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Author Topic: A Precarious Position  (Read 1767 times) Average Rating: 0
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Dan the Man
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« on: January 23, 2011, 10:54:26 PM »

Good evening everyone. I'd like to start what will likely be a long and unnecessarily rambling post by saying what an honor and a pleasure it is to find myself at this forum. I think it will prove to be of great aid to me in the very near future.

To the point, my name is Dan (as you could probably tell from my username) and I'm a sixteen year old Roman Catholic from the United States. I have always known about the Orthodox Church in some form (a friend of mine when I was younger was Russian Orthodox, a current friend of mine is Armenian Apostolic, and another is Greek Orthodox), but my interest in it really only blossomed over the course of the previous summer when a newer friend, who also recommended this forum to me, began debating matters of the faith with me and sending me links to Orthodox music on Youtube. I've always been a hard-line traditionalist (I prefer the older Latin Mass over the post-Vatican II mass), and the first thing that attracted me to the Orthodox faith was how traditional and constant it has always been, while the Roman Catholic church has been changing seemingly more and more by the decade since 1517.

After months and months of endless grappling in which I have ping-ponged between Orthodoxy, Eastern-Rite Catholicism, and then back to Traditional Roman Catholicism, I think I have finally reached some kind of significant turning point. In all honesty, conversion to Orthodoxy is something I want more than anything else. However wonderful this may be, there are still several key issues holding me back from making the final leap.

The first issue is reasoning. However much Orthodoxy may compel me, there are still differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism that I don't quite see the Orthodox opinion on. For example, what is so wrong with Papal Supremacy, or why are Orthodox priests permitted to marry while Catholic priests cannot? Many such questions still need resolving before I can make my final decision. Call it cowardice, but I'm worried about making the final leap and then discovering I was wrong after it's too late.

The second, and one of the more pressing issues, is my family. Much like me, my family is very devout and very traditionally Roman Catholic. This isn't necessarily to say that they disrespect other traditions, in fact my father recently went to a funeral at a Greek Orthodox church, and I have several other family members who belong to the Lutheran church. However, my parents and even my younger siblings (I am the oldest of four children) have voiced their qualms about me ever converting. I once asked my father and mother what they would think if I ever converted. My dad simply said he would be disappointed, though not angry or anything, but my mother got quite intense about the subject, declaring she would "never allow me to join a church that wasn't completely and totally in-line with the pope." My younger sister even got angry with me when I expressed interest in attending a Byzantine Catholic church for just one mass! Needless to say, my conversion would create quite an uproar within the household, and I have no idea what would become of it. I'm not worried about them killing me or anything, of course, but strong repercussions are a definite possibility.

The third and most important issue to me is a certain commitment I made. One of my younger sisters will be making her confirmation this coming May and she, seeing my interest in traditional ways of doing things, has chosen me to be her sponsor. This is a very troubling thought to me on my possible journey to Orthodoxy as it raises two very significant issues. First of all, I can't really sponsor her if in my heart I am not truly a member of the church (I don't plan on actually becoming a catechumen until I turn eighteen), which means I would have to tell her that she has to choose somebody else, which would be a positively awful thing to do to her this far along. The second problem is that, even if I do remain Catholic while she makes her confirmation, how can I simply turn my back on her and join a totally different church when I'm supposed to be serving as a sort of mentor in faith to her? I suppose I could get her to come with me, but I can't imagine two children leaving Catholicism for Orthodoxy would be any better for the family than just me leaving.

Edit: To add to this:
Quote from: Luke 9:59-60
And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God."

As I interpret the quote, this essentially means that our duty is to first seek God's true path and to proclaim His word, even over concerns for one's own family. However, I still can't see how I can, in good conscience, abandon her for a different church when she needs me.

Any advice or help that anybody here could offer, I am more than willing to take it. I'm extremely fearful for my future, and I honestly have no idea what to do anymore.

God's blessings,
-Dan
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2011, 11:48:53 PM »

Good evening everyone. I'd like to start what will likely be a long and unnecessarily rambling post by saying what an honor and a pleasure it is to find myself at this forum. I think it will prove to be of great aid to me in the very near future.

To the point, my name is Dan (as you could probably tell from my username) and I'm a sixteen year old Roman Catholic from the United States. I have always known about the Orthodox Church in some form (a friend of mine when I was younger was Russian Orthodox, a current friend of mine is Armenian Apostolic, and another is Greek Orthodox), but my interest in it really only blossomed over the course of the previous summer when a newer friend, who also recommended this forum to me, began debating matters of the faith with me and sending me links to Orthodox music on Youtube. I've always been a hard-line traditionalist (I prefer the older Latin Mass over the post-Vatican II mass), and the first thing that attracted me to the Orthodox faith was how traditional and constant it has always been, while the Roman Catholic church has been changing seemingly more and more by the decade since 1517.

