questions about Roman Catholicism?

I don't understand why you are in such a twist over people's responses. This section is Orthodox-Catholic Discussion. It is for posters to respond back and forth over topics involving both groups. If you wanted to post without any challenge to your ideas, then try to Convert Section.

RCIA is not just about knowledge anyway. At least, it shouldn't be. It is part of a faith journey, of which knowledge is only a part. Any faith, including the Orthodox, can only truly be learned by living it. At my RCIA, we began with prayers, examined the readings for the coming Sunday, class participation in church prayers such as the rosary and the chaplet of divine mercy, we participated in church ministries. I didn't want to go through the program either. I too felt I was knowledgeable enough and didn't need it. I was wrong. I've seen many posters online (not on this site though) who felt they too didn't need it. I wonder how many of them changed their mind after they saw what it truly was about - a faith journey.

The Orthodox Church also has the (in my mind) correct approach to joining. It is not a quick alter call kind of moment. Instead, it is serious matter which is dealt with in a serious manner. If you view the Catholic Church as too legalistic due to the RCIA process, don't be surprised when you find fault with processes in the Orthodox Church as well. Structure is not legalism.

I'm sorry if you take what I wrote as negative or harsh. I do not mean for it to be. I don't believe you meant for anything you wrote to be either, but I believe it is what prompted many Catholics to respond to you. Statements like "God intervened and prevented (you from joining the Catholic Church)" and how inflexability with RCIA at the parish you attended "shows just how weak the Catholic position is." When you make statements such as these on a forum designed for an exchange of ideas, don't be surprised when someone wants to debate you. Even on an Orthodox forum.
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« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2009, 01:54:23 AM »

I was interviewed when I declared my intention to come into communion with the Catholic Church, and after the interview it was determined to put me on the fast track rather than wait till the following Easter (I decided in February).

I was baptized as a baby, though without much of a Christian upbringing. However, I had been attending Mass for several years at the time of my decision---perhaps that is why I was allowed to jump into RCIA 2/3 of the way through.

I think a time of preparation and discernment is important. I almost became an Anglican the year before I joined the Catholics. Without the classes and months of preparation the Anglican pastor required of me, I might have gone through with it.
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« Reply #37 on: July 10, 2009, 03:11:45 AM »

I needed such a lengthy class because that's how long the class was for everybody, baptized or not. It began in October, and Easter wasn't until May. Don't assume all parishes work like yours did. Apparently I was dealing with a particularly rigid one, which required all people to take the same RCIA class, and all people to be received at Easter and no other time. Absolutely no provision was made for any difference among the people in the class.

Patience is a virtue.  I've been attending services for over a year, yet here I remain in the catechumenate.  My parish requires at least one year's attendance of services and instruction.  The traditional period is three years, but nobody does that anymore.
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« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2009, 09:04:16 AM »

[qu
*Final note---you needed to go through such a lengthy period in the RCIA because you are unbaptized. If you were baptized, the period would have been considerably shorter. Mine was less than 3 months.

I needed such a lengthy class because that's how long the class was for everybody, baptized or not. It began in October, and Easter wasn't until May. Don't assume all parishes work like yours did. Apparently I was dealing with a particularly rigid one, which required all people to take the same RCIA class, and all people to be received at Easter and no other time. Absolutely no provision was made for any difference among the people in the class.

And now, shall I  go find a Catholic forum where I can repeatedly post Lutheran doctrine in answer to questions about Roman Catholicism?
Actually, I learned that Lutherans hold "sacramental union" over consubstantiation: in my Lutheran Church I was taught consubstantiation, so my renouncing of "sacramental union" when I became Orthodox was only out of obedience since I didn't believe it anyways, and as means of renouncing consubstatiation, which I did believe.

As for "cartoon version of the Catholic church," all the "Reformers" (Luther, Calvin, Cramner, etc.) were ordained by the Vatican, yet they all had their caricatures too....
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« Reply #39 on: July 10, 2009, 10:25:11 PM »

As for "cartoon version of the Catholic church," all the "Reformers" (Luther, Calvin, Cramner, etc.) were ordained by the Vatican, yet they all had their caricatures too....
The question that comes to mind with a comment like that is: Could it be that these people who left the Catholic Church had only a quite poor grasp of what Catholicism really is, what it means to be a faithful Catholic? that their understanding of Catholicism was of a cartoon variety, quite shallow and  lacking in depth?
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« Reply #40 on: July 11, 2009, 12:12:53 AM »

Oh, excellent thought, Stanley123. You may well be on to something. My experience is that Roman Catholics who lack a good understanding of their faith tend to be easy prey for evangelical Protestants. They cannot defend Roman Catholicism and fall for the arguments built from Bible verses taken out of context. The Orthodox aren't known for recruitment efforts, though, so I think it's more a case of those who do understand Roman Catholicism deliberately choosing Orthodox over Roman.

