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I hear very little, almost nothing from the pulpits of the Latin rite Churches regarding high level talks between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in the matter of reuniting the holy Apostolic Churches. Are Latin rite clergy not interested in Christian unity?
Perhaps the Latin Church can begin by talking from the pulpit about the Eastern Catholic Churches which many or most Roman Catholics know little about.
Even, perhaps, Roman Catholics could be exposed to a Divine Liturgy, learn who the Theotokos is, learn that a priest can be married and still be a Catholic priest.
But perhaps most of all, the lesson that the holy Catholic Church consists of 22 or 23 different rites all in union with Rome and the Pope. And that the Roman Catholic Church is not the ENTIRE Catholic Church.
Signed: Anaphora, 6 August 2020.

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We have no idea what the Roman Catholic Church looks like as it was taken over by the Franks in 800 with the crowning of Charlemagne. Since then, it steadily went downhill and away from the Apostolic Faith, beginning with the Frankish heretical fascination with the Filioque Clause, despite Pope Leo III having the Creed engraved without the Filioque on two silver discs which were mounted in St. Peter's. They were removed by the Franks, who apparenly cared not one bit about the anathemas that the 6th and 7th ecumenical councils declared on anyone who tampered with previous ecumenical councils and their canons.

We will happily reunite with the Roman Church when She is resurrected from the dead and the Frankish heresies and doctrinal and liturgical deviations, such as using dead bread for the Eucharist, are dispensed with. I'm afraid it will take the return of the Lord, however, to accomplish this. Either that or some kind of miracle from the Holy Spirit to wake those in Rome up from their slumber.

EDIT: PS I noticed I am still posting under the name IrishRuthenian. I am that no longer, I am waiting to be admitted to the OCA, and I have come to disavow any "communion" with Rome until such time as they repent of their errors. If an admin reads this, you might kindly tell me the proper way to change my handle to OCA In Waiting. Stupid idiot virus!!!

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I agree with you OCAinWaiting, that Rome's differences are greater than it appears but changing them is hardly going to move the meter at all. The Oriental Orthodox in praxis are much closer to OCA, but not any closer to full unrestricted Communion/concelebration. Lets not kid ourselves, the separation is about the Papacy. Once that's resolved any differences will be ignored, if its not resolved any differences will be highlighted.

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Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
I agree with you OCAinWaiting, that Rome's differences are greater than it appears but changing them is hardly going to move the meter at all. The Oriental Orthodox in praxis are much closer to OCA, but not any closer to full unrestricted Communion/concelebration. Lets not kid ourselves, the separation is about the Papacy. Once that's resolved any differences will be ignored, if its not resolved any differences will be highlighted.


Sorry, but having read the many things I have read in Orthodox blogs, speaking with regular (not Traddydox) priests and laity, and listening to podcasts on AFR, it is more than just the papacy. Perhaps this post by +Fr. Thomas Hopko will help.

http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/HopkoPope.php

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Michael Thoma:

Christ is in our midst!!

I thought the Oriental Orthodox practiced intercommunion among themselves. I have seen service streamed on the internet where bishops from each of the Oriental Orthodox Churches participated in the Liturgy of one or the other. I have even seen ordinations where all the OO bishops of a region participated in full vestments. Is this not the case?

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I believe he is referring to full communion between Oriental and Eastern Orthodox.


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
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I do not hear much from the Latin rite pulpits regarding a fervent desire for reuniting the separated Apostolic Churches, Catholic and Orthodox. As a matter of fact, I never hear the word "Orthodox" from any Latin rite pulpit, or even in the Latin rite Catholic press.
Does the Latin rite Roman Catholic Church think they are the entire Catholic Church? That there is no Eastern Catholic Church that they can talk about? I have met many Latin rite Catholics who think that the Eastern Catholic Churches are "Orthodox" because so many of the priests are married and have children.
Perhaps before there can be reunion and communion with the Orthodox Churches, the Latin rite churches have to get to know the Eastern rite Catholic Churches many of which were derived from Orthodoxy.
Signed by: "Anaphora", a junior member of the Byzantine Forum.

