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Author Topic: Why do Protestants convert to Orthodoxy rather than Roman Catholicism?  (Read 24745 times) Average Rating: 0
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David Garner
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« Reply #45 on: March 27, 2011, 09:22:10 PM »

I don't know, I am pretty well read on Roman Catholicism, and we did briefly consider it before becoming Orthodox, but in the end, a couple of things won out.

1)  Proximity.  To be dead honest, the closest Church to us we felt would be reasonably catholic and liturgical (what we were looking for) was an Eastern Orthodox Church.  Now, if we'd found that wanting, we might have looked a bit harder, but we didn't, so no need to look further.

2)  Doctrine.  The issues my wife and I had with Rome were the universal jurisdiction of the Pope, purgatory, required celibacy of priests, the immaculate conception and the doctrine of merit.  Rome still holds to all of these.  Orthodoxy holds to none.  So there were fewer doctrinal hurdles to Orthodoxy.  Nothing we've seen in Orthodoxy or my studies of Church history since our conversion has changed our minds.

Number 1 was initially more important -- it got us in the door.  But number 2 won out in the end.  I looked into the development of the Papacy, the IC, the development of merits, etc., and I was convinced the Orthodox Church had maintained the apostolic faith, the RCC had added to it and Protestants had subtracted from it.  It really was that simple.
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« Reply #46 on: March 27, 2011, 09:39:56 PM »

I don't know, I am pretty well read on Roman Catholicism, and we did briefly consider it before becoming Orthodox, but in the end, a couple of things won out.

1)  Proximity.  To be dead honest, the closest Church to us we felt would be reasonably catholic and liturgical (what we were looking for) was an Eastern Orthodox Church.  Now, if we'd found that wanting, we might have looked a bit harder, but we didn't, so no need to look further.

2)  Doctrine.  The issues my wife and I had with Rome were the universal jurisdiction of the Pope, purgatory, required celibacy of priests, the immaculate conception and the doctrine of merit.  Rome still holds to all of these.  Orthodoxy holds to none.  So there were fewer doctrinal hurdles to Orthodoxy.  Nothing we've seen in Orthodoxy or my studies of Church history since our conversion has changed our minds.

Number 1 was initially more important -- it got us in the door.  But number 2 won out in the end.  I looked into the development of the Papacy, the IC, the development of merits, etc., and I was convinced the Orthodox Church had maintained the apostolic faith, the RCC had added to it and Protestants had subtracted from it.  It really was that simple.

Do you have friends or family in the Catholic Church who went in that direction rather than to Orthodoxy?  Do you have any idea what not only drew them, but kept them?  What do you think of protestants who did the same kind of study that you did and came to very different conclusions?

I realize you might not have such experiences but I am curious, if you do or did.

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« Reply #47 on: March 27, 2011, 09:44:22 PM »

All of my first cousins are Catholic.  I've had plenty of opportunities to see Catholic services over the years.  I made it a point to read up on what Catholics believe and there were some points that I couldn't get around.  Add the priest abuse scandal to the mix.  Then add me and my husband- who at the time we discovered Orthodoxy had pretty much written off Christianity entirely.  The particular issues I had with Catholicism didn't exist in Orthodoxy.  No offense, but it was Orthodoxy or nothing for us.  It wasn't special hate for Catholics.  I love my Catholic family.

No offense taken.  Conversion is a very personal issue that I tried to rationalize into an anthropological question.  I'm an academic, so everything in my world is rather unemotional and analytical.  Roman Catholicism is also very scholastic, abstract, rationalist, and legalist, so perhaps this is why I find Catholicism particularly compelling.  It's also surprising that I am still unmarried.  It's no fun dating a mainframe with legs.  It's a good thing I'm not in the gene pool.

The priest scandal is a grave problem (an understatement in the most optimistic terms!).  It is an institutional problem of power, privilege, and pathology which can and should be corrected at the very least through some forthrightness on behalf of the Vatican and optional celibacy for the parish clergy.  Unfortunately, Rome has not taken either the legal or doctrinal measures to bring some resolution to the problem.  All religions have leaders who abuse their positions for criminal ends, the worse (in my view) being child sexual abuse.  This does not take away from the gravity of the Catholic situation.  Still, I can see how someone who was not deeply invested in the Roman faith before the recent wave of scandals would not want to be a member of this faith. 

Still, the abuse scandal has not shaken my faith that the Roman see is the completion of canonical jurisdiction.  Orthodoxy shares in the apostolic and sacramental faith fully with Catholicism (i.e. I personally believe that Orthodoxy is in the Church of Christ and within her is the fullness of salvation), but is not in the canonical completion that is the Roman see.

One area where Orthodox discipline perhaps outshines Catholicism is in the area of "economy".  I suspect (okay, Maria?) that Pope Paul VI wrote Humanae Vitae from a very academic viewpoint.  The prohibition of artificial birth control as promulgated in HV scrupulously adheres to Scholastic logic (though certainly there are Patristic elements to HV as well).  HV, however, pretends as if people with complex human relationship issues don't exist.  The same is true for the annulment process, although annulments are much more widely given these days.  The Orthodox concept of "economy", especially in sensitive pastoral situations such as contraception and marital life, is much more compassionate than the abstract Roman view of the human implications of sacraments. 

Rome prides herself on being logical.  Sometimes, however, Roman policy could be viewed as "cold" and heartless.  I could see why Orthodoxy, with its emphasis on greater decision making at the pastoral level, could be viewed as a more favorable path.   


I don't know, I am pretty well read on Roman Catholicism, and we did briefly consider it before becoming Orthodox, but in the end, a couple of things won out.

2)  Doctrine.  The issues my wife and I had with Rome were the universal jurisdiction of the Pope, purgatory, required celibacy of priests, the immaculate conception and the doctrine of merit.  Rome still holds to all of these.  Orthodoxy holds to none.  So there were fewer doctrinal hurdles to Orthodoxy.  Nothing we've seen in Orthodoxy or my studies of Church history since our conversion has changed our minds.


Okay, I respect that.  I always though that Purgatory was a hopeful doctrine (is it any more or less hopeful than the Final Theosis?  What's the difference, really?) but I'm not going to belabor the point. 

I have spoken to Protestant converts to Orthodoxy who found the idea of merit and indulgences an hard division against conversion to Roman Catholicism.  Post-conciliar Catholicism has de-emphasized merit, as she has likewise moved more towards a theosis-model of Purgatory rather than Purgatory as a physical place with the gnashing of teeth.  Indulgences and merits still exist, but there are no more Johann Tetzels prowling Saxony with tithe-boxes.  Still, given that the issue of merit and indulgence were central to the German Reformation, I could see people from certain Protestant traditions having difficulty with the notion that merit and indulgences still exist.  I have no difficulty with the idea of merit and indulgences, so long as indulgences can never be bought (they can't anymore).  I also have no problem with merit and indulgence if the person who is seeking the indulgence realizes that the sacrament and penance are what matters, and the indulgence is a secondary effect of the celebration of the sacrament.  In other words, one should hear Mass because he or she wishes to receive the grace of the sacrament and not receive a plenary indulgence. 

The priests I know have stopped taking stipends for private Masses.  My priest friends will say their daily Requiem or votive Mass for dear Aunt Sally gratis.  Just ask, write the name down, and Father will remember him or her in the Memento. 

 

 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2011, 09:54:32 PM by jordanz » Logged
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« Reply #48 on: March 27, 2011, 09:52:57 PM »

I always though that Purgatory was a hopeful doctrine (is it any more or less hopeful than the Final Theosis?  What's the difference, really?) but I'm not going to belabor the point.  

Out of curiosity, what is "Final Theosis"? I've not heard of that term before--leastwise, as far as I can remember.
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« Reply #49 on: March 27, 2011, 10:00:14 PM »

Do you have friends or family in the Catholic Church who went in that direction rather than to Orthodoxy?  Do you have any idea what not only drew them, but kept them?  What do you think of protestants who did the same kind of study that you did and came to very different conclusions?

I realize you might not have such experiences but I am curious, if you do or did.

No, not really.  I had other Lutheran friends who went East and a couple of Lutheran acquaintances who went to Rome, but realistically we weren't looking until we were looking, so to speak, so their influence was minimal until after we had already visited an Orthodox parish.  I do have Roman Catholic friends, but nearly all of them are cradle Catholics.

