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Author Topic: Catholicism to Orthodoxy  (Read 2804 times) Average Rating: 0
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jhfromsf
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« on: September 14, 2013, 02:57:11 AM »

Hi forum,

I'm a Traditional Catholic who has a deep interest in Orthodox spirituality and liturgy. The more I read about the history of early Christianity and the saints and theology of Orthodoxy the more it resonates with my soul and I see the truth of it. I can picture myself converting to Orthodoxy, I don't know when but I'm taking this very slow.

The issue I'm struggling with is my Catholic faith and how to deal with these changes in spiritual perceptions I feel and how they would impact my life and friendships. I'm not a liberal Catholic and am part of a subculture in the Catholic Church that is very staunch not ecumenical and traditional in their faith.  I could go to my priest for spiritual counseling but I doubt he would see leaving the Catholic Church to become Eastern Orthodox as a positive spiritual development, I really don't know how he would react. Also I have some spiritual tension going inside me  because I've really bought into all the Catholic doctrines and dogmas and a part of me is afraid of leaving the Church by committing an act of schism, losing sanctifying grace and putting my eternal soul in jeopardy. So I guess I have some things to work on!  It would be helpful if I could hear from Catholics who converted to Orthodoxy and how you dealt with the theological issues and other problems you encountered when switching over. I'm also curious if anyone here converted to Orthodoxy from traditional Latin mass type Catholicism. It seems to me that the challenges would be different than someone who converted to Orthodoxy from Protestantism or or secular background .

Thank you for reading this and I look forward to interacting with you all

Sincerely
Jim
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2013, 05:06:33 AM »

Hi Jim,

It's good to have you here. I hope that you will find many good answers and discussions regarding these concerns you have. I'm a former Roman Catholic, as are several others on this website, though I made the less common decision to convert to Oriental/non-Chalcedonian Orthodoxy rather than Eastern, so that no doubt colors my perspective to at least some degree.

Quote
The issue I'm struggling with is my Catholic faith


Which you would not be giving up by joining the Orthodox Church. You would, however, learn the complete and thoroughly Patristic understanding of the concept of catholicity, which differs somewhat from Rome's later-developed understanding that has led so many to conflate "Catholic" with "in communion with Rome". This is not what it means, and has never been what it means outside of the post-Schism Roman context.

Quote
and how to deal with these changes in spiritual perceptions I feel and how they would impact my life and friendships.


I am not going to sugar coat this: You will most likely lose friends. People will not like it. Orthodoxy is not popular. I can't tell you how exactly to deal with the social side of converting (which is probably not good to worry about ahead of time, anyway), but suffice it to say that in my own conversion from the RCC to Orthodoxy, I did have to reach a point where I was happier being Orthodox with fewer friends than RC with a lot more friends (who, of course, turned out not to be such good friends after all, since we could no longer speak without their heavy-handed concerns for my eternal soul cropping up all the time; I understand and appreciate why this is so, but it did get old fast). Maybe you will be an exception, but it is good to remember that we are Christians to worship and follow God, not to necessarily be liked by everyone.

Quote
I'm not a liberal Catholic and am part of a subculture in the Catholic Church that is very staunch not ecumenical and traditional in their faith.  I could go to my priest for spiritual counseling but I doubt he would see leaving the Catholic Church to become Eastern Orthodox as a positive spiritual development, I really don't know how he would react.


Why is his reaction important?

Quote
Also I have some spiritual tension going inside me  because I've really bought into all the Catholic doctrines and dogmas and a part of me is afraid of leaving the Church by committing an act of schism, losing sanctifying grace and putting my eternal soul in jeopardy.


Go slowly. By way of illustration, I did not join the Coptic Orthodox Church out of any hatred of Chalcedon or Chalcedonians. In fact, it wasn't until I actually began my catechesis in the Coptic Orthodox Church that I realized how little I had even considered Chalcedon one way or another. You will likely find that the process of becoming Orthodox (rather than being interested in Orthodoxy -- I've known a lot of RCs who've claimed to be interested in Orthodoxy, but it generally stays at that level of rational head-knowledge and book learning) is similar: Until you're actually doing it/experiencing it, you will not know how your mind will be transformed. To put it bluntly, I thank God that I do not fear hellfire from the mouths of heretics and schismatics, but only from God and for my own sins (and not imagined ones, like not being communion with the Pope of Rome). From an Orthodox perspective, it would be far more problematic for me to begin to listen to and accept the judgments of the non-Orthodox, as opposed to my priests and bishops. Again, this is something that will make more sense after living in an Orthodox church.

Quote
It would be helpful if I could hear from Catholics who converted to Orthodoxy and how you dealt with the theological issues and other problems you encountered when switching over.


It wasn't "switching over", in my experience. Perhaps because my particular church is non-European (as opposed to the RC and EO), but then I also know the Eastern Orthodox do hold to the idea that it is the Latins and the Protestants who are essentially two sides of the same coin, not Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. That being said, in my case I took about three years from the time I attended my last RC Mass to my reception into the Orthodox Church. While it is definitely true that it is later than you think, I wanted to make sure that I was converting to something I really believe in, rather than away from something I did not (by that point). That is perhaps the one thing I can really advise. Orthodoxy must be considered on its own merits, as something that is fundamentally not cognate to other Christianities. I write this not because I think Latins are irredeemable reprobates or anything like that, but because I agree with the EP in his famous estimation that we are ontologically different from one another. (See here for a link to the speech, if interested.)
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 05:10:33 PM »

Welcome to the forums, Jim.

