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Veronika
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« on: April 04, 2011, 11:01:07 PM »

I could use a little advice. This has been a very difficult Lent for our family which I can only hope means something good will come of it.

My husband is not Catholic but has been attending with me since our engagement (6/7 years ago). More recently since becoming acquainted with Eastern Catholicism he got more serious about religion in general and we began talking through a lot of his issues/ answering his questions. At some point our talks turned into. . . well we devoured every book, church Father, message board, article, etc. we could get our hands on in an attempt to work out the main issues between Roman Catholicism, the broader Eastern/Oriental Catholic Churches and Orthodoxy. After a month or so of this and at the end of a very busy week we put the kids to bed and sat down on the couch with a "I think I've got it" look. After a "you go first .. no you go first" moment, he told me he wanted to become Catholic. My heart sunk as I had, that day, come to the opposite conclusion and was going to tell him I thought we should become Orthodox.

We have been in such a difficult place since then - by God's Grace, not between us or our marriage, but just that we WANT to decide what to do but can't do it.

So since we're already convinced of the spirituality of Orthodoxy, how does one find or become convinced of the One True Church? I find myself increasingly wandering down the branch theory ideas, but none of the churches actually teach that so I have to assume it is wrong.

Some things we've tried so far and failed:
A.) Reading everything and anything.
B.) Talking to our Catholic Priest. He and my husband really click and he is a wonderful man but our continued talks are not helping me move back toward Catholicism or my husband move away.
C.) Visiting Churches - I did visit an Antiochian parish twice and just fell so in love but my husband is (perhaps rightly) dismissive of aesthetics and most feelings and just didn't have the same experience I did.

Of course we continue to pray but at times I feel like I"m asking for a miracle or a thunderbolt to tell us what we should do. Maybe just the appearance of an angel or just a really prophetic dream? Throw me a bone here, Lord!  (no, seriously that was a joke)

Any ideas?
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2011, 11:12:59 PM »

My heart sunk as I had, that day, come to the opposite conclusion and was going to tell him I thought we should become Orthodox.

Have you ever told him?  Tell him and hopefully that is the first step your family needs to find the Orthodox Church.

Do you have children and if so, have they been raised as RC?
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2011, 11:23:56 PM »

Of course we continue to pray but at times I feel like I"m asking for a miracle or a thunderbolt to tell us what we should do. Maybe just the appearance of an angel or just a really prophetic dream? Throw me a bone here, Lord!  (no, seriously that was a joke)

Any ideas?

I am going to give you the most common advice given on this forum.  I would suggest in addition to attending Orthodox services when you can, to making contact with a nearby Orthodox priest.  You can read and study a great deal on your own, but the actual experience of Orthodox worship and face to face time with an Orthodox priest will make a world of difference as you discern the way forward.
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Veronika
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2011, 11:31:03 PM »

Oh I have told him. Neither of us is completely certain in either direction. He is really hung up on some points I find really trivial - The differences between jurisdictions re: receiving previously baptized converts by baptism vs. chrismation, permitting 3 marriages, contraception & the peculiar attitude regarding family size at the Orthodox church we visited. I think that being convinced of finding THE Church all those issues would be put aside.

I don't want to tell him "yes we should definitely become Orthodox" unless I'm 100% AND I think he will begin to see what I see. I want more than anything to be able to commune together. Complicating things, he could be chrismated and communed in our Eastern Catholic church soon - a matter of weeks if this is our decision as a family and the kids would be chrismated & communed as well (they are RC, not EC)

Yes we do have 2 kids, the oldest is 3 and most of his memories are @Eastern Catholic Church & some Tridentine Latin Mass. He would not even understand a conversion.

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SolEX01
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2011, 11:38:27 PM »

Oh I have told him. Neither of us is completely certain in either direction. He is really hung up on some points I find really trivial - The differences between jurisdictions re: receiving previously baptized converts by baptism vs. chrismation, permitting 3 marriages, contraception & the peculiar attitude regarding family size at the Orthodox church we visited.

