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Author Topic: Looking for the "perfect" Church  (Read 7094 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jennifer
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« on: January 11, 2005, 01:54:33 AM »

I suppose all of us who have converted or considered conversion have debated the whole convert from/to question.   I suppose there is some search for the "perfect" Church in any religious 'journey.'  Of course there is no "perfect" Church as Churches are made up by human beings and human beings are infallible. 

But I'm interesting in hearing how others resolved that delimma.  I see my own 'quest' as somewhat of a convert from phenomenon.  I feel drawn towards Orthodoxy so there's certainly a convert to element there as well.  But I can't let go of my 'disappointment' with the latin Church.  I also can't lie and have to admit that part of my decision to 'dox' is a desire not to be in communion with certain people anymore.  I'm tired of dealing with ultramontanist trads.  And I swear if I hear one more debate about "invincible ignorance" I'll pull my hair out.  And don't get me started on "de fides."  I'm tired of the whole latin intellectual 'structure.'  And I can't be Byzantine Catholic because 1) I doubt the papal claims and 2) IMHO those churches exist just for the 'pleasure' of a few. 

(As an aside, I'm tired of bullies.  I'm tired of people who use religion as a club to beat other people over the head with.  And I see this in RCC circles and can't tolerate it anymore. 

I don't think this means I shouldn't convert.  I love Orthodoxy and have done so for years. 

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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2005, 09:44:10 AM »

Jennifer,

Warning up-front: I'm Roman Catholic. However, I will not try to convert you to a certain Church; I'll just pray for you to follow the Lord.

I think you need to reconsider your perspective. For example, you complain about "ultramontanist trads" in the RCC. Do you realize what a small percentage of the RCC consists of such types? I think your time spent in certain forums is skewing your reality; I've been Catholic for 12 years in three different dioceses, went to a Catholic university, met hundreds and hundreds of Catholics, and I've run into maybe one person who is an "ultramontanist trad". However, spending five minutes in certain forums has had me run into dozens of them. They shout loudly because they are in such a minority. In a Church as big as the RCC, you will find all types - and some will be louder than others. Judging a Church based on some of it's members is not a good thing to do: every single one will fail. Also, you state you don't want to be "in communion" with some RCC's. Have you ever considered that some of them don't want to be in communion with you? But that is the mystery of the Church: all of us sinners are in communion with each other only by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and only by the mystery of the Eucharist. We are brothers and sisters whether we like each other or not. You can no more disown your brothers and sisters in the Faith than you can your physical siblings.

I'm not going to tell you not to 'dox. However, I fear that after a few years you will have the same problems with fellow Orthodox that you currently have with fellow Roman Catholics. You may not currently be disturbed by Orthodox intramural fights like you are with RCC internal debates, but trust me - you will be some day. And you will find plenty of Orthodox who use religion as a club as well. This is not an indictment of the Orthodox Faith - it is an indictment of sinful humanity.

Your decision about what Church to join should be based on the Truth of the Church, along with a call from Christ - not a personality contest of their members. Someone famous (I think Groucho Marx) once said: "I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member." We should not have that attitude about the Church. Christ has come to save us sinners, not the righteous.
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2005, 11:28:09 AM »

Jennifer,

I am a convert to Orthodoxy from Latin and Eastern Catholicism.

Quote
I suppose all of us who have converted or considered conversion have debated the whole convert from/to question.   I suppose there is some search for the "perfect" Church in any religious 'journey.'  Of course there is no "perfect" Church as Churches are made up by human beings and human beings are infallible.

The Orthodox Church is perfect since She is the bride of Christ and all truth resides in Her. However, it is true that those in our local churches are indeed imperfect, are sinners and fall short of God's Glory. It would be wonderful to communicate in a parish full of saints who radiate the light of Christ to such a degree that all around them will be saved and illuminated. But this is usuallt not the case.

Quote
But I'm interesting in hearing how others resolved that delimma.  I see my own 'quest' as somewhat of a convert from phenomenon.  I feel drawn towards Orthodoxy so there's certainly a convert to element there as well.  But I can't let go of my 'disappointment' with the latin Church.  I also can't lie and have to admit that part of my decision to 'dox' is a desire not to be in communion with certain people anymore.  I'm tired of dealing with ultramontanist trads.  And I swear if I hear one more debate about "invincible ignorance" I'll pull my hair out.  And don't get me started on "de fides."  I'm tired of the whole latin intellectual 'structure.'  And I can't be Byzantine Catholic because 1) I doubt the papal claims and 2) IMHO those churches exist just for the 'pleasure' of a few. 

I feel/felt the same way. As we gather together we should be of one heart and one mind. We should not "pick" a church where we feel "comfortable" worshipping. We worship in Spirit and Truth, not at a church where its beliefs mirror our personal likings. The Orthodox Church worships in Spirit and Truth: all other heterdox churches fall short (these include the Latin/Eastern Catholic churches, Protestants, etc).

Christ established the Church for our salvation: it is the hospital where we receive the medication for our healing and restoration to life. The Church is made up of those Orthodox Christians who are being purified by the intense struggle of fasting, prayer, almsgiving; who are being illuminated by the mysteries and the Holy Scriptures; and who will someday, God willing, be glorified. The "dogmas" of the Chruch are not philosophical truths which are to be rationally adhered to and believed in. Rather, they are the truth of God which brings about our purification, illumination and glorification.

Of course, there are going to be those within Orthodoxy who have "different" views. Hence, they are not on the path to glorification if they continue to hold these beliefs. They are not accepting the medication of the Church and are not illumined. It is up to us, through selfless love, to be a beacon of Christ's light to those around us. This way, we may "win" the hearts of those who are in error.

Gregory
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Jennifer
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2005, 11:59:39 AM »


Your decision about what Church to join should be based on the Truth of the Church, along with a call from Christ - not a personality contest of their members. Someone famous (I think Groucho Marx) once said: "I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member." We should not have that attitude about the Church. Christ has come to save us sinners, not the righteous.


