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Re: Roman Catholic becoming Melkite [Re: AllCatholic] #395340 06/09/13 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by AllCatholic

Has anyone personally made the change from Latin to Eastern or Eastern to Latin?


About 45 years ago, from Latin to Melkite, and have never regretted it. In that time, I too have known many Latins who fully embrace and attend and participate in Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches without ever making a formal transfer of canonical enrollment and I do not fault their decision.

I suspect that there are more than a few of them who are blissfully unaware that it is possible to do so. As well, I am certain that there are yet as many who don't see any need to do so, as they don't anticipate taking either of the steps (i.e., marriage or ordination) that would require them to do so. Yet another factor often mentioned is children and the need to transfer formally if one wants to have them receive the Mysteries of Initiation in the Eastern Catholic Church that one attends. How necessary it is to have formally transferred for that reason is not quite as cut and dried. I can't speak with any certainty about how it is in the other Churches but, historically, a lot of pastors in the Melkite Eparchy of Newton have long chosen to ignore that particular requirement. I suspect the same is true in some parishes of other jurisdictions as well (as was alluded to by someone earlier, it's never stood in the way of many Latin pastors when approached to baptize the children of Eastern Catholics who have wandered into Roman temples).

When I made my choice, it was in the aftermath of VII, but the latter was neither a factor nor even a consideration in my decision. I had survived the Latin 'dialogue Mass' and didn't have any real issue with the Novus Ordo Mass. It was just simply that I was so enriched by the Divine Liturgy and Eastern spirituality in its entirety that I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

Additionally, I found myself very much at home in a parish community where virtually everyone knew everyone else by name. The comparison between a real 'parish community' and 'parish family' and a large Latin parish, where the masses who attended Mass where mostly just faces to one another, was also a significant consideration. (I grew up in Boston attending a small Latin chapel whose attendees were a 'worshiping family' and when it closed I found myself at sea in the large Latin parish into which I was absorbed - and quickly became a non-practicing Catholic.)

But, looking back at what I've written, I guess I've spoken mainly about why I began attending the Melkite Cathedral and stayed, rather than why I chose to seek what was then called a Change of Rite, which is more what was asked. The decision was one of wanting to be able to say. without equivocation, that 'this is MY C/church' and belong to it in the fullest possible way.

I've never regretted either of my decisions, to join with the Melkites in worship or to formally become a Melkite - it is my spiritual identity, my spiritual home, and my fellow Melkites (both those who are canonically such and those who are such by osmosis) are my spiritual family. I experience the fullness of my faith in so many ways that would never have been available to me in the Latin Church, even to the richness of the spiritual relationships that I've developed. I know not only my priest, but my bishop, personally, just as I knew 4 of Bishop Nicholas' 5 predecessors - and I'm no one special, just another Melkite Greek-Catholic.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
Re: Roman Catholic becoming Melkite [Re: Irish Melkite] #395344 06/09/13 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
Originally Posted by AllCatholic

Has anyone personally made the change from Latin to Eastern or Eastern to Latin?


About 45 years ago, from Latin to Melkite, and have never regretted it. In that time, I too have known many Latins who fully embrace and attend and participate in Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches without ever making a formal transfer of canonical enrollment and I do not fault their decision.

I suspect that there are more than a few of them who are blissfully unaware that it is possible to do so. As well, I am certain that there are yet as many who don't see any need to do so, as they don't anticipate taking either of the steps (i.e., marriage or ordination) that would require them to do so. Yet another factor often mentioned is children and the need to transfer formally if one wants to have them receive the Mysteries of Initiation in the Eastern Catholic Church that one attends. How necessary it is to have formally transferred for that reason is not quite as cut and dried. I can't speak with any certainty about how it is in the other Churches but, historically, a lot of pastors in the Melkite Eparchy of Newton have long chosen to ignore that particular requirement. I suspect the same is true in some parishes of other jurisdictions as well (as was alluded to by someone earlier, it's never stood in the way of many Latin pastors when approached to baptize the children of Eastern Catholics who have wandered into Roman temples).

When I made my choice, it was in the aftermath of VII, but the latter was neither a factor nor even a consideration in my decision. I had survived the Latin 'dialogue Mass' and didn't have any real issue with the Novus Ordo Mass. It was just simply that I was so enriched by the Divine Liturgy and Eastern spirituality in its entirety that I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

Additionally, I found myself very much at home in a parish community where virtually everyone knew everyone else by name. The comparison between a real 'parish community' and 'parish family' and a large Latin parish, where the masses who attended Mass where mostly just faces to one another, was also a significant consideration. (I grew up in Boston attending a small Latin chapel whose attendees were a 'worshiping family' and when it closed I found myself at sea in the large Latin parish into which I was absorbed - and quickly became a non-practicing Catholic.)

But, looking back at what I've written, I guess I've spoken mainly about why I began attending the Melkite Cathedral and stayed, rather than why I chose to seek what was then called a Change of Rite, which is more what was asked. The decision was one of wanting to be able to say. without equivocation, that 'this is MY C/church' and belong to it in the fullest possible way.

