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Convert Question #405480 05/06/14 02:16 PM
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Phillip Rolfes Offline OP
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Does anyone know if the Catholic Church teaches whether it is a sin for a Catholic to convert to Orthodoxy? A friend of mine and I were having a discussion about this yesterday and I couldn't think of any sources that would give a clear answer to this question.

Re: Convert Question [Re: Phillip Rolfes] #405484 05/06/14 03:05 PM
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Michael_Thoma Offline
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Knowing that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ, it would be a sin to convert out for some kind of convenience or personal recognition or something; however, if one believes the Orthodox Church is the fullness of Christ's Church, even from the Catholic perspective and theology of conscience, it may be a sin not to.

Re: Convert Question [Re: Phillip Rolfes] #405485 05/06/14 03:18 PM
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Lester S Offline
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That's an interesting way to put it, Michael. I've had to fight over this, until recently coming to the decision I came to, weeks ago. It was a tough decision, having spanned the time, prior to my exposure to the Eastern Churches, physically, almost two years ago.

I think of Theophan the Recluse's point about it being better a man not know of Orthodoxy than one who knows about it, and ignores it.

If apply the archery analogy to sin, it would be a question of where does God want you, beyond human reasoning? As much as consciousness plays a role in a decision making, there is something there which draws you, which the mind can't comprehend; it's something subliminal.

Re: Convert Question [Re: Phillip Rolfes] #405503 05/07/14 09:47 AM
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StuartK Offline
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Just who really cares? The Church of Rome considers the Orthodox Churches to be true Churches, and the Church is one, ergo, one is not "converting" from or to anything--one is simply changing one's ecclesial affiliation.

Re: Convert Question [Re: Phillip Rolfes] #405512 05/07/14 12:38 PM
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Lester S Offline
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Some people care, Stuart, as much as I don't want to say so. I've gotten snarky remarks regarding the decision I made.. One being if I chose to no longer be in communion with the church of which the people I'd commemorate, why bother.. Also, why would I still take communion in the parish belonging to the communion I'm leaving. This is despite the priest of the communion I'm going to be joining has said I don't have to break communion yet

Re: Convert Question [Re: StuartK] #405516 05/07/14 02:30 PM
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Talon Offline
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Originally Posted by StuartK
Just who really cares? The Church of Rome considers the Orthodox Churches to be true Churches, and the Church is one, ergo, one is not "converting" from or to anything--one is simply changing one's ecclesial affiliation.


Catholic dogmatic theology cares, Stuart. And I believe Orthodox theology would as well. I may be mistaken.

Yes, the Orthodox Church is considered a "true Church." But that doesn't quite mean that whether one chooses to be Orthodox or chooses to be Catholic is of no consequence at all. "True Church" does not mean "Deficient in nothing at all."

Because, in the Catholic view, God has established the bishop of Rome as primate over the episcopal college, we need to be faithful to God's desire for this exercise of authority. To deny the primacy of the pope (as it should properly be understood, I'll duly note, not as it is often misunderstood by both sides) is to deny God's revelation and desire. Problematic in the eyes of any God-fearing individual for patently obvious reasons.

Now, if a Catholic begins to mull various things over and comes to the sincere, "heart-felt" conclusion that Orthodoxy more accurately represents God's revelation than Catholicism does, I can't concur with the notion that he is then compelled to become Orthodox in spite of the objective truth because I believe that this notion is based on a mistaken understanding of the primacy of conscience. But I can say that, at the very least, the sin that the individual is committing in objective terms, subjectively for him, will be mitigated or eliminated all together in virtue of the sincere desire to be doing the right thing.

Incidentally, the Church is obviously not "one" at present in that part of the eastern Church is not currently in communion with the West, nor with its other brothers and sisters in the East.

Last edited by Talon; 05/07/14 02:32 PM.
Re: Convert Question [Re: Talon] #405555 05/08/14 03:56 PM
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Well, if a person converts to Orthodoxy, one presumes he or she is doing so because they are convinced it is the original Christian Church with the original, unadulterated Christian Faith etc.

Eastern Catholics and even Western, will happily congratulate someone who went from communion with Rome over to Orthodoxy (has been happening on this website for years, truth be told).

I don't think too many Orthodox would congratulate one of their own becoming a "Uniate" or Eastern Catholic. I could be wrong.

Orthodoxy has always understood itself as being "completely full" if we use the imagery of a glass of milk.

Everything outside the glass is . . . who knows, let's keep focused on the full glass.

In at least two cases I've come across, converts might be attracted to Orthodoxy's absolute conviction that it is the true Church and may find Catholicism's, for want of a better word, "wavering" on the subject or willingness to acknowledge "Church-hood" to others a source of everything from discomfort to distress.

