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Author Topic: Would It Be Wrong to Meet with an Orthodox Priest to Hear their Side of the Catholic/Orthodox Debate  (Read 1899 times) Average Rating: 0
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nsper7
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« on: December 21, 2009, 10:09:54 PM »

((This is a direct copy of a thread I made at Catholic Answers Forum's 'Eastern Catholic' sub-forum so when it references other threads I made, it is threads I made on CAF, but I would like to hear Eastern Orthodox responses and stuff here))

I am new to Catholicism (Confirmed in the Easter Vigil of 2009) and was brought to the Catholic Church by looking at history and coming to the conclusion that the Catholic Church was the original Church founded by Christ.

But as I learn a little about the Orthodox, I get confused. I know the Catholic argument in favor of Papal Primacy (which the Orthodox would agree with, it is issues of Papal Supremacy and Infallibility they disagree with), but in the Middle Ages, there was a great deal of corruption due to the power of the Pope (Papal Supremacy issues).

In modern times, the Catholic Church seems to be a mess. Maybe I have spent too much time at Fisheaters, but it seems the Church has liberalized considerably and many members of the hierarchy fall into this view. One seems to find Priests and Bishops who have little concern over sin issues, they view the Sacrament of Pennance as unimportant, there is liturgical abuse, support by many Catholics of things they are not supposed to support (i.e. abortion and contraception). Then there is the heavily legalistic thread within Catholicism, especially in the Traditionalist backlash, which I seem to have latched onto (i.e. if I just avoid mortal sin, then who cares about anything else).

It confuses me because I hear different advice from different Catholic Priests on important issues. For example, I deal with a masturbation/pornography issues, but I know of one Priest who when I confess it, treats it as though it is either not a sin (or at least not a mortal sin) because it is an addiction. I have had another Priest throw me out of the Confessional for going too often and he did not even allow me to confess my sins (I thought the only valid reason a Priest can refuse to grant Absolution is if he feels said penitent is not...well...penitential/repentant, but that was not the issue here).

One sees polls which shows many Catholics don't even believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist.

My understanding is that this sort of stuff does not go on in the Eastern Orthodox. They did not have a Protestant Reformation brought on as a backlash to corruption issues, nor do they have the legalistic or modernist/liberal/progressive bent that seems to be pulling the Catholic Church apart at some levels. Whereas Catholic leaders seem hesitant to excommunicate (or at least laicize) individuals who advocate positions contrary to Catholic teaching, the Eastern Orthodox will not tolerate heterodoxy/heresy, regardless of your ecclesiastical rank, nor would they tolerate liturgical abuse.

A part of me wants to meet with an Orthodox Priest to hear their version of the Great Schism and how they deal with the issue of the Petrine issues. But if the Catholic Church is right and Eastern Orthodoxy is wrong, then I maybe buying myself a ticket to Hell because rejection/schism/apostasy from the Catholic Church are mortal sins.

It confuses me because the Eastern Orthodox seem to have the same claim on history as Catholics do and, if one looks at things as they currently are, there seems to be a mess in the Catholic Church (regardless of one's opinion on Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX, his book "An Open Letter to Confused Catholics" points out some serious issues within modern Catholicism).

EDIT: The Eastern Orthodox also seem less obsessed with Hell and Sin than Catholics are.
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2009, 10:14:43 PM »

There is a lot to digest in there.  But to the main question, no, it would not be wrong for you to meet with an Orthodox priest near you to ask him questions about the Catholic/Orthodox split & differences.  PM me what city you're in, and I can recommend someone for you to meet with (maybe even get you contact information).
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2009, 10:38:52 PM »

Welcome to the forum.   Smiley
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2009, 10:49:10 PM »

Pray about it.  Ask Jesus Christ to guide you.

Welcome to the forum!
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Vlad
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2009, 01:01:57 AM »

Welcome to the Forum. Yes the RC is in a real mess now days. I used to be a Catholic but came to the conclusion through much prayer and reading that the OC is the true Church. I'll say a prayer that your journey goes well and dont worry about talking to an Orthodox Priest they are nice guys Wink.
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witega
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2009, 02:55:52 AM »

Roman hierarchs and theologians meet with Orthodox regularly to discuss our differing views on these subjects. Can't say many people change their minds based on those particular discussions, but if they can listen to the other side, why would it be wrong for you to do so?
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2009, 11:01:07 AM »

I don't think there is anything wrong with looking at both sides of an issue. Frankly, to do otherwise is intellectually dishonest in my opinion. However, Orthodoxy has it's problems as well.
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« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2009, 02:52:25 PM »

I come from a similar background myself (used to spend time on Fisheaters all the time). I was a convert to the Roman church, only recently deciding to leave for Byzantium (as a result of studying the early church; having a preference for eastern theology even before becoming Catholic; and being fed up with the liberalism of the "spirit of VII" Catholics, the denseness of neocon Catholics, and the legalism of trads).