Does your husband plan on being married 3 or more times or is he really concerned about how Churches receive converts - that sounds like minutiae (or some intractable problem that isn't going to be solved - like who's on first?)   Cheesy

As for contraception, let's say for sake of argument that you don't care what the RCs teach about contraception or its mortal consequences in Humanae Vitae - that is between you and your Priest (note that I haven't specified which Priest).

Family size as a barrier to conversion - that's a new one.  If you're happy with 2, 3, 4 or 19 little ones, then that is your lot in life....

I think that being convinced of finding THE Church all those issues would be put aside.

It doesn't have to be a byzantine search - sure, some people make it a byzantine search because they are afraid of dealing with one or two things of minutiae....

I don't want to tell him "yes we should definitely become Orthodox" unless I'm 100% AND I think he will begin to see what I see. I want more than anything to be able to commune together.

Sometimes, your dreams can't come true right away.  Maybe you want to make the first step and choose to defer out of respect for your husband and family.

Complicating things, he could be chrismated and communed in our Eastern Catholic church soon - a matter of weeks if this is our decision as a family and the kids would be chrismated & communed as well (they are RC, not EC)

Yes we do have 2 kids, the oldest is 3 and most of his memories are @Eastern Catholic Church & some Tridentine Latin Mass. He would not even understand a conversion.

If your husband and children become EC, they can always be re-christened Orthodox.   Wink
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 11:41:25 PM by SolEX01 » Logged
Veronika
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2011, 12:37:46 AM »

I am going to give you the most common advice given on this forum.  I would suggest in addition to attending Orthodox services when you can, to making contact with a nearby Orthodox priest.  You can read and study a great deal on your own, but the actual experience of Orthodox worship and face to face time with an Orthodox priest will make a world of difference as you discern the way forward.

That is probably great advice. I'm sure one of the Priests at the church we visited would be happy to talk to us.
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Veronika
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2011, 01:00:37 AM »


Does your husband plan on being married 3 or more times or is he really concerned about how Churches receive converts - that sounds like minutiae (or some intractable problem that isn't going to be solved - like who's on first?)   Cheesy

Ha! No I don't believe he plans on marrying 3 more times although maybe I should check Wink He really is very logical and reasonable and since I have no trouble defending these things I think it is just a hang up for a larger problem.

Quote
As for contraception, let's say for sake of argument that you don't care what the RCs teach about contraception or its mortal consequences in Humanae Vitae - that is between you and your Priest (note that I haven't specified which Priest).


Family size as a barrier to conversion - that's a new one.  If you're happy with 2, 3, 4 or 19 little ones, then that is your lot in life....

Just for the record, we basically do agree with Rome or are more conservative on the whole. I honestly don't care what anyone else does and I actually think it is great that priests can extend economy in some situations as I've seen some really unfortunate cases.

We are coming from a traditional community where 8-10 kids is totally normal so hearing folks mention that 5 was sooo many kids was really surprising. We'll get over it. We've been insulated. I don't really understand why openness to lots of kids isn't part of their world view but it isn't part of mainstream Catholic view these days either so there is not much I can say about it.

Quote
It doesn't have to be a byzantine search - sure, some people make it a byzantine search because they are afraid of dealing with one or two things of minutiae....
I'm not sure I understand what this means?
Quote
Sometimes, your dreams can't come true right away.  Maybe you want to make the first step and choose to defer out of respect for your husband and family.

I've been thinking about this Cry
Quote
If your husband and children become EC, they can always be re-christened Orthodox.   Wink

True! It does seem a bit disingenuous to go through it all with still the plan or hope of converting but there is a chance it is better for my family if I just take a step back
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SolEX01
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2011, 01:19:08 AM »

Ha! No I don't believe he plans on marrying 3 more times although maybe I should check Wink He really is very logical and reasonable and since I have no trouble defending these things I think it is just a hang up for a larger problem.

Make sure the "larger problem" isn't the pink elephant in the room.   Undecided

Just for the record, we basically do agree with Rome or are more conservative on the whole. I honestly don't care what anyone else does and I actually think it is great that priests can extend economy in some situations as I've seen some really unfortunate cases.