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quote=AnaphoraI do not hear much from the Latin rite pulpits regarding a fervent desire for reuniting the separated Apostolic Churches, Catholic and Orthodox. As a matter of fact, I never hear the word "Orthodox" from any Latin rite pulpit, or even in the Latin rite Catholic press.

For the same reason that I never heard anything about the Early Fathers of the Church when I was 25 years a Protestant of various colors. Bring up the Early Church and what the Fathers said, and people will start asking bad questions like "If they did that then, why are we not doing it?" It's called "protecting your turf." The same is true with Roman Catholic priests. Do you honestly think they want people to see the beauty of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and compare it to their banal hymn, guitar music, and in some places, ridiculous liturgis of Vatican II? Expose them to that and all you will see is the dust of them running to a beautiful and reverent worship. Sorry, but you can't make the Novus Ordo reverent no matter how hard you try.

Does the Latin rite Roman Catholic Church think they are the entire Catholic Church?

That would be correct, Padawan!

That there is no Eastern Catholic Church that they can talk about?

See my point # 1.

I have met many Latin rite Catholics who think that the Eastern Catholic Churches are "Orthodox" because so many of the priests are married and have children.

The Unia are supposed to be "Orthodox" in Communion with Rome, but that got thrown out the window a long time ago, especially in the United States where the Irish bishops of the Roman Church bullied the EC churches and the EC went along with it because they wanted to prove they were Catholic. The Union of Brest made certain promises that the Byzantine Bishops should have brought forward and insisted that these promises be abided by. Instead, they knuckled under, instead of doing what Fr. Toth did and telling Bishop Ireland to basically go fly a kite.

Perhaps before there can be reunion and communion with the Orthodox Churches, the Latin rite churches have to get to know the Eastern rite Catholic Churches many of which were derived from Orthodoxy.

Nope. The only way for reunion is for the Roman Patriarch to rescind as erroneous all those teachings and doctrines which were invented after 1054 AD, as well as the Filioque clause to the Creed. Then we can begin to talk.

PS.....my nickname here, which no one yet has shown me how to change, indicates that I am EC. I am on my way to the OCA and do not intend to look back.







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Originally Posted by Anaphora
I do not hear much from the Latin rite pulpits regarding a fervent desire for reuniting the separated Apostolic Churches, Catholic and Orthodox. As a matter of fact, I never hear the word "Orthodox" from any Latin rite pulpit, or even in the Latin rite Catholic press.
Does the Latin rite Roman Catholic Church think they are the entire Catholic Church? That there is no Eastern Catholic Church that they can talk about? I have met many Latin rite Catholics who think that the Eastern Catholic Churches are "Orthodox" because so many of the priests are married and have children.
Perhaps before there can be reunion and communion with the Orthodox Churches, the Latin rite churches have to get to know the Eastern rite Catholic Churches many of which were derived from Orthodoxy.
Signed by: "Anaphora", a junior member of the Byzantine Forum.


Although I promised myself that I would not post on this forum again, I feel compelled to answer your questions and concerns, as they express a sincere yearning and frustration on your part.

There are thousands, perhaps millions, of Latin rite pulpits throughout the world and I'm sure you would admit that you have heard from only a very small percent, whatever the number. The Latin rite Archbishop of Boston, His Eminence, Cardinal Sean O'Malley and the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Boston, His Beatitude Methodios recently signed a joint declaration condemning the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque; they are the best of friends, frequently chat and honor each other and their respective churches by being present for their liturgies during Holy Week and Pascha whenever they can do this. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and their Orthodox equivalent have had an official and standing dialogue with each other for over fifty years and have produced numerous joint statements. This mirrors the official dialogue Rome has established between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.that has been on-going for over fifty years. I am quite sure you will not hear much noise from Orthodox pulpits in the US about Catholics, eastern or western rite, either, but I have every hope that the good will engendered in those official dialogues and documents will filter into pulpits of all sides as time and necessity demands it and moves us all on.