Okay, I respect that.  I always though that Purgatory was a hopeful doctrine (is it any more or less hopeful than the Final Theosis?  What's the difference, really?) but I'm not going to belabor the point.  

I have spoken to Protestant converts to Orthodoxy who found the idea of merit and indulgences an hard division against conversion to Roman Catholicism.  Post-conciliar Catholicism has de-emphasized merit, as she has likewise moved more towards a theosis-model of Purgatory rather than Purgatory as a physical place with the gnashing of teeth.  Indulgences and merits still exist, but there are no more Johann Tetzels prowling Saxony with tithe-boxes.  Still, given that the issue of merit and indulgence were central to the German Reformation, I could see people from certain Protestant traditions having difficulty with the notion that merit and indulgences still exist.  I have no difficulty with the idea of merit and indulgences, so long as indulgences can never be bought (they can't anymore) and that the person who is seeking the indulgence realizes that the sacrament and penance are what matters, and the indulgence is a secondary effect of the celebration of the sacrament.  In other words, one should hear Mass because he or she wishes to receive the grace of the sacrament and not receive a plenary indulgence.  

The priests I know have stopped taking stipends for private Masses.  My priest friends will say their daily Requiem or votive Mass for dear Aunt Sally gratis.  Just ask, write the name down, and Father will remember him or her in the Memento.  

For what it's worth, purgatory wasn't nearly as great an issue as the IC and the Papacy.  Purgatory was more offensive to me in application (i.e., as you note, indulgences and notions of merits) than in theory.  And I fully acknowledge Rome has softened her stance not only on these issues, but on justification (which was a stumbling block with both the RCC and the EOC).  At the end of the day, the Papacy is probably the real deal-killer.  The rest are issues we probably could have worked through, but there's no getting around the claim of universal jurisdiction over the whole Church, and that's something we just didn't see either ecclesiologically or historically.

In hindsight, having become Orthodox, I'd have probably a greater issue with the immaculate conception as a matter of basic anthropology and Christology, but that's hindsight.
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« Reply #50 on: March 27, 2011, 10:02:22 PM »

Being an Orthodox Christian who chose the path of Western Orthodoxy myself, and knowing many, many people who have done so, I can honestly tell you that it always comes down to doctrine, as far as why we didn't become Roman Catholic (or Anglican). It often has very little to do with liturgy or culture, although those are important things. We'd be the first ones to join a Byzantine parish if it were between that and a Roman Catholic one. It's about Orthodoxy and the simple fact that we believe it to be the sole guardian of the Apostolic faith and the One Holy Church of Christ.

What exactly do you think it is that makes someone "anti-Rome" besides doctrine anyway? What else would their be?
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« Reply #51 on: March 27, 2011, 10:07:50 PM »

What exactly do you think it is that makes someone "anti-Rome" besides doctrine anyway? What else would their be?

That's a good question.  I like Catholics.  Most of them are really nice, and they seem to be reasonable folks.  I haven't checked behind the parts in their hair, but I don't think they have horns or anything.

Plus, Catholic churches are usually pretty big in these parts and have all the nice bells and whistles and programs and books and TV shows and Sirius satellite radio stations.  If we were being superficial, there's really no reason to choose Orthodoxy over Catholicism.  Not in most parts of the U.S. at least.
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« Reply #52 on: March 27, 2011, 10:08:16 PM »

Do you have friends or family in the Catholic Church who went in that direction rather than to Orthodoxy?  Do you have any idea what not only drew them, but kept them?  What do you think of protestants who did the same kind of study that you did and came to very different conclusions?

I realize you might not have such experiences but I am curious, if you do or did.

No, not really.  I had other Lutheran friends who went East and a couple of Lutheran acquaintances who went to Rome, but realistically we weren't looking until we were looking, so to speak, so their influence was minimal until after we had already visited an Orthodox parish.  I do have Roman Catholic friends, but nearly all of them are cradle Catholics.

Yes.  I see what you mean.  It had not occurred to me that you might have been influenced actually.  I was thinking more in terms of what you might have seen with reference to why some went one way and some went the other...I am curious about what sends people with very similar backgrounds off in different directions in terms of religious conversion, since that is what we are talking about here, and not necessarily a conversion to Christianity.

M.
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« Reply #53 on: March 27, 2011, 10:16:18 PM »

I've said this in the past, but I am quite fond of Pope Benedict XVI and am fond of their apologists (Peter Kreeft, GK Chesterton, etc). As Sleeper mentioned it comes down to doctrine and for me I think the RCC relies too heavily on logic and rationalizing to expound on the mysteries of God, which should remain exactly that mysteries instead of explaining them away. Anytime you try to explain it away logically, you open yourself up to logical fallacies, inconsistencies, and the sorts.

Alveus Lacuna referred to the Orthodox Church existing in this "mysitcal" bubble, and one of the things that drew me closer to Orthodoxy was that it saw the West as a malady of rationalism and things being subject to human fallible logic. For someone like myself who is against the post-modern movement and rationalism, not only was this a sigh of relief but a cure for the disease. In fact I am eager to see this Western though process crumble because it slowly, but steadily, is eliminating the sacredness of life.
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« Reply #54 on: March 27, 2011, 10:17:46 PM »

Yes.  I see what you mean.  It had not occurred to me that you might have been influenced actually.  I was thinking more in terms of what you might have seen with reference to why some went one way and some went the other...I am curious about what sends people with very similar backgrounds off in different directions in terms of religious conversion, since that is what we are talking about here, and not necessarily a conversion to Christianity.

M.

I'd be curious about that as well, honestly.  My guess is it's probably easier for Lutherans to go East than to Rome since Rome is what Lutherans left, historically speaking.  Plus, the Lutheran Confessions have an affinity for the East -- it is almost always referenced positively, whereas Rome is excoriated.

I definitely view Rome differently now than when we first became Lutheran, but that has evolved over time -- it wasn't just after we became Orthodox.  By the time we left, I had softened my stance quite a bit.  Some Lutherans self-identify as opposed to Rome.  Others consider themselves catholic without what they consider Roman errors.  The latter is where we were for the most part, and I began to see some things we held as "errors" to be apostolic along the way (like requesting intercessory prayers of the saints, as one example).  
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« Reply #55 on: March 27, 2011, 10:23:25 PM »

What exactly do you think it is that makes someone "anti-Rome" besides doctrine anyway? What else would their be?

In England alone: Guy Fawkes, "No Popery", Jesuit conspiracies, heck, even the early Anglo-Catholics were smeared as "papists" simply for wearing chasubles!  In 1982 (!) Robert Runcie (then Archbishop of Canterbury) was verbally attacked by a mob of protesters outside of Canterbury Cathedral for stating that he would meet with Pope John Paul II during the Pontiff's pastoral visit to Britain that same year!  The protesters were still dredging up centuries-old sectarian socio-cultural prejudice about Roman Catholicism (oh no! Popish plot!) and other absurdities.  Abp. Runcie did indeed hear Vespers or similar with Pope John Paul II in Westminster Cathedral and knelt alongside the Pontiff, but did so at a palpable personal cost.  It so happens that Abp. Runcie was an Anglo-Catholic and did not have any personal animus with Rome, but the evangelical wing of Anglicanism went berserk over his public advocacy of Pope John Paul's visit.

Pick up any one of Jack Chick's screeds against Catholicism (The Death Cookie is my personal favorite, as he shows his complete ignorance about Eucharistic theology both East and West.)  The ignorance that some evangelicals harbor towards Catholicism is stunning.  I remember hearing Fr. Peter Stravinskas (famous traditional Catholic priest-apologist) debate an evangelical preacher, the Rev. James White.  To his credit, Rev. White was very professional, but the evangelicals in attendance were extremely obnoxious.  During the middle of the conference I had to use the facilities.  The restroom was littered (and I mean littered!) with Jack Chick tracts.  The Catholics at the conference didn't leaflet the entire conference-hall: I and my companions were greatly pissed off, but I did not hear any Catholic pick a fight with an evangelical.  Some of the evangelicals were quite livid, however.  I cannot help but think that some of their prejudices are generations-old and based on facile distortions of Catholicism.  It's all rather pathetic, as I have spoken to many evangelical "apologists" who do not even understand Reformation thought! 

