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Reverting back to the Church #395004
05/29/13 06:16 PM
05/29/13 06:16 PM
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Posts: 5
Fort Worth, TX
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anticlimacus Offline OP
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anticlimacus  Offline OP
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Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum, and I would like to obtain some opinions on my current situation.

I am an Evangelical who discovered Eastern Christianity two years ago and have been studying its history, theology, and spirituality during this time. I was baptized as a Roman Catholic as a baby, and was confirmed later on in my youth while attending a Roman Catholic school. After falling away from the Roman Catholic faith(as well as Christianity as a whole), I committed myself to Christ in my early adulthood and have been an Evangelical ever since. Now, after having learned about Church history, the teachings of the Fathers, and the orthodox Faith of the East, I know that the fullness of the Christian faith and life exists in the one true, catholic, and apostolic church. I want to revert back to the Church and become an Eastern Catholic, but I have a slight dilemma...

The closest Eastern Catholic church to me is 45 minutes away, but there is a Roman Catholic church just a few minutes down the road. Now, the reason I mention that is because I have a wife and three young children, and my wife is remaining an Evangelical. We have been actively involved in the Evangelical church we have been attending for over the last 10 years. I still want to go with her to the service for support to her and the kids, as I'm not going to cut myself out of my family's Sunday morning dedication to the Lord. Having said that, there is no way I could go to the EC church 45 minutes away, attend Divine Liturgy, and be back in time to go with them to the Evangelical service. I can easily attend the early morning Mass at the RC church and be back in time to help my wife get the kids ready to go to the Evangelical church and spend time together.

I am fully aware that RC's and EC's are completely welcome to attend each other's Mass/Liturgy, take Communion, and fulfill their obligations. However, since I fully hold onto an Eastern theology in virtually all matters, I do not feel that I should say that I am a Roman Catholic. But at the same time, since I would regularly attend a RC Church, could I claim to be EC?

My hope is that one day soon my wife decides to convert and then our problem would be solved. But until that day comes, how should I proceed in entering back into the Catholic Church with my Eastern theology?

Thank you.

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: anticlimacus] #395075
05/31/13 06:06 AM
05/31/13 06:06 AM
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Posts: 1,125
Florida
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Epiphanius Offline
Za myr z'wysot ...
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Originally Posted by anticlimacus
I am an Evangelical who discovered Eastern Christianity two years ago and have been studying its history, theology, and spirituality during this time. I was baptized as a Roman Catholic as a baby, and was confirmed later on in my youth while attending a Roman Catholic school. After falling away from the Roman Catholic faith(as well as Christianity as a whole), I committed myself to Christ in my early adulthood and have been an Evangelical ever since. Now, after having learned about Church history, the teachings of the Fathers, and the orthodox Faith of the East, I know that the fullness of the Christian faith and life exists in the one true, catholic, and apostolic church. I want to revert back to the Church and become an Eastern Catholic, but I have a slight dilemma...

AC,

First of all, welcome to the Byzantine Forum!

Originally Posted by anticlimacus
The closest Eastern Catholic church to me is 45 minutes away, but there is a Roman Catholic church just a few minutes down the road. Now, the reason I mention that is because I have a wife and three young children, and my wife is remaining an Evangelical. We have been actively involved in the Evangelical church we have been attending for over the last 10 years. I still want to go with her to the service for support to her and the kids, as I'm not going to cut myself out of my family's Sunday morning dedication to the Lord.

I certainly concur with your decision here.

Originally Posted by anticlimacus
Having said that, there is no way I could go to the EC church 45 minutes away, attend Divine Liturgy, and be back in time to go with them to the Evangelical service. I can easily attend the early morning Mass at the RC church and be back in time to help my wife get the kids ready to go to the Evangelical church and spend time together.

That sounds like a very good interim plan. Continue to pray and have faith that God cares very much about you and your family.

Originally Posted by anticlimacus
I am fully aware that RC's and EC's are completely welcome to attend each other's Mass/Liturgy, take Communion, and fulfill their obligations. However, since I fully hold onto an Eastern theology in virtually all matters, I do not feel that I should say that I am a Roman Catholic. But at the same time, since I would regularly attend a RC Church, could I claim to be EC?

I'm afraid that wouldn't work, since to be EC is a matter of Canon Law, and you were already baptized RC. Have you visited the EC parish and spoken with the pastor there? Perhaps you could start attending there for feast days, or any other time they have Liturgy on a day other than Sunday.

Originally Posted by anticlimacus
My hope is that one day soon my wife decides to convert and then our problem would be solved. But until that day comes, how should I proceed in entering back into the Catholic Church with my Eastern theology?

Well, the obvious first step, which you may have already made, is to make a Confession and begin receiving Holy Communion at the RC parish. Also, get to know the priest and explain the situation to him (some RC priests are clueless wrt the ECCs, but some are not). Thanks for sharing your journey with us.