I didn't convert from Roman Catholicism, but I will offer this advice: don't let reservations about leaving keep you from exploring. I would say the same to someone who was leaving Orthodoxy for Roman Catholicism (I'm sure I'd get flak for that one). It was very difficult for me to leave my past religious life because I felt it was all there was for me, that there was literally no other truth out there. My discernment period was difficult, but I felt closer to God then than I ever did before.

You have to trust that God is leading you. It's easy to second guess yourself into stagnation; its very difficult to put aside your past and break through the walls you once thought rock solid. Pray for guidance, and expect resolution at the end.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 05:11:21 PM by lovesupreme » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 05:25:59 PM »

I don't think anybody here is going to force or rush you into something you are unsure of. I am still somewhat unsure of the validity of Orthodoxy vs. Roman Catholicism, and I am a Protestant.

In the view of the Orthodox Church, it is the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. Not the Catholic Church, not the 40,000+ Protestant Churches.

Catholic (καθολικος) in Greek actually means "whole" and not "Universal" as most people believe; in the sense that the Orthodox Church believes itself to teach the "whole Faith" that the Apostles handed down to the Church from the beginning. Not adding to it or diminishing from it.

In other words, the Orthodox Church is united in Faith and not by an Ecclesiastical leader, like the Pope.

Welcome to the forum.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 05:37:08 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2013, 08:40:49 AM »

Christ said: Whoever wants to follow me...
He forced no one. If Him who would ahve every right to do us what He wants let us free how shoudl anyone force you?
I was a heretic too not a catholic and my father was still heretic back then( now thank god he converted too). No matter priests, parents or children God is above all.
Didn't Jesus said that those who love more their children or parents than God Himself are not right? Do not be afraid. Remember God and what Christ have done for you.
As for the dogmas you can little by little delete them and put in the real ones. You can't of course learn everything in one day. With the flow of time.
In times when everyone will be against you if you convert just pray to Christ.
John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 03:05:53 AM »

Thank you for all your thoughtful replies. I am taking it slow . Fortunately I live in an area where there is a large Orthodox presence , so I have resources available to help me along the way.

I have another question if a Catholic is considering converting to Orthodoxy, why not just choose one of the Eastern rite Catholic Churches instead? Someone has already asked me this once and I'm sure I will be asked this question again, I assume there are Catholics who become interested in Eastern Christianity and do join one of the eastern rite churches. But for those Catholics who make the jump from Catholicism to Orthodoxy, why isn't Eastern Catholicism a consideration?

Thank you and God bless!
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 03:48:19 AM »

Dear jhfromsf,

Prior to my conversion to Orthodoxy I had thought about the ECC's as well.  The problem there is that you would still have to pay at least lip-service to Catholic dogmas that are unacceptable to the Orthodox.  It looked attractive for a time, but would have required me to be dishonest with myself.  If you look at some of the EC websites (especially the Melkite) they seem Orthodox, but it involves a great deal of double-think to be EC and have to deal in your heart-of-hearts with the Roman doctrines that they cannot openly deny but seem to simply ignore.
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 11:19:43 AM »

Dear jhfromsf,

Prior to my conversion to Orthodoxy I had thought about the ECC's as well.  The problem there is that you would still have to pay at least lip-service to Catholic dogmas that are unacceptable to the Orthodox.  It looked attractive for a time, but would have required me to be dishonest with myself.  If you look at some of the EC websites (especially the Melkite) they seem Orthodox, but it involves a great deal of double-think to be EC and have to deal in your heart-of-hearts with the Roman doctrines that they cannot openly deny but seem to simply ignore.

Correct. The problem is the Roman penchant for formalizing what we in the east call "theologoumena". (The papacy and filioque are distinct issues beyond  "theologoumena" .   A united church lived , east and west, in communion for one thousand years in general doctrinal agreement notwithstanding significant differences over theologoumena. Many modern Eastern Catholics would like to believe they represent that era while choosing (some of them at least) to ignore or disbelieve Roman formulations of doctrine while Rome pretends all of their easterners are in accord with them.  An uneasy "union" at best, which erupts from time to time as it did several times in the 20th century with sizeable returns to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 12:10:00 PM »

I spent three years with the Melkites while I was considering Orthodoxy.

There were several Melkites who took the plunge with me, so the Melkite Bishop said that we were using the Melkite Church as a bridge to Orthodoxy. Well, when the Melkite library and bookstore sold Orthodox Christian books from Light and Life and from St. Vladimir Seminary Press, what do you think would happen? The more Orthodox Christian books that I read from their library, the more I became convinced that Holy Orthodoxy has preserved our Holy Faith and Traditions passed down to us from the Holy Apostles and our Holy Fathers.