We are coming from a traditional community where 8-10 kids is totally normal so hearing folks mention that 5 was sooo many kids was really surprising. We'll get over it. We've been insulated. I don't really understand why openness to lots of kids isn't part of their world view but it isn't part of mainstream Catholic view these days either so there is not much I can say about it.

I think having 14 kids at 2 separate births is a little too much (e.g. Octomom); however, that doesn't sound like your problem so be fruitful and multiply....

Quote from: SolEX01
It doesn't have to be a byzantine search - sure, some people make it a byzantine search because they are afraid of dealing with one or two things of minutiae....
I'm not sure I understand what this means?

Forgive me - I should have defined byzantine in this context:

byzantine = intricately involved

Quote from: SolEX01
If your husband and children become EC, they can always be re-christened Orthodox.   Wink

True! It does seem a bit disingenuous to go through it all with still the plan or hope of converting but there is a chance it is better for my family if I just take a step back

It's not disingenuous; it's like taking a longer time to reach the destination perhaps by necessity?

There is a proper time for all things, including becoming Orthodox (or becoming RC - although this isn't a RC forum).   Wink
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 05:53:34 AM »

To the OP: I went through the exact process starting about a year ago. I had been conservative-minded RC convert from a liberal secular upbringing for about 8-9 years, and my wife is cradle Orthodox (from Russia). She began to take her faith seriously a few years before our marriage, around when I was confirmed a Catholic. For a whle, we basically went the "two lungs" route, and accepted that there was truth in each of our churches, but after we got married, and had our first 2 children (#3 is coming, pray for us!), our desire for unity grew. We realized that it was nearly untenable for a family that wants to put God first to bounce from church to church, and if we were committed Christians who believed in the Apostolic Church, the True Church, "two lungs" just wouldn't cut it. We had some long talks, and mutually agreed to look into both faiths. I assumed that she would eventually convert, as I thought her allegiance to Orthodoxy was based in her Russian-ness, and I was so convinced of my own Catholicism.

At the end, we each had our own ways of searching. For her, she did some reading, but mostly praying, and she spoke with priests on both sides of the issue, including my former RC priest. I believe she had a lot of questions pop up, but that she never really felt strayed from the EOC. I, on the other hand, had a spiritual crisis, wavered so much that I avoided church for a month or two, and then eventually stopped trying to do so much darned research, attended services more, and met a good Orthodox priest. Once I/we stopped pushing,the Spirit, I believe, gently led us both into harmony in Orthodoxy. I will be chrismated soon.

I think my point is that the best things for us were A) to try to work things out in our own respective ways, B) not to push the issue too hard, i.e., don't go ahead and get em all baptized RC when no one's sure yet, and C) seek guidance in the Clergy and in Liturgy/mass! This is my two cents, and may the Lord have mercy on your family and bring you out of this time of confusion and into His church!
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 10:53:36 AM »

I actually think it is great that priests can extend economy in some situations as I've seen some really unfortunate cases.

One of the things that I like most about Orthodoxy is the concept of economia and the pastoral approach to human dilemmas and situations. Rather than a one-size-fits-all more legalistic way of dealing with things.
I don't think that you could find anyone, whether clergy or lay, who thinks that three marriages is a swell idea. It is a pastoral concession to human weakness. Rather than saying the first marriage didn't exist, second or third marriages are entered into in a spirit of penitence, acknowledging our own responsibility for the previous failure.
Similarly with baptism. It is a pastoral decision by your bishop. And as far as the size of your family, the Orthodox understanding is that a married couple should always be open to God's gift of children, with the guidance of your priest or spiritual father.
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2011, 12:14:49 AM »

JimC - Thank you!  Your story is incredibly helpful and inspiring. It is so great to hear of conservative Catholics who were sure in their faith discovering and eventually converting to Orthodoxy. It is like putting on a whole new lens to view the church and my relationship with God. That is, at times, not a very comfortable process.  I would really be interested to hear a little more about the process you went through if you've posted it anywhere else? 
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2011, 12:29:51 AM »

One of the things that I like most about Orthodoxy is the concept of economia and the pastoral approach to human dilemmas and situations. Rather than a one-size-fits-all more legalistic way of dealing with things.