After months and months of endless grappling in which I have ping-ponged between Orthodoxy, Eastern-Rite Catholicism, and then back to Traditional Roman Catholicism, I think I have finally reached some kind of significant turning point. In all honesty, conversion to Orthodoxy is something I want more than anything else. However wonderful this may be, there are still several key issues holding me back from making the final leap.

The first issue is reasoning. However much Orthodoxy may compel me, there are still differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism that I don't quite see the Orthodox opinion on. For example, what is so wrong with Papal Supremacy, or why are Orthodox priests permitted to marry while Catholic priests cannot? Many such questions still need resolving before I can make my final decision. Call it cowardice, but I'm worried about making the final leap and then discovering I was wrong after it's too late.

The second, and one of the more pressing issues, is my family. Much like me, my family is very devout and very traditionally Roman Catholic. This isn't necessarily to say that they disrespect other traditions, in fact my father recently went to a funeral at a Greek Orthodox church, and I have several other family members who belong to the Lutheran church. However, my parents and even my younger siblings (I am the oldest of four children) have voiced their qualms about me ever converting. I once asked my father and mother what they would think if I ever converted. My dad simply said he would be disappointed, though not angry or anything, but my mother got quite intense about the subject, declaring she would "never allow me to join a church that wasn't completely and totally in-line with the pope." My younger sister even got angry with me when I expressed interest in attending a Byzantine Catholic church for just one mass! Needless to say, my conversion would create quite an uproar within the household, and I have no idea what would become of it. I'm not worried about them killing me or anything, of course, but strong repercussions are a definite possibility.

The third and most important issue to me is a certain commitment I made. One of my younger sisters will be making her confirmation this coming May and she, seeing my interest in traditional ways of doing things, has chosen me to be her sponsor. This is a very troubling thought to me on my possible journey to Orthodoxy as it raises two very significant issues. First of all, I can't really sponsor her if in my heart I am not truly a member of the church (I don't plan on actually becoming a catechumen until I turn eighteen), which means I would have to tell her that she has to choose somebody else, which would be a positively awful thing to do to her this far along. The second problem is that, even if I do remain Catholic while she makes her confirmation, how can I simply turn my back on her and join a totally different church when I'm supposed to be serving as a sort of mentor in faith to her? I suppose I could get her to come with me, but I can't imagine two children leaving Catholicism for Orthodoxy would be any better for the family than just me leaving.

Edit: To add to this:
Quote from: Luke 9:59-60
And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God."

As I interpret the quote, this essentially means that our duty is to first seek God's true path and to proclaim His word, even over concerns for one's own family. However, I still can't see how I can, in good conscience, abandon her for a different church when she needs me.

Any advice or help that anybody here could offer, I am more than willing to take it. I'm extremely fearful for my future, and I honestly have no idea what to do anymore.

God's blessings,
-Dan



Wow, that is a difficult situation. In my humble opinion I don't think it's wise to upset your family situation at this time. You're still very young. You've already said you are willing to wait till you're 18 to begin your catechumenate. Stick with that plan and continue to pray and worship God in your current tradition and when the time is right take the next step.

The issue of papal authority is a complex one with both sides being completely convinced history is on their side. I would recommend a couple of non-polemical books on the subject; The Primacy of Peter by Fr John Meyendorff and Popes and Patriarchs by Michael Whelton.

On the subject of married priests, the Catholic Church has them as well. The Eastern Catholic Churches have married priests and there are even married priests in the Latin Church. That really shouldn't be an issue.

Either way, welcome to the forum. There are lots of people here who can help you and support you on your journey. Don't hesitate to ask any questions.


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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 09:22:30 PM »

Wow, that is a difficult situation. In my humble opinion I don't think it's wise to upset your family situation at this time. You're still very young. You've already said you are willing to wait till you're 18 to begin your catechumenate. Stick with that plan and continue to pray and worship God in your current tradition and when the time is right take the next step.

The issue of papal authority is a complex one with both sides being completely convinced history is on their side. I would recommend a couple of non-polemical books on the subject; The Primacy of Peter by Fr John Meyendorff and Popes and Patriarchs by Michael Whelton.

On the subject of married priests, the Catholic Church has them as well. The Eastern Catholic Churches have married priests and there are even married priests in the Latin Church. That really shouldn't be an issue.

Either way, welcome to the forum. There are lots of people here who can help you and support you on your journey. Don't hesitate to ask any questions.