I understand this, however, I do think that the behavior of the members of a Church do teach us something about the Church. 
 
I'm tired of armchair apologetics.  It's like every Roman Catholic with access to the internet and a copy of the catechism is now an apologetist.  My experience has been that most of these people are uneducated and don't get any kind of 'nuance' in the faith.  Part of the blame for that, IMHO, can be placed squarely with the Roman Catholic  Church.  They tossed out their history; the old liturgy, the writings of the saints, etc, so people can't learn. 

For example, my parents have belonged to a "small faith group" for about 10 years.  Their group studies the most banal, inane junk I've ever seen.  Given the rich history of Roman Catholic, it makes me sick.  But that's all they know because no one has told them otherwise.  They use materials published by Catholic sources.   

A Roman Catholic priest I know often says that the typical Roman Catholic is intellectually starving to death.   

Obviously Orthodoxy does not have that problem. 

I think what I've written about religious bullies is right on target.  The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that it's right.  The thing all bullies share is a sense of low sense esteem.  In terms of religion, someone else's choice of something different makes them question their own choice.  If they felt completely confident in their own choice they wouldn't be threatened by someone else's different choice.  So the question for me is why do so many Roman Catholics *feel* less than secure about their own religious choice. 

BTW, Francis, thanks for defending me against the "Christ killer" charge.  I can't believe someone would even say that of me but I'm not surprised given the bizarreness of that forum. 
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2005, 12:17:01 PM »

>>>And I can't be Byzantine Catholic because 1) I doubt the papal claims and 2) IMHO those churches exist just for the 'pleasure' of a few.

Jennifer,
Despite the impression you've probably gotten on some web forums, there are generations of Byzantine Catholics who were BC because that was the only way of [spiritual/other] life they knew.  It wasn't their selection on a menu, it wasn't something they decided was "better" than something else -- it was just who they were.  And they were fine with it and I imagine their lives were pleasing to God and that they lifted up others while they were here on earth.  And believe it or not, there's still a lot of those people around.  But they don't come on the Internet and trumpet to high heaven how much knowledge they have and how amazing everything is now that they've "found" the "truth".

Our Churches don't exist and didn't come about so that others will have a "choice" in worship styles or a "choice" of spirituality.  They exist because of the people that have made them what they are.  If others find that attractive they are welcome to come aboard (or they should be...).

That may sound ethnocentric (and I wish it didn't), but the happiest Byzantine Catholics are those who don't take everything so terribly seriously and aren't looking to be offended at the drop of a hat over perceived "exclusivity" or "ethnic-clubbiness" or what have you.  I know a lot of BCs who were not born into that Church but are as BC as anyone else who's ever lived on this earth.
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2005, 12:41:58 PM »

Jennifer,

I think you and I have just had different experiences. Most of mine have been "off-line", not on forums. I have found most devout Roman Catholics I know (both converts and cradle) to be secure in their Faith, and little interested in being arm-chair popes. And those that want to be enriched by our deep Tradition can be - sometimes at the parish level, sometimes they have to find it on their own. But it's there. Those in the forums (like us!) tend to be certain personality types, and therefore skew the perspective. It is doubtful someone like St. Teresa of Liseux would have ever gotten into an internet forum debate!

I have encountered saints in just about every Church and denomination, and have also encountered rude, bullying, and insecure people in every Church and denomination possible! It's simply human nature. Clearly your experience has been different than mine.

I'd be curious of your opinion on this matter after you've been Orthodox for a number of years. It could very well not change, but I suspect that you'll find your share of problems there as well.

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Jennifer
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2005, 05:11:06 PM »

Francis, as a lifelong Roman Catholic, I've had good experiences in "real life" as well.  I was blessed to attend a good, prayerful Roman Catholic parish for several years.  The liturgy was done well and the priest was orthodox.   

But unfortunately, I've moved and my only 'orthodox' RC options here appear to be the latin Mass.  Some of the things I've seen at Roman Catholic parishes here are quite frankly shocking.  I live in a neighborhood with a Catholic parish every half mile or so.  Beautiful old churches built by poor immigrants.  But unfortunately with banal liturgies and legions of eucharistic ministers.  And the churches are empty.   

There are Eastern Catholic Churches here too.  They are mostly very ethnic.  There is a non-ethnic Byzantine Catholic parish in the suburbs (about an hour and a half drive one way) but I assume it's dominated by the Byzcath bully "evangelist," Dan. 

So after a lot of thought, Orthodoxy is the best option for me.  There's several wonderful, not too ethnic Orthodox parishes here.  With normal people who don't go on and on about the Fatima consecration and how freemasons are taking over the world. 

Don't assume that I'm naive about Orthodox people.  I've been in Orthodox circles long enough to have met some real head cases.  But Orthodoxy seems to provide some of grounding for people.  For example, in the RC, people seek out fantastic stories of Marian apparitions IMHO because people have a need for the sacred which is missing in the modern RCC. 
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2005, 05:14:03 PM »


I don't think this means I shouldn't convert. I love Orthodoxy and have done so for years.


If you joined the Malankara Church, you'd already be accepted for membership as a Roman Catholic who has received the sacraments. You would not have to confess any heresies or be baptized again.
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2005, 05:22:28 PM »

If you joined the Malankara Church, you'd already be accepted for membership as a Roman Catholic who has received the sacraments. You would not have to confess any heresies or be baptized again.

Is this true? God forbid!

Gregory
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2005, 05:35:21 PM »



Is this true? God forbid!

Gregory

The Oriental Orthodox Churches were not really involved in the Great Schism, and therefore Catholics are still received in the Malankara Church and are allowed to receive communion without confessing any Catholic heresies. The Schism was a conflict between the Eastern Church and the Latin Church and the Malankara Church was mostly on the sidelines. I wouldn't be surprised if for generations afterwards, if there were Malankarese Christians who had not even heard of the Schism.
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2005, 07:26:23 PM »

I wouldn't be surprised if for generations afterwards, if there were Malankarese Christians who had not even heard of the Schism.

