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Author Topic: Is Roman Catholicism a stepping stone to Orthodoxy?  (Read 1299 times) Average Rating: 0
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LewisBosch
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« on: December 12, 2012, 10:45:34 AM »

Is Roman Catholicism a stepping stone to Orthodoxy?

From reading through the forum, I continually see people who converted to Roman Catholicism before converting again to Orthodoxy.

Does anyone know, or can guess, why that is?
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jmbejdl
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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2012, 10:59:30 AM »

I think sometimes westerners don't even know the Orthodox Church exists and when they start searching for something older than Protestantism, they think that's all there is. Others may have some idea of the existence of Orthodoxy but think Roman Catholicism is easier or less alien. Some of them then discover Orthodoxy after they join the RCC and realise that this is actually what they were looking for. I actually discovered Orthodoxy whilst working in Romania so I more or less skipped that stage, but even so I briefly flirted with the idea of Roman Catholicism (in part because it's so much easier to find an RC parish here). Luckily for me when I actually visited a Roman Catholic mass it seemed so similar to the Protestantism I wanted to leave behind and so devoid of what I'd found in the Orthodox Church that I didn't feel any need to bother with a second visit. That didn't mean I went straight to Orthodoxy, though (it took me several more years) just that I realised that the only possible version of Christianity for me (I actually wasn't sure about Christianity in general at that point) would be Orthodoxy.

James
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2012, 01:31:48 PM »

I think sometimes westerners don't even know the Orthodox Church exists and when they start searching for something older than Protestantism, they think that's all there is. Others may have some idea of the existence of Orthodoxy but think Roman Catholicism is easier or less alien. Some of them then discover Orthodoxy after they join the RCC and realise that this is actually what they were looking for. I actually discovered Orthodoxy whilst working in Romania so I more or less skipped that stage, but even so I briefly flirted with the idea of Roman Catholicism (in part because it's so much easier to find an RC parish here). Luckily for me when I actually visited a Roman Catholic mass it seemed so similar to the Protestantism I wanted to leave behind and so devoid of what I'd found in the Orthodox Church that I didn't feel any need to bother with a second visit. That didn't mean I went straight to Orthodoxy, though (it took me several more years) just that I realised that the only possible version of Christianity for me (I actually wasn't sure about Christianity in general at that point) would be Orthodoxy.

James
Yep! Same thing happened to me. I ended up in the RCC for about 2 years before discovering Orthodoxy. I was born and raised in Protestantism.

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2012, 01:53:43 PM »

Well, for me it was the place where I developed an understanding of and appreciation for apostolic Christianity vs. other types. So I guess that was very important in that it eventually led me to Orthodoxy, but that's kind of a round about way for Rome to be a "stepping stone", as I didn't go through the intermediate step of becoming Eastern Catholic before going Orthodox (and I also had to come to disbelieve in what Rome passes off as apostolic Christianity before I could get there...that's certainly not something to credit Rome for!). Probably if I had I would've ended up EO and not OO, but I had visited EO churches before in the past and sort of knew in advance that they weren't for me. It wasn't really until I found the Coptic Orthodox Church that I found a form of Orthodoxy that seemed possible for me to live. Before that, after I'd left Rome but before I had really found the COC, I kind of figured I would have to be a secular humanist or force myself to be OCA even though I really didn't want to, because what else is there, y'know? Well, as it turns out...  Grin

So maybe for some people Rome is more of a stepping stone than others. I know there are a lot of ex-RC that end up going EO, anyway.
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sirsharp
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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2012, 04:32:39 PM »