Peace,
Deacon Richard

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: Epiphanius] #395078
05/31/13 07:27 AM
05/31/13 07:27 AM
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Fort Worth, TX
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anticlimacus Offline OP
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anticlimacus  Offline OP
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Thank you for your response and support, Deacon Richard. It makes sense what you said that since I was baptized into the Latin Church that I am RC (until I officially change Rites). I do have another question though: is there any conflict in being canonically RC while holding onto EC theological views regarding Catholic dogmas?

Thank you again.

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: anticlimacus] #395079
05/31/13 07:29 AM
05/31/13 07:29 AM
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Fort Worth, TX
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anticlimacus Offline OP
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anticlimacus  Offline OP
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Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have in fact already sent an email to the EC parish priest regarding this issue; I just haven't received a reponse yet. I will take your advice and talk to my local RC clergy about my intentions. Thanks.

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: anticlimacus] #395083
05/31/13 08:36 AM
05/31/13 08:36 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 317
USA
desertman Offline
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Hi and welcome

I'm very much in a similar situation. A book that has really helped me incorporate Eastern spirituality into my life at home is using a Byzantine prayer book. Personally, I think one of the best out there is the Melkite "Publican's Prayer Book".

https://melkite.org/products-page/prayer-books/publicans-prayer-book


I have an icon corner set up at home and I prepare for Holy Communion with the Eastern preparation canons and fasting from the night before. I also try to keep to the fasts throughout the year the best that I can. These are the practical things I try to do, but also prayer and study and trying to aquire an Eastern "worldview" in general. I realize none of this can substitute for actually living the liturgical services and sharing in a community of Easterners, but it's the best I can do right now.

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: anticlimacus] #395122
06/01/13 09:05 AM
06/01/13 09:05 AM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 6,276
Hollidaysburg, PA
theophan Offline
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anticlimacus:

Welcome to the forum.

Remember that all of thee things are means, not ends, to the one thing necessary: a living, lasting realtionship with Jesus Christ. As St. John of the Lader would have it, there are many ladders by which we climb to Heaven, but the end is the same. Using an Eastern praxis to deepen one's relationship with Christ or using a Western one is not the end one works toward. It is deepening the faith gift and the relationship that goes with it that is the end.

If you ask an Evangelical, that is also the end that they seek, too. The difference is finding the fullness of the Apostolic Faith in a place where there is a living link to the Apostles.

Bob

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: desertman] #395136
06/01/13 05:46 PM
06/01/13 05:46 PM
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Fort Worth, TX
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anticlimacus Offline OP
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Thanks for the info, desertman!

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: theophan] #395138
06/01/13 06:17 PM
06/01/13 06:17 PM
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Fort Worth, TX
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anticlimacus Offline OP
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anticlimacus  Offline OP
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Thank you theophan. You make an excellent point; in fact, that is *the* point of points! To embrace and grow in my relationship with the resurrected Son of God! So often (in my case at least) it is so easy to focus so much on the methods instead of the result I wish to obtain.

Eastern spirituality resonates with me, and its theology/soteriology/Christology/anthropology/etc. is what I agree with in my heart (and mind; since my attachment to it is not purely "emotional", but also rational as I have studied over the last couple of years the history of the church, the Fathers, etc. - still have an infinite amount of learning to do of course!). And it is the "ladder" for me, as you mentioned how St. John Climacus would put it.

I guess I will have to attempt to climb that ladder within the walls of Rome for at least the foreseeable future. Which, while not being my number one preference, it will surely suffice. I do have great admiration for the Latin Church's theology and culture. Unlike the extreme hardcore Orthodox (and EC's) who practically think 3D statues, and/or religious paintings by Michelangelo are heretical, I truly appreciate them and the rest of Western art, music, and architecture. How can anyone feel that way towards the La Pieta, or the ceiling of Sistine Chapel, or Bach's Mass in B Minor? Just as much as history has seen the pressure of Latinization on the EC's in the past, I sadly see a hearty amount of anti-Latin vitriol on the Net. I absolutely do not share in those feelings. I love my RC heritage and those who embrace all that it provides. I just see theology in the Eastern perspective as opposed to the Western one.

As for the Evangelicals, I will have to say that they have a great emphasis on that end over most others. I have made so many good friends and gotten to know such great Christians who love Christ with all of their hearts while I have been an Evangelical for over the past 10 years or so. As much as I am excited to be reverting back to the Catholic faith (this time from the Eastern view), it is going to very difficult to be leaving my current Church home. I still love it and always will love my brothers and sisters there. The Grace of God abounds there.

This next rung on my ladder is bittersweet for sure.