Then I went on a retreat, and mention was made of Archbishop Zogby. His ideas really started me thinking. Apparently Archbishop Zogby wanted to have a dual allegiance with the Melkites under the EP and the Pope at the same time. However, neither Rome nor the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch would not go along with that proposition. Had to be one or the other.
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2013, 12:57:40 PM »

The reason I am not considering Eastern Catholicism in my journey is because I am looking for the True Church. Eastern Catholicism cut itself off of Eastern Orthodoxy (for the most part, some exceptions like the Maronites or the Chaldees who claim they have always been faithful to Rome) and went under the yoke of Rome. So, it really is just Eastern Orthodoxy under a Roman Pontiff. That's why it would seem like I was only "playing" Orthodox if I became Eastern Catholic, not "being" Orthodox. Furthermore, I am not truly "Catholic" in the Roman Catholic understanding of the word, except in regards to being in communion with Rome, many practices are different in the Byzantine and Oriental Rites of the Eastern Church than in the Latin Rite of Catholicism. Which seems to indirectly infer that the Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches don't acknowledge the Roman Pontiff's infallibility, the legitimacy of the Magisterium, or the Roman "Ecumenical" Councils that were commissioned by post-Schism Popes.

If I became a Catholic it would be accepting the Roman Rite of the RC Church as legitimate, and orthodox before all other things considered.

Of course, there are people on this forum and in reality, that do reconcile the teachings of Orthodoxy with Roman Catholicism in the Byzantine Rite and become Eastern Catholics.

But I am not one of them.
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2013, 08:06:36 AM »

I spent three years with the Melkites while I was considering Orthodoxy.

There were several Melkites who took the plunge with me, so the Melkite Bishop said that we were using the Melkite Church as a bridge to Orthodoxy.

Not trying to start an argument, but in my humble opinion, there are some people out there who are a little too gung-ho about "the Melkite [or other EC] Church as a bridge to Orthodoxy".

 Undecided
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2013, 08:13:51 AM »

Not trying to start an argument,

P.S. I should also say, "Not trying to change the direction of conversation." (I notice that we are on the Convert Issues forum.)
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2013, 07:51:56 AM »

Hi forum,

I'm a Traditional Catholic who has a deep interest in Orthodox spirituality and liturgy. The more I read about the history of early Christianity and the saints and theology of Orthodoxy the more it resonates with my soul and I see the truth of it. I can picture myself converting to Orthodoxy, I don't know when but I'm taking this very slow.

The issue I'm struggling with is my Catholic faith and how to deal with these changes in spiritual perceptions I feel and how they would impact my life and friendships. I'm not a liberal Catholic and am part of a subculture in the Catholic Church that is very staunch not ecumenical and traditional in their faith.  I could go to my priest for spiritual counseling but I doubt he would see leaving the Catholic Church to become Eastern Orthodox as a positive spiritual development, I really don't know how he would react. Also I have some spiritual tension going inside me  because I've really bought into all the Catholic doctrines and dogmas and a part of me is afraid of leaving the Church by committing an act of schism, losing sanctifying grace and putting my eternal soul in jeopardy. So I guess I have some things to work on!  It would be helpful if I could hear from Catholics who converted to Orthodoxy and how you dealt with the theological issues and other problems you encountered when switching over. I'm also curious if anyone here converted to Orthodoxy from traditional Latin mass type Catholicism. It seems to me that the challenges would be different than someone who converted to Orthodoxy from Protestantism or or secular background .

Thank you for reading this and I look forward to interacting with you all

Sincerely
Jim

There are several ex-traddie Catholics on this board, with various traddie backgrounds. I am one of them.

I understand very well where you are coming from, since no self-respecting traditional Catholic would disregard/not believe in, the dogmas regarding salvation.
It was the hardest part for me too, since those beliefs are so intertwined with who and what you are.

You are right about not bringing this up directly with your priest since the average traddie priest would probably see it as a challenge rather than someone who struggles with his faith. It depends on the priest, of course. However, perhaps you could mention your doubts about your faith during spiritual counseling, without mentioning Orthodoxy specifically, at least not in the beginning. Later, it would be appropriate to mention it, of course. In fact, it cannot be avoided, I think.
I know it is a tough one, though.. What about your family? Are they traddies too? Friends?
Did you ever mention it to anyone?

Perhaps it could be a very good idea to go and talk with an Orthodox priest and tell him about your thoughts and inclinations. I did just that myself and it did/does wonders.
Besides, you should learn about Orthodoxy as much as you can and eventually the leap will be seen in an entirely different light, since coming to Orthodoxy is precisely about saving your soul.
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2013, 05:39:44 PM »

As a former TradRC my advise would be to contact an Orthodox priest and discuss your concerns or questions you may have about any conversion ideas.  This is not to say that forums provide some good advise but nothing takes the place of a 'sit down' with a priest in this type of decision.
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2013, 10:16:51 AM »

I'm in a similar boat.  It seems that converting from RC to Orthodoxy would be one of, if not the most difficult inter-denominational conversions possible.  I too worry about schism...
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« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2013, 11:45:18 AM »

I have another question if a Catholic is considering converting to Orthodoxy, why not just choose one of the Eastern rite Catholic Churches instead? Someone has already asked me this once and I'm sure I will be asked this question again, I assume there are Catholics who become interested in Eastern Christianity and do join one of the eastern rite churches. But for those Catholics who make the jump from Catholicism to Orthodoxy, why isn't Eastern Catholicism a consideration?

Because you don't convert to Orthodoxy for the smells, bells and fancy liturgy but for the Faith.