As someone who just dropped out of RCIA and is considering Orthodoxy, I think the initial reason why people consider Catholicism before Orthodoxy is that it seems more organized and less Protestant in that regard.  Papal infallibility is not easy to accept but given the false dichotomy of that or Protestant chaos it seems much better.  However, once you begin to look at the theology of Catholicism, it resembles a sort of sacramental Protestantism.  Strict Biblical inerrancy, strong Augustinian influence, and liturgical innovations... am I talking about Protestantism or Catholicism?  The final straw for me was realizing that Catholicism is a religion built on a series of rational propositions that is always one differing rationalization away from collapsing.  I found myself either thinking that Vatican II had overturned Trent on Biblical inerrancy or that Trent was in err (to be fair some Catholics would probably claim Vatican II "clarified" or reiterated what was said at Trent but I disagree).  In short, I think a quick answer to Protestant chaos initially brings people into Catholicism and a realization that order does not equate to proper belief brings them to consider Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2012, 04:39:16 PM »

welcome sirsharp!
i hope you find much interesting material here.
there are some things to be taken with a pinch of salt, so i suggest u stick with the convert issues section first as it is very well moderated and we are not allowed to write rubbish here.

i signed up for RCIA (rite of Christian initiation of adults) before becoming orthodox, but the course didn't start for many months, so i actually attended it just after becoming orthodox (previously protestant).
i just wanted to check i wasn't missing anything, and to see if it was the same as orthodoxy.
i think generally it is not the same, but rather than praying for all catholics to become orthodox, i am praying for revival in the catholic churches and return to more orthodox practices such as stricter definitions of faith and more fasting and Bible study.
may God lead us all closer to Him.
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« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2012, 04:45:14 PM »

I think a quick answer to Protestant chaos initially brings people into Catholicism and a realization that order does not equate to proper belief brings them to consider Orthodoxy.

This is a good way to put it. Great first post. Welcome to the forums.
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« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2012, 04:49:48 PM »

I would say that Eastern Catholicism is a stepping stone to Orthodoxy.
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Shiranui117
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« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2012, 09:51:12 PM »

My story mirrors jmbejdl's and Shmomlokh's, with the exception that my family was only culturally Protestant. I ended up in the Byzantine Catholic Church a few months after converting to RCism. I was Catholic for 2 years. I think jmbejdl hit the nail on the head with why Protestants first enter the RC, then leave for the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2012, 10:20:19 PM »

I think sometimes westerners don't even know the Orthodox Church exists and when they start searching for something older than Protestantism, they think that's all there is. Others may have some idea of the existence of Orthodoxy but think Roman Catholicism is easier or less alien. Some of them then discover Orthodoxy after they join the RCC and realise that this is actually what they were looking for. I actually discovered Orthodoxy whilst working in Romania so I more or less skipped that stage, but even so I briefly flirted with the idea of Roman Catholicism (in part because it's so much easier to find an RC parish here). Luckily for me when I actually visited a Roman Catholic mass it seemed so similar to the Protestantism I wanted to leave behind and so devoid of what I'd found in the Orthodox Church that I didn't feel any need to bother with a second visit. That didn't mean I went straight to Orthodoxy, though (it took me several more years) just that I realised that the only possible version of Christianity for me (I actually wasn't sure about Christianity in general at that point) would be Orthodoxy.

James
Yep! Same thing happened to me. I ended up in the RCC for about 2 years before discovering Orthodoxy. I was born and raised in Protestantism.

In Christ,
Andrew

Almost the same for me, but I did come from a non-religious background at all.
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2012, 09:11:17 AM »

Can be a stepping stone, but it is not a necessary one. Orthodoxy and Catholicism are not connected in such a way that one is necessary in oder to arrive at the other.
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jmbejdl
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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2012, 09:24:47 AM »

Can be a stepping stone, but it is not a necessary one. Orthodoxy and Catholicism are not connected in such a way that one is necessary in oder to arrive at the other.

I agree. I never became Roman Catholic. One Mass was more than enough for me, as I said. I think anything can be a stepping stone to Orthodoxy, and not necessarily just other Christian religions. I'm not entirely convinced I would have ever become Orthodox, for instance without my diversion through Buddhism, which happened some time after that Mass. For me Karma Kagyu Buddhism was a stepping stone to Orthodoxy, odd as that may sound. It allowed me, once I'd practised it long enough to find the emptiness at its heart, to look at Christianity from a completely new perspective and one which wasn't completely twisted by my previous Protestant prejudices. Things that had looked like insurmountable obstacles when I had first looked into Orthodoxy simply melted away.