Alex

Re: Convert Question [Re: Phillip Rolfes] #405559 05/08/14 06:13 PM
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StuartK Offline
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Quote
Catholic dogmatic theology cares, Stuart. And I believe Orthodox theology would as well. I may be mistaken.


I'm pretty sure they aren't going to be giving us a theology test on the Day of Judgment. In the great scheme of things, I'm pretty sure God doesn't care much about this one.

Re: Convert Question [Re: Phillip Rolfes] #405564 05/08/14 08:17 PM
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Talon Offline
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Quote

I'm pretty sure they aren't going to be giving us a theology test on the Day of Judgment.


Of course, I never implied otherwise...

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In the great scheme of things, I'm pretty sure God doesn't care much about this one.


Well...For the sake of those with a mistaken ecclesiology, Stuart, I hope your confidence is not without base.

Let's not forget that God is quite clear about the fact that his ways are not ours and vice versa. God is no tyrant or Nazi who is waiting to inflict great pain on us for having the slightest hair out of place. However, he is no "Libertine" either.

May he grant us all the grace to find and be faithful to the truth, no matter where it lies.

Last edited by Talon; 05/08/14 08:19 PM.
Re: Convert Question [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #405565 05/08/14 08:28 PM
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Talon Offline
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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Well, if a person converts to Orthodoxy, one presumes he or she is doing so because they are convinced it is the original Christian Church with the original, unadulterated Christian Faith etc.


That's generally the presumption, sure. But there are plenty of exceptions out there. Unfortunately, tons of people convert other faiths or other denominations within the same faith for all kinds of "less than rational" reasons.

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Eastern Catholics and even Western, will happily congratulate someone who went from communion with Rome over to Orthodoxy (has been happening on this website for years, truth be told).


Which, of course, makes no sense of any kind...(Speaking of "less than rational".)

To be clear, to try to put some perspective on this, if the whole rest of the world were to convert next week to Orthodoxy, and none to Catholicism, I'd be doing backflips until the day of my death probably. Tremendously exciting...But not quite all the way into the end zone, if you will, in objective terms. CLOSE, to be sure. But not quite all the way from the Catholic perspective.

And, yes, we believe that, in objective terms (the subjective realm being a separate issue), that matters to God, and therefore, needs to to us as well.

Quote

Orthodoxy has always understood itself as being "completely full" if we use the imagery of a glass of milk.

Everything outside the glass is . . . who knows, let's keep focused on the full glass.

In at least two cases I've come across, converts might be attracted to Orthodoxy's absolute conviction that it is the true Church and may find Catholicism's, for want of a better word, "wavering" on the subject or willingness to acknowledge "Church-hood" to others a source of everything from discomfort to distress.


A) Does Orthodoxy believe Anglicans, Lutherans and/or others are members of a "true Church"??

B) What is giving you the impression that the Catholic Church "wavers" in its belief that it is the true Church of Christ?

Last edited by Talon; 05/08/14 08:29 PM.
Re: Convert Question [Re: Phillip Rolfes] #405569 05/08/14 09:55 PM
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StuartK Offline
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Quite obviously Talon has no clue regarding the relationship that exists between Greek Catholics and the Orthodox, particularly in those Churches that have a foot in each camp.

Re: Convert Question [Re: Talon] #405571 05/08/14 10:12 PM
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Hello Talon,

a) No, Orthodoxy doesn't believe that Anglicans/Lutherans are members of a "true Church." However, I've read statements from RC ecumenical theologians who have said that, in the case of the RC/Lutheran dialogue, they have been in discussions "with true Christian Churches." Personally, I don't know what that means.

b) As far as I myself am concerned, I waver not in my conviction re: Rome sweet home. But the post-Vatican II theologians et alia sometimes give the impression that although not completely full, there is sufficient milk in other glasses to satisfy the "ecclesial calcium" requirements of souls.

That's all you are going to get out of me at this hour.

Good night.

Alex

Re: Convert Question [Re: StuartK] #405572 05/08/14 10:13 PM
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Orthodox Catholic Offline
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Dear Royal Stuart,

The last time this Greek Catholic tried to put a foot in the Orthodox camp, it almost got chopped off!

A good night to you as well.

Alex

Re: Convert Question [Re: Phillip Rolfes] #405575 05/08/14 11:35 PM
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Pasisozi Offline
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What is it that makes us Orthodox or Catholic?

Is it the name of the door on the church or the faith in our hearts?

Re: Convert Question [Re: Phillip Rolfes] #405576 05/09/14 12:31 AM
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Lester S Offline
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Depends on how one defines Orthodox, and Catholic, respectively.

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