Thank you for the welcome! Smiley
As for my family situation, I think that's probably the best idea, though it's going to be difficult to wait until emancipation. When I said this is something I really want to do more than anything, I certainly meant it! Tongue God will provide...
On those two books, I'll have to look into those. Are you aware whether or not Amazon has them?
Lastly, on married priests, I did know that Eastern Rite priests were allowed to do so, it was one of the things I looked into when I considered changing rites last summer. However, Latin priests being married I was not aware of. Would those be the married Anglican priests that were allowed to come into the church as priests, or is it something else?  Huh
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2011, 10:00:41 PM »

Wow, that is a difficult situation. In my humble opinion I don't think it's wise to upset your family situation at this time. You're still very young. You've already said you are willing to wait till you're 18 to begin your catechumenate. Stick with that plan and continue to pray and worship God in your current tradition and when the time is right take the next step.

The issue of papal authority is a complex one with both sides being completely convinced history is on their side. I would recommend a couple of non-polemical books on the subject; The Primacy of Peter by Fr John Meyendorff and Popes and Patriarchs by Michael Whelton.

On the subject of married priests, the Catholic Church has them as well. The Eastern Catholic Churches have married priests and there are even married priests in the Latin Church. That really shouldn't be an issue.

Either way, welcome to the forum. There are lots of people here who can help you and support you on your journey. Don't hesitate to ask any questions.

Thank you for the welcome! Smiley
As for my family situation, I think that's probably the best idea, though it's going to be difficult to wait until emancipation. When I said this is something I really want to do more than anything, I certainly meant it! Tongue God will provide...
On those two books, I'll have to look into those. Are you aware whether or not Amazon has them?
Lastly, on married priests, I did know that Eastern Rite priests were allowed to do so, it was one of the things I looked into when I considered changing rites last summer. However, Latin priests being married I was not aware of. Would those be the married Anglican priests that were allowed to come into the church as priests, or is it something else?  Huh


The Anglicans are one example. Occasionally dispensations are granted for other Protestant converts on a case by case basis. To my knowledge dispensations are not granted for cradle Latin Catholics although I could be wrong.

Both of those books are available from Amazon. I recommend you try to stay away from the more polemical books. Both of these are non-polemical.
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2011, 12:20:48 AM »

Just found both books on Amazon and bookmarked them for future reference. Thanks for the recommendation, I think they're just what I was looking for. Smiley

However, I'm still going to have trouble getting my hands on the books. Being sixteen, I have no credit card of my own to order them with, and the local libraries don't carry either of them. I can tell my mom is already suspicious of me because of some things I said about it today (in fact, I just had to minimize this window because she looked over my shoulder as I was typing. Tongue) and I can't see her just letting me have her credit card to get books about something she doesn't want me getting involved with, no matter how non-polemical the books may be. She did tell me, after I had brought up the subject, that she would only let me go if I made sure I had a sturdy foundation to it based on research and true belief, however. Perhaps she'd be willing to see reason if I worked on it enough. If not, my father has always been a much easier case. I hate to go behind her back, but if push comes to shove...
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 12:22:23 AM by Dan the Man » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2011, 12:29:22 AM »

Christ says if One Loves Farther and Mother, Brother or Sister More , Is Not worthy of Me .........
Christ First in Everything....... police If Christ is Calling you To Holy Orthodoxy go For It.....
Everthing Else is secondary....
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 12:34:39 AM by stashko » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2011, 12:32:58 AM »

I am aware of this, that's what makes it so difficult. I don't fear reproach from any of them, as I quoted earlier...

Quote from: Luke 9:59-60
And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God."

I am merely trying to account for roadblocks I might find along my way. I want to be ready for whatever comes.
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2011, 12:38:35 AM »

Anything worth, is a struggle.....At sixteen  it's easy ,wait till go on your own and you will find out... Cheesy


I am aware of this, that's what makes it so difficult. I don't fear reproach from any of them, as I quoted earlier...

Quote from: Luke 9:59-60
And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God."

I am merely trying to account for roadblocks I might find along my way. I want to be ready for whatever comes.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 12:40:23 AM by stashko » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2011, 12:40:43 AM »

Shame things can't be easier.