Evangelical apologists never really attack Orthodoxy, even though Orthodox theology is much closer to Roman Catholic theology than to the thousands of Protestant evangelical splinter groups.  If evangelical Protestants were to be thoroughly methodical, they would attack both Orthodoxy and Catholicism equally on the doctrines that the two traditions both share.  The fact that evangelicals often do not criticize the commonalities in Orthodoxy and Catholicism tells me that their prejudice towards Catholicism is not based on doctrine but rather culturally conditioned socio-economic, perhaps nativist, fears about the Roman church and its great influence in world affairs. 

It's true that 18% of the entire world is nominally Catholic.  Still, why haven't evangelical Protestants gone after Orthodoxy with the same ferocity? 
     
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« Reply #56 on: March 27, 2011, 10:41:17 PM »


Evangelical apologists never really attack Orthodoxy, even though Orthodox theology is much closer to Roman Catholic theology than to the thousands of Protestant evangelical splinter groups.  If evangelical Protestants were to be thoroughly methodical, they would attack both Orthodoxy and Catholicism equally on the doctrines that the two traditions both share.  The fact that evangelicals often do not criticize the commonalities in Orthodoxy and Catholicism tells me that their prejudice towards Catholicism is not based on doctrine but rather culturally conditioned socio-economic, perhaps nativist, fears about the Roman church and its great influence in world affairs.  

It's true that 18% of the entire world is nominally Catholic.  Still, why haven't evangelical Protestants gone after Orthodoxy with the same ferocity?  
    

Several Orthodox Priests say that certain Protestant denominations are actually closer to Orthodoxy than Roman Catholicism, and that it is easier for those Protestants to convert to Orthodoxy than it is for Roman Catholics as Catholics often feel guilty about denying the Papacy. In fact, I knew several Catholic who reverted back to Catholicism from Orthodoxy due solely to their guilt feelings about denying the Papacy.

In my case, while I did not accept Papal Supremacy, I had difficulty reconciling my belief in Papal Infallibility. I read a *book from St. Vladimir Seminary Press. In this book, different theologians from Catholicism and Orthodoxy presented papers. After reading this book through three times and discussing it with my Orthodox Priest, I was convinced on the truth of Orthodoxy.

* I tried to do an internet search, and I cannot find the title of the book.
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« Reply #57 on: March 27, 2011, 10:45:22 PM »

There are probably some who come to Orthodoxy out of an apostolic "other-than-Rome" attitude.  However, I have heard many that have chosen rome, despite the fact that they agree with Orthodoxy more in the "schism disputes."  Why?  Because Rome is "more organized."    Also, as you stated, Rome is more comfortable.   But I would disagree that Rome is altogether the place to be for western rite.   As Bishop Jerome (formerly Fr. John Shaw who is very knowledgable of the savvas typikon, being its only full translator to date) of ROCOR has demonstrated, there has never been such a thing as Orthodoxy without western rites in her history.  

Okay, sticking my hand into the piranha tank on this one.

While I sincerely believe that most Protestants convert to Orthodoxy out of personal conviction, I am convinced that a small number of Protestants (especially those from non-mainline, evangelical Protestantism) convert to Orthodoxy mainly because they wish to belong to an apostolic church that's simply "not Rome".   

There have been many evangelical Protestants that have happily converted to Roman Catholicism.  Also, there is now an ordinariate for Anglican converts.  There are not a few ex-Anglican priests and ex-Lutheran pastors now serving as Roman priests under dispensation. 

Nevertheless, I cannot shake the suspicion that some evangelicals will not even consider Rome when considering a move to apostolic Christianity.  What particularly galls me are the Protestants who convert to "Western Orthodoxy" and hear the Tridentine Mass in English.  Why not become Roman Catholic and hear Mass within the Church that is built around this liturgy?  It's all rather insulting.  I also think it's rather petty that someone would become Orthodox simply because they do not want to be perceived as Roman Catholic.

Yes, this post is inflammatory.  Nevertheless, I do have some strong biases about this issue.  I suspect that a number of evangelical converts to Orthodoxy often take a hard apologetic tack against Roman Catholicism out of historical prejudices and not a reasoned stance against Rome.

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« Reply #58 on: March 27, 2011, 10:48:12 PM »

What exactly do you think it is that makes someone "anti-Rome" besides doctrine anyway? What else would their be?

In England alone: Guy Fawkes, "No Popery", Jesuit conspiracies, heck, even the early Anglo-Catholics were smeared as "papists" simply for wearing chasubles!  In 1982 (!) Robert Runcie (then Archbishop of Canterbury) was verbally attacked by a mob of protesters outside of Canterbury Cathedral for stating that he would meet with Pope John Paul II during the Pontiff's pastoral visit to Britain that same year!  The protesters were still dredging up centuries-old sectarian socio-cultural prejudice about Roman Catholicism (oh no! Popish plot!) and other absurdities.  Abp. Runcie did indeed hear Vespers or similar with Pope John Paul II in Westminster Cathedral and knelt alongside the Pontiff, but did so at a palpable personal cost.  It so happens that Abp. Runcie was an Anglo-Catholic and did not have any personal animus with Rome, but the evangelical wing of Anglicanism went berserk over his public advocacy of Pope John Paul's visit.

Pick up any one of Jack Chick's screeds against Catholicism (The Death Cookie is my personal favorite, as he shows his complete ignorance about Eucharistic theology both East and West.)  The ignorance that some evangelicals harbor towards Catholicism is stunning.  I remember hearing Fr. Peter Stravinskas (famous traditional Catholic priest-apologist) debate an evangelical preacher, the Rev. James White.  To his credit, Rev. White was very professional, but the evangelicals in attendance were extremely obnoxious.  During the middle of the conference I had to use the facilities.  The restroom was littered (and I mean littered!) with Jack Chick tracts.  The Catholics at the conference didn't leaflet the entire conference-hall: I and my companions were greatly pissed off, but I did not hear any Catholic pick a fight with an evangelical.  Some of the evangelicals were quite livid, however.  I cannot help but think that some of their prejudices are generations-old and based on facile distortions of Catholicism.  It's all rather pathetic, as I have spoken to many evangelical "apologists" who do not even understand Reformation thought! 

Evangelical apologists never really attack Orthodoxy, even though Orthodox theology is much closer to Roman Catholic theology than to the thousands of Protestant evangelical splinter groups.  If evangelical Protestants were to be thoroughly methodical, they would attack both Orthodoxy and Catholicism equally on the doctrines that the two traditions both share.  The fact that evangelicals often do not criticize the commonalities in Orthodoxy and Catholicism tells me that their prejudice towards Catholicism is not based on doctrine but rather culturally conditioned socio-economic, perhaps nativist, fears about the Roman church and its great influence in world affairs. 

It's true that 18% of the entire world is nominally Catholic.  Still, why haven't evangelical Protestants gone after Orthodoxy with the same ferocity? 
     

Right, but is the Papacy not an issue of doctrine?
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« Reply #59 on: March 27, 2011, 10:54:23 PM »


Pick up any one of Jack Chick's screeds against Catholicism (The Death Cookie is my personal favorite, as he shows his complete ignorance about Eucharistic theology both East and West.)  The ignorance that some evangelicals harbor towards Catholicism is stunning.  I remember hearing Fr. Peter Stravinskas (famous traditional Catholic priest-apologist) debate an evangelical preacher, the Rev. James White.  To his credit, Rev. White was very professional, but the evangelicals in attendance were extremely obnoxious.  During the middle of the conference I had to use the facilities.  The restroom was littered (and I mean littered!) with Jack Chick tracts.  The Catholics at the conference didn't leaflet the entire conference-hall: I and my companions were greatly pissed off, but I did not hear any Catholic pick a fight with an evangelical.  Some of the evangelicals were quite livid, however.  I cannot help but think that some of their prejudices are generations-old and based on facile distortions of Catholicism.  It's all rather pathetic, as I have spoken to many evangelical "apologists" who do not even understand Reformation thought! 
     

Oh, the tracts!  I think my final straw with Evangelicals was when I was working at a Floridian theme park after graduating high school.  We had a large church youth group come through and at the end of the day our entire queue was littered with thousands of the darn things (tracts, not youth group members).  Somehow, I don't think my earning salvation through drudgery and toil was their intent, but that's the only benefit I can see.