In terms of the press, you’ll hear a lot about eastern rite Catholic and Orthodox churches in the magazine of the Catholic Near East Welfare Assoc. called “ONE”.https://cnewa.org/magazine/

That the Latin rite numerically dominates the Catholic Church is an accident of history. The term Roman Catholic Church was coined by high church Anglicans in the 19th century to set themselves apart from the not-so-high Latins. This term is never used in official documents of the Vatican. There are 24 rites of equal dignity, although the largest is Latin. Even if there were full unity of all the Apostolic churches tomorrow, the Latin would still be the largest. Is there any Eastern Catholic Church that they can talk about? There is a whole dicastery of the Roman Curia, “The Congregation for the Oriental Churches”, set aside for that purpose. Since Pope St. Paul VI has had the papacy moving about the world, all the popes since who have traveled have made it a point to visit Orhtodox bishops and their churches in almost every country that they visit and there is that bi-annual exchange between Rome and Constantinople on the respective feast days What else?.

That there are Catholic and Orthodox, priests and laity, who do not notice or appreciate the ecumenical gestures that take place in their midst is unfortunate. Equally unfortunate, on the other hand, there are many Catholics (I can’t speak for Orthodox) who do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist just to mention one important tenet of our Faith.

There’ll be reunion when we get over our apathy, acquiescence and the general cynicism I see so often displayed on the pages of this forum.

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I am speaking well beyond my experience here but wanted to chime in with my two cents, for the little it's worth. I had recently flirted with becoming Eastern Orthodox myself. It seemed like the practical thing to do. Spiritually, I have been moving toward Eastern Catholicism for the last several years, bit by bit. But the nearest EC community is about two hours north of us. Not insurmountable, but very difficult to consistently attend DL and even then, Sunday DL is "all" we could participate in. I want my family to be raised and partake in the life of the parish. Studies, prayer groups, Vespers, community get togethers, community kitchen, etc. In our present situation we cannot do this. Conversely, the nearest Traditional Latin Masses from us are two hours South or one and a half hours North, so even if I was content to remain Roman, we don't have any good options. That said, there is an Antiochan Orthodox Church one block from our house. They could provide the active lifestyle I want for my family in the Church. I almost became a catechumen but pulled back last second. I do not feel I am able to make a decision to break with Rome if it puts my family and my soul at risk of perdition. All I have heard from Catholics (lay and priest alike) is that it is a mortal sin to join the Orthodox, that I would become an apostate. Not knowing how our Lord would judge this decision with certainty has left me frozen in place.

I think all Eastern Christians should forget entirely about Rome (for right now) and just focus on restoring Communion with each other. The Eastern Catholic Churches should be allowed time to shake off any lingering latinizations (forced or willingly taken on) and fully embrace their Orthodox traditions. The Eastern Orthodox Churches should maintain their ecumenical dialogue with Rome (for those that are participating) while really focusing on restoring communion with the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Once the entire Eastern world is unified, it will be better situated to bringing Rome back into communion. Just my unlearned and probably overly simplistic opinion.

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Originally Posted by Colin Sheehan
I am speaking well beyond my experience here but wanted to chime in with my two cents, for the little it's worth. I had recently flirted with becoming Eastern Orthodox myself. It seemed like the practical thing to do. Spiritually, I have been moving toward Eastern Catholicism for the last several years, bit by bit. But the nearest EC community is about two hours north of us. Not insurmountable, but very difficult to consistently attend DL and even then, Sunday DL is "all" we could participate in. I want my family to be raised and partake in the life of the parish. Studies, prayer groups, Vespers, community get togethers, community kitchen, etc. In our present situation we cannot do this. Conversely, the nearest Traditional Latin Masses from us are two hours South or one and a half hours North, so even if I was content to remain Roman, we don't have any good options. That said, there is an Antiochan Orthodox Church one block from our house. They could provide the active lifestyle I want for my family in the Church. I almost became a catechumen but pulled back last second. I do not feel I am able to make a decision to break with Rome if it puts my family and my soul at risk of perdition. All I have heard from Catholics (lay and priest alike) is that it is a mortal sin to join the Orthodox, that I would become an apostate. Not knowing how our Lord would judge this decision with certainty has left me frozen in place.