The Eastern Catholics are (with the exception of a very small, yet vocal, minority) Roman Catholics with an Eastern Mass. Rome doesn't want the EC to disregard or deny post-schism dogmas.
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« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2013, 06:01:00 PM »

Why isn't Eastern Catholicism a consideration?

Who says it isn't or wasn't?

The ECs were sort of a halfway house for me for a couple of years before I made the jump.  I have no ill feelings or thoughts towards them.  It was almost home, but not quite.  At the time I thought I could have a foot in both the east and the west. Since I really didn't believe in papal infallibility it was more of the west giving me the shove out the door telling me I really didn't belong. That was 12+ years ago. I don't regret it.  I know of several people where the EC churches were sort of a transitional place for them moving Eastward.
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« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2013, 06:29:00 PM »

I spent three years with the Melkites while I was considering Orthodoxy.

There were several Melkites who took the plunge with me, so the Melkite Bishop said that we were using the Melkite Church as a bridge to Orthodoxy.

Not trying to start an argument, but in my humble opinion, there are some people out there who are a little too gung-ho about "the Melkite [or other EC] Church as a bridge to Orthodoxy".

 Undecided

The Melkite Bishop made reference to the Bridge because the Eastern Catholics were to serve as a bridge helping the Orthodox go Catholic. Instead it often goes the other way.
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« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2013, 08:08:27 PM »

I was raised Catholic and I'm trying to convert to Orthodox now.  The few things that never made sense to me in Catholicism are conveniently enough not part of Orthodox doctrine.  The only thing I'm having a hard time letting go of is the notion of purgatory.
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« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2013, 08:27:32 PM »

I was raised Catholic and I'm trying to convert to Orthodox now.  The few things that never made sense to me in Catholicism are conveniently enough not part of Orthodox doctrine.  The only thing I'm having a hard time letting go of is the notion of purgatory.

Hmm, that was one of the easier things for me. I read a Catholic Apologetics article that stated plainly "there is no biblical basis for purgatory" before proceeding to quote the Bible for 40 verses.
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« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2013, 11:00:12 PM »


Hmm, that was one of the easier things for me. I read a Catholic Apologetics article that stated plainly "there is no biblical basis for purgatory" before proceeding to quote the Bible for 40 verses.

I was confused by your response.  So did the article assert that there is or isn't a purgatory?  Did those 40 verses support the idea of purgatory?

Fair warning:  I'm new to Orthodoxy.  Some of my questions just might be a little south of stupid.  Your patience is appreciated.
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« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2013, 11:18:05 PM »


Hmm, that was one of the easier things for me. I read a Catholic Apologetics article that stated plainly "there is no biblical basis for purgatory" before proceeding to quote the Bible for 40 verses.

I was confused by your response.  So did the article assert that there is or isn't a purgatory?  Did those 40 verses support the idea of purgatory?

Fair warning:  I'm new to Orthodoxy.  Some of my questions just might be a little south of stupid.  Your patience is appreciated.

Well, they interpreted it that way. Since they were Catholic obviously they believed in Purgatory. Whether those many verses supported Purgatory or not, that should be up to the early Church's understanding.

I would obviously contend they were not in support of Purgatory. And countless other Christian and Jewish denominations would agree with me. Papists (Roman Catholics) would not.

I sometimes worry if my posts are descriptive enough for people to understand, it's fair to say that I wasn't detailed enough for you. I wouldn't say you are stupid. I'm new to Orthodoxy too, don't worry about it.
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« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2013, 11:35:21 PM »

I was raised Catholic and I'm trying to convert to Orthodox now.  The few things that never made sense to me in Catholicism are conveniently enough not part of Orthodox doctrine.  The only thing I'm having a hard time letting go of is the notion of purgatory.

The notions of purgatory that are at odds with Orthodoxy are the following:

(1) That Purgatory is a place located between Heaven and Hell.

(2) That this teaching on Purgatory leads to complacency or nominalism, the idea that a person can just do the minimum and barely make it into heaven via purgatory.

(3) That Purgatory was defined without the agreement of the Orthodox outside the Seven Holy Ecumenical Councils.
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« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2013, 11:44:56 PM »

There are several stories circulating among the Orthodox that almost parallel the Roman Catholic teaching on Purgatory, but I have no sources for these stories as they were told to me at an Orthodox retreat.

Definitely, the Orthodox Church prays for those who have fallen asleep in Christ. Four times in the year the priests celebrate a Divine Liturgy for the Saturday of Souls.

One concerns St. Xenia of St. Petersburg:

After St. Xenia's husband died in a drunken brawl, she was very concerned for his salvation. So she put on his military uniform and slept on his grave praying the Lord to have mercy on him and give her some sign that he was saved. For years she lived a life of penance, poverty, prayerfulness, and sobriety until one day she had a vision where she saw her husband's soul leave Hell and enter Heaven.

Another story concerns a Russian Priest who was known for his alcoholism

One day the Bishop called this priest into his office and told him that he was being defrocked due to his alcoholism. The priest bowed his head, left the office, and did not say one word in his defense. Later that evening, the Bishop tried to sleep, but could not as various souls appeared to him throughout the night pleading that this priest be returned to the Holy Priesthood.