I also just realized what a mama's boy the last couple posts made me seem like. It's not like that guys, trust me, it's the whole family that's probably going to give me flak, dad's just less severe about it. Tongue It will all be worth it in the end though, I'm sure.
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2011, 12:48:26 AM »

Just found both books on Amazon and bookmarked them for future reference. Thanks for the recommendation, I think they're just what I was looking for. Smiley

However, I'm still going to have trouble getting my hands on the books. Being sixteen, I have no credit card of my own to order them with, and the local libraries don't carry either of them. I can tell my mom is already suspicious of me because of some things I said about it today (in fact, I just had to minimize this window because she looked over my shoulder as I was typing. Tongue) and I can't see her just letting me have her credit card to get books about something she doesn't want me getting involved with, no matter how non-polemical the books may be. She did tell me, after I had brought up the subject, that she would only let me go if I made sure I had a sturdy foundation to it based on research and true belief, however. Perhaps she'd be willing to see reason if I worked on it enough. If not, my father has always been a much easier case. I hate to go behind her back, but if push comes to shove...


Well in all honesty, those books in question are not going to give you a good foundation in Orthodoxy. They can be useful as a teaching tool because they compare and contrast Orthodoxy with something you may be familiar with. In the end you have to accept Orthodoxy for is, not what it is not.

Some books that I would recommend as a great place to start. The Orthodox Way by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) will give you a good foundation in Orthodox theology. Bread and Water, Wine and Oil by Archimandrite Meletios Weber and (this one is really important and almost certainly available from your local library), The Way of a Pilgrim. Orthodoxy and the repentance it demands is a way of life, and the last two books will give you a glimpse into what that means.

Ultimately it's not about whether the Orthodox are right and the Catholics are wrong (or vice versa). Jesus never once commanded us to be right, He did command us to be righteous. It is about our relationship with God and with each other. Make sure to never be confrontational with your family, show them your Orthodoxy by your actions. It may well be difficult but in the end, if it turns out this is the path for you, I'm sure they will come around.

« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 12:49:04 AM by Paisius » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2011, 12:49:11 AM »

Shame things can't be easier.

I also just realized what a mama's boy the last couple posts made me seem like. It's not like that guys, trust me, it's the whole family that's probably going to give me flak, dad's just less severe about it. Tongue It will all be worth it in the end though, I'm sure.


I never Looked at your posts like that....If Christ is drawing you to Holy Orthodoxy it will happen , Have Faith... laugh
Start By Attending a Orthodox Church ,talk to Father there ask him questions and for reading material, even ask other knowledgeable Parishoners .....
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 12:57:42 AM by stashko » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2011, 12:14:21 PM »

Quote
Some books that I would recommend as a great place to start. The Orthodox Way by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) will give you a good foundation in Orthodox theology. Bread and Water, Wine and Oil by Archimandrite Meletios Weber and (this one is really important and almost certainly available from your local library), The Way of a Pilgrim. Orthodoxy and the repentance it demands is a way of life, and the last two books will give you a glimpse into what that means.
These are all good books, I've read the first and am working on the last. I haven't read the book by Archimandrite Meletios, but from what I've heard it's great.

Like stashko said, it is worth the struggle.
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2011, 01:12:42 PM »


Luke 9:59-60: And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God."

As I interpret the quote, this essentially means that our duty is to first seek God's true path and to proclaim His word, even over concerns for one's own family. However, I still can't see how I can, in good conscience, abandon her for a different church when she needs me.


Hi Dan--It is often problematic when one concentrates on a single teaching, a single (or in this case two) verses. I think that we must approach everything in context, even if a particular verse stands out and stays with us. Even at your relatively young age, you already know instinctively that you perhaps should not "abandon" your family when she needs you. What did the Lord say were the two overarching commandments? (Hint: Matthew 22: 37-40). What is the commandment regarding parents? (Exodus 20:12) What did Saint Paul say regarding love/charity? (1 Corinthians 13). The point I am making here is that the Lord is best manifested in us through our love for others, certainly starting with our own families. This does not mean, of course, that we must obey unlawful, immoral or sinful commands or demands from our parents or our relatives. I simply do not think that your family's objections are any of those things. Instead, I see them as the normal reactions of serious and sincere believers.  I suspect that they all know that you will make your own decisions when you come of age. I suspect that they feel the weight of their parental responsibilities until you reach adulthood. And, it may be that some of them will continue to treat you like a child even after you come of age due to love or even a desire to continue to control. Most importantly, they may be afraid that they will lose you.  Thus, you should approach this issue with patience, love and empathy for each one of them. may the Lord help you on this most important journey of your life.
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2011, 04:56:24 PM »

Shame things can't be easier.