I think all Eastern Christians should forget entirely about Rome (for right now) and just focus on restoring Communion with each other. The Eastern Catholic Churches should be allowed time to shake off any lingering latinizations (forced or willingly taken on) and fully embrace their Orthodox traditions. The Eastern Orthodox Churches should maintain their ecumenical dialogue with Rome (for those that are participating) while really focusing on restoring communion with the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Once the entire Eastern world is unified, it will be better situated to bringing Rome back into communion. Just my unlearned and probably overly simplistic opinion.


I appreciate your candor. I do speak with many years of experience both in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. I deeply love and respect both, and it pains me to hear or read untruths about either. I grew up a devout Catholic of the Latin rite, lost my Christian faith completely and recovered it when I was chrismated in the Orthodox church (OCA) many years ago. A number of years ago, my wife and I reconciled with and were received into the Catholic Church; she in the eastern rite because she had been baptized Orthodox, I in the Latin because that was the my rite at baptism. It pained us both to leave behind friends and a liturgical life we had come to love. Nevertheless, we did this because we found among the Orthodox, especially those of the Slavic tradition, a resistance and hostility to anything “Catholic”. I found it extremely puzzling that our priest and other Orthodox priests I have known, would readily accept non-Chalcedonian (mostly Ethipopian and Eritrean Oriental Orthodox) Christians to communion without Chrismation, yet demand this Chrismation and profession of Faith (the non-Filioque Creed) from Catholics. I am convinced more than ever that the differences between Orthodox and Catholic have more to do with Style rather than Substance! Fortunately, we found a home among the UGCC, and know that they are trying hard, especially in the Ukraine, to knock on the doors of the Orthodox Church there.

I grew up worshiping with, what you call, the “Traditional Latin Mass”, served it as an altar boy and then some. I still recite many beloved prayers in Latin and know that language pretty well, although I would never want to return to what was, for me, a very staccato liturgical style. The freedom and unparalleled beauty of the Divine Liturgy can be intoxicating and irresistible, and, at the same time, tediously long. I can easily tolerate some of the ignorant banality displayed in modern day Latin rite parishes knowing deep down that when done well, as in Rome and many places throughout the world, the Latin rite in its newer form is equally as beautiful in its simplicity and stark power to convey mystery and meaning as any liturgical tradition in the world. Make no mistake, Frankish influence or otherwise, the church in Rome was established even before St. Paul came, and it’s tradition is equally ancient as any church of the east!

Your observation that the Orthodox churches need to get their act together in terms of ecclesiastical governance and unity, is quite correct, I feel. That eastern rite Catholics need to become more “Orthodox” in terms of praxis, I’ve no doubt, but that has to start with the hierarchy whose duty it is to set the tone which, at least, in the USA, they have not done seriously. I guess they prefer to blend in with their Latin brother bishops. Anyway, hope springs eternal and I hope we have the Holy Spirit with us always. The important thing is to be Christian (follow Christ) in all we do especially with our families and wives. This is the most important unity of all.

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Thank you, Utroque, for your post. It touched on some things that I am finding quite troubling as I look to perhaps converting to Orthodoxy. I guess when one observes from the outside a religious tradition which one is not part of, there is a tendency to look past the warts and see only the good things. As I have dug deeper and deeper into Orthodoxy, I find things that, like your mention of communing non-Chalcedonian Christians, are quite puzzling. I also am finding that rather than being one big happy family, as the Orthodox perhaps wish to put out to the world, there have been constant bickerings, excommunications, and other things that make Orthodoxy look like a dysfunctional family. And then there are the Traddydox (Mostly in the Russian Church) who think that their theological stuff don't stink. Between them and the RadTradLatins I sometimes want to pull out my hair. Some days, when I am in a mean mood, I think it would be fun to take them both, toss them in a room with a couple of pizzas and a case of beer and let them have at it. I'd charge admission for that.

