I am a 16 year old convert to the Roman Catholic Church because for 3 years I studied the early Church which lead me to become a Catholic. After recently reading the early councils on the rejection of the filioque and other Catholic doctrines I have been convinced orthodoxy may be the true Church. I am not aloud to become Orthodox because my Mother will not let me, what should I do? Thanks and God Bless
I was 16 when I converted to Orthodoxy (but I was raised Orthodox so chrismation only finished what my Mother started after I was baptised so our situations are a bit different), but I think the best place to start is in your own heart. Take some refuge there, and think. I'm just going out on a limb here, but I'm sure that you've heard of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Well, he made a list of 'spiritual exercises' and a part of the spiritual exercises is called Ignatian discernment. The head of development at my school wanted me to become a priest (an Orthodox priest, he wasn't trying to convert me or anything!), and when I said that I don't think I'm be worthy, he told me about Ignatian discernment (I never really paid attention in senior year religion class, truth be told) and how I should lock myself in my room for an entire day and think about which direction my life is heading, and will head. I suggest this Ignatian discernment for yourself; where did you come from, where are you going, and where will you end? Not where you want
to end up, but where is God sending you? Part of me is very excited that you want to become Orthodox Christian, and I think you've touched upon a very important vein in looking into things like the filioque, but if there's a part of you that wants to remain Catholic, then you'll have built up so much angst about it all. Plus, I don't want to read yet another "Why I DIDN'T convert to Orthodox Christianity" story by you thirty years down the road
. I joke, I kid!
For now, I'd suggest hitting the books. Personally, what really hit it home for me was Fr. Theodore Pulcini's "Orthodoxy and Catholicism: What are the Differences?
" That's when I saw all this talk about how Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ said to the Apostle Peter "On this rock I will build my Church" was missing a key part of the story; the Apostle Peter had literally just
told Him, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God," (Matthew 16:16). That's
what Christ was referring to as the Rock, the confession that Jesus is the Son of God. He also sums up purgatory (or rather the lack-thereof) pretty simply; Jesus already died for us so that we may go to Heaven, why would we keep paying for them? Is Christ's ultimate act of love not enough? I'm sure the community can suggest to you some other good books as well (should there be a comma after "books" and before "as"?).
Also, while I highly recommend attending a Divine Liturgy service, please, please, please
make sure that the liturgy is in a language that you fully understand. While yes, the vast majority of Orthodox churches in these United States (and Canada) celebrate the liturgy in both modern English and a liturgical language if they even use a liturgical language at all, it's still incredibly hard for new attendees to follow. I brought two of my best friends who are Latin Catholics to Divine Liturgy a few weeks ago, and while every single word of the Divine Liturgy was right in front of them, they just couldn't keep up because they couldn't tell which sentence in English was the equivalent as to what the priests had said in Liturgical Greek. Also, don't be afraid to say hello to the congregation, and all are welcome to accept antidoron immediately following the end of Divine Liturgy (antidoron literally means "instead of the gift" with the gift of course, being Holy Communion). Also, if say, you do end up preferring the liturgical practices of the West, then boy, do I have a surprise for you! http://orthodoxwiki.org/Western_Rite
That's about all I have to say. I hope that I can be of some help to you in your journey. God with you.