I also just realized what a mama's boy the last couple posts made me seem like. It's not like that guys, trust me, it's the whole family that's probably going to give me flak, dad's just less severe about it. Tongue It will all be worth it in the end though, I'm sure.
No worries; I was in your shoes when I was converting to Catholicism from a Protestant family. Shouts of corrupt church, idolatry, tradition, papacy and shady priests!  Cheesy (Alright, not quite THAT bad  Tongue )

There are several on this board that are in, or have been in, the same situation as you. Trust God to soften their hearts enough so that they will allow you to proceed (when the time is right) with your inquiry into Orthodoxy. In the meantime, Second Chance gave some great words of wisdom. I would second Paisius and say that you should just wait until at least after Easter to begin a catechumenate, so you can remain your sister's sponsor.
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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2011, 05:04:02 PM »

ISTM you probably should find a way out of being your sister's sponsor, since I assume that involves vows to nurture her in the RC faith. You can't really make that promise considering you aren't committed to that faith. But, yeah, what a difficult situation. Pray about it and God will help you to know His will. I will pray for you.
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2011, 07:07:21 PM »

Dan, have you ever heard the word "Crypto Christian" before? In Orthodoxy, there is absolutely NO "sin" in pursuing your relationship with God in "secret" to those around you ... there are many alive even in the society we live in today ...

An Orthodox Christian always pursues God first and then peace ... "martyrdom" of any kind is not pursued but given as a gift from God when the time is right.

So, my point is ... if you do not even plan to officially change your current religion until you are at least 18 then do not go stirring the waters at home until you have done all your research and also you are 100% certain and committed in your heart.

At the moment, you are exploring ...

Why dont you try the book, "Wounded By Love"? ... it does not speak to your head but will certainly move your heart. It is filled with the Holy Spirit ... and when He fills our hearts, we often see and understand the world a lot more clearer than having read all the academic books in the world.

Let the Holy Spirit open your eyes to the complex issues you have raised ... you might be suprised how clear things could be if He opens your eyes.

God Bless you ...

You remind me of a young boy who was praying in St Patrick's Cathedral in New York ... I visited the church as a tourist but this one boy was praying in front of an icon of Christ and his prayer was so deep and so sincere that I stopped behind him and could not move forward. I prayed for him ... his love and faith were oozing out of him and I hoped with all my heart that he would someday find the Orthodox christian church ... I pray, that you too find it not because of wordly reasons but because in your heart you see and feel the Holy Spirit move you to the right way of Worshiping God.
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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2011, 11:09:58 AM »

Thank you all so much for your responses and your prayers! Smiley

Quote from: Paisius
Well in all honesty, those books in question are not going to give you a good foundation in Orthodoxy. They can be useful as a teaching tool because they compare and contrast Orthodoxy with something you may be familiar with. In the end you have to accept Orthodoxy for is, not what it is not.

Some books that I would recommend as a great place to start. The Orthodox Way by Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) will give you a good foundation in Orthodox theology. Bread and Water, Wine and Oil by Archimandrite Meletios Weber and (this one is really important and almost certainly available from your local library), The Way of a Pilgrim. Orthodoxy and the repentance it demands is a way of life, and the last two books will give you a glimpse into what that means.

Ultimately it's not about whether the Orthodox are right and the Catholics are wrong (or vice versa). Jesus never once commanded us to be right, He did command us to be righteous. It is about our relationship with God and with each other. Make sure to never be confrontational with your family, show them your Orthodoxy by your actions. It may well be difficult but in the end, if it turns out this is the path for you, I'm sure they will come around.

I'll have to look into those books for sure, especially if I can really get that one so easily at the library. As for my family, I'm sure you're right. I just want to be prepared for the worst should the worst occur.

Quote from: Stashko
I never Looked at your posts like that....If Christ is drawing you to Holy Orthodoxy it will happen , Have Faith... laugh
Start By Attending a Orthodox Church ,talk to Father there ask him questions and for reading material, even ask other knowledgeable Parishoners .....
I've been told that the way to truly know is to actually attend Divine Liturgy and so, I'm already looking into parishes. Apparently there are at least ten or fifteen of them in my area alone.

Quote from: Antonis
Like stashko said, it is worth the struggle.
Certainly! Anything good must be fought for!