I have slowed down my march to Orthodoxy for now and continue to pray and to seek where God wants me. I really love the Melkite parish I am attending now as a visitor, but I have been attracted to Orthodoxy for some time.

Which leads me to a question, dear Utroque. One of the calling cards of the Traddydox is to appeal to the Early Fathers and their apparent intolerance for anything that didn't smell thelogically correct. For many of these people, the word heresy gets thrown around more than a football in the Big Ten. And I am certainly one who wishes to worship "in spirit and in truth" as our Lord said. So how do I reconcile "being in communion with Rome" with the fact that I, like many in the Orthodox Church, do not agree with many of their theological pronouncements? I like your last sentence about the important thing is to follow Christ, yet the Early Fathers didn't seem to have that approach to the Christian faith. Their language against those who came up with novel doctrines (i.e. heresies) is exceedingly strong, involving anathemas and pronouncements of eternal doom against those who teach outside the orthodoxy of the Church.

When I talk to Orthodox friends, they claim that even though my theology, anthropology, and soteriology are all 100% Orthodox, I cannot call myself an Orthodox Christian (nor receive the Eucharist from them) if I am in communion with Rome. How so?

Honestly, some days I find myself wondering why I just don't walk away from it all. It is distressing.

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It is always gratifying when you’ve said or written something that has touched someone. Although it’s presumptive to attribute such to the Holy Spirit, I have the confidence that He breathest where He wills, and just might breathe on me once and awhile. The quest for a unified Church among the historically Apostolic churches can be distressing, and I, too, want to walk away from it all at times.

With regard to your question about the Church Fathers, I would just say that the Church is so much larger and has experienced the travails of history far beyond anything they could have imagined in the time when the Mediterranean world was that of the Church. In short, their Anathematizing approach doesn’t work anymore. It probably never worked, as the spread of Arianism and its survival in Unitarianism, the history of religious wars and the Inquisitions tell us. I’m not sure whether Luther was invited to the Council of Trent, but would he have gone? They once burned the poor souls, too, but that only fanned the zeal of their adherents.

I think if you look very deeply into some of the dogmas that you feel the Catholic Church has expanded or developed and perhaps, you feel, has distorted, you will find elements of orthodox truth there, but couched in a language a bit strange or even alien to the east. I just laugh a little and say, “Well Rome has just lost one of her lungs!” Pope St. John Paul said as much, too! Without the ecclesiastical communion of the great, big Roman church, I think the Orthodox have, too.

A dear friend of mine, now deceased (Memory Eternal) and of the OCA, wrote to me once:” I think that the moment will come for the two churches to restore communion with each other when the dead issues of both churches are put in perspective and resolved.” Of course, dear Nick, was right. I just got impatient, frustrated and crossed the Tiber, as they say. I really feel that one can be in union with both; it’s just that you need a place to call home. My wife and I found a little home in the UGCC and love it. I do hear wonderful things about the Melkites. They’re about as in union with both as any I know. God bless you in your search. Pace e Bene!