The Bishop called this man into his office the very next day and asked this former priest what his daily schedule was like. The priest mentioned that after morning prayers or the morning Divine Liturgy, that he would spend hours pausing and praying at each grave in the Orthodox Parish Cemetery.  This priest was immediately restored to the priesthood and promised that he would try to remain sober.
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« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2013, 12:13:42 AM »

You can substitute purgatory with toll houses...would that help?  Grin
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« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2013, 06:57:02 AM »

I converted to Orthodoxy from RC a while back. I was unable to fully connect with the contemporary RC Church due to a variety of issues, papal infallibility, and the idea that divorced people are for all time denied Holy Eucharist by RC priests . I used to believe the latter was NOT really  true, but I was refused Holy Communion on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage by a Trad RC priest, who was saying a Mass for my deceased brother in law. What made it more bizarre was that we were the only two mortal participants in the Chapel. I will never forget the judgemental and unloving talk I got after confession, and the proud pious shake of his head to reiterate my excommunication as he took Communion himself. I was as an Irish Roman Catholic devastated. However it did make me resolve to clarify the matter on my return. A number of RC priests said to just take Communion anyway " you won't be challenged" , but this struck me as being dishonest. The attitude of the Priest I met on the Camino was confirmed as correct later as I sought authoritative advice. I was posted an Icon by a Romanian Orthodox Doctor I met on the pilgrimage, who was not a particularly zealous Orthodox person, who nevertheless pointed out that I may profit spiritually from investigating Orthodoxy. After a considerable period of time humming and ha'ing and thinking it through in my rational western mind, (about two years),  I plucked up courage to attend an Orthodox Divine. My heart melted at the Divine Liturgy, I knew I was in fact HOME "again" , though it was my first Divine Liturgy. After a further period of lengthy thought and spiritual preparation I was Chrismated as an Orthodox Christian. The point I am making is that in order to embrace Orthodoxy it is necessary to give due weight to our hearts, or our spiritual intellect, which is not always guided by the rational western intellect alone. My heart told me there was something amiss about perpetual exclusion from The Holy Eucharist because of a failed marriage, which ended  by mutual consent from both parties. I have never once, despite coming from a deeply Catholic family, in an at least nominally Catholic Irish national culture, regretted my embracing of Orthodoxy. To be RC here would be a lot lot more convenient, but I know I am being true to myself. I am a sinner, and the Spiritual Hospital of the Orthodox Church made up of millions of others needing healing is where I am surely meant to be. Be courageous, trust in God, He is just and loving God.
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« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2013, 09:10:05 AM »

I did not convert from RC to Orthodoxy though I have considered RC at one point. I'd say most importantly look for the right thing. This is what we all seek and we won't stop until we find it, or find Him, God as He is. Don't let anything get in the way of this simple, but existential quest.
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« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2013, 07:44:32 PM »

I converted to Orthodoxy from RC a while back. I was unable to fully connect with the contemporary RC Church due to a variety of issues, papal infallibility, and the idea that divorced people are for all time denied Holy Eucharist by RC priests . I used to believe the latter was NOT really  true, but I was refused Holy Communion on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage by a Trad RC priest, who was saying a Mass for my deceased brother in law. What made it more bizarre was that we were the only two mortal participants in the Chapel. I will never forget the judgemental and unloving talk I got after confession, and the proud pious shake of his head to reiterate my excommunication as he took Communion himself. I was as an Irish Roman Catholic devastated. However it did make me resolve to clarify the matter on my return. A number of RC priests said to just take Communion anyway " you won't be challenged" , but this struck me as being dishonest.

Not to take this thread in another direction, but I have questions about this as well.  I'm not divorced but my husband and I separated in 1991 and I haven't seen him since.  I don't even know if he's still alive.  Because of this, when I started going back to an RC parish, I did not take communion.  I stayed in the pew after lettings others out.  Now that I'm attending Orthodox services, I'm also not taking communion.  This isn't the only reason, but again, I stay in the pew.  I have no idea what my marital status is with regard to either of these churches.  Technically, I never 'committed' divorce, but you can't argue I'm still married either, except on paper somewhere.  I'm seeing legal aid--I've been walking around with a stranger's last name for 22 years.  I want my name back, and if they can get a divorce through, I'm going to take it.  Not being able to take communion is something I'll have to accept if that's the case, but they wouldn't tell me I can't attend liturgy, could they?
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« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2013, 09:19:38 PM »

You can substitute purgatory with toll houses...would that help?  Grin

Not really, Purgatory is a Dogma while so-called Toll houses are a theologum<sp?>but I got your smiley face....
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« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2013, 10:09:46 PM »

I thought toll houses were cookies

??
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« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2013, 12:04:09 AM »

Former Latin Mass-er here.

There is a big difference, and the biggest one is mental. Converting from thoughts of rationalism and authority to one of mysticism and collegiality was a shift that came about only through attendance and practicing the Orthodox faith for a while. Of course, that's how it's supposed to work - Roman Catholicism can be learned from a book, but Orthodoxy only makes sense through experience. You have to participate in the life of The Church and then suddenly, somehow, everything clicks. I attribute it to the work of the Holy Spirit.

But there's also the huge, looming presence of Roman Catholicism in the life of Roman Catholics. For traditionalists who build their lives around the traditions and doctrines of that church it's like having the foundation of your life pulled out from underneath you. You look back at those times you counseled others not to leave the church and now worry you too are becoming a schismatic for similarly 'obviously' bad reasons. I told people it was like someone had died, or I was getting a divorce. Realizing that what I thought was eternal and historical had never actually existed was devastating.