I can easily believe this.  However, I cannot so simply believe that our Church requires nothing of RC's who convert.  Another seminarian I spoke with today felt as I did, that at the very least Confession and some kind of profession of faith is/should be required,  My mother is of the opinion that we probably Chrismate RC's.  I am consulting the bishop for an official opinion. 
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2005, 07:30:08 PM »



The Oriental Orthodox Churches were not really involved in the Great Schism, and therefore Catholics are still received in the Malankara Church and are allowed to receive communion without confessing any Catholic heresies. The Schism was a conflict between the Eastern Church and the Latin Church and the Malankara Church was mostly on the sidelines. I wouldn't be surprised if for generations afterwards, if there were Malankarese Christians who had not even heard of the Schism.

Right, but the Catholics would still fall under the anathema of your Church for professing two natures and vererating St Leo, so on that basis alone there should be some type of profession.

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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2005, 07:32:11 PM »



I can easily believe this. However, I cannot so simply believe that our Church requires nothing of RC's who convert. Another seminarian I spoke with today felt as I did, that at the very least Confession and some kind of profession of faith is/should be required, My mother is of the opinion that we probably Chrismate RC's. I am consulting the bishop for an official opinion.

It would be great if you had Bishop Makarios' word on this, I should have thought of that.

If one has already received confirmation in the Catholic Church, I do not see how he would have to be chrismated in ours given that they are essentially the same.

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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2005, 07:34:46 PM »



Right, but the Catholics would still fall under the anathema of your Church for professing two natures and vererating St Leo, so on that basis alone there should be some type of profession.

Anastasios

From what I understand, We also share a special relationship with Catholics given that the Malankara Church was once under the juristiction of Rome (though this was by force and the Malankarese Christians eventually rebelled.)

We do not doubt that sainthood of Catholic saints and we do not judge Catholics as being anathema for believing in the dualist Christology.
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2005, 08:01:15 PM »

I'm not consulting H.G. Mar Makarios, I'm consulting the Diocese.  BTW, who do you guys commemorate in the Liturgy? 

The Malankara Orthodox not only rebelled, but pretty much cursed Rome after the Portuguese ravaging of the Indian Church.  You'd be hard pressed, I think, to discern a "special relationship" with the RCC in our Church given this history.

We do not doubt the sainthood of Catholic saints, but make no proclamation in favour of them either. 

On Christological matters, we do not have any disagreements with them or with the Eastern Orthodox, and so I wouldn't go so far as Anastasios.  There are, however, enough differences between RC's and Orthodox that I'm not easily convinced they have absolutely nothing to do to convert and join our Church other than show up.   
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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2005, 12:46:57 AM »


(As an aside, I'm tired of bullies. I'm tired of people who use religion as a club to beat other people over the head with. And I see this in RCC circles and can't tolerate it anymore.


  Well, there are bullies like that in Orthodox circles, BELIEVE ME!  There are in all Churches.
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« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2005, 01:59:28 AM »

Here's an example of the kind of attitude I HATE in Roman Catholicism. 

http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=26340

Note the comment about Orthodox Christians being "borderline gnostic in their spirituality." 

What I see at the root of Roman Catholicism is a kind of 'conformism,' i.e. be like us or there's something wrong with you.  Roman Catholics 'tolerate' Eastern Catholics, as long the former keeps quiet. 

In my experience, there are two predominate RC opinions of Orthodoxy 1) the patronizing "oh aren't they quaint" and 2) the "there's something suspiciously heretical about them."  I don't know which is more offensive. 

As an example of #2, on that same board, someone wrote that the "eastern way" of giving communion to infants wasn't respectful.  I note also the debate on the Catholic Answers board about what to call the Orthodox.  They wouldn't even give them the respect of calling them catholics. 

So much for "the two lungs" and all that.  Of course this attitude isn't present amongst more educated Roman Catholics. 
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« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2005, 02:04:42 PM »

I love how the "Defensor Fidei" is from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (what, is Cardinal Mahony not enough? Smiley ). 
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« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2005, 03:21:16 PM »

This is really bizarre

http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=26379

I think this idea that we have to maim ourselves to atone for our sins is extreme. Of course I believe in the necessity of ascesis through fasting and self-denial, but what they are suggesting goes way beyond that. I've always been put off by the emphasis of how much of our blood we need to spill that seems a part of traditional Western piety.

Here's an example of the kind of attitude I HATE in Roman Catholicism.

http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=26340

Not the comment about Orthodox Christians being "borderline gnostic in their spirituality."

What I see at the root of Roman Catholicism is a kind of 'conformism,' i.e. be like us or there's something wrong with you. Roman Catholics 'tolerate' Eastern Catholics, as long the former keeps quiet.

In my experience, there are two predominate RC opinions of Orthodoxy 1) the patronizing "oh aren't they quaint" and 2) the "there's something suspiciously heretical about them." I don't know which is more offensive.

As an example of #2, on that same board, someone wrote that the "eastern way" of giving communion to infants wasn't respectful. I note also the debate on the Catholic Answers board about what to call the Orthodox. They wouldn't even give them the respect of calling them catholics.

So much for "the two lungs" and all that. Of course this attitude isn't present amongst more educated Roman Catholics.
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2005, 03:36:24 PM »


Freaks. The evil one and his demons are having a good laugh at these poor fools.
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« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2005, 03:44:57 PM »

BTW, who do you guys commemorate in the Liturgy? 

What do you mean?


The Malankara Orthodox not only rebelled, but pretty much cursed Rome after the Portuguese ravaging of the Indian Church. 

I am aware of that but Catholics are still accepted as members of the Malankara Church, as far as I have learned so far.

On Christological matters, we do not have any disagreements with them or with the Eastern Orthodox, and so I wouldn't go so far as Anastasios. 

We believe that Christ has one nature that is both fully divine and fully human.
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« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2005, 03:58:28 PM »

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Freaks. Then evil one and his demons are having a good laugh at these poor fools.