For example, Papal primacy. I learned in my required Religion class (at a Jesuit university) that in the early years of the Church the Bishop of Rome was "first among equals," not overlord. The original position was Bishop of an important city, with no more authority than any other Bishop of an important city. An open-minded reading of Matthew 16:15-20 makes it very clear that Peter's confession in 16:16 is the rock, and the renaming of Simon is due to his belief. Yes, Peter is first among the Apostles, but there again he is "first among equals."

From reading the Church Fathers I see a diversity of opinions - some of them later denounced as heretical - because the early Church saw no reason to establish a dogma regarding every little aspect of faith. Today, the RCC has even gone beyond establishing a dogma for everything, and is telling me how to vote in political elections "as a matter of faith."  (IMHO, the Roman Catholic Church needs to lose their tax-exempt status because of this, but that's a different argument for a different forum.)

I find the Orthodox side of the fiioque argument more compelling. I won't discuss it, because I have only a tenuous grasp on the nature of the Trinity at the best of times. 

Finally, I find the Roman Catholic Church to be watering down Christian life. In the RCC, Lent means no meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays, and "giving up" something as a penitential act. But the "butter tower" of the Rouen Cathedral was built using indulgence money for the use of butter during Lent. Where I come from they still observe Fat Tuesday by making paczki, sort of a extra-rich jelly doughnut. The origin of this is using up all the cream and butter and other foods not allowed during Lent. When did the Roman Catholic Church change the observance of Lent so dramatically? 

There's more, but this is long enough for now, and I haven't even had breakfast yet.
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« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2009, 02:01:00 AM »

My experience is that Roman Catholics who lack a good understanding of their faith tend to be easy prey for evangelical Protestants. They cannot defend Roman Catholicism and fall for the arguments built from Bible verses taken out of context.

They nabbed me at age 15.  But to be fair, up to that point I wasn't concerned about God at all.  So was I 'prey' to a pack of wolves or to the movement of the Spirit of God?  Oh, the cans and cans of worms...
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« Reply #42 on: July 11, 2009, 04:25:38 AM »

The origin of this is using up all the cream and butter and other foods not allowed during Lent. When did the Roman Catholic Church change the observance of Lent so dramatically? 

Ah, but I thought you said all those nasty old rules were bad and legalistic? Nothing is stopping any Catholic from taking on a more stringent fast. In fact, many I know do. But these days, rather than a one-size-fits-all deal, the bishops (particularly in America) have decided to allow Catholics more leeway to work out their own discipline of mortification. Whether I agree with this new pastoral approach or not is irrelevant. Such is the current discipline---it has nothing to do with doctrine, which is the topic of discussion. You will find that (especially outside the monasteries), Orthodox practices of fasting have also relaxed considerably since medieval times.


As for your presumption that Catholic converts to Orthodoxy understand Catholicism very well because that is why they left (!), you have not backed this up with anything approaching actual evidence. I hope that I err in this impression, but it appears that you think any reasonable person would flee the Catholic Church as soon as they became knowledgeable of Her, the implication being that those of us who are quite happy to remain with our Mother must naturally also be quite ignorant and clueless about Her.
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« Reply #43 on: July 11, 2009, 04:37:42 AM »

Today, the RCC has even gone beyond establishing a dogma for everything, and is telling me how to vote in political elections "as a matter of faith."  (IMHO, the Roman Catholic Church needs to lose their tax-exempt status because of this, but that's a different argument for a different forum.)

You can't compartmentalize your faith. In the society which which we live, we have a Christian duty to act within our power to protect the most fundamental basis of our community---the right to life. We cannot ignore the image of God in every human being, including in those society deems unworthy of life. "What you do to the least of Me, you do to Me." We are not islands---we bear some responsibility for those around us.

So of course our participation in public affairs is a matter of faith. Faith has a grave bearing on everything for the Christian.
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« Reply #44 on: July 11, 2009, 11:40:58 AM »

As for "cartoon version of the Catholic church," all the "Reformers" (Luther, Calvin, Cramner, etc.) were ordained by the Vatican, yet they all had their caricatures too....
The question that comes to mind with a comment like that is: Could it be that these people who left the Catholic Church had only a quite poor grasp of what Catholicism really is, what it means to be a faithful Catholic? that their understanding of Catholicism was of a cartoon variety, quite shallow and  lacking in depth?
Although I think this is an important question, the answer is still, sadly, NO
You aren't talking about your average lay-peasant of the times. You are talking about true theologians of the RCC. Infact, until they made their "jump from the sinking ship", they had been well respected anong their peers , people who delved as deeply as they could to satisfy their understanding about their individual problems. I'm sure leaving the church for them, was not some form of spiteful rebellion, but honest sincerity to reconcile their opinions first within the parameters of the church.
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