Later in life, while doing a short stint as a waiter I used to dread Sunday afternoons in Mississippi when the local churches got out.  You'd bust your hump all through the lunch hour providing exemplary service to the well-dressed ne'er-do-wells and in place of a tip they left tracts.  Most obnoxious of all was that little tract where it's printed like a $20 on one side and when flipped over there's text starting off "Do you want true wealth?"  These were all the rank-and-file pew fillers, of course (and more than one or two deacons, I suspect.  Being of pastor descent I know their cheapness well).  One of my favorite group of customers was an interfaith group of pastors and professors from William Carey College and USM that would meet every Monday, they always had interesting conversations to overhear and everyone in the group would chip in on the tip.  
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« Reply #60 on: March 27, 2011, 10:55:32 PM »

I think I (we) may be a "classic case" that the OP describes. The book I read originally, that piqued our interest, was the story of a Pentecostal preacher's conversion to Roman Catholicism. I read nearly the entire thing, and what that book did for me was open my eyes to church history. I'd never before heard that there were writings/testimonies for a historical church -- and I had no sense that it mattered anyway. So I finish this book, and did I start researching Catholicism? No. I couldn't. I knew as I read, and I said from the beginning, that I couldn't get behind the idea of papal supremacy. I knew converting to Catholicism would not be an option. Thankfully, I'd heard vague mentions of the Orthodox church over the previous few years (and perhaps the RC convert who wrote the book I read mentioned it in his story), so the day after I finished reading the book, I spent the entire next day reading about the Orthodox church on the internet. And I believe their/our claim to historicity to be much more real. I was very thankful to learn that one could enter into this historic/original church without having to agree to papal supremacy.

Is that the type of thing, OP, you are referring to?
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« Reply #61 on: March 27, 2011, 10:59:57 PM »

Right, but is the Papacy not an issue of doctrine?

Yes, it is.  However, there's a difference between an articulate position and prejudice.  A person who says "I chose Orthodoxy over Roman Catholicism for principled reasons", and then articulates those reasons, is perfectly respectable.  The persons who attacked Abp. Runcie for merely welcoming Pope John Paul II to a secular, post-Christian Britain were acting without sense and in prejudice.  There is absolutely no way that Pope John Paul II would want to "take over" Britain.  Probably didn't even cross his mind.  Ditto Pope Benedict on his recent trip to Britain.

The more important issue is evangelical apology's extreme and almost exclusive focus on Catholicism when Orthodoxy is doctrinally quite similar in many respects.  That is a glaring defect in evangelical Protestant apologetics.  If the main evangelical Protestant contention with Catholicism surrounds papal primacy and papal political influence, then attack those two points exclusively and honestly.  Don't attack the Holy Mass -- what does that have to do with Roman jurisdiction?
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« Reply #62 on: March 27, 2011, 11:12:25 PM »

Right, but is the Papacy not an issue of doctrine?

Yes, it is.  However, there's a difference between an articulate position and prejudice.  A person who says "I chose Orthodoxy over Roman Catholicism for principled reasons", and then articulates those reasons, is perfectly respectable.  The persons who attacked Abp. Runcie for merely welcoming Pope John Paul II to a secular, post-Christian Britain were acting without sense and in prejudice.  There is absolutely no way that Pope John Paul II would want to "take over" Britain.  Probably didn't even cross his mind.  Ditto Pope Benedict on his recent trip to Britain.

The more important issue is evangelical apology's extreme and almost exclusive focus on Catholicism when Orthodoxy is doctrinally quite similar in many respects.  That is a glaring defect in evangelical Protestant apologetics.  If the main evangelical Protestant contention with Catholicism surrounds papal primacy and papal political influence, then attack those two points exclusively and honestly.  Don't attack the Holy Mass -- what does that have to do with Roman jurisdiction?

If it makes you feel any better, the situation is beginning to balance out.

There are several protestant sites who list both Orthodoxy and Catholicism as cults. I do not want to list these prejudiced sites, so please forgive me if I do not link to those sites.

There are also several forums run by fundamental evangelical conservative Protestants which discriminate against members who are Eastern Orthodox and Catholic. If you are a Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox Christian, you can never be in leadership, but are more likely to be banned.
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« Reply #63 on: March 27, 2011, 11:22:30 PM »

Is that the type of thing, OP, you are referring to?

Yes. I'm glad that you have found the apostolic church with the life-giving sacraments.  That's what matters for your soul, and you will be well nourished in your church.  Christ is there in your sacraments.  This is all that matters in the end.  If you, or anyone here, is happy being Orthodox, that's wonderful.  Keep at it and pray for me, a sinner.

If it makes you feel any better, the situation is beginning to balance out.

There are several protestant sites who list both Orthodoxy and Catholicism as cults. I do not want to list these prejudiced sites, so please forgive me if I do not link to those sites.

There are also several forums run by fundamental evangelical conservative Protestants which discriminate against members who are Eastern Orthodox and Catholic. If you are a Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox Christian, you can never be in leadership, but are more likely to be banned.

Again, pray for me a sinner.   If someone came to Orthodoxy out of hatred or mistrust of the Roman church or the Pope as Pontiff, he or she has found the apostolic faith anyway.  Even if a former Protestant still hates Rome, they have found the life-giving sacraments anyway.  It is not for me to judge why or how others have come to the realization of the apostolic Christian faith.  We have all arrived, one way or another.  

If Orthodoxy can accommodate Protestant convert sensibilities in a way that Roman Catholicism can't, then that is a great evangelical gift of our Eastern brethren.  Even if that means bringing others to the apostolic faith by offering the Roman sacraments to them outside of the auspices of the Roman church (i.e. the Tridentine Mass and Ritual in a Western Orthodox church), then so be it.  I would rather that people worship in the Roman liturgy within its native home and under its native ecclesiastical leader the Pope, but the Roman Canon is an apostolic anaphora that must be shared simply because it is "public domain" for apostolic Christianity.

It is better then that we are all fed by the sacraments, however we find them, then be placed in a tradition that one might find alien or even disquieting.

Thank you for your patience.    
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« Reply #64 on: March 27, 2011, 11:33:56 PM »


Again, pray for me a sinner.   If someone came to Orthodoxy out of hatred or mistrust of the Roman church or the Pope as Pontiff, he or she has found the apostolic faith anyway.  Even if a former Protestant still hates Rome, they have found the life-giving sacraments anyway.  It is not for me to judge why or how others have come to the realization of the apostolic Christian faith.  We have all arrived, one way or another.  
    

If someone were to come to Orthodoxy with a large and expressive chip on their shoulder against Catholics, usually an Orthodox Priest would address that before administering the Holy Mysteries to that person.

We are to love our neighbor and forgive those who hate us, no matter what their creed.  If we cannot love, then the Spirit of God is not in us.
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« Reply #65 on: March 27, 2011, 11:43:41 PM »

If someone were to come to Orthodoxy with a large and expressive chip on their shoulder against Catholics, usually an Orthodox Priest would address that before administering the Holy Mysteries to that person.
I didn't have such a chip on my shoulder for Catholics (I made peace with my upbringing in the church a long time ago, and I DO regard them as Christians), but when I told my priest that I had been basically excommunicated for a few years, he said, "We're going to have to talk about that."

I think I will have to renounce (not quite sure what the right word would be) leaving the apostolic church when I become a member (not quite sure) but he is addressing it somehow.
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« Reply #66 on: March 27, 2011, 11:58:29 PM »

If someone were to come to Orthodoxy with a large and expressive chip on their shoulder against Catholics, usually an Orthodox Priest would address that before administering the Holy Mysteries to that person.
I didn't have such a chip on my shoulder for Catholics (I made peace with my upbringing in the church a long time ago, and I DO regard them as Christians), but when I told my priest that I had been basically excommunicated for a few years, he said, "We're going to have to talk about that."

I think I will have to renounce (not quite sure what the right word would be) leaving the apostolic church when I become a member (not quite sure) but he is addressing it somehow.

When I became a catechumen in the Holy Orthodox Church, my Catholic bishop told me that I had excommunicated myself from the Catholic Church.