Agreed.  Even if one accepts flaggellation and hair shirts, there is a MARKED difference between wearing such a shirt as, say, Thomas More did, and allowing oneself to be crucified (repeatedly, I might add) to "make reparations".

This Filipino practice really freaks me out; I would really rather sup with Lenin and Aleister Crowley than with these "crucified" folks.
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« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2005, 04:46:58 PM »

This is really bizarre

http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=26379

I think this idea that we have to maim ourselves to atone for our sins is extreme. Of course I believe in the necessity of ascesis through fasting and self-denial, but what they are suggesting goes way beyond that. I've always been put off by the emphasis of how much of our blood we need to spill that seems a part of traditional Western piety.


These kinds of foolish questions are asked there very often.  My theory is that it is because most Roman Catholics have no good spiritual direction anymore.  There are so few priests.  As a Roman Catholic, you can live your entire life as a faithful Catholic and never receive any personal spiritual guidance at all. 

So these people are 'hungry' for something more than "Gather Us In" but they have to figure it out on their own and it leads to 'whacko-ness.' 

Or they tune in EWTN which isn't terrible, per se, but it's still not personal direction. 
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« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2005, 05:30:36 PM »

That is very true. Many RC priests are essentially parish administrators because of the shortage. There are those that will offer spiritual direction, but most of them just don't have the time. Many parishioners are lucky if they get to shake the priest's hand after Mass.

As for that board, I guess the wackiness should be expected with Indiana Jones over there. They could take the Indiana Jones bullwhip and use it to punish themselves.  Smiley



These kinds of foolish questions are asked there very often. My theory is that it is because most Roman Catholics have no good spiritual direction anymore. There are so few priests. As a Roman Catholic, you can live your entire life as a faithful Catholic and never receive any personal spiritual guidance at all.

So these people are 'hungry' for something more than "Gather Us In" but they have to figure it out on their own and it leads to 'whacko-ness.'

Or they tune in EWTN which isn't terrible, per se, but it's still not personal direction.
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« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2005, 08:57:32 PM »

What do you mean?

In the first Diptych of the Divine Liturgy, when we commemorate the bishops, we commemorate our fathers Mor Ignatius (the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch), Mor Basilios (the Orthodox Catholicos of the East), Mor Gregorios (titular, Jerusalem), and the bishop of the diocese (here in America, Mor Barnabas, and his assistant bishop Mor Nicholovos).  I am only asking if these are who you commemorate as well: I'm presuming your practice is the same as ours, since we are in the same geographic diocese.   

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I am aware of that but Catholics are still accepted as members of the Malankara Church, as far as I have learned so far.

Catholics can be accepted as members of our Church, that is not the issue.  I highly doubt they are just taken in *as is*, and without Chrismation, or even Confession, which is what you seem to be saying. 
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« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2005, 09:19:44 PM »

I am only asking if these are who you commemorate as well: I'm presuming your practice is the same as ours, since we are in the same geographic diocese.

Yes but there are quite a few others that we commemorate as well.

Catholics can be accepted as members of our Church, that is not the issue.  I highly doubt they are just taken in *as is*, and without Chrismation, or even Confession, which is what you seem to be saying. 

If a Catholic has recieved Confirmation, is that not essentially the same as Chrismation?



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« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2005, 09:33:24 PM »

Yes but there are quite a few others that we commemorate as well.

I would appreciate it if you could tell me who the "quite a few" others are that you commemorate in the first diptych (the bishops of the Church, and not the saints named in the fourth and fifth diptychs).  You can PM me their names if you don't want to post them here. 

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If a Catholic has recieved Confirmation, is that not essentially the same as Chrismation?

There is a church in India which uses stripped down Syriac baptismal rites, including chrismation, but is cut off from the Orthodox Church.  When members of their church join the Orthodox Church, they are Chrismated.  And the form of their sacraments is correct.  This is why I would be very surprised to find out that Catholics are not received through even Confession, but simply *as is*.  I will wait on the bishop to answer my letter (he's apparently in India, just found out today, which is why I don't have an answer yet). 
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« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2005, 09:38:59 PM »


You can PM me their names if you don't want to post them here.


I'd need to have the liturgy with me.

This is why I would be very surprised to find out that Catholics are not received through even Confession, but simply *as is*.

When Roman Catholics visit for the liturgy, they are accepted to receive the Eucharist as is, including my mother.


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« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2005, 10:09:04 PM »



I'd need to have the liturgy with me.

No problem, I'm in no rush.  If looking at the text of the diptychs would help jog your memory, you will find them at the link below:

http://sor.cua.edu/Liturgy/Anaphora/James.html

Quote
When Roman Catholics visit for the liturgy, they are accepted to receive the Eucharist as is, including my mother.

I know of RC's being communed in some of our churches without having to convert.  Pastoral circumstances specific to the individuals concerned may lead the priest to consider doing this via economy, but it is still not "as is". 
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« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2005, 10:21:10 PM »

Pastoral circumstances specific to the individuals concerned may lead the priest to consider doing this via economy, but it is still not "as is".

What do you mean?
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« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2005, 10:37:05 PM »



What do you mean?

When I approached the Indian Orthodox bishop of New Delhi as a Catholic back in 2000 to receive the Eucharist at first he was reluctant because there was a Catholic parish 20 minutes away. His response was "if you can go there, you don't need to receive communion from us." When I explained how difficult it was for me to get around New Delhi, he said "ok" and gave me permission based on this alone.

Anastasios
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« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2005, 10:38:48 PM »

In the two cases I've seen, the clergy took the individuals aside and explained certain things to them.  In one case, they didn't need to be reminded about the differences in faith between our Churches, while in the other this was made very clear.  In both, economy was, IMO, justifiable, although less in the second (again, IMO).  I won't go into it in more depth here, as it is a pastoral matter.   
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« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2005, 11:04:27 PM »

All I can tell you is that in my particular congregation, Catholics are accepted to receive the Eucharist "as is". Furthermore, As far as Father Michael tells me, Catholics are accepted in to the Church as members without having to confess to him any "heresies" or unergo any special initiation rites.

