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Colin Sheehan, ELK7
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Original Post (Thread Starter)
#420573 11/16/2020 12:16 PM
by son of the desert
son of the desert
Hi everyone,

I am new to this site. I have always had a love of the perspective of the Christian East, both Catholic and Orthodox. I have found a significant difference in approach. In my opinion, the perspective of the East, appears to be medicinal in nature. A sinner such as I find this very refreshing and inviting. The perspective of the West, again in my opinion, appears to be more juridicial. This approach, while perhaps equally valid, tends toward neurosis and scrupulosity. Please understand, I have read much of St. Thomas Acquinas and hold him in the highest of regard. However, it appears to me that the west has overdosed on the scholastic approach to the Faith and relegated it to the intellectual elite among us, thus cutting the simpletons, such as myself, out of the picture unless we take heed to their informed opinions.

I am a lover of the Desert Fathers and their spirituality. I have read "The Way of a Pilgrim" several times. It appears that for me the answer lies in the Son Who rises in the East. I guess my question is: How does this Eastern approach play out in Byzantine Catholicism? Does being in communion with Rome mean that when all is said and done that the controlling approach is based upon the official Catechism (which I am very familiar with) which is itself based upon a scholastic approach, explanation and content? I have found much in the Western juridicial approach to convict me of specific sins, for which I am grateful. However, I have been continually disappointed in that absolution received in confession, has done nothing to heal me of my sins. Forgiveness yes...healing not so much. Does Byzantine Catholicism retain the healing perspective found in Orthodoxy only in communion with Rome? Or is this a religious form of "bait and switch" salesmanship by those in authority? I am looking for the reality of Christ in my life. I am NOT looking for the "real" thing, but rather just for a place where repentance is the proper approach, not this current emphasis on social justice issues and being called "Catholic" as the Bishops and the Holy Father have done in regards to a certain politician who will enshrine Roe v. Wade into jurisprudence and who has performed two "marriages" of homosexual couples. The West seems to like the places of honor at the table and therefore is not willing to be seen in other than an affirming light lest we do not get invited to the right birthday parties. We seem to have abdicated the role of the prophetic for the role of the politician, or as I call it "the religious go to people". May the Lord forgive me, I have no interest in such religious games.

If there answer is not here, I have no choice other than Orthodoxy. May the Lord forgive me if I have expressed myself badly. But when one is dying of thirst, no other expression is available.
Liked Replies
#420630 Nov 29th a 10:58 AM
by son of the desert
son of the desert
Thank you Colin for sharing your heart with me. I am blessed in many ways, not the least of which is my wife of 40 years, whose heart is totally given to Christ whether she finds Him in the East or the West. She actually prefers the Roman Rite. However, so long as the Rite is in communion with Rome, she will go anywhere I go. The key concept here is "in communion with Rome". We are fortunate in that our children are grown up and married and do not have that consideration. I thank you for the sharing of my frustration. Again, kindness and love come shining through your words. After all the scripture does NOT say "by what Rite you attend, will all men know that you are My disciples". But rather, the love of God poured out through the Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus (as opposed to a religious altruism) would be the hallmark of a disciple. Your words and the kindness in your response carries that love and I thank you.

I have, and at times still do, consider Orthodoxy. I do this not for any other reason than the healing perspective of the East unfiltered. I am reading a book that gives an explanation of the Orthodox Faith. It is every bit medicinal, at least in explanation, as I had hoped. I have seen the local Eastern Rite Catholic Church website and have reservations. I am thinking of going to Mass there this morning. The Eparchy that we will be moving to, please keep in mind by website observation only, appears to be Eastern Catholicism filtered thru a Western lens. That is what I do not want. So again, I am not sure about what is meant that the Eastern churches are in "communion with Rome" really means. Is it a matter of supremacy? I actually see the same claim from Orthodoxy but centered in the Faith as she expresses it, in terms of the collegiality of Bishops. My question becomes, doesn't anyone merely want to heal the sinner? Or do they have to cry "uncle!" in the area of vying for supremacy first? Given current statements and actions by Rome and the USCCB, I can understand why they would question the immediate and worldwide governance of Peter. I myself have begun to question it. Is Eastern Rite Catholicism the answer? Well, the Eucharistic Lord Jesus is there, so in that way any Rite is the answer. Also there are HIs mysteries where He can reach to us. So I guess it is the application that I am stuck on. In other words, do we justify an Eastern Catholicism thru Western sensibilities by the Eucharistic and Mysterious Presence of Jesus? Or do we cross the line to Orthodoxy, which according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, has valid Apostolic Succession and sacraments and therefore must have the same Presence, but lacks union with Rome?

Colin, I am not looking for who is right. I am looking for a culture of repentance that will foster healing from my sins, not a culture of performance. The Eastern church has this medicinal culture of repentance. But can I find one in union with Rome that retains this culture unfiltered by Western juridicial leanings? Juridicialism as a steady diet, never healed anyone. In fact, it creates scrupulosity and neurosis in its adherents.

Thank you my friend.

2 members like this
#420631 Nov 30th a 07:25 PM
by Colin Sheehan
Colin Sheehan
I couldn't agree more. Our Byzantine parish is still shaking off latinizations brought in by some of the laity. I don't know how fulfilling I will find it, but I know I must give it a try for the sake of marital and family unity. My hope is that getting involved in Eastern Catholicism will open my wife up to Eastern Christianity, and perhaps she will be open or even desiring of conversion to Orthodoxy. Ultimately I leave it in God's hands. Wherever He calls us and gives us rest, I must have faith that it will be for my good and for my salvation.
1 member likes this
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