But I knew that I had to follow Truth. I left Roman Catholicism thinking that I would never love Orthodoxy as much as Roman Catholicism, and turned out to be wrong. I knew I couldn't be Eastern Catholic. What prevented me from just finding and being happy with a little traditional enclave was that I knew I'd still be in communion with the bishops who didn't defend the faith and let the irreverent liturgies I had seen before continue. I could see that Orthodox theology was not compatible with Roman Catholic doctrine - you had to choose. Finally, as a traditional Roman Catholic I had experienced being a second class citizen in my own church, and wasn't about to jump from a bad situation into the same thing. It's been bizarre not having to live with those culture wars anymore in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2013, 05:36:06 PM »

Former Latin Mass-er here.

There is a big difference, and the biggest one is mental. Converting from thoughts of rationalism and authority to one of mysticism and collegiality was a shift that came about only through attendance and practicing the Orthodox faith for a while. Of course, that's how it's supposed to work - Roman Catholicism can be learned from a book, but Orthodoxy only makes sense through experience. You have to participate in the life of The Church and then suddenly, somehow, everything clicks. I attribute it to the work of the Holy Spirit.

But there's also the huge, looming presence of Roman Catholicism in the life of Roman Catholics. For traditionalists who build their lives around the traditions and doctrines of that church it's like having the foundation of your life pulled out from underneath you. You look back at those times you counseled others not to leave the church and now worry you too are becoming a schismatic for similarly 'obviously' bad reasons. I told people it was like someone had died, or I was getting a divorce. Realizing that what I thought was eternal and historical had never actually existed was devastating.

But I knew that I had to follow Truth. 

I left Roman Catholicism thinking that I would never love Orthodoxy as much as Roman Catholicism, and turned out to be wrong.

That is my fear!

I knew I couldn't be Eastern Catholic. What prevented me from just finding and being happy with a little traditional enclave was that I knew I'd still be in communion with the bishops who didn't defend the faith and let the irreverent liturgies I had seen before continue. I could see that Orthodox theology was not compatible with Roman Catholic doctrine - you had to choose.
Finally, as a traditional Roman Catholic I had experienced being a second class citizen in my own church, and wasn't about to jump from a bad situation into the same thing. It's been bizarre not having to live with those culture wars anymore in Orthodoxy.


YES! YES! YES! I wholeheartedly tell you that what you said above perfectly echoes my own sentiments as I am about to take the plunge. It will be strangely peaceful not having the culture wars. Perhaps the most moving thing I read in the past ten months was from a journalist who converted from Catholicism to Orthodoxy. He wrote something to the effect of, "When I was a Catholic I defended the Church. Now that I am Orthodox the Church defends me!" That line has haunted me ever since...
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« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2013, 11:15:38 AM »

Why isn't Eastern Catholicism a consideration?

Who says it isn't or wasn't?

The ECs were sort of a halfway house for me for a couple of years before I made the jump.  I have no ill feelings or thoughts towards them.  It was almost home, but not quite.  At the time I thought I could have a foot in both the east and the west. Since I really didn't believe in papal infallibility it was more of the west giving me the shove out the door telling me I really didn't belong. That was 12+ years ago. I don't regret it.  I know of several people where the EC churches were sort of a transitional place for them moving Eastward.

Well sure, just like a lot of converts to Catholicism look back on Western-Rite Orthodoxy as a "halfway house".

 Grin

Just kidding ... or am I?  Shocked
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« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2013, 11:17:09 AM »

Why isn't Eastern Catholicism a consideration?

Who says it isn't or wasn't?

The ECs were sort of a halfway house for me for a couple of years before I made the jump.  I have no ill feelings or thoughts towards them.  It was almost home, but not quite.  At the time I thought I could have a foot in both the east and the west. Since I really didn't believe in papal infallibility it was more of the west giving me the shove out the door telling me I really didn't belong. That was 12+ years ago. I don't regret it.  I know of several people where the EC churches were sort of a transitional place for them moving Eastward.

Well sure, just like a lot of converts to Catholicism look back on Western-Rite Orthodoxy as a "halfway house".

 Grin

Just kidding ... or am I?  Shocked
No, I think that is called "dreaming"

 Grin
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« Reply #34 on: October 11, 2013, 01:08:10 PM »

I converted to Orthodoxy from RC a while back. I was unable to fully connect with the contemporary RC Church due to a variety of issues, papal infallibility, and the idea that divorced people are for all time denied Holy Eucharist by RC priests . I used to believe the latter was NOT really  true, but I was refused Holy Communion on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage by a Trad RC priest, who was saying a Mass for my deceased brother in law. What made it more bizarre was that we were the only two mortal participants in the Chapel. I will never forget the judgemental and unloving talk I got after confession, and the proud pious shake of his head to reiterate my excommunication as he took Communion himself. I was as an Irish Roman Catholic devastated. However it did make me resolve to clarify the matter on my return. A number of RC priests said to just take Communion anyway " you won't be challenged" , but this struck me as being dishonest.

