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Convert Question

Posted By: Phillip Rolfes

Convert Question - 05/06/14 02:16 PM

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.
Posted By: Michael_Thoma

Re: Convert Question - 05/06/14 03:05 PM

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.
Posted By: Lester S

Re: Convert Question - 05/06/14 03:18 PM

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.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Convert Question - 05/07/14 09:47 AM

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.
Posted By: Lester S

Re: Convert Question - 05/07/14 12:38 PM

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
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/07/14 02:30 PM

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.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Convert Question - 05/08/14 03:56 PM

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
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Convert Question - 05/08/14 06:13 PM

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.
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/08/14 08:17 PM

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...

Quote

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.
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/08/14 08:28 PM

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.

Quote

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?
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Convert Question - 05/08/14 09:55 PM

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.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Convert Question - 05/08/14 10:12 PM

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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Convert Question - 05/08/14 10:13 PM

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
Posted By: Pasisozi

Re: Convert Question - 05/08/14 11:35 PM

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?
Posted By: Lester S

Re: Convert Question - 05/09/14 12:31 AM

Depends on how one defines Orthodox, and Catholic, respectively.
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/09/14 01:04 AM

Hi Alex,

Those pesky "Vatican II theologians" need to read Dominus Iesus. wink

Posted By: StuartK

Re: Convert Question - 05/09/14 10:48 AM

Talon needs to understand the context of Dominus Iesus.
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/09/14 05:21 PM

Stuart needs to get a lot more sleep and drink some coffee in the morning, so he doesn't always feel quite so snarky.

wink

Posted By: StuartK

Re: Convert Question - 05/09/14 06:35 PM

I have not yet begun to snark.
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/09/14 09:04 PM

Oh joy...

The context of Dominus Iesus not only does not change its explicit declaration about the Catholic Church being the one true Church of Jesus Christ, it reinforces it, Stuart. Therefore, I confess to being lost on what point you could possibly be trying to make.
Posted By: Phillip Rolfes

Re: Convert Question - 05/10/14 02:48 AM

Here is the primary issue that I am having in relation to this question. When speaking to other Catholics about Orthodoxy, one is given the impression that most folks adopt a model of understanding the relationship between Catholicism and Orthodoxy that is similar if not identical to the relationship between Catholicism and Protestantism. In other words, the general (or perhaps "popular" is a better word) Catholic mindset is that the Orthodox are, effectively, Protestant.

Now, I'm talking about this mindset at the popular level (up to an including certain pop-theologians, evangelists, and apologists within Catholicism). I know that at the official level the Catholic Church's teachings on Orthodoxy and on the relationship between Orthodoxy and Catholicism are quite different from the teachings on Protestantism.

Can anyone recommend some official Church documents to read on this topic?
Posted By: Phillip Rolfes

Re: Convert Question - 05/10/14 02:52 AM

Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
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.


I hadn't actually thought of it that way. That's very interesting. Now what would you do with this: Say a person is convinced that both Catholicism and Orthodoxy are the fullness of Christ's Church and that what separates us are not dogmatic issues, but rather differences in theological approach as well as human sinfulness. What would one say to that?
Posted By: Phillip Rolfes

Re: Convert Question - 05/10/14 02:54 AM

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.


That's pretty much the opinion that I adopt as well, Stuart. But what official Church sources could one use to explore this more deeply?
Posted By: mardukm

Re: Convert Question - 05/10/14 03:53 AM

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.

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 personally praise anyone who moves to a Church or ecclesial community wherein the purpose for the move is to increase one's faith and relationship with Christ.

I understand that Latin Catholicism can be seen as too legalistic for some, on the one hand, or too liberal for others, on the other hand, and one might not find one's seed of faith growing in that environment and needs to be watered elsewhere.

What I don't appreciate are those people who leave the Catholic Church (and particularly the LATIN Catholic Church) for false doctrinal reasons (i.e., misunderstandings of its teachings).

Blessings
Posted By: mardukm

Re: Convert Question - 05/10/14 03:55 AM

Dear brother Phillip,

Is the experience of which you speak in the context of speaking with Latin Catholics?

Originally Posted by Phillip Rolfes
Here is the primary issue that I am having in relation to this question. When speaking to other Catholics about Orthodoxy, one is given the impression that most folks adopt a model of understanding the relationship between Catholicism and Orthodoxy that is similar if not identical to the relationship between Catholicism and Protestantism. In other words, the general (or perhaps "popular" is a better word) Catholic mindset is that the Orthodox are, effectively, Protestant.

Now, I'm talking about this mindset at the popular level (up to an including certain pop-theologians, evangelists, and apologists within Catholicism). I know that at the official level the Catholic Church's teachings on Orthodoxy and on the relationship between Orthodoxy and Catholicism are quite different from the teachings on Protestantism.

Can anyone recommend some official Church documents to read on this topic?
Posted By: Phillip Rolfes

Re: Convert Question - 05/10/14 06:18 AM

Originally Posted by mardukm
Dear brother Phillip,

Is the experience of which you speak in the context of speaking with Latin Catholics?

Originally Posted by Phillip Rolfes
Here is the primary issue that I am having in relation to this question. When