Quote from: Second Chance
Hi Dan--It is often problematic when one concentrates on a single teaching, a single (or in this case two) verses. I think that we must approach everything in context, even if a particular verse stands out and stays with us. Even at your relatively young age, you already know instinctively that you perhaps should not "abandon" your family when she needs you. What did the Lord say were the two overarching commandments? (Hint: Matthew 22: 37-40). What is the commandment regarding parents? (Exodus 20:12) What did Saint Paul say regarding love/charity? (1 Corinthians 13). The point I am making here is that the Lord is best manifested in us through our love for others, certainly starting with our own families. This does not mean, of course, that we must obey unlawful, immoral or sinful commands or demands from our parents or our relatives. I simply do not think that your family's objections are any of those things. Instead, I see them as the normal reactions of serious and sincere believers.  I suspect that they all know that you will make your own decisions when you come of age. I suspect that they feel the weight of their parental responsibilities until you reach adulthood. And, it may be that some of them will continue to treat you like a child even after you come of age due to love or even a desire to continue to control. Most importantly, they may be afraid that they will lose you.  Thus, you should approach this issue with patience, love and empathy for each one of them. may the Lord help you on this most important journey of your life.
It's funny, part of that exact paragraph is exactly the one that got me started into looking at Orthodoxy. I have it bookmarked in my Bible and I read it over and over again quite often, trying to understand it better.
At any rate, I'm sure you're right. I don't believe their decisions to remain Catholic are evil, just...misinformed, perhaps? You're certainly correct about making sure they don't feel like I'm leaving them. Thank you for your prayers, as well. Smiley

Quote from: Wandering Sheep
No worries; I was in your shoes when I was converting to Catholicism from a Protestant family. Shouts of corrupt church, idolatry, tradition, papacy and shady priests!  Cheesy (Alright, not quite THAT bad  Tongue )

There are several on this board that are in, or have been in, the same situation as you. Trust God to soften their hearts enough so that they will allow you to proceed (when the time is right) with your inquiry into Orthodoxy. In the meantime, Second Chance gave some great words of wisdom. I would second Paisius and say that you should just wait until at least after Easter to begin a catechumenate, so you can remain your sister's sponsor.
Ah, a fellow papist! Tongue
As for the rest I agree with you, but I still don't feel right about joining a different church when I'm supposed to be her adviser in Catholicism. Would it be worth it to try and get her to come with me?  Huh

Quote from: JLatimer
ISTM you probably should find a way out of being your sister's sponsor, since I assume that involves vows to nurture her in the RC faith. You can't really make that promise considering you aren't committed to that faith. But, yeah, what a difficult situation. Pray about it and God will help you to know His will. I will pray for you.
Thank you for your prayers, and trust me, I have been as well. Smiley The only problem is that I don't see any way in which I can get out of it now. It simply can't work, not this far along.

Quote from: Soufliotiki
Dan, have you ever heard the word "Crypto Christian" before? In Orthodoxy, there is absolutely NO "sin" in pursuing your relationship with God in "secret" to those around you ... there are many alive even in the society we live in today ...

An Orthodox Christian always pursues God first and then peace ... "martyrdom" of any kind is not pursued but given as a gift from God when the time is right.

So, my point is ... if you do not even plan to officially change your current religion until you are at least 18 then do not go stirring the waters at home until you have done all your research and also you are 100% certain and committed in your heart.

At the moment, you are exploring ...

Why dont you try the book, "Wounded By Love"? ... it does not speak to your head but will certainly move your heart. It is filled with the Holy Spirit ... and when He fills our hearts, we often see and understand the world a lot more clearer than having read all the academic books in the world.

Let the Holy Spirit open your eyes to the complex issues you have raised ... you might be suprised how clear things could be if He opens your eyes.

God Bless you ...

You remind me of a young boy who was praying in St Patrick's Cathedral in New York ... I visited the church as a tourist but this one boy was praying in front of an icon of Christ and his prayer was so deep and so sincere that I stopped behind him and could not move forward. I prayed for him ... his love and faith were oozing out of him and I hoped with all my heart that he would someday find the Orthodox christian church ... I pray, that you too find it not because of wordly reasons but because in your heart you see and feel the Holy Spirit move you to the right way of Worshiping God.
Thank you very much! Smiley Do you happen to know where I can find this book? Is it available on Amazon?
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« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2011, 06:43:18 PM »

Thank you all so much for your responses and your prayers! Smiley

Quote from: Wandering Sheep
No worries; I was in your shoes when I was converting to Catholicism from a Protestant family. Shouts of corrupt church, idolatry, tradition, papacy and shady priests!  Cheesy (Alright, not quite THAT bad  Tongue )

There are several on this board that are in, or have been in, the same situation as you. Trust God to soften their hearts enough so that they will allow you to proceed (when the time is right) with your inquiry into Orthodoxy. In the meantime, Second Chance gave some great words of wisdom. I would second Paisius and say that you should just wait until at least after Easter to begin a catechumenate, so you can remain your sister's sponsor.
Ah, a fellow papist! Tongue
As for the rest I agree with you, but I still don't feel right about joining a different church when I'm supposed to be her adviser in Catholicism. Would it be worth it to try and get her to come with me?  Huh
Oh, man, I dunno. Only try and take her with you if she actually doesn't want to be confirmed, and would perhaps be interested in looking at Orthodoxy. Otherwise, you may very well be poking a hornet's nest in your family by seemingly "poaching" her...  Shocked