Also, I and other members of my church find it to be rather unsettling when members of the Oriental Orthodox Churches are required to confess their "heresies" before they can receive communion in the Greek Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2005, 10:37:01 PM »

All I can tell you is that in my particular congregation, Catholics are accepted to receive the Eucharist "as is". Furthermore, As far as Father Michael tells me, Catholics are accepted in to the Church as members without having to confess to him any "heresies" or unergo any special initiation rites.

Also, I and other members of my church find it to be rather unsettling when members of the Oriental Orthodox Churches are required to confess their "heresies" before they can receive communion in the Greek Orthodox Church.

I guess what I object to is your projecting your experience in your one parish onto the Church as a whole.  In all honestly, I have never heard of the things you say occur within your local community occuring in the rest of the Malankara Church, let alone the wider body of the Orthodox Church (it certainly doesn't seem to happen among the EO, either).  A few things you describe I am aware of, but most of what you say does not reflect our tradition, at least as I understand it, and it troubles me to say that, but I say it in love.

Your second point I addressed in a post in another thread.         
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« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2005, 11:01:06 AM »

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All I can tell you is that in my particular congregation, Catholics are accepted to receive the Eucharist "as is". Furthermore, As far as Father Michael tells me, Catholics are accepted in to the Church as members without having to confess to him any "heresies" or unergo any special initiation rites
.

I guess what I object to is your projecting your experience in your one parish onto the Church as a whole. In all honestly, I have never heard of the things you say occur within your local community occuring in the rest of the Malankara Church,

Phil,

The apparent oekonomia being exercised at Matthew's parish may be related to the Syriac-Catholic provisions for pastoral necessity

From The Joint Communique of His Holiness Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatios Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and Supreme Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, signed on 23 June 1984 in the presence of His Eminence John Cardinal Willebrands, His Beatitude Mor Baselius Paulos II, Catholicos of the East, Archbishops Mor Gregorios Yohanna, Mor Yulius Yeshu Cicek and Mor Severios Isahaq, Rabban Benyamin Joseph, Mr. John Glore and Daniel Babu Paul.

Quote
8. Since it is the chief expression of Christian unity between the faithful and between Bishops and priests, the Holy Eucharist cannot yet be concelebrated by us. Such celebration supposes a complete identity of faith such as does not yet exist between us. Certain questions, in fact, still need to be resolved touching the Lord's will for His Church, as also the doctrinal implications and canonical details of the traditions proper to our communities which have been too long separated.

9. Our identity in faith, though not yet complete, entitles us to envisage collaboration between our Churches in pastoral care, in situations which nowadays are frequent both because of the dispersion of our faithful throughout the world and because of the precarious conditions of these difficult times. It is not rare, in fact, for our faithful to find access to a priest of their own Church materially or morally impossible. Anxious to meet their needs and with their spiritual benefit in mind, we authorize them in such cases to ask for the Sacraments of Penance, Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick from lawful priests of either of our two sister Churches, when they need them. It would be a logical corollary of collaboration in pastoral care to cooperate in priestly formation and theological education. Bishops are encouraged to promote sharing of facilities for theological education where they judge it to be advisable. While doing this we do not forget that we must still do all in our power to achieve the full visible communion between the Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and ceaselessly implore our Lord to grant us that unity which alone will enable us to give to the world a fully unanimous Gospel witness.

See Dialogue and Joint Declarations with the Roman Catholic Church for the full text.

Similar provisions exist between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. See Admission to the Eucharist in situations of pastoral necessity: Provision between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East and Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East

I have been told by others, including members of the faithful of those Churches, that similar agreements exist between the Catholic Church and the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Orthodox Churches - and it would not be difficult to imagine, as there is a tendency among the Oriental Orthodox to act with some degree of oneness, although they not all fully in communion with one another. However, I have not been able to document the existence of other such agreements to my satisfaction.

Matthew,

As I suspect the referenced Communique is the basis on which Catholics are being communed in your parish, I wonder whether these are principally Syro-Malabarese, Syriac, or Latin Catholics of ethnic Indian descent? If not, are they your average run-of-the-mill, non-descript, American Latin Catholics? If Father is applying the pastoral provisions to the latter, I believe he may be stretching its understanding and application beyond the sense in which it was intended.

Many years,

Neil

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« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2005, 02:21:41 PM »

Phil,

The apparent oekonomia being exercised at Matthew's parish may be related to the Syriac-Catholic provisions for pastoral necessity

From The Joint Communique of His Holiness Pope John Paul II and  His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatios Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and Supreme Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church, signed on 23 June 1984 in the presence of His Eminence John Cardinal Willebrands, His Beatitude Mor Baselius Paulos II, Catholicos of the East, Archbishops Mor Gregorios Yohanna, Mor Yulius Yeshu Cicek and Mor Severios Isahaq, Rabban Benyamin Joseph, Mr. John Glore and Daniel Babu Paul.

See Dialogue and Joint Declarations with the Roman Catholic Church for the full text.

Similar provisions exist between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East.  See Admission to the Eucharist in situations of pastoral necessity: Provision between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East and Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East

The agreement between the Roman Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch does not extend to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church because it is an autocephalous Church, and I am unaware of any similar agreement being made between Rome and our Church.  It is true that individual priests or bishops, seeing that agreement, may decide to go along with it anyway (since there are no substantial differences in faith between the Syrians and ourselves, our problems being mostly administrative), but strictly speaking it is not binding in any way on us, and no such action should be taken.       

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I have been told by others, including members of the faithful of those Churches, that similar agreements exist between the Catholic Church and the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Orthodox Churches - and it would not be difficult to imagine, as there is a tendency among the Oriental Orthodox to act with some degree of oneness, although they not all fully in communion with one another. However, I have not been able to document the existence of other such agreements to my satisfaction.