Immediately after my Chrismation into the Greek Orthodox Church, my priest heard my confession and lifted that excommunication.
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« Reply #67 on: March 27, 2011, 11:59:08 PM »

If someone were to come to Orthodoxy with a large and expressive chip on their shoulder against Catholics, usually an Orthodox Priest would address that before administering the Holy Mysteries to that person.
I didn't have such a chip on my shoulder for Catholics (I made peace with my upbringing in the church a long time ago, and I DO regard them as Christians), but when I told my priest that I had been basically excommunicated for a few years, he said, "We're going to have to talk about that."

I think I will have to renounce (not quite sure what the right word would be) leaving the apostolic church when I become a member (not quite sure) but he is addressing it somehow.

When I was chrismated, I did not have to renounce the Catholic Church because the Holy Orthodox Church is the Holy Catholic Church.
Yes, I did make some affirmations, but you can ask your priest to see a copy of the Chrismation ceremony.
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« Reply #68 on: March 28, 2011, 12:05:04 AM »

Thanks, Maria. I think that's actually what he said, but I couldn't quite remember.

I remember saying, "I would feel pretty lousy to walk and confess to a Catholic priest, just to say, 'Hey, by the way, now that I'm officially forgiven, I can go convert to the Orthodox Church. See ya!'" Confessing it makes sense.


ETA: I mean confessing it to my Orthodox priest after my chrismation
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« Reply #69 on: March 28, 2011, 12:18:01 AM »

What exactly do you think it is that makes someone "anti-Rome" besides doctrine anyway? What else would their be?

In England alone: Guy Fawkes, "No Popery", Jesuit conspiracies, heck, even the early Anglo-Catholics were smeared as "papists" simply for wearing chasubles!  In 1982 (!) Robert Runcie (then Archbishop of Canterbury) was verbally attacked by a mob of protesters outside of Canterbury Cathedral for stating that he would meet with Pope John Paul II during the Pontiff's pastoral visit to Britain that same year!  The protesters were still dredging up centuries-old sectarian socio-cultural prejudice about Roman Catholicism (oh no! Popish plot!) and other absurdities.  Abp. Runcie did indeed hear Vespers or similar with Pope John Paul II in Westminster Cathedral and knelt alongside the Pontiff, but did so at a palpable personal cost.  It so happens that Abp. Runcie was an Anglo-Catholic and did not have any personal animus with Rome, but the evangelical wing of Anglicanism went berserk over his public advocacy of Pope John Paul's visit.

Pick up any one of Jack Chick's screeds against Catholicism (The Death Cookie is my personal favorite, as he shows his complete ignorance about Eucharistic theology both East and West.)  The ignorance that some evangelicals harbor towards Catholicism is stunning.  I remember hearing Fr. Peter Stravinskas (famous traditional Catholic priest-apologist) debate an evangelical preacher, the Rev. James White.  To his credit, Rev. White was very professional, but the evangelicals in attendance were extremely obnoxious.  During the middle of the conference I had to use the facilities.  The restroom was littered (and I mean littered!) with Jack Chick tracts.  The Catholics at the conference didn't leaflet the entire conference-hall: I and my companions were greatly pissed off, but I did not hear any Catholic pick a fight with an evangelical.  Some of the evangelicals were quite livid, however.  I cannot help but think that some of their prejudices are generations-old and based on facile distortions of Catholicism.  It's all rather pathetic, as I have spoken to many evangelical "apologists" who do not even understand Reformation thought! 

Evangelical apologists never really attack Orthodoxy, even though Orthodox theology is much closer to Roman Catholic theology than to the thousands of Protestant evangelical splinter groups.  If evangelical Protestants were to be thoroughly methodical, they would attack both Orthodoxy and Catholicism equally on the doctrines that the two traditions both share.  The fact that evangelicals often do not criticize the commonalities in Orthodoxy and Catholicism tells me that their prejudice towards Catholicism is not based on doctrine but rather culturally conditioned socio-economic, perhaps nativist, fears about the Roman church and its great influence in world affairs. 

It's true that 18% of the entire world is nominally Catholic.  Still, why haven't evangelical Protestants gone after Orthodoxy with the same ferocity? 
     

I agree with you that the majority of Protestants are shockingly ignorant of what is taught in the Roman Catholic Church.  Most simply repeat what has been whispered in their ear.  I know this because I was once among them and would receive a chorus of "amens" whenever I would parrot some unsubstantiated criticism.  And then....I met some wonderful people and became very close to them and they were...wait for it...that "C" word.  *gasp* Suddenly, I started to imagine their faces when someone would criticize their Church.  That hurt. I was already quite studied in Christian apologetics as it relates to other belief systems, so I did what I had been taught to do.  I made an honest attempt to learn from the RCC perspective and apply some critical analysis.  Yes, I struggled with agreement but I did, at the very least, understand!  I also began to realize how misunderstood Roman Catholicism is in the Protestant/Evangelical world.  My snotty attitude was melting away and I began correcting my protestant friends when they would criticize ignorantly and would explain what the actual teaching was in that area to the best of my ability.  Conversion wasn't something that I considered at that point, but I was happy to loose the baggage of misplaced negativity.  Additionally, my friends genuinely appreciated that the "Protestant" girl would make the effort.  

To this day, I cringe when I hear such nasty exchanges and assumptions being hurled from various sides of the fences.  In fairness, I have also read/heard some cruel untruths being parrotted regarding Protestants, also. Honestly, if it were not for the years I spent studying Christian apologetics and the uniqueness of Christ....I might have walked away from Christianity when I see or read the examples of people who claim Christianity and, yet, are so unnecessarily harsh and presumptive of others and the state of their mind, heart and salvation.  I try very hard to think about that before I tell God who I think He has or has not a salvational relationship with. Thankfully, I was well taught that we don't judge a belief system based on those who claim it or abuse it, but on the fundamental truth claims of the belief system, itself.  One can accurately discuss points of separation without being cruel.

So, after several years of study, why Orthodoxy instead of Rome?  (I was Methodist and I'm 50 years old) I admit that becoming Roman Catholic would have been MUCH easier from a convenience standpoint.  As I stated earlier, several of my friends are RC, my husband was raised RC, we have in-laws who are RC and we have several RCC's within a few miles of us.  The idea of "returning to Rome" was not a problem for me at all.  Let's face it...in the eyes of most Protestants, there is no difference because Church history prior to the 1500's isn't emphasized. I have a 200 mile round trip to the nearest Orthodox Church and a husband who has only 1 day off a week, and spends half of that day working our livestock...so I'll likely be going alone.  The rest of my family still attends our conservative Methodist Church, as do most of my friends.  This hasn't been an easy path, but I promised myself and God that I would follow where I was led.

In the end, I could not get past:
1) Immaculate Conception because it seemed to me to change the humanity of Christ. That's a HUGE thing and straying from 100% man and 100% God isn't to be taken lightly. Yes, I've had it explained to me but it simply comes up short.
2) I struggled with the practice of indulgences, particularly for "annulments."  Which is closely related to my next point.
3) Although I understand and respect absolutely the sacrament of marriage, the RCC stand on divorce and the "unique" way that has been found to get out of the corner that I believe they have painted themselves into is...ummmm...odd.  It seems to be the equivalent of the Protestant stand on homosexuality.  Is the Church not supposed to be the Hospital of the Great Physician?  
4)  Liberalism and inconsistency of liturgies.  I tried and tried to make sense out of the coastal Roman Catholic mindsets that seemed in direct opposition. Even my Roman Catholic friends are distressed.
5) Perhaps some could claim it was an overreaction on the part of the Protestant-raised woman, but the rationalization of the development of dogma which was spread over SUCH a vast amount of time.......how does a Roman Catholic then turn around and fault the Protestant churches for doing the same thing?  "Do as I say but not as I do" doesn't cut it.  Yes, I understand the argument/explanation.  Truly, I do.  In the end, it flirts with rationalization and I've rationalized enough to last a lifetime.  I want NOTHING to do with the development of critical dogma past the 7 Ecumenical Councils.  I'm sick of changes and additions.

Church history, IMO, held up the position of Orthodoxy.  Comparing the histories of the RCC and Orthodox Church since the Schism is massive.  I don't tend to think that money and membership #'s is exactly a good thing in this misguided, fallen world.  If it is, then I should be reconsidering the mega churches of the evangelical world.  The persecution of the Orthodox Church was very impactful.