I would definitely recommend talking to an Orthodox priest; they won't mind. Whether they're aware of the mass difference in belief in the Roman church, that depends (the CMRI have their HQ up here in Spokane, so the local priest here is familiar with traditionalist Catholicism). They should still, in any case, give you a good rundown on why we aren't in communion with Rome.
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Thomas
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« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2009, 04:54:57 PM »

Welcome to the Convert Issues Forum Nsper7!

We hope that you will find the Convert Issues forum is to provide a a place on the OC.Net where you can ask your questions about the Orthodox Faith in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination. We strive to provide direct and simple answers with sources if possible, to help you on your journey. We believe it is improtant for you to contact an Orthodox Priest to get  your personal quaestions in a  more open and direct manner whenever possible.

Again Welcome to the Forum

In Christ,
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« Last Edit: December 22, 2009, 04:55:33 PM by Thomas » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2009, 11:53:17 AM »

Roman hierarchs and theologians meet with Orthodox regularly to discuss our differing views on these subjects. Can't say many people change their minds based on those particular discussions, but if they can listen to the other side, why would it be wrong for you to do so?
While this might sound arrogant to some people, I do not want Rome bringing in its heresies. I am more than happy to see a reunion of the two, but not at the cost of Orthodox beliefs. Meanwhile I doubt Rome would or even could back down either. I think the best solution is to maintain a sort of respectful isolation.
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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2009, 12:14:45 AM »

One of the things that helped me leave RCism was the realization that there are really two Catholicisms:  Paper Catholicism and Lived Catholicism.

Paper:  Adultery, divorce/remarriage, sodomy, etc. are all grave impediments to the spiritual life of Christians.

Lived:  Anything goes.

One can argue that there's always a gap between the ideal and the reality and I understand this, but in RCism, the gappage is huge and the convert to RCism (like myself) is left in an isolated, lonely position.  The liturgy and modern spirituality of Romanism does not  provide any shape to the soul.  Even if you buy papal supremacy and all the other innovations of the last 1000 years, you end up being an odd ball who is avoided.  I've watched TradCats go through this in the Latin diocese where I live; they are oddities who don't have dates on Friday nights and many end up bachelors/bachelorettes well into their late 30s and 40s. 

Go to a Divine Liturgy and the actions will feed you throughout the week; things to think about and ponder even you're failing in day to day tasks.  A Roman Mass IN MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE never provided anything worth pondering.  Just people crushing you to get away from the church, to their cars and back to modernity.  I found Romanism to be pretty directionless at the parish level and this is where, in the words of JPII, the Christian's idea and concrete experience of church is experienced.

 
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« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2009, 12:25:13 AM »

One of the things that helped me leave RCism was the realization that there are really two Catholicisms:  Paper Catholicism and Lived Catholicism.

Paper:  Adultery, divorce/remarriage, sodomy, etc. are all grave impediments to the spiritual life of Christians.

Lived:  Anything goes.

One can argue that there's always a gap between the ideal and the reality and I understand this, but in RCism, the gappage is huge and the convert to RCism (like myself) is left in an isolated, lonely position.  The liturgy and modern spirituality of Romanism does not  provide any shape to the soul.  Even if you buy papal supremacy and all the other innovations of the last 1000 years, you end up being an odd ball who is avoided.  I've watched TradCats go through this in the Latin diocese where I live; they are oddities who don't have dates on Friday nights and many end up bachelors/bachelorettes well into their late 30s and 40s. 

Go to a Divine Liturgy and the actions will feed you throughout the week; things to think about and ponder even you're failing in day to day tasks.  A Roman Mass IN MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE never provided anything worth pondering.  Just people crushing you to get away from the church, to their cars and back to modernity.  I found Romanism to be pretty directionless at the parish level and this is where, in the words of JPII, the Christian's idea and concrete experience of church is experienced.

 

Great post!
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nsper7
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« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2009, 03:22:31 PM »

Quote
One of the things that helped me leave RCism was the realization that there are really two Catholicisms:  Paper Catholicism and Lived Catholicism.

Paper:  Adultery, divorce/remarriage, sodomy, etc. are all grave impediments to the spiritual life of Christians.

Lived:  Anything goes.

One can argue that there's always a gap between the ideal and the reality and I understand this, but in RCism, the gappage is huge and the convert to RCism (like myself) is left in an isolated, lonely position.  The liturgy and modern spirituality of Romanism does not  provide any shape to the soul.  Even if you buy papal supremacy and all the other innovations of the last 1000 years, you end up being an odd ball who is avoided.  I've watched TradCats go through this in the Latin diocese where I live; they are oddities who don't have dates on Friday nights and many end up bachelors/bachelorettes well into their late 30s and 40s.

Go to a Divine Liturgy and the actions will feed you throughout the week; things to think about and ponder even you're failing in day to day tasks.  A Roman Mass IN MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE never provided anything worth pondering.  Just people crushing you to get away from the church, to their cars and back to modernity.  I found Romanism to be pretty directionless at the parish level and this is where, in the words of JPII, the Christian's idea and concrete experience of church is experienced.