Not to take this thread in another direction, but I have questions about this as well.  I'm not divorced but my husband and I separated in 1991 and I haven't seen him since.  I don't even know if he's still alive.  Because of this, when I started going back to an RC parish, I did not take communion.  I stayed in the pew after lettings others out.  Now that I'm attending Orthodox services, I'm also not taking communion.  This isn't the only reason, but again, I stay in the pew.  I have no idea what my marital status is with regard to either of these churches.  Technically, I never 'committed' divorce, but you can't argue I'm still married either, except on paper somewhere.  I'm seeing legal aid--I've been walking around with a stranger's last name for 22 years.  I want my name back, and if they can get a divorce through, I'm going to take it.  Not being able to take communion is something I'll have to accept if that's the case, but they wouldn't tell me I can't attend liturgy, could they?
Legally, your "husband" can be declared dead.  Also, you can have a name changed legally.  Taking communion, OTOH, is between you and a priest.  Have you talked to him about this situation?
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« Reply #35 on: October 11, 2013, 06:49:11 PM »

I have another question if a Catholic is considering converting to Orthodoxy, why not just choose one of the Eastern rite Catholic Churches instead? Someone has already asked me this once and I'm sure I will be asked this question again, I assume there are Catholics who become interested in Eastern Christianity and do join one of the eastern rite churches. But for those Catholics who make the jump from Catholicism to Orthodoxy, why isn't Eastern Catholicism a consideration?

Because you don't convert to Orthodoxy for the smells, bells and fancy liturgy but for the Faith.

The Eastern Catholics are (with the exception of a very small, yet vocal, minority) Roman Catholics with an Eastern Mass. Rome doesn't want the EC to disregard or deny post-schism dogmas.

No offense, I hope, but for all the times I've heard the phrase "Roman Catholics with an Eastern Mass" thrown around, I don't believe I've heard anyone explain what it is suppose to mean.
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« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2013, 08:31:40 PM »

Thank you for all your thoughtful replies. I am taking it slow . Fortunately I live in an area where there is a large Orthodox presence , so I have resources available to help me along the way.

I have another question if a Catholic is considering converting to Orthodoxy, why not just choose one of the Eastern rite Catholic Churches instead? Someone has already asked me this once and I'm sure I will be asked this question again, I assume there are Catholics who become interested in Eastern Christianity and do join one of the eastern rite churches. But for those Catholics who make the jump from Catholicism to Orthodoxy, why isn't Eastern Catholicism a consideration?

Thank you and God bless!

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« Reply #37 on: October 11, 2013, 09:31:15 PM »

No offense, I hope, but for all the times I've heard the phrase "Roman Catholics with an Eastern Mass" thrown around, I don't believe I've heard anyone explain what it is suppose to mean.

Presumably it means that the sayer finds Eastern Catholics to have all the same heterodox beliefs of Roman Catholics, but have an Eastern style service instead of the Roman Mass. I often feel this way about Eastern Catholics I've talked with, prime examples being mardukm on CAF. Their mindset, theology, often even their language, is Roman, but their Liturgy is of St. John Chrysostom.
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« Reply #38 on: October 11, 2013, 09:43:54 PM »

I don't think anybody here is going to force or rush you into something you are unsure of. I am still somewhat unsure of the validity of Orthodoxy vs. Roman Catholicism, and I am a Protestant.

In the view of the Orthodox Church, it is the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. Not the Catholic Church, not the 40,000+ Protestant Churches.

Catholic (καθολικος) in Greek actually means "whole" and not "Universal" as most people believe; in the sense that the Orthodox Church believes itself to teach the "whole Faith" that the Apostles handed down to the Church from the beginning. Not adding to it or diminishing from it.

In other words, the Orthodox Church is united in Faith and not by an Ecclesiastical leader, like the Pope.

Welcome to the forum.
The Catholic Church also isn't united by "an Ecclesiastical leader, like the Pope."  He is their Bishop, he is the head of their Church in the absence of Jesus physically being on earth, but he alone does not unite them.  They also have their faith, they have just as much history behind them as we do, so I do not understand why anyone would say this other than making a false jab at Catholics.  I suggest reading or listening to their apologists on occasion.  You will learn a lot of what people think they know about Catholics is incorrect.

EDIT:  I just realized this is the convert section.  I was not attempting to derail, my apologies.
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« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2013, 09:55:22 PM »

I was raised Catholic and I'm trying to convert to Orthodox now.  The few things that never made sense to me in Catholicism are conveniently enough not part of Orthodox doctrine.  The only thing I'm having a hard time letting go of is the notion of purgatory.
Understandable.  The Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church have very similar teachings, though most would deny this.  The difference is in definition, mostly, but there have been many discussions about that on this forum.
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« Reply #40 on: October 11, 2013, 09:59:45 PM »

I was raised Catholic and I'm trying to convert to Orthodox now.  The few things that never made sense to me in Catholicism are conveniently enough not part of Orthodox doctrine.  The only thing I'm having a hard time letting go of is the notion of purgatory.