To Her credit, Orthodoxy was vastly more consistent and more conservative.  It took a couple of years for me to really begin to see the continuity and how each one woven together with the others created a strong, beautiful tapestry.  I feel such a release of burden to know that I am home.  I can stop looking over my shoulder and trying to find my own way through.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow...Orthodoxy remains Orthodoxy.  Change is overrated.

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« Reply #70 on: March 28, 2011, 01:12:00 AM »

but the Roman Canon is an apostolic anaphora that must be shared simply because it is "public domain" for apostolic Christianity.

Sometimes, I wonder what the 12 Apostles would say about the last 500 years of conflicting Papal Encyclicals and "secret" ex cathedra statements issued by a successor to one of them.  Maybe we'll find out on Judgment Day?   Huh

It is better then that we are all fed by the sacraments, however we find them, then be placed in a tradition that one might find alien or even disquieting.

Thank you for your patience.

I hope you're not leaving us?   Huh
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« Reply #71 on: March 28, 2011, 02:07:23 PM »

but the Roman Canon is an apostolic anaphora that must be shared simply because it is "public domain" for apostolic Christianity.

Sometimes, I wonder what the 12 Apostles would say about the last 500 years of conflicting Papal Encyclicals and "secret" ex cathedra statements issued by a successor to one of them.  Maybe we'll find out on Judgment Day?   Huh

 Smiley  They might suggest that they are the figment of Orthodox and Protestant imaginations, with one or two exceptions.
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« Reply #72 on: March 28, 2011, 02:18:15 PM »

Personally, I find all the stories recounted here to be very heart-warming.  It is touching and encouraging to hear people who have searched and found an ecclesial home.  So you have my thanks completely for participating in this thread.  I do have other questions but rather than pick out individual stories or people to address, I'd like to ask something of a more general question.

Given the fact that people with very similar backgrounds choose, respectively, both Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church, I think it might be reasonable for me to wonder and to ask:  If there came a time when Orthodox bishops said that there have been several major doctrinal misunderstandings between the Orthodox and Catholics and that these things have been resolved as misunderstandings,  and communion was to be restored with no change to either Orthodox ecclesiology or Catholic ecclesiology [meaning that all jurisdictional concerns remain the same for both Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church], and no change to doctrinal teachings except to demonstrate where the fundamental teachings are shared, even with the originally contested doctrine:  Would you be able to accept that or would you reject anything like that?

It seems that Metropolitan Hilarion of the Moscow Patriarchate has suggested that this is a real possibility.  That we may, without compromise, find that we are not teaching different core truths but share core truths expressed differently.  He also suggested that we might find other things where there are differences and we have not addressed these things at all.  I am open to both and think I can see both as possibly quite true.  So I would be open to something like this:  Of course I cannot yet imagine precise terms of such a plan; none of us can.  So I am asking very generally.

M.
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« Reply #73 on: March 28, 2011, 02:34:53 PM »

I have a second one question: What would converts do if dinosaurs started to emerge from the NYCS?


Both situations are likewise possible.
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« Reply #74 on: March 28, 2011, 02:35:28 PM »

Personally, I find all the stories recounted here to be very heart-warming.  It is touching and encouraging to hear people who have searched and found an ecclesial home.  So you have my thanks completely for participating in this thread.  I do have other questions but rather than pick out individual stories or people to address, I'd like to ask something of a more general question.

Given the fact that people with very similar backgrounds choose, respectively, both Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church, I think it might be reasonable for me to wonder and to ask:  If there came a time when Orthodox bishops said that there have been several major doctrinal misunderstandings between the Orthodox and Catholics and that these things have been resolved as misunderstandings,  and communion was to be restored with no change to either Orthodox ecclesiology or Catholic ecclesiology [meaning that all jurisdictional concerns remain the same for both Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church], and no change to doctrinal teachings except to demonstrate where the fundamental teachings are shared, even with the originally contested doctrine:  Would you be able to accept that or would you reject anything like that?

It seems that Metropolitan Hilarion of the Moscow Patriarchate has suggested that this is a real possibility.  That we may, without compromise, find that we are not teaching different core truths but share core truths expressed differently.  He also suggested that we might find other things where there are differences and we have not addressed these things at all.  I am open to both and think I can see both as possibly quite true.  So I would be open to something like this:  Of course I cannot yet imagine precise terms of such a plan; none of us can.  So I am asking very generally.

M.

If it is that neat and clean -- if in fact the entire canonical Orthodox Church reunites with the entire Roman Catholic Church, yes I would accept it.  

But it won't be (and can't be) that neat and clean.  There will be mini-schisms and other fractures in both bodies before that would happen.  To an extent, that's already happening and the two sides are nowhere near intercommunion.  So in reality, I'd have to answer "I'll wait and see what that looks like and who goes where on what terms."  
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« Reply #75 on: March 28, 2011, 02:42:43 PM »

I have a second one question: What would converts do if dinosaurs started to emerge from the NYCS?


Both situations are likewise possible.

 Grin Grin Grin

Ditto. I chose Orthodoxy over Catholicism just because I became convinced that there still is differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy and Orthodoxy is the one which is more faithful to history of the Church.

Still I long for day when I can receive communion in a mass under the dome of St. Peter's from an Orthodox pope of Old Rome.
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« Reply #76 on: March 28, 2011, 02:44:03 PM »

Personally, I find all the stories recounted here to be very heart-warming.  It is touching and encouraging to hear people who have searched and found an ecclesial home.  So you have my thanks completely for participating in this thread.  I do have other questions but rather than pick out individual stories or people to address, I'd like to ask something of a more general question.

Given the fact that people with very similar backgrounds choose, respectively, both Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church, I think it might be reasonable for me to wonder and to ask:  If there came a time when Orthodox bishops said that there have been several major doctrinal misunderstandings between the Orthodox and Catholics and that these things have been resolved as misunderstandings,  and communion was to be restored with no change to either Orthodox ecclesiology or Catholic ecclesiology [meaning that all jurisdictional concerns remain the same for both Orthodoxy and the Catholic Church], and no change to doctrinal teachings except to demonstrate where the fundamental teachings are shared, even with the originally contested doctrine:  Would you be able to accept that or would you reject anything like that?

It seems that Metropolitan Hilarion of the Moscow Patriarchate has suggested that this is a real possibility.  That we may, without compromise, find that we are not teaching different core truths but share core truths expressed differently.  He also suggested that we might find other things where there are differences and we have not addressed these things at all.  I am open to both and think I can see both as possibly quite true.  So I would be open to something like this:  Of course I cannot yet imagine precise terms of such a plan; none of us can.  So I am asking very generally.

M.

If it is that neat and clean -- if in fact the entire canonical Orthodox Church reunites with the entire Roman Catholic Church, yes I would accept it.  

But it won't be (and can't be) that neat and clean.  There will be mini-schisms and other fractures in both bodies before that would happen.  To an extent, that's already happening and the two sides are nowhere near intercommunion.  So in reality, I'd have to answer "I'll wait and see what that looks like and who goes where on what terms."  

So essentially you are saying that you would trust your hierarchs sufficiently to follow them?  

Also...is the path to communion, even within our respective Churches, ever truly "neat and clean"?

M.
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« Reply #77 on: March 28, 2011, 02:58:19 PM »

So essentially you are saying that you would trust your hierarchs sufficiently to follow them?  

Also...is the path to communion, even within our respective Churches, ever truly "neat and clean"?

M.

That's kind of the point -- asking if I would trust my hierarchs blindly versus whether I would trust my hierarchs in a particular situation with particular terms is two different things.  Right now, as currently constituted, Orthodox-Catholic reunion would have certain terms before Orthodox would engage in it.  If those terms are met, sure, I'm in.  You might not be, but I would be.