I've never regretted either of my decisions, to join with the Melkites in worship or to formally become a Melkite - it is my spiritual identity, my spiritual home, and my fellow Melkites (both those who are canonically such and those who are such by osmosis) are my spiritual family. I experience the fullness of my faith in so many ways that would never have been available to me in the Latin Church, even to the richness of the spiritual relationships that I've developed. I know not only my priest, but my bishop, personally, just as I knew 4 of Bishop Nicholas' 5 predecessors - and I'm no one special, just another Melkite Greek-Catholic.

Many years,

Neil


Thanks, for this, brother Neil.

It does beg one to question, however, if there should be an effort to moderate the parish size. I, too, started worshipping in a larger Latin parish, when I arrived in Oregon, a couple of years ago. There is a need, yet a danger, in growing the parish. The danger is the processes having taken place, in the parish, being taken down the path of heavy bureaucracy; and that closeness you've felt; and I'm feeling now, at my current parish.


Re: Roman Catholic becoming Melkite [Re: AllCatholic] #395346 06/09/13 08:36 PM
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This is also true for those coming from the Latin Rite to the Ruthenian Byzantine Church, and noticing how scarcely populated some of the parishes are. Although I have been to a few parishes of BCC parishes in smaller suburbs that have about the same congregation that a RC Church would, so there's either one of those two extremes. So that leads to me thinking that most Eastern Catholics are moving to the smaller suburbs, and making new history and new life in parishes outside the city or the larger suburbs.

All in all, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in the Eparchy of Parma, despite what the user Joe in Slavland thinks of it, it actually has a pretty good congregation for Matins and Divine Liturgy there, and they have some pretty young families there, too. Although the Cathedral does border some smaller, more conservative suburbs, too, so that might help.

Re: Roman Catholic becoming Melkite [Re: Lester S] #395351 06/10/13 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Lester S
[quote=IrishMelkite]

It does beg one to question, however, if there should be an effort to moderate the parish size. I, too, started worshipping in a larger Latin parish, when I arrived in Oregon, a couple of years ago. There is a need, yet a danger, in growing the parish. The danger is the processes having taken place, in the parish, being taken down the path of heavy bureaucracy; and that closeness you've felt; and I'm feeling now, at my current parish.

When I started frequenting the local Melkite parish on a regular basis, my Roman/Latin Catholic friends were confused. As many Roman/Latin Catholics yearn for (including me!), they wanted a specific explanation for the change they were witnessing. One aspect they brought up was related to this. They wanted to know if my continuing to attend the Melkite Divine Liturgy stemmed from the "coffee hour" afterward.

At first, I thought I might be being shallow because that was part of what was drawing me. Later I realized, that yes, that was part of what was drawing me, and no, there was nothing shallow about it. The social time after is part of the experience of being Melkite. It's actually part of the experience of being Catholic, and unfortunately, it was one area in which the Roman/Latin Rite was weak, at least in the numerous parishes I attended.

I know there are some Roman/Latin Catholic churches that are smaller and closer knit, but they tend to be in the minority of the ones I have attended. In all fairness, I am still quite new to the Melkite Church, so I imagine there may be some larger Melkite parishes that are not as welcoming as those I've attended, which have all been in the Northeast.

Along those lines, I think there is some merit to managing the size of a parish. Bigger is not always better, not only in terms of bureaucracy, but also in terms of a true sense of community and a sense of being able to contribute, among other things. At the same time, in the smaller Melkite churches, I miss the choirs found in the larger ones.


Re: Roman Catholic becoming Melkite [Re: AllCatholic] #395353 06/10/13 07:19 AM
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I know what you mean, AllCatholic. I don't understand the mentality that says that when the mass/liturgy is over, everyone goes home without saying more than hello to each other (regardless of parish size).

Re: Roman Catholic becoming Melkite [Re: AllCatholic] #395361 06/10/13 11:40 AM
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I share Stuart's attitude about the importance of changing rites. How would I ever explain to St Paul what I did and why? Nevertheless, I made the change, partly for sentimental reasons and partly because the bishops take the faithful's obligations under canon law seriously. It is ultimately a matter of respect for the shepherds of the church. To some degree I think the motivation behind this system of rules is to protect the Eastern Catholic churches from the loss of their people to the Latin Rite. Obviously, this has had little impact.

I wrote a letter to Bishop John of Parma, my pastor approved it without comment, added his own letter of support and a copy of my confirmation document. Three months later, my pastor got the paperwork and I signed with witnesses. Bishop John, of course, must have consulted in some fashion with Bishop Lennon of the Cleveland diocese. I think it sailed through because I had been active for many years in the parish, there was no question of orders and no family issues.

Re: Roman Catholic becoming Melkite [Re: AllCatholic] #395408 06/11/13 08:28 PM
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I went from Latin to Melkite. The transfer was very simple and quick for me. It only took about 3 months. Best decision of my religious life! (Aside from getting baptized, that is)

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