I have noticed similar issues. One hears Priests and Bishops who spout heterodox ideas (think of the ultra-liberal Catholic types) and commit liturgical abuse. But when one listens to Traditional Catholics (I was active on Fisheaters), their response is the same as the liberals in the end: disobedience. One reads Archbishop Lefebvre's "An Open Letter to Confused Catholics" and he makes many good points on the problems of the Post-Vatican 2 Church, but his response is to disobey a, as best as I can tell, lawful order from the Pope (the Pope has the authority to decide how many Bishop maybe licitly ordained), and incurred excommunication on himself and the four illicit SSPX Bishops. Then you have the Sedevacantists...

In choosing a Priest to go to Confession to, one ends up having to pick and choose because different Priests have different views on the nature of Confession and sin.

Now, I do feel a desire for the Priesthood (first, as an Anglican, then as a Catholic). Would I be allowed to pursue the Priesthood in the Orthodox Church if I ever felt that was the True Church?
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« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2009, 04:25:52 PM »

I agree with nsper7's points based on my experiences of 17 years as a Catholic.

I cut my Catholic teeth on the traditional Latin Mass (TLM) at a time when there was no open permission for it to be said and I've had friends over the years who have become devoted to it.

The TLM reflects Latin spirituality, but it's a major source of cognitive dissonance for those living in a post-Vatican II age.  The TLM and the traditionalist parishes (I have one in my diocese) are in the odd position of existing in 1962 while the rest of Catholicism gets odder every year.  

« Last Edit: December 24, 2009, 04:55:15 PM by PedalPusher » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2009, 06:21:56 PM »

Well, if you are a Catholic and want to talk to an Eastern Orthodox priest, it might not be a bad idea to choose one on the basis of a reference or recommendation. There are some wonderful Orthodox priests out there, and many are friendly and kind to Catholics, so I don’t mean to say that my experience is typical, but for what it’s worth, here’s what happened in my case. I had a problem with my car breaking down (it was pretty old at the time, about twenty years old) and I was lucky to find a repair shop in the area which could perform the necessary service, but it was going to take a few hours. Since that was the case, I walked about in the neighborhood, and I happened to find an Orthodox Church with a sign in front advertising some sort of catechism or inquiry classes on Thursday nights at 7:30 PM. The office, book store and icon store were open and so I walked in and I saw that the priest was there and I began what I thought was going to be a friendly conversation. He took me to his office and we sat down and chatted a bit. I said that I was interested in attending the class on Thursdays to learn a little more about the teachings of the Orthodox Church. As we chatted, the conversation somehow turned to St. Thomas Aquinas as I mentioned that I like reading his explanations on various theological problems. This upset the priest, I guess that he was already somewhat upset by what I had inadvertently said about my Catholicism,  and he started shouting that Thomas Aquinas was a heretic. He then got up from his chair and yelled out that Thomas Aquinas was a heretic and that  I was also a heretic and since I was a heretic I would not be allowed to attend his Thursday night catechism classes which he said were reserved for those people who had been baptized and chrismated in the Orthodox faith. I was very much surprised and shocked by this outburst on his part, and he added that I was not at the Church to pray but that I had come to argue. He was yelling at me loudly.  Well, at that point I asked him if I could buy a few icons and a small Orthodox book,  which I did, and then I left to pick up my car.  
« Last Edit: December 24, 2009, 06:24:12 PM by stanley123 » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2009, 08:28:40 PM »

Welcome to the forum! -and I think I agree with Asteriktos. It's the best choice. The most honest. Even if it(=Orthodoxy) was wrong(or flawed), it would be something great. I ought to speak about St. Athanasios of Alexandria, who had studied ancient greek philosophy, in order to -as St. Gregory Theologian said- acquaint himself with what he was rejecting. Of course, St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory(not to mention St. Patriarch Photios) did this to the greatest extent possible and it was most rewarding, as St/ Gregory says, in the "Epitaph" he devoted to St. Basil.
It's most important to mention that it was the time(4th century A.D) when ancient greek philosophy was still to a certain degree competing Christianity.

Moreover, I think, that a lot of Orthodox priests would be happy to discuss about such a subject.

I think you might want to consider finding and reading Vladimir Lossky's works, as they were written in a context of discussing with the Christians of the Occident. And, maybe, if they are available in english(they are in greek and french), Fr. Placide Deseille's works, such as "Eastern and western Christianity", who was a trappist "RC" monk, until he visited Mt. Athos and, in the end, was baptized Orthodox, sth which he describes as return to the Father. I'd read this specific work of his to the end, and I found it very enlightening regarding, e.g., the common or close points between Orthodoxy and Papist or "RCatholic" tradition. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila and other mystics of the West are included in this analysis.
I honestly hope that you find the truth about Christ!  Wink  Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2010, 09:12:58 PM »

I, too, used to be active on fisheaters.  once you bring up a problem with Catholicism.....they go nuts and tell you how your religion is wrong. 
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« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2010, 12:09:51 AM »

I, too, used to be active on fisheaters.  once you bring up a problem with Catholicism.....they go nuts and tell you how your religion is wrong. 
Yes. I have seen this hostility on the Catholic side also. I guess then it goes both ways, unfortunately.
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