On the flipside, since we can't know what the terms would be, we'll just have to wait and see and that was really my point.  If every hierarch were to blindly cave to Rome tomorrow, the truth is most Orthodox bishops wouldn't go along with it and most Orthodox laity would support the Orthodox bishops who maintained Orthodox teaching.  So we'd have a bit of a canonical crisis that would work itself out, and then we'd see who ends up where.  Same with Rome -- if Pope Benedict decreed tomorrow that he does not have universal jurisdiction over the entire Church, that the immaculate conception is (pardon the pun) ill-conceived, and the filioque is heretical and should be dropped, do you think the entire Roman Catholic Church would tag along behind him?  There is a difference -- within the RCC, theoretically at least, such a thing is possible, whereas in Orthodoxy it is not.  But assuming the Pope did it, would you go along?  Do you think all of the bishops would?

That's why the question is a bit of a fantasy.  It cannot be seriously answered since it will never happen that way, on either side.  It will be quite a bit messier than that, if we ever get there.  Concessions will be made on both sides, and people -- yes, even bishops -- on both sides will schism away.  Those schisms might be healed eventually, but that is for history to work out.  As things stand now, the entire Orthodox Church is not about to become Roman Catholic, and the Roman Catholic Church isn't about to become Orthodox.  So there is quite a bit of work left to do in order to even see what the terms of any reunion would be.
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« Reply #78 on: March 28, 2011, 03:11:23 PM »

So essentially you are saying that you would trust your hierarchs sufficiently to follow them?  

Also...is the path to communion, even within our respective Churches, ever truly "neat and clean"?

M.

That's kind of the point -- asking if I would trust my hierarchs blindly versus whether I would trust my hierarchs in a particular situation with particular terms is two different things.  Right now, as currently constituted, Orthodox-Catholic reunion would have certain terms before Orthodox would engage in it.  If those terms are met, sure, I'm in.  You might not be, but I would be.

On the flipside, since we can't know what the terms would be, we'll just have to wait and see and that was really my point.  If every hierarch were to blindly cave to Rome tomorrow, the truth is most Orthodox bishops wouldn't go along with it and most Orthodox laity would support the Orthodox bishops who maintained Orthodox teaching.  So we'd have a bit of a canonical crisis that would work itself out, and then we'd see who ends up where.  Same with Rome -- if Pope Benedict decreed tomorrow that he does not have universal jurisdiction over the entire Church, that the immaculate conception is (pardon the pun) ill-conceived, and the filioque is heretical and should be dropped, do you think the entire Roman Catholic Church would tag along behind him?  There is a difference -- within the RCC, theoretically at least, such a thing is possible, whereas in Orthodoxy it is not.  But assuming the Pope did it, would you go along?  Do you think all of the bishops would?

That's why the question is a bit of a fantasy.  It cannot be seriously answered since it will never happen that way, on either side.  It will be quite a bit messier than that, if we ever get there.  Concessions will be made on both sides, and people -- yes, even bishops -- on both sides will schism away.  Those schisms might be healed eventually, but that is for history to work out.  As things stand now, the entire Orthodox Church is not about to become Roman Catholic, and the Roman Catholic Church isn't about to become Orthodox.  So there is quite a bit of work left to do in order to even see what the terms of any reunion would be.

I see what you are saying, David, and of course as you have outlined it here, my question is an absurdity.

But I think if you allow for a slightly different perspective we might get a little closer to agreement.

You list a number of doctrinal differences.  I think, with some fair good reason, that many of not most of what you've listed has already found resolution among many Orthodox hierarchs and scholars.  In other words there is no "caving" in about it.  There is actually renewed understanding. 

It seems to me as I watch from the sidelines that there are levels of understanding that have been reached already that have not been reached in centuries because of certain kinds of resistance.  So some of the accord represents a change in attitudes.  Some of it is actually due to the emergence of new, or new to us, documentation that allows for the Catholic Church to demonstrate that her language may seem foreign but her meanings have been shared with the Holy Fathers all along and the Orthodox are paying attention to this new documentary scholarship.

That's why I pose the question as I do.  Just how wedded are Orthodox believers to their conviction that all that has been said about Catholic teaching over the past few centuries in Orthodoxy is absolutely cast in stone without recourse.

I have had it said to me by Orthodox converts from the Catholic Church:  IF I was taught badly and I made a choice based on those poor teachings, then to admit that now means my whole life has been a waste and I cannot accept that!" 

That is almost a direct quote.  If that is not self-will, I don't know what is.  BUT...it is real; it is serious; it is determinative at some level and it will be hard as the dickens to change.  Do I like it?  No.  But I do recognize that it is a very real reaction and needs a very very real response.

I am curious about the similar protestant equivalent response that says "Hey!! I worked hart to get here; to make my choices; and I was and AM absolutely certain that I made the right choice!!"

The fact of the matter is that you probably did indeed make the right choice but your understanding of Catholic teaching might STILL be flawed.

It's that kind of dense emotional, intellectual and spiritual underbrush that we are ALL going to have to examine more carefully...

What do you think?

Mary
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« Reply #79 on: March 28, 2011, 03:32:37 PM »

I see what you are saying, David, and of course as you have outlined it here, my question is an absurdity.

But I think if you allow for a slightly different perspective we might get a little closer to agreement.

You list a number of doctrinal differences.  I think, with some fair good reason, that many of not most of what you've listed has already found resolution among many Orthodox hierarchs and scholars.  In other words there is no "caving" in about it.  There is actually renewed understanding. 

It seems to me as I watch from the sidelines that there are levels of understanding that have been reached already that have not been reached in centuries because of certain kinds of resistance.  So some of the accord represents a change in attitudes.  Some of it is actually due to the emergence of new, or new to us, documentation that allows for the Catholic Church to demonstrate that her language may seem foreign but her meanings have been shared with the Holy Fathers all along and the Orthodox are paying attention to this new documentary scholarship.

That's why I pose the question as I do.  Just how wedded are Orthodox believers to their conviction that all that has been said about Catholic teaching over the past few centuries in Orthodoxy is absolutely cast in stone without recourse.

I have had it said to me by Orthodox converts from the Catholic Church:  IF I was taught badly and I made a choice based on those poor teachings, then to admit that now means my whole life has been a waste and I cannot accept that!" 

That is almost a direct quote.  If that is not self-will, I don't know what is.  BUT...it is real; it is serious; it is determinative at some level and it will be hard as the dickens to change.  Do I like it?  No.  But I do recognize that it is a very real reaction and needs a very very real response.

I am curious about the similar protestant equivalent response that says "Hey!! I worked hart to get here; to make my choices; and I was and AM absolutely certain that I made the right choice!!"

The fact of the matter is that you probably did indeed make the right choice but your understanding of Catholic teaching might STILL be flawed.

It's that kind of dense emotional, intellectual and spiritual underbrush that we are ALL going to have to examine more carefully...

What do you think?

Mary

Ah, I see what you are saying -- in essence, can I admit I am wrong and we were wrong all along?

The short answer is "yes."  The long answer would be, well, long, but to put it simply, it would take an awful lot of convincing.  My guess is it would also take a lot of concession on the Catholic side for that to take hold.  A lot has been said and done over the last thousand years.  I acknowledge (and, frankly, very much appreciate) Pope Benedict's irenic tone and willingness to dialogue.  That certainly gives reason for hope.  And I would certainly hope that for our part, we wouldn't dig our heels in and say "our way or the highway."  If we're wrong and we are shown to be wrong, I'd like to think we'd be willing to accept that.

But all that remains to be seen.  I'm not anti-Rome by any means.  I am hopeful for reunion.  But I'm a realist too, and there is a lot of ground to cover to get there.  I seriously don't see one side covering all that ground, and I certainly don't see the Orthodox up and saying "well, turns out we were wrong all along," at least not to each and every issue.  Again, the Pope's tone in dealing with us is helpful in that regard, but much remains to be seen.
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« Reply #80 on: March 28, 2011, 03:48:23 PM »


Ah, I see what you are saying -- in essence, can I admit I am wrong and we were wrong all along?

The short answer is "yes."  The long answer would be, well, long, but to put it simply, it would take an awful lot of convincing.  My guess is it would also take a lot of concession on the Catholic side for that to take hold.  A lot has been said and done over the last thousand years.  I acknowledge (and, frankly, very much appreciate) Pope Benedict's irenic tone and willingness to dialogue.  That certainly gives reason for hope.  And I would certainly hope that for our part, we wouldn't dig our heels in and say "our way or the highway."  If we're wrong and we are shown to be wrong, I'd like to think we'd be willing to accept that.