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: Epiphanius] #395160
06/03/13 03:08 AM
06/03/13 03:08 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,431
New England
Peter J Offline
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Hi anticlimacus. The first thing I want to say possibly goes without saying: that, as Catholics, we don't proselytize (especially w.r.t. Orthodox, but also wrt protestants), or at least aren't suppose to, but if you of your own accord want to be in communion with us then we'd love to have you. smile

Originally Posted by anticlimacus
The closest Eastern Catholic church to me is 45 minutes away, but there is a Roman Catholic church just a few minutes down the road. Now, the reason I mention that is because I have a wife and three young children, and my wife is remaining an Evangelical. We have been actively involved in the Evangelical church we have been attending for over the last 10 years. I still want to go with her to the service for support to her and the kids, as I'm not going to cut myself out of my family's Sunday morning dedication to the Lord.

Like Deacon Richard, I concur with your decision here. So, for the sake of you having the chance to witness several Divine Liturgies prior to re-entering the Catholic Church ... have you considered an Eastern Orthodox parish? There are a handful in Fort Worth, so I imagine at least one of them is reasonably close to you.

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: anticlimacus] #397860
08/10/13 11:13 AM
08/10/13 11:13 AM
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South.
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Does your wife's church only offer one service time? Would it be possible for you both to attend an earlier or a later afternoon/evening service so you could attend divine liturgy at the further parish?

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: anticlimacus] #397866
08/10/13 02:30 PM
08/10/13 02:30 PM
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Ireland
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I am in Ireland. My byzantine parish is one hour away. I therefore only go on major feasts because of how far it is away. I have a wife and two young children ( both baptised and Chrismated in the UGCC ) . We go to Roman Mass every Sunday but in heart and prayer life are Byzantine. You don't have to break your back to try and attend byzantine Liturgy every Sunday to be a Byzantine. God understands your financial and stressful situation.

By the way, every Sunday I find listening to the Divine Liturgy of St.John Chrysostom after I get home from Roman Mass is good enough for me now.

I hear there is an abundance of Byzantine Priests in America. Perhaps you should suggest or invite some to open up a mission in your town and get the eastern rite in for all to convert and enjoy?

God bless
Stephen

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: anticlimacus] #397903
08/11/13 12:52 PM
08/11/13 12:52 PM
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Portland USA
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When i was in the USA, my parish was about 40 minutes away and I took the family most of the time and I was an altar server too. We had matins at 8am and liturgy at 10am. I understand about the commute, but there really is no comparing the liturgy to the mass, especially when you have the liturgy in Dublin.

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: anticlimacus] #397977
08/12/13 02:49 PM
08/12/13 02:49 PM
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I also do not understand how the Eastern Orthodox would consider statues "heretical"; I guess the hard-liners may call it that, I would suggest that the statuary is not in keeping with Eastern tradition, because the icons seem to have the same use except that they tell more of a story; I feel that there is not a problem with statuary and the Byzantine Church where I was a member had a bust of the founding pastor, which was the only statuary in the parish - I feel that be it an icon or a statue, if it lifts the mind and heart to God, it can't be all bad. For the same reason, the West had never abandoned the idea of icons, for is not the Cross of San Damiano (the Franciscan crucifix) an icon. There is just a difference in the way that the East and West approach spirituality - meditation for the West, repetitive and constant prayer for the East - in fact there are even references to meditative prayer in the Philokalia as well as the book "The Way of the Pilgrim" which I could not put down once I started it. Slava Isuzu Christu.

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: Alvin] #398048
08/13/13 07:53 PM
08/13/13 07:53 PM
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Canada
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Dear Alvin,

Slava na viky!

Statues are forbidden by the Eastern canons, although there were some statues of the Mother of God and of Christ that have a long history in the East and continue to be venerated today.

Also, the West had statues when the Church was still one (I'm thinking here of Our Lady of Einsiedeln). Western Rite Orthodox do indeed venerate statues, such as that of Our Lady of Walsingham and there doesn't seem to be any problem with that.

So it really is a matter of "the East doesn't, the West does."

If you promise not to tell anyone, I will confide to you that I have some statues at home that I venerate . . .

I am counting on your ability to keep a secret now!

Alex

Re: Reverting back to the Church [Re: anticlimacus] #398078
08/14/13 11:30 AM
08/14/13 11:30 AM
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Falls Church, VA
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StuartK Offline
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Statues are forbidden by the Eastern canons

Really? Which ones? This seems to be one of those things everybody knows is true but actually isn't. In fact, religious statuary was quite common in Byzantium prior to the iconoclasm, but, for obvious reasons, few statues survived, and the practice of making religious statuary died out in its aftermath. Three dimensional religious and liturgical art continued to flourish in Byzantium down to the Ottoman conquest in the form of relief-carved diptych and triptych icons, often executed in ivory.

Here's one of those evil, heretical, diabolical Byzantine statues of the Theotokos:
[Linked Image]

and here is a lovely ivory triptych icon. Note its "shapiness":

[Linked Image]

Last edited by StuartK; 08/14/13 11:31 AM.
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