James
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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2012, 09:57:02 AM »

For me Karma Kagyu Buddhism was a stepping stone to Orthodoxy, odd as that may sound.

Same here. Tibetan Buddhism has some commonalities- sacred relics/ images, saints, ornate liturgical worship, a concept of sacred tradition, etc.
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2012, 10:16:24 AM »

I was baptized Orthodox as an infant, but did not practice till later in life. Actually, I came back to my Orthodox roots after searching for God through New Age, Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, etc.. Well, I did not become those things, but I was wondering about them. Were these things necessary? No. Was this trip profoundly meaningful for me as a person and a source of knowledge and experience? Yes.

Yet, the most important thing for me in my spiritual experience was neither of these religions. Not even Orthodoxy. It was the point I decided to change my life around according to the teachings in The Scriptures. When I said, "this is sin, it is bad for me and everybody, and it cannot belong in my life". So, when I honestly believed that God is good and sin is evil, that is when things really started happening with me. It was not so much a matter of choosing anything, but a deep personal conviction, a profound realization of the truth of my existence. God knows how I arrived at Orthodoxy. It was my decision, true, but I could have easily decided something else. It was simply God's will (primarily), in accord with mine (secondarily). I could never take credit for being Orthodox. And neither do I think Orthodoxy is about taking credit for anything. Orthodoxy is humility. Sorry, going off on rant...
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 10:17:09 AM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2012, 03:46:58 PM »

Thanks for welcoming me to the forums.  Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2012, 01:31:53 PM »

yes, ioan c, humility is very important.
i pray very much that more people like you will practice their faith and not think that infant baptism = entire orthodox practice.
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2012, 02:25:14 PM »

Can be a stepping stone, but it is not a necessary one. Orthodoxy and Catholicism are not connected in such a way that one is necessary in oder to arrive at the other.

Well if people are searching for ancient Christianity, Catholicism is always the convenient choice.  Everyone knows about it and chances are there is a Catholic (most likely Roman) parish in your town no matter how small your town is.  Then it is a matter if one would get a whiff of Orthodoxy to start exploring it.
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truthseeker32
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2012, 02:37:27 PM »

Am I the only person here who became more convinced to convert to Roman Catholicism after spending (over) a year inquiring into Orthodox Christianity?
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 02:38:56 PM by truthseeker32 » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2012, 02:40:14 PM »

Am I the only person here who became more convinced to convert to Roman Catholicism after spending (over) a year inquiring into Orthodox Christianity?

To me that seems kinda weird. Why would one do that?
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« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2012, 02:41:31 PM »

Consider where you're posting when you ask things, Truthseeker32.
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« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2012, 02:42:55 PM »

Consider where you're posting when you ask things, Truthseeker32.

Ah, I forgot what subforum this is as well.
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« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2012, 02:49:08 PM »

Am I the only person here who became more convinced to convert to Roman Catholicism after spending (over) a year inquiring into Orthodox Christianity?

I know a lot of people here won't agree with me, but you have to go where God calls you to.  There are indeed people who feel they should become Catholic and not Orthodox.  I believe that if that is where you find God, then go.  Better than to stay in Orthodoxy and you experience no spiritual growth.  Who knows, maybe one day you will become Orthodox, or maybe you'll day hapilly as a Catholic.  For me I see my spiritual growth continuing in the Orthodox Church, so that is where I will go.  At the end of the day, we can debate all these theological differences and whether the Pope is infallible or not, but if we ourselves do not live the life God wants us to live, doesn't matter what answers we choose in those debates, if it does not foster true repentance and growth in holiness then those "truths" will not save us.
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