Neither have I.  In sacramental matters, I only know of agreements with the Syrians and probably the Armenians.  The agreements made between Rome and the other Churches are only Christological declarations, as far as I can tell.
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« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2005, 05:18:11 AM »



The agreement between the Roman Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch does not extend to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church because it is an autocephalous Church, and I am unaware of any similar agreement being made between Rome and our Church.  It is true that individual priests or bishops, seeing that agreement, may decide to go along with it anyway (since there are no substantial differences in faith between the Syrians and ourselves, our problems being mostly administrative), but strictly speaking it is not binding in any way on us, and no such action should be taken. 

Phil,

Agreed, but I suspect the presence of His Beatitude, the Catholicos, at the signing may well have contributed to any such interpetation being drawn by your Church's clergy.

Quote
I only know of agreements with the Syrians and probably the Armenians.

Have you actually been able to find such an agreement involving the Armenians?

Like you, the other agreements of which I'm aware are Christological statements which do not extend themselves into this issue.  That said, I am fairly convinced by the comments offered by those of the Churches that this does informally happen between and among the other Oriental Orthodox and Catholic Churches, probably most commonly in the diaspora where the former are better represented and have more clergy and temples.  It also is not uncommon and informally accepted between the Melkites and Antiochians (and, to a lesser extent, the Syriacs) in their countries of origin, where intermarriage results in families split between/ among the Churches and a single temple or priest may be all that is available in a given place.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2005, 09:08:39 AM »

There is a church in India which uses stripped down Syriac baptismal rites, including chrismation, but is cut off from the Orthodox Church.

Phil,

Are you speaking of the Mar Thoma Church?

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #38 on: January 15, 2005, 04:11:02 PM »

Dear Neil,

Yes, it was the Mar Thoma Church to which I was referring. 

The Catholicos who was present at the signing was the one under Antioch, the late Baselios Paulos II.  I don't think it was so much his presence that leads some in our Church to think the agreement extends to us (we never commemorated him, but we all commemorate the Patriarch), but that the faith between our Church and the Syriac Church is one and the same, although we are currently not in communion over various administrative matters, and so "if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us".  Still, strictly speaking, there is no such thing in our Church. 

I haven't been able to track down any document re: the Armenians; it was in the Catholic Almanac put out by Our Sunday Visitor that I learned about the agreements with the Syrians, and I believe it also had a snippet from the agreement with the Armenians.  The other agreements sampled were only Christological declarations.  If such intercommunion occurs among the Armenians, I wouldn't be surprised.  If it also happened among the Copts, Ethiopians, and Eritreans, I would be. 
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« Reply #39 on: January 15, 2005, 05:21:06 PM »

There are Eastern Catholic Churches here too.  They are mostly very ethnic.  There is a non-ethnic Byzantine Catholic parish in the suburbs (about an hour and a half drive one way) but I assume it's dominated by the Byzcath bully "evangelist," Dan.

Hello Jennifer,

I go to that parish, but I have never met you. Dan comes across kind of strong on the internet, but he is just high spirited. In person he is fairly quiet and jovial. No one dominates a parish like you seem to think. No one dominates me.

The one personality that stands out there is the priest, Father Tom.

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So after a lot of thought, Orthodoxy is the best option for me. 

Could be for me too, I don't know yet. We should exchange notes over coffee.

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  For example, in the RC, people seek out fantastic stories of Marian apparitions IMHO because people have a need for the sacred which is missing in the modern RCC. 

I think we can agree there. Most of your comments about the RC extremists have been spot on, I want nothing to do with them either. But as Francis has stated, they are rare in face to face encounters, they go nuts on the internet because no one at home will pay attention to their rantings.

In Christ,
Miichael
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« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2005, 12:35:08 PM »


Hello Jennifer,

I go to that parish, but I have never met you. Dan comes across kind of strong on the internet, but he is just high spirited. In person he is fairly quiet and jovial. No one dominates a parish like you seem to think. No one dominates me.


I'm glad to hear that Father Tom reigns him in.  I wonder if the good father is aware of his bad on-line behavior.  Here's an example: http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=26615

I certainly wouldn't want to listen to that kind of 'hysteria' at church. 

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« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2005, 09:52:17 PM »

I'm sorry...I'm kind of new to the site so I'm a little dizzy and confused Huh  (can someone help me out?)

I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy two years ago.  But as I have read a little history, I have rejected Chalcedon and am considering becoming Oriental Orthodox....however, the closest OO Church is 150 miles away....so I'm going to have to hold off a bit.  sorry I couldn't read everyone's posts...I'm still a little dizzy
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« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2005, 11:11:02 PM »



I'm glad to hear that Father Tom reigns him in. I wonder if the good father is aware of his bad on-line behavior. Here's an example: http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=26615

I certainly wouldn't want to listen to that kind of 'hysteria' at church.



Even though I have no idea who this person is, that is mild.  That was obviousl tongue-in-cheek and rather harmless.    I think there have been FAR more heated conversations here (like the NJ tragedy thread).
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« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2005, 06:13:14 AM »


I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy two years ago. But as I have read a little history, I have rejected Chalcedon and am considering becoming Oriental Orthodox

May I be so bold as to ask what it is about Chalcedon that you reject?
I ask because at the time of the schism the non Chalcedonians accused the Chalcedonians of being Nestorian which they now readily recognise they are not. Seeing as Eastern Orthodox are not Nestorian heretics, what is the basis for your wishing to seperate from them?

John.
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« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2005, 01:40:09 PM »




I think we can agree there. Most of your comments about the RC extremists have been spot on, I want nothing to do with them either. But as Francis has stated, they are rare in face to face encounters, they go nuts on the internet because no one at home will pay attention to their rantings.