But all that remains to be seen.  I'm not anti-Rome by any means.  I am hopeful for reunion.  But I'm a realist too, and there is a lot of ground to cover to get there.  I seriously don't see one side covering all that ground, and I certainly don't see the Orthodox up and saying "well, turns out we were wrong all along," at least not to each and every issue.  Again, the Pope's tone in dealing with us is helpful in that regard, but much remains to be seen.

Yes!  Now we are much closer in line with our thinking here! 

I'll tell you that I stay far away from some Catholic sites on this Internet because of the truly bitter and wrong-headed things said about Orthodoxy and also eastern Catholics.    There are Catholic Bishops that I would hate to see get within a long country mile of Orthodox bishops.  I don't know if I could stomach their high-handed superiority toward the Orthodox hierarchs.  We don't even need to get near doctrinal issues before there is work to be done on the Catholic side.  Patience will be the watchword for all those who are deeply committed to resumption of Communion.

At any rate I am very encouraged by your responses, and am in substantial agreement with you!

Mary
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« Reply #81 on: March 28, 2011, 04:37:39 PM »

Hi jordanz. I'm not going to try to sort out everything that's involved in these issues, but I want to comment on one thing that you said:

Nevertheless, I cannot shake the suspicion that some evangelicals will not even consider Rome when considering a move to apostolic Christianity.  What particularly galls me are the Protestants who convert to "Western Orthodoxy" and hear the Tridentine Mass in English.  Why not become Roman Catholic and hear Mass within the Church that is built around this liturgy?  It's all rather insulting.  I also think it's rather petty that someone would become Orthodox simply because they do not want to be perceived as Roman Catholic.

I haven't heard that complaint very often, hardly ever really, but it does make sense. (Anyone who doesn't understand it should take a moment to consider how the Orthodox feel about ex-Orthodox converts to Eastern Catholic Churches. Indeed many Orthodox even have a strong dislike of the descendants of said converts.)
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« Reply #82 on: March 28, 2011, 04:40:37 PM »

Another thing you need to bear in mind is that conversions take more than one form.  Some are conversions of the heart; some are more of the mind or reasoned conversions; and some are spirit led.

I think most people, when they hear the word conversion, are too quick to think of re-affiliation.
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« Reply #83 on: March 28, 2011, 05:02:52 PM »

Another thing you need to bear in mind is that conversions take more than one form.  Some are conversions of the heart; some are more of the mind or reasoned conversions; and some are spirit led.

I think most people, when they hear the word conversion, are too quick to think of re-affiliation.

I am not trying to be argumentative with you here, Peter but in 17 years, I have not found that among Orthodox converts, unless it happens to be eastern Catholics who, in their minds, transfer.  But even they do so by leaving parts of themselves behind...knowingly.

M.
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« Reply #84 on: March 28, 2011, 05:14:41 PM »

Nevertheless, all of us (including me) in one form or another, have prejudices.  Interestingly, we young Catholics were always told to dismiss evangelical Christianity as a simplistic, unreasoned, non-intellectual, and liturgically vapid.  These prejudices have stuck with me for many years.  The train tracks travel both ways.
This line of thinking is quite a tough sell (for me at least).

From personal experience, part of discovering and acknowledging the errors of Protestantism involved acknowledging that the prejudices against Rome were in fact, prejudices.  I remember my brother telling me that I used to be Rome's harshest critic only to become of their prime defenders.

Additionally, converts in the US face some very interesting practical challenges from living at least 3 hours away from the nearest parish to having attend churches where the liturgies are in a language they can't understand.  A person who chooses Orthodoxy simply because of a bias against Rome isn't likely to tolerate such a situation for a long time.   
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« Reply #85 on: March 28, 2011, 05:34:10 PM »

Another thing you need to bear in mind is that conversions take more than one form.  Some are conversions of the heart; some are more of the mind or reasoned conversions; and some are spirit led.

I think most people, when they hear the word conversion, are too quick to think of re-affiliation.

I am not trying to be argumentative with you here, Peter

No problem.

Question: when you say

but in 17 years, I have not found that among Orthodox converts,

is that a qualified agreement, i.e. you haven't found it among Orthodox converts but you've found it among other people?

In any case, I don't think it's worth arguing over.
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« Reply #86 on: March 28, 2011, 05:38:40 PM »

Nevertheless, all of us (including me) in one form or another, have prejudices.  Interestingly, we young Catholics were always told to dismiss evangelical Christianity as a simplistic, unreasoned, non-intellectual, and liturgically vapid.  These prejudices have stuck with me for many years.  The train tracks travel both ways.
This line of thinking is quite a tough sell (for me at least).

From personal experience, part of discovering and acknowledging the errors of Protestantism involved acknowledging that the prejudices against Rome were in fact, prejudices.  I remember my brother telling me that I used to be Rome's harshest critic only to become of their prime defenders.

Additionally, converts in the US face some very interesting practical challenges from living at least 3 hours away from the nearest parish to having attend churches where the liturgies are in a language they can't understand.  A person who chooses Orthodoxy simply because of a bias against Rome isn't likely to tolerate such a situation for a long time.   

Definitely we should try not to overgeneralize; but I think that there are a fair number of ex-Protestant Orthodox who are anti-Catholic, and also a fair number of ex-Protestant Catholics who are anti-Orthodox. I'm reminded of a Touchstone article I read some years back (at a time when I was reading Touchstone a lot more than I am now):

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=13-07-017-f
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« Reply #87 on: March 28, 2011, 05:51:26 PM »

Another thing you need to bear in mind is that conversions take more than one form.  Some are conversions of the heart; some are more of the mind or reasoned conversions; and some are spirit led.

I think most people, when they hear the word conversion, are too quick to think of re-affiliation.

I am not trying to be argumentative with you here, Peter

No problem.

Question: when you say

but in 17 years, I have not found that among Orthodox converts,

is that a qualified agreement, i.e. you haven't found it among Orthodox converts but you've found it among other people?

In any case, I don't think it's worth arguing over.

True.  No argument. 

My most numerous experiences are of people living out a process of conversion through Catholic Rites of Initiation, and in speaking to converts to Orthodoxy.  In both cases I can't really remember more than one name where I could say that they fit the description of changing affiliation.  I am the only other example of that.  Had I moved into Orthodoxy, in my own mind, I would not have done so by a process of conversion.  I would have slid across the aisle according to my own perception of the move.

Perhaps the difference in perception is in how we understand conversion...Perhaps it is because I accept what they say about their own experiences and what I observe of them....something like that.

M.
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« Reply #88 on: March 28, 2011, 06:01:07 PM »

Nevertheless, all of us (including me) in one form or another, have prejudices.  Interestingly, we young Catholics were always told to dismiss evangelical Christianity as a simplistic, unreasoned, non-intellectual, and liturgically vapid.  These prejudices have stuck with me for many years.  The train tracks travel both ways.
This line of thinking is quite a tough sell (for me at least).

From personal experience, part of discovering and acknowledging the errors of Protestantism involved acknowledging that the prejudices against Rome were in fact, prejudices.  I remember my brother telling me that I used to be Rome's harshest critic only to become of their prime defenders.

Additionally, converts in the US face some very interesting practical challenges from living at least 3 hours away from the nearest parish to having attend churches where the liturgies are in a language they can't understand.  A person who chooses Orthodoxy simply because of a bias against Rome isn't likely to tolerate such a situation for a long time.   

Definitely we should try not to overgeneralize; but I think that there are a fair number of ex-Protestant Orthodox who are anti-Catholic, and also a fair number of ex-Protestant Catholics who are anti-Orthodox. I'm reminded of a Touchstone article I read some years back (at a time when I was reading Touchstone a lot more than I am now):

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=13-07-017-f

I don't know that this article is a good one to use since Addison Hart seems to have had some kind of Change of He/art over the past year or so.  It seems as though he's had enough of a Church who specializes in pederasty, so his original "choices" are changing to other choices, if I have the story set correctly.  It seems his doctrinal discernment is pegged to the absence of holiness in a few Catholic priests and bishops.

I am certainly open to correction here.

M.
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« Reply #89 on: March 28, 2011, 06:03:23 PM »

most protestants are taught from an early age to avoid any contact with Roman Catholics at all cost...it's pretty well ingrained by the time they reach adolescence... (speaks from experience)
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