Hmm, that was one of the easier things for me. I read a Catholic Apologetics article that stated plainly "there is no biblical basis for purgatory" before proceeding to quote the Bible for 40 verses.
Odd, over the last couple of days I have listened to two different, well respected, Catholic apologists which say the opposite.  In fact, both started off with the biblical support for Purgatory and went into great detail defending it.  One even made reference to Orthodox objection to Purgatory but didnt delve too far into that aspect.  Scott Hahn and Mark Shea.
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« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2013, 10:03:29 PM »

I was raised Catholic and I'm trying to convert to Orthodox now.  The few things that never made sense to me in Catholicism are conveniently enough not part of Orthodox doctrine.  The only thing I'm having a hard time letting go of is the notion of purgatory.

The notions of purgatory that are at odds with Orthodoxy are the following:

(1) That Purgatory is a place located between Heaven and Hell.

(2) That this teaching on Purgatory leads to complacency or nominalism, the idea that a person can just do the minimum and barely make it into heaven via purgatory.

(3) That Purgatory was defined without the agreement of the Orthodox outside the Seven Holy Ecumenical Councils.
Again, not all of this is what the Church is teaching from what I can find.  Scott Hahn specifically addressed each one of these in a series called Answering Common Objections.  
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« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2013, 10:23:49 PM »

I was raised Catholic and I'm trying to convert to Orthodox now.  The few things that never made sense to me in Catholicism are conveniently enough not part of Orthodox doctrine.  The only thing I'm having a hard time letting go of is the notion of purgatory.

Hmm, that was one of the easier things for me. I read a Catholic Apologetics article that stated plainly "there is no biblical basis for purgatory" before proceeding to quote the Bible for 40 verses.
Odd, over the last couple of days I have listened to two different, well respected, Catholic apologists which say the opposite.  In fact, both started off with the biblical support for Purgatory and went into great detail defending it.  One even made reference to Orthodox objection to Purgatory but didnt delve too far into that aspect.  Scott Hahn and Mark Shea.

I know. Catholic Apologists have all sorts of views on this. The one that was the subject of the council of Florence was 1 Corinthians 3. (sic) Some use Christ's parable about sparrows and pennies too. At the same time there are Apologists who deny that it is biblical and only believe it because it is Papal doctrine.

And the Pope is the sole successor to St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ upon whom the Church is built... yada yada yada.

There was a video in which Fr. Mitchell Pacwa said Purgatory relies on Vicarious Atonement, which Orthodox reject. I think I posted it elsewhere, I can't find it now.
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« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2013, 10:30:54 PM »

I was raised Catholic and I'm trying to convert to Orthodox now.  The few things that never made sense to me in Catholicism are conveniently enough not part of Orthodox doctrine.  The only thing I'm having a hard time letting go of is the notion of purgatory.

Hmm, that was one of the easier things for me. I read a Catholic Apologetics article that stated plainly "there is no biblical basis for purgatory" before proceeding to quote the Bible for 40 verses.
Odd, over the last couple of days I have listened to two different, well respected, Catholic apologists which say the opposite.  In fact, both started off with the biblical support for Purgatory and went into great detail defending it.  One even made reference to Orthodox objection to Purgatory but didnt delve too far into that aspect.  Scott Hahn and Mark Shea.

I know. Catholic Apologists have all sorts of views on this. The one that was the subject of the council of Florence was 1 Corinthians 3. (sic) Some use Christ's parable about sparrows and pennies too. At the same time there are Apologists who deny that it is biblical and only believe it because it is Papal doctrine.

And the Pope is the sole successor to St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ upon whom the Church is built... yada yada yada.

There was a video in which Fr. Mitchell Pacwa said Purgatory relies on Vicarious Atonement, which Orthodox reject. I think I posted it elsewhere, I can't find it now.
I'm sure there are people with varying opinions, just as there is in Orthodoxy, but the bottom line is always "What does the Church itself teach?"  I'm finding much of what both the Orthodox and Catholic teaches is not what many people claim, and that's a good thing.
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« Reply #44 on: October 11, 2013, 10:32:42 PM »

I was raised Catholic and I'm trying to convert to Orthodox now.  The few things that never made sense to me in Catholicism are conveniently enough not part of Orthodox doctrine.  The only thing I'm having a hard time letting go of is the notion of purgatory.

Hmm, that was one of the easier things for me. I read a Catholic Apologetics article that stated plainly "there is no biblical basis for purgatory" before proceeding to quote the Bible for 40 verses.
Odd, over the last couple of days I have listened to two different, well respected, Catholic apologists which say the opposite.  In fact, both started off with the biblical support for Purgatory and went into great detail defending it.  One even made reference to Orthodox objection to Purgatory but didnt delve too far into that aspect.  Scott Hahn and Mark Shea.

I know. Catholic Apologists have all sorts of views on this. The one that was the subject of the council of Florence was 1 Corinthians 3. (sic) Some use Christ's parable about sparrows and pennies too. At the same time there are Apologists who deny that it is biblical and only believe it because it is Papal doctrine.

And the Pope is the sole successor to St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ upon whom the Church is built... yada yada yada.

There was a video in which Fr. Mitchell Pacwa said Purgatory relies on Vicarious Atonement, which Orthodox reject. I think I posted it elsewhere, I can't find it now.
I'm sure there are people with varying opinions, just as there is in Orthodoxy, but the bottom line is always "What does the Church itself teach?"  I'm finding much of what both the Orthodox and Catholic teaches is not what many people claim, and that's a good thing.

Here is the video of Fr. Mitchell Pacwa if you're interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YxWzxnk1KY

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