Another option, if you can't get out of it and it doesn't feel right to leave her as her sponsor at this stage, you could remain her sponsor until she's confirmed, wait until you're 18 and she has enough of her own idea about Catholicism, then you can become a Catechumen. A few years after Confirmation would be a reasonable time to see where she sits with Orthodoxy, and if she wants to perhaps inquire. Even if she just wants to attend something like Vespers or Divine Liturgy or if she takes a shine to Orthodox theology, that may be a good starting point to slowly, gradually work with her. Smiley

EDIT: Wait, have you talked with your sister about how she'd react to needing to find another sponsor? When does she get confirmed? LBK just gave me that thought.
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« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2011, 06:48:48 PM »

Quote
The only problem is that I don't see any way in which I can get out of it now. It simply can't work, not this far along.

Not true at all. Weddings have been called off at short notice for good reason, and thus spare much grief later. I would regard it as hypocrisy to become a RC sponsor when you have every intention of not continuing in the RC faith. Better that your sister has a sponsor whose devotion to the RC church and faith is whole-hearted. I do not say this out of spite, but from experience; much of my extended family is non-Orthodox, including RC.
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« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2011, 09:36:15 PM »

Quote from: Wandering Sheep
Oh, man, I dunno. Only try and take her with you if she actually doesn't want to be confirmed, and would perhaps be interested in looking at Orthodoxy. Otherwise, you may very well be poking a hornet's nest in your family by seemingly "poaching" her...  Shocked

Another option, if you can't get out of it and it doesn't feel right to leave her as her sponsor at this stage, you could remain her sponsor until she's confirmed, wait until you're 18 and she has enough of her own idea about Catholicism, then you can become a Catechumen. A few years after Confirmation would be a reasonable time to see where she sits with Orthodoxy, and if she wants to perhaps inquire. Even if she just wants to attend something like Vespers or Divine Liturgy or if she takes a shine to Orthodox theology, that may be a good starting point to slowly, gradually work with her. Smiley

EDIT: Wait, have you talked with your sister about how she'd react to needing to find another sponsor? When does she get confirmed? LBK just gave me that thought.
She does want to be confirmed, that much I'm completely sure of. I could wait until age 18, but, I don't know, it's such a bad position. Also, she gets confirmed in either late April or early May. It's definitely after Easter, that much I'm sure of. And, no, I haven't asked her about finding a different sponsor because I'm pretty sure it's too late to back down now. I already told her that I would do it and I'm pretty sure it's largely set in stone by now.

Quote from: LBK
Not true at all. Weddings have been called off at short notice for good reason, and thus spare much grief later. I would regard it as hypocrisy to become a RC sponsor when you have every intention of not continuing in the RC faith. Better that your sister has a sponsor whose devotion to the RC church and faith is whole-hearted. I do not say this out of spite, but from experience; much of my extended family is non-Orthodox, including RC.
Trust me, my friend, this is something I haven't stopped thinking about ever since this all began. I probably sound non-committed to this or like a coward, but...I don't know, I'm so horribly confused (and, I will admit, pretty scared) at the moment.
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« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2011, 09:55:02 PM »

Quote from: Wandering Sheep
Oh, man, I dunno. Only try and take her with you if she actually doesn't want to be confirmed, and would perhaps be interested in looking at Orthodoxy. Otherwise, you may very well be poking a hornet's nest in your family by seemingly "poaching" her...  Shocked

Another option, if you can't get out of it and it doesn't feel right to leave her as her sponsor at this stage, you could remain her sponsor until she's confirmed, wait until you're 18 and she has enough of her own idea about Catholicism, then you can become a Catechumen. A few years after Confirmation would be a reasonable time to see where she sits with Orthodoxy, and if she wants to perhaps inquire. Even if she just wants to attend something like Vespers or Divine Liturgy or if she takes a shine to Orthodox theology, that may be a good starting point to slowly, gradually work with her. Smiley

EDIT: Wait, have you talked with your sister about how she'd react to needing to find another sponsor? When does she get confirmed? LBK just gave me that thought.
She does want to be confirmed, that much I'm completely sure of. I could wait until age 18, but, I don't know, it's such a bad position. Also, she gets confirmed in either late April or early May. It's definitely after Easter, that much I'm sure of. And, no, I haven't asked her about finding a different sponsor because I'm pretty sure it's too late to back down now. I already told her that I would do it and I'm pretty sure it's largely set in stone by now.