In Christ,
Miichael

 I would just like to welcome Michael to OC.net!
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« Reply #45 on: January 18, 2005, 02:32:40 PM »

I don't think Chalcedonians are Nestorians.  The reason why I reject Chalcedon is because I believe that for a council to be Ecumenical, the Holy Spirit at least has to be present.  The Bible says that where the Holy Spirit is, there is freedom.  Consequently, where there is no freedom there is no Holy Spirit.  In fact, I cannot think of a single point in the space/time continuum where the Holy Spirit is  more lacking than Chalcedon, 451.  It was nothing but a fight between Rome and Constantinople for episcopal authority.  St. Leo was totally clueless when it came to Christology.  They were wrong in accusing the miaphysites of being monophysites.  They were wrong in accusing St. Dioscorus of having beaten Flavian to death.  There is not a single shred of evidence to prove that St. Dioscorus had the bishops sign "blank papers".  Plus, the Chalcedonians affirm enhypostasia which denies the hypostatic reality of Christ's manhood.  The theology of St. Severus of Antioch affirms the hypostatic reality of His manhood while maintaining, nonetheless, that it exists in indivisible union with the hypostasis of the Logos.

Of course, the two churches will probably reunite in the near future anyway, so this has all become a rather moot point.....so I will probably stay in the EO church anyway.  I hope I didn't offend you or anyone else
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« Reply #46 on: January 18, 2005, 03:29:39 PM »

Of course, the two churches will probably reunite in the near future anyway, so this has all become a rather moot point.....so I will probably stay in the EO church anyway. I hope I didn't offend you or anyone else

If I am not mistaken, I think this sub-thread belongs in the Free-for-All board. We've argued this stuff recently to the point of nausea in the recent past. The only outcome seemed to have been that each side believed even deeper in their respective positions.
Dear "idontlikenames'",
I am of the opposite opinion about re-union. Hence your opinion is not a moot point. Indeed one cannot be "in the Church" and reject one of the 7 councils if EO, or 3 councils if OO.
My advice to you is to simply suck it up, drive the 150 miles to an Oriental church, and convert. Even going to church 4-6 times per year under those circumstances would be better than being in neither church.

Demetri
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« Reply #47 on: January 18, 2005, 03:42:32 PM »

Thank you for your reply.....but here's my opinion on the matter: the fact is that the Antiochian Orthodox Church (and to my knowledge, even the Greek) accepts OO's into communionas long as there is not an OO church nearby .  If they accept OO's into communion, then I don't see why they wouldn't accept an EO who rejects Chalcedon....otherwise we have a double standard.

About the thread: I apologize....i am new to this site...i didn't know that this subject has been talked about already
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« Reply #48 on: January 18, 2005, 04:57:23 PM »

The reason why I reject Chalcedon is because I believe that for a council to be Ecumenical, the Holy Spirit at least has to be present. The Bible says that where the Holy Spirit is, there is freedom. Consequently, where there is no freedom there is no Holy Spirit. In fact, I cannot think of a single point in the space/time continuum where the Holy Spirit is more lacking than Chalcedon, 451. It was nothing but a fight between Rome and Constantinople for episcopal authority. St. Leo was totally clueless when it came to Christology. They were wrong in accusing the miaphysites of being monophysites. They were wrong in accusing St. Dioscorus of having beaten Flavian to death. There is not a single shred of evidence to prove that St. Dioscorus had the bishops sign "blank papers". Plus, the Chalcedonians affirm enhypostasia which denies the hypostatic reality of Christ's manhood. The theology of St. Severus of Antioch affirms the hypostatic reality of His manhood while maintaining, nonetheless, that it exists in indivisible union with the hypostasis of the Logos.

Of course, the two churches will probably reunite in the near future anyway, so this has all become a rather moot point.....so I will probably stay in the EO church anyway. I hope I didn't offend you or anyone else.

Since you're new here, just consider this a "friendly warning".

Please refrain in the future (even if it does reflect your honest opinion of the situation) from

1) referring to beloved saints of the Church as "clueless" and cherished councils of the Church as devoid of the Holy Spirit, and

2) accusing Chalcedonians of believing something they clearly do not.

Like Demetri said, these kinds of accusations flew back and forth for much longer than any of us liked, and comments of this tone were what got things started in the first place. And as I said, you may, of course, hold to your own opinions privately, but refrain from the inflammatory labels for saints, councils, confessions, etc.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2005, 04:58:02 PM by Pedro » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: January 18, 2005, 05:06:53 PM »

Please accept my apologies :'(
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« Reply #50 on: January 18, 2005, 08:01:54 PM »

Thank you for your reply.....but here's my opinion on the matter: the fact is that the Antiochian Orthodox Church (and to my knowledge, even the Greek) accepts OO's into communionas long as there is not an OO church nearby . If they accept OO's into communion, then I don't see why they wouldn't accept an EO who rejects Chalcedon....otherwise we have a double standard.

First, when an OO is allowed to commune at an EO parish it is with the permission of the ruling bishop and the priest operates under his guidance. It is not for us to second guess the pastoral relationship between the OOs involved and the EO priest - that is their business. Also, I would not think one can interpolate acceptance of an erroreous belief on the part of an EO, openly held, as an equivalent situation. My priest would probably deny you communion, I would think - but that, again, is his call. Yours may or may not, if he knows how you believe.
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About the thread: I apologize....i am new to this site...i didn't know that this subject has been talked about already

No apology is necessary.

Demetri
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« Reply #51 on: January 19, 2005, 08:03:26 PM »

I love how the "Defensor Fidei" is from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (what, is Cardinal Mahony not enough? Smiley ).

Mor Ephrem,

Maybe you ought to read through the comment I replied to and think about my response before making the above statement?  Roll Eyes

-Defensor Fidei
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« Reply #52 on: January 19, 2005, 11:43:23 PM »

Please accept my apologies :'(

Hey, like I said...you're new here!  Don't sweat it!   Wink

Glad to have you aboard,

Pedro
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« Reply #53 on: January 20, 2005, 01:29:43 AM »

Here's an example of the kind of attitude I HATE in Roman Catholicism.

http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=26340

Note the comment about Orthodox Christians being "borderline gnostic in their spirituality."

What I see at the root of Roman Catholicism is a kind of 'conformism,' i.e. be like us or there's something wrong with you. Roman Catholics 'tolerate' Eastern Catholics, as long the former keeps quiet.

In my experience, there are two predominate RC opinions of Orthodoxy 1) the patronizing "oh aren't they quaint" and 2) the "there's something suspiciously heretical about them." I don't know which is more offensive.

