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Author Topic: When to Shut-up and when to Speak  (Read 1233 times) Average Rating: 0
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LizaSymonenko
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« on: April 22, 2010, 11:26:15 AM »


I have this dilemma.  When is it "okay" or even recommended to correct people?

I only ask because this happened a number of times to me these last few weeks...and I feel the need to speak up...and when I do, I get this sinking feeling in my stomach, that maybe I shouldn't have.

For example, earlier this week I had a friend email requesting the material that I use for my classes to instruct children on their First Communion.  She is asking for her godson who is in a different state, and who's church apparently doesn't have any preparation for the children.  My friend was baptized as Eastern Rite Catholic, and has since converted to Orthodoxy (this was set off by her marrying an Orthodox man).  However, the rest of her family (parents {who are great people}, brothers, friends, etc.) are still Catholic.

In her email request to me, she informed me that the priest in her godson's church is willing to do his "First Confession" the "Orthodox Way".  That's the way all her friends have done it...that even though they are baptized Catholic, and do their first "Communion" the Catholic way...they are happy to follow Orthodox Traditions.

Already I was confused...but, this is the statement that gave me pause.  She said that the Divine Liturgy in both churches is the same...and she knows this because she sang in both choirs...and therefore, knows they are the same.

But....they are NOT the same!  While I know and love this girl...I felt compelled to correct her statement.  I prefixed my "correction" by asking her to forgive my bluntness however, I felt the need to make a statement.  I kindly (I hope) informed her that while they may "look" similar, and "sound" similar, they are not....for, if they were the same...they would be One Church.  Although the bottle may look similar, the perfume inside smells different.

I did tell her I would send her the booklet I made up for my class, but, still no response....and have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that I may have offended her.

So....my question is....when is it best to SHUT UP and let it go....and when does one SPEAK UP.

It's not that I am defending "my" point of view on some subject... I feel I am defending the Church.  If we just sit quietly and let the misconceptions multiply....what good are we?

Please, let me know your opinions.  Is it more important to "correct" folks, or just be quiet and let it go, preserving your friendship?  I mean in the end....what I said really makes no difference to her...and certainly won't change the world in any way.

So...maybe I should have just left it alone.

Thanks for listening!   Wink

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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2010, 11:41:46 AM »

I'm not sure I see why you're upset about her saying that the Divine Liturgy in both churches is the same.  Both churches could be using the exact same texts and the exact same melodies.  In that case, the DL would be the same.

Now, had she said that both churches "believe the same thing," then, of course, she would be mistaken for the very reason you mentioned: if they were the same, they would be in the same Christian communion.

I have learned to pick my battles with most things and only correct someone when I know I have the time, energy, and (most importantly) patience to do it charitably.  Those times are few and far between, at least for me. 

There's an old aphorism, "It's better to be quiet and appear a fool than to open one's mouth and prove it."  I like to tell myself that on a daily basis.  Of course, living it is another thing. Wink
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2010, 11:42:26 AM »

The only way to do confession the "Orthodox way" is to be Orthodox.
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2010, 11:47:52 AM »

The only way to do confession the "Orthodox way" is to be Orthodox.

I think what Liza's friend means is to confess in the church in front of an icon of our Lord instead of in a confessional box.
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2010, 11:59:47 AM »

To answer the general question: I think correcting someone can be fine. It all depends on the way you do it.

In this particular case, it seems some correcting was in order. However, IMO, what needed correcting was the idea that there is an "Orthodox" way to prepare kids for "First Communion." Now, THAT is a Roman practice, perhaps adopted by Greek Catholics, that has no place in the Orthodox Church. In Orthodoxy, children receive Holy Communion from the day they are Baptized and Chrismated. They don't wait for 7 years or whatever, just as they don't wait for Christmation/Confirmation. Sure, you can catechize kids and encourage them to understand better that which they have been receiving for years, and you can teach them about going to Confession, but, by definition, that is not how we Orthodox prepare kids for First Communion.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 12:14:28 PM by pensateomnia » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2010, 12:13:54 PM »

At my church we do prepare the children for their First Confession, not Communion.

That is the material I can give her. 

However, don't the EC commemorate the Pope during their Liturgies?
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2010, 12:53:53 PM »

At my church we do prepare the children for their First Confession, not Communion.

That is the material I can give her. 

However, don't the EC commemorate the Pope during their Liturgies?

Yes, they do, just like, say, UOC-USA parishes commemorate the EP when the text calls for commemorating a particular church's hierarchs.  If this is the only difference, you might as well say that the OCA and GOA have different Divine Liturgies.
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2010, 12:54:23 PM »

Also, don't the EC include the Philioque in their Nicene Creed? I attended a Ukrainian Greek Catholic church once, and this is what they did, I believe.  Yes, the liturgy was nearly identical to ours (except this particular one was held in the evening, which seemed odd to me).

It was a gorgeous church, with stunning iconography. Some of the people did come up to me to chat after the service (which I very much appreciated), but as soon as they discovered I was EO, they rather aggressively tried to proselytize me.  Sad (by telling me, "We're all the same anyhow, why don't you start attending our church?" lol)
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2010, 12:56:10 PM »

Also, don't the EC include the Philioque in their Nicene Creed? I attended a Ukrainian Greek Catholic church once, and this is what they did, I believe.  Yes, the liturgy was nearly identical to ours (except this particular one was held in the evening, which seemed odd to me).


Not anymore.
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2010, 02:40:53 PM »

To answer the general question: I think correcting someone can be fine. It all depends on the way you do it.


Exactly. It's all in how you go about it. In most cases, IMHO, you can get away with "correcting" someone by offering information. In this particular case, saying something like "I can give you the information I have on preparing children for their first Confession, but as you know, in the Orthodox Church children receive their first Communion immediately after baptism and chrismation. Is that the information you wanted?" Or about the Divine Liturgy being the same: "In many ways it seems to me very different (mention a few of the ways) but I'd be interested to hear why you think it's the same."
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2010, 02:41:40 PM »

I don't have an answer to your question per se, but for most Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, there Liturgies ARE the same as ours, including the Creed, with the absence of the filoque clause. I've watched plenty of EC Liturgies online, and in many cases they are "more Orthodox" than ours are. By that I meant they don't cut out things that we often do in America. Technically EC have to ascribe to Roman Catholic dogmas (IC, Papal Infallibility) but in truth many Eastern Catholics do not ascribe to these doctrines. Heck, Eastern Rite would be priests usually go to Orthodox seminaries here in the U.S. anyways. There are of course differences, as technically the Eastern rite accepts Papal dogmas, but as far as "praxis" goes, I have a hard time telling the difference.
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