Quote from: LBK
Not true at all. Weddings have been called off at short notice for good reason, and thus spare much grief later. I would regard it as hypocrisy to become a RC sponsor when you have every intention of not continuing in the RC faith. Better that your sister has a sponsor whose devotion to the RC church and faith is whole-hearted. I do not say this out of spite, but from experience; much of my extended family is non-Orthodox, including RC.
Trust me, my friend, this is something I haven't stopped thinking about ever since this all began. I probably sound non-committed to this or like a coward, but...I don't know, I'm so horribly confused (and, I will admit, pretty scared) at the moment.
I get where you're coming from. Asking may be difficult, but if it helps the situation and you are indeed able to get out of it, then maybe that will ease some of the tension you feel. Perhaps praying for God's guidance and His will to be done before asking would be a good idea; pray that the answer you get corresponds with what God wants for you. This situation may be a heavy cross to bear, but that load Christ will remove from you when this journey is done, and He will give you rest. Don't be afraid to ask now; if you are to ask, it's better to do it sooner than later. If you really feel that you aren't the best choice to be your sister's sponsor, don't be afraid to let her or your parish priest or your parish's religious ed director know. In my anonymous opinion, I think it may be better if you did step forward and let them be aware that, since if you're not completely committed to Catholicism, it may be better if someone more firmly Catholic would fill in for you.

But, I'm not in your shoes, now, am I?
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« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2011, 10:58:26 PM »

ISTM you probably should find a way out of being your sister's sponsor, since I assume that involves vows to nurture her in the RC faith.

Agreed. To me this seems like something that you should attend to rather swiftly, as it will make for less stress and frustration for those involved the sooner you do it. If you are not 100% committed to the Catholic faith, then I don't think you should sponsor someone.
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« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2011, 11:41:41 PM »

Thank you all for your advice, again! Smiley There was something I held back earlier, however, as I wasn't sure I should bring it up. But now there have been several new developments because of it, and I think it needs to be shared.

Today, I had something very interesting happen to me. Have any of you ever had a time when you suddenly remembered something you had never seen before, maybe like recalling a dream you had forgotten before you woke up in the morning? Well, basically I caught a little glimpse of a memory of a dream like that. Basically, there was this huge list of all of the evils of the world, and there was a voice reading them to me (I think you all know Who that was. Tongue). This was only a quick snapshot of the dream, remember, and my memory of it is very fuzzy, so the only 'evil' that I remembered was "drug use," and we scrolled through that very quickly. After that we reached the end, whereupon I saw a bright golden light, and inside the light was...something that I couldn't manage to remember.  Sad My first thought, however, was Orthodoxy, represented by the light of Christ's true teaching. Now that I've had more time to try and recover the memory I believe that's exactly what it was because I do faintly recall the voice saying something about Orthodoxy.

At any rate, as you can imagine, this got me very excited, but also a little nervous about the situation back home. So, tonight after dinner I spoke to my mom about my will to convert. I feel pretty guilty for assuming the worst now because things went exceptionally well! She was very understanding, and even said that I would be allowed to remain my younger sister's sponsor at her confirmation (she's a religious education teacher and knows the Catechism of the Catholic Church quite well), considering I still won't be able to begin my catechumenate until I'm legally emancipated (not much I can do about that). We did have a friendly debate about such issues as the schism, papal supremacy, the filioque, etc, but it wasn't particularly conclusive. Basically, she said she's willing to take me to Divine Liturgy and she is letting me explore things, but she urged me to make sure I think everything through and continue to do pray on it and do my research before I make my final decision. Either way, the point is it's now out in the open and several roadblocks have been removed from the path because of it. God provides!  Cheesy

Again, thank you all for the advice and your prayers! I predict smooth sailing from here on in! Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2011, 11:47:22 PM »

I have always known about the Orthodox Church in some form (a friend of mine when I was younger was Russian Orthodox, a current friend of mine is Armenian Apostolic, and another is Greek Orthodox)

These three groups are not all part of the same Church.
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« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2011, 11:49:06 PM »

Precisely why I said "in some form" in reference to the similarity between the Armenian Apostolic church and the Eastern Orthodox churches. I apologize if grouping the three faiths together was offensive to you, I assure you that was not my intention.
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« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2011, 11:52:05 PM »

Precisely why I said "in some form" in reference to the similarity between the Armenian Apostolic church and the Eastern Orthodox churches. I apologize if grouping the three faiths together was offensive to you, I assure you that was not my intention.

Oh. I thought you were saying they were three different forms of "the Orthodox Church"...  Huh

And no, no offense, I just want to make sure you know about these differences as you embark on your journey, as it may actually have some bearing on what the destination is.
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