As an example of #2, on that same board, someone wrote that the "eastern way" of giving communion to infants wasn't respectful. I note also the debate on the Catholic Answers board about what to call the Orthodox. They wouldn't even give them the respect of calling them catholics.

So much for "the two lungs" and all that. Of course this attitude isn't present amongst more educated Roman Catholics.

Okay, I really don't understand why this post would be so terrible as to get me booted from that site without even the courtesy of any notice. 

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« Reply #54 on: January 20, 2005, 02:14:11 AM »

Jennifer:
I've spent my life looking for the perfect Church.  I always had people say, "The Church is perfect, the people aren't."  But I had not found Truth, and I knew I hadn't.  There was always something missing.  When there is nothing on which to build that is solid, only "God told me" leaders that are starting new churches every day, it was hard to believe anything.  I have been incredibly blessed, God has granted great Mercy to me by revealing to me what the Church was to be like.  I've looked for five years after being given this revelation.  When I found it, I knew it was Truth.  Almost immediately, I began to go through terrible things, some of the worst physical and spiritual abuse I've ever experienced in my life -- and these were Orthodox people!  But I KNEW, still, that the Church is Perfect and True.  I didn't quit.  I even had a priest tell me he was amazed that I was still hanging in here, after what I was put through.  But now that I know that I am Home, there is no where to go, and I have no desire to go. 
Worshiping God in Spirit AND and Truth is above and beyond anything I ever could have imagined, which is what the scriptures tell us.  I am now becoming part of the Church that is concretely affixed on earth as well as in Heaven, the one that Christ said "the gates of hell will not prevail against it".  I've met some of the most amazing people, and am in awe of the depth of commitment I see.

It is a relief to know that I don't have to be rich, have perfect health, and fit the stereotype of what some of so-called christianity insists is "evidence of real faith" today. 

My joy is so deep because now I know I have spiritual leadership, a spiritual father, True Worship, a way of life to lead me to be one with Body of Christ, with God.   

To sum it up, I've already been slam-dunked by "imperfect people" in the Perfect Church.  And I'm still going strong.  I'm grateful to have found the Church -- in fact, the thought sometimes is so overwhelming --- I can't explain it, I can't put it into words.  It is beyond words.
In Christ,
Kardia
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« Reply #55 on: January 20, 2005, 07:58:58 AM »

To sum it up, I've already been slam-dunked by "imperfect people" in the Perfect Church.  And I'm still going strong.  I'm grateful to have found the Church -- in fact, the thought sometimes is so overwhelming --- I can't explain it, I can't put it into words.  It is beyond words.

Kardia,

Thanks be to God that He's given you the perseverance to stick it out.  If it's not too personal, could you share what kinds of things happened to you at the hands of Orthodox believers?
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« Reply #56 on: January 20, 2005, 09:48:54 AM »

Okay, here's the deal:

I have no problem affirming the strictly DOCTRINAL content of Chalcedon.  If that were the case, it would be no difficult thing to stay EO.  It's really all a matter of semantics (I know that sounds like a cliche, but it really is true).

The problem is that as it is viewed as an Ecumenical Council, and as such I'm supposed to believe that every action at Chalcedon was led by the Holy Spirit.  This would include the anathematization of St. Dioscorus, which I cannot accept because I don't believe he did or believe anything wrong.  This would also include the condemnation of Ephesus 449, which i think was a perfectly legitimate council.  Do I have to accept these things in order to take Communion in the EO?  If so, then in all intellectual honesty I'll have to become OO.  but like I said, I am able to affirm the strictly DOCTRINAL content of Chalcedon.
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« Reply #57 on: January 20, 2005, 10:12:49 PM »

Pedro:
Some of what happened is probably best not repeated.  God protected me from actual rape, but suffice it to say someone did not want to take no for an answer.  I was afraid to even go to Church, because he would try to corner me, get me alone, and trap me.  I was stalked.  It was horrible. 
Another situation was spiritual abuse -- I've since had it confirmed from other priests that what happened was totally wrong.  I pray for both of these people, and God has brought me through it all. 
The worst part of it was that I was new, and so I was blamed, and accused of lying, exaggerating, etc.  Again, it was confirmed to me that I was not the first to experience these things.  I just turned out to be a convenient scapegoat.
I only say these things to express that it became obvious to me that these trials were tests for me --- the worst kinds of abuse, spiritual and sexual -- and I still refused to stop believing in the Church.  I know that it is True, and the fact that there are people with serious problems does not change Truth!  I have no desire to say who these people are.  I pray for their healing.   It has been difficult finally finding Home, and then attacked within weeks!  But I've since found real stability,
love and support.  One thing about it -- having been through those things, it makes it easier to look at most problems as minor! 

This Church is worth dying for.  I'm so grateful for God's mercy in bringing me to the Truth.

Kardia
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« Reply #58 on: January 21, 2005, 08:10:06 AM »

I only say these things to express that it became obvious to me that these trials were tests for me --- the worst kinds of abuse, spiritual and sexual -- and I still refused to stop believing in the Church.  I know that it is True, and the fact that there are people with serious problems does not change Truth!  I have no desire to say who these people are.  I pray for their healing.   It has been difficult finally finding Home, and then attacked within weeks!  But I've since found real stability, love and support.  One thing about it -- having been through those things, it makes it easier to look at most problems as minor! 

This Church is worth dying for.  I'm so grateful for God's mercy in bringing me to the Truth.

Wow.   Shocked  Kardia, that's wonderful and incredible.  Of course, no one expects you to name names, parish, priest, anything.  I love how you have remained strong within the Church, and I especially like the line, "the fact that there are people with serious problems does not change Truth!"  How wonderful that you were able to find the support and reaffirmation in the Church that we all need (especially when so new to the Faith!).

Thanks so much for sharing.

Pedro
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« Reply #59 on: January 22, 2005, 12:43:22 AM »

Dear DF,

Forgive me.  My comment was not directed personally at you, but seems to have been interpreted this way. 
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