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Irish Ruthenian if you have the option to stay at the Melkite parish, I would do so. I'm in a similar boat. One foot in a Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church, the other in an Antiochan Orthodox Church. I myself have stopped everything to focus on individual prayer more (and that of my family) to try and let the Holy Spirit show me where it is He wants me to be. In the meantime I will continue attending DL at the Ruthenian parish as often as we can (given it being 2 hours away). My perception is that Catholicism is a safer bet. No doubt the Eastern Catholic Churches need to shake off latinizations and reclaim their Orthodox heritage. But that could be where you plug in at the Church. You could assist Father in promoting orthodoxy. While Rome has declared dogmatic things that are troubling (to say the least) in Eastern theology/thought, they are not insurmountable. The only real issue remains the definition of Papal Supremacy. Every other issue can be nuanced and emphasized with respect to each tradition without compromising the same Truth both sides profess. Another thing, the Churches restoring communion with each other and amending doctrinal issues or embracing dogmas is well beyond our scope as laity. We have no say in these matters and our only responsibility is to pray and fast for the Church. So as far as "we" are concerned, the doctrinal issues simply don't matter. To me as an individual Christian, it does not matter (on a personal level) if the Bishop of Rome overstepped his authority by claiming universal jurisdiction, or if he always had it and the EO simply haven't noticed or refuse to recognize it. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, that is not on me to resolve. That is on the Bishops. Pray for them. But don't let it affect you. Work to restore communion by helping fix your local EC parish. The more orthodox it becomes, the more appealing it will be. I firmly believe that if most Orthodox Christians saw that they could have communion with Rome without losing their faith or identity as Orthodox/Eastern Christians, they would have no problem becoming Eastern Catholics. Most Orthodox are wary of Eastern Catholics because of their being heavily influenced by Rome. If you can make your Melkite parish so orthodox that it reflects their own, they will lose most of their arguments for why they could never join. I believe this is how Eastern Catholics will overcome the schism. Rome on one side, Orthodox on the other. Eastern Catholics will be the bridge. That's where I'm at, anyways. I hope it helps.

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IrishRuthenian -- As someone who went the way of cradle Latin Catholic to Melkite Greek-Catholic to Eastern Orthodox (received 20 years ago this month, actually), my main advice would be: slow down. Conversion is a serious matter and should be undertaken deliberately and prayerfully. When I was discerning the proper path for me, I abstained from internet discussions (yes, there were discussions like these then, too, they were pretty much the same in content as well, with all the same array of opinions expressed in more or less the same ways you can see here today), because these tend to pull you in this way and that on a daily basis, which is extremely unhelpful when you are in a discernment process.

I would recommend (1) staying away from internet debates and discussions about this and in general about religion during the period of your discernment, (2) taking a week or two entirely away from the question and then coming back to your materials (not the internet) and reviewing them, slowly and deliberately, with an open mind for a few weeks or a month or more until you are satisfied with your review of them and then (3) step back from your materials and just pray for a few weeks at least. Pray for guidance, pray to be shown the will of God, pray for repentance and clarity. Keep going to liturgies as you can, or livestreaming as you can, and pray, and keep doing this until a pathway becomes more clear and less clouded. Here's a key as to when that is: when you are fully comfortable with the pathway, without reservations. That does not mean that it is perfect or that you do not acknowledge problems that may or even will occur -- what it means, rather, is that despite those, and even being fully aware of those (and open to other things you may not yet be aware of, because they will arise too!), you are at peace with the path, have no doubts or second guesses about it, and are not unsure or uncertain of it. Until you get there, keep praying. Importantly, I would recommend *not* approaching a priest to inquire about becoming an inquirer before you have completed your own process of discernment and are comfortable to proceed. At that point if the pathway is to becoming an inquirer, you can do so and then have another period of discernment during the inquiring process as a way to confirm the pathway question again. It is slower, yes, and it is hard to be patient, but it pays dividends in the long run. The worst course is to proceed while uncertain, and then to revisit the decision ... it's not uncommon for people to end up in a bad place spiritually when that happens, as I have witnessed in a few cases personally.

My own process took about 5-6 months after I stepped away from the internet discussions. That may have been slower than it would take for others, and I was busy with some things in personal life as well during the period which probably slowed the process as well, but by the end of it I did have clarity, and as a result I have truly had no regrets with the pathway I discerned. And so I recommend to others, generally, who are considering these kinds of things that they proceed very deliberately and methodically and be patient. erring on the side of caution and being certain.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions, given that the path I have walked on is somewhat similar. I have no interest in proselytizing one way or the other (I personally think both Rome and Orthodoxy are the Church and are divided in their human aspects but not their sacramental aspects), but I do think people who are going through this analysis should do so with care and due deliberation to ensure that they end up in the place to which they are actually being called.

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