Yes! Me too, and I think RC's can paint it as a way to be lax about the rules but I really am not convinced at the RC way is really the best solution in a lot of cases - there are all these fringe situations where people cannot be reconciled to the Church without destroying their family and functioning marriage and parents trying to raise 4 & 5 little ones suddenly thrust into celibacy after a wife's medical condition makes future pregnancies too dangerous. For the majority of cases the guidelines are good and sufficient, but pushed too far they can really be more damaging.
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2011, 01:13:27 AM »

Oh I have told him. Neither of us is completely certain in either direction. He is really hung up on some points I find really trivial - The differences between jurisdictions re: receiving previously baptized converts by baptism vs. chrismation,
Is he aware that the Vatican has similar differences, e.g. they receive EO just by confession, but until just recently the Coptic Orthodox had to be rebaptized.

permitting 3 marriages,
how does he feel about an unlimited number of annullments?

contraception
The vast majority of the Vatican's following have adopted the Orthodox view.  The all celibate Vatican clergy live only in theory, which is how they keep up the charade of Humanae Vitae, which is an innovation according to the Patristics upon which its defenders depend.
& the peculiar attitude regarding family size at the Orthodox church we visited.
What was that?

I think that being convinced of finding THE Church all those issues would be put aside.
You are thinking correctly-Orthodoxly!

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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2011, 03:02:01 AM »

JimC - Thank you!  Your story is incredibly helpful and inspiring. It is so great to hear of conservative Catholics who were sure in their faith discovering and eventually converting to Orthodoxy. It is like putting on a whole new lens to view the church and my relationship with God. That is, at times, not a very comfortable process.  I would really be interested to hear a little more about the process you went through if you've posted it anywhere else? 
I think the complete story could only be pieced together in fragments as they occurred on different threads. Once I'm chrismated, God willing, I want to put up my story on the convert stories thread, but anything you're interested in, I'd love to share with you. I'm very new to all this, too, but I've had some great moments already!
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« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2011, 04:26:33 AM »

contraception
The vast majority of the Vatican's following have adopted the Orthodox view.

Which is, to make it clear, allowing for non-abortive contraceptives used for unselfish reasons.
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« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2011, 08:20:52 AM »

It is so great to hear of conservative Catholics who were sure in their faith discovering and eventually converting to Orthodoxy.

In case you aren't familiar with the following, you may be interested in stories of other Catholics who were sure in their faith who converted to Orthodoxy.  On this forum Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) has been discussed quite a bit, a Benedictine hermit and renowned patristics scholar who just recently enterred the Orthodox Church.  Fr. Placide (Deseille) in France, another renowned Roman Catholic patristic scholar and monastic who enterred the Orthodox Church some years ago, is another very good example.  Certainly there are others.

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/09/01/swiss-theologian-becomes-orthodox/#axzz1IkCaBp00

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2011/01/26/a-catholic-hermit-converted-to-orthodoxy/#axzz1IkCaBp00

http://avowofconversation.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/placide-deseille-on-twentieth-century-catholicism/

The last link is to the blog of Sr. Macrina (Walker) who also just recently enterred the Orthodox Church after years as a Cistercian nun.

You will find many other Roman Catholic to Orthodox Conversion stories, including the story of a Jesuit missionary priest and other Roman Catholic clergy and laity who enterred the Orthodox Church here:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/category/convert-stories/non-orthodox-christians/roman-catholics/#axzz1IkCaBp00

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« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2011, 09:35:08 AM »

It is so great to hear of conservative Catholics who were sure in their faith discovering and eventually converting to Orthodoxy.

In case you aren't familiar with the following, you may be interested in stories of other Catholics who were sure in their faith who converted to Orthodoxy.  On this forum Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) has been discussed quite a bit, a Benedictine hermit and renowned patristics scholar who just recently enterred the Orthodox Church.  Fr. Placide (Deseille) in France, another renowned Roman Catholic patristic scholar and monastic who enterred the Orthodox Church some years ago, is another very good example.  Certainly there are others.

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/09/01/swiss-theologian-becomes-orthodox/#axzz1IkCaBp00

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2011/01/26/a-catholic-hermit-converted-to-orthodoxy/#axzz1IkCaBp00

http://avowofconversation.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/placide-deseille-on-twentieth-century-catholicism/

The last link is to the blog of Sr. Macrina (Walker) who also just recently enterred the Orthodox Church after years as a Cistercian nun.

You will find many other Roman Catholic to Orthodox Conversion stories, including the story of a Jesuit missionary priest and other Roman Catholic clergy and laity who enterred the Orthodox Church here:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/category/convert-stories/non-orthodox-christians/roman-catholics/#axzz1IkCaBp00


I read a number of these last summer and found them quite inspiring, FWIW!
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2011, 12:00:15 AM »


In case you aren't familiar with the following, you may be interested in stories of other Catholics who were sure in their faith who converted to Orthodoxy.  On this forum Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) has been discussed quite a bit, a Benedictine hermit and renowned patristics scholar who just recently enterred the Orthodox Church.  Fr. Placide (Deseille) in France, another renowned Roman Catholic patristic scholar and monastic who enterred the Orthodox Church some years ago, is another very good example.  Certainly there are others.

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/09/01/swiss-theologian-becomes-orthodox/#axzz1IkCaBp00

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2011/01/26/a-catholic-hermit-converted-to-orthodoxy/#axzz1IkCaBp00

http://avowofconversation.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/placide-deseille-on-twentieth-century-catholicism/

The last link is to the blog of Sr. Macrina (Walker) who also just recently enterred the Orthodox Church after years as a Cistercian nun.

You will find many other Roman Catholic to Orthodox Conversion stories, including the story of a Jesuit missionary priest and other Roman Catholic clergy and laity who enterred the Orthodox Church here:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/category/convert-stories/non-orthodox-christians/roman-catholics/#axzz1IkCaBp00



Thank you for posting these! It is really great to see them and I will have to google for more on some of their stories. It is really intense to see serious monastics "making the switch" even at 70 years old! Pretty amazing.  I also really enjoyed the three part piece from a Byzantine Catholic

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2011/03/25/the-story-of-orthodoxy%E2%80%99s-prodigal-son-pt-1/#axzz1IlTAu4RX

in which he calls Byzantine Catholicism "just a bridge" between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy - and a bridge is not a place to stay. All this combine with the latest episode of The Illumined Heart, in which Melkite Catholic priest Fr. James Babcock talks about how the Eastern Catholic Churches are not an ideal model of unity I'm feeling more sure.  I'm going to gently share this with my husband.
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2011, 01:16:41 PM »

It is so great to hear of conservative Catholics who were sure in their faith discovering and eventually converting to Orthodoxy.

In case you aren't familiar with the following, you may be interested in stories of other Catholics who were sure in their faith who converted to Orthodoxy.  On this forum Fr. Gabriel (Bunge) has been discussed quite a bit, a Benedictine hermit and renowned patristics scholar who just recently enterred the Orthodox Church.  Fr. Placide (Deseille) in France, another renowned Roman Catholic patristic scholar and monastic who enterred the Orthodox Church some years ago, is another very good example.  Certainly there are others.

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/09/01/swiss-theologian-becomes-orthodox/#axzz1IkCaBp00

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2011/01/26/a-catholic-hermit-converted-to-orthodoxy/#axzz1IkCaBp00

http://avowofconversation.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/placide-deseille-on-twentieth-century-catholicism/

The last link is to the blog of Sr. Macrina (Walker) who also just recently enterred the Orthodox Church after years as a Cistercian nun.

You will find many other Roman Catholic to Orthodox Conversion stories, including the story of a Jesuit missionary priest and other Roman Catholic clergy and laity who enterred the Orthodox Church here:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/category/convert-stories/non-orthodox-christians/roman-catholics/#axzz1IkCaBp00



I found the Bunge story very enlightening for my own spiritual journey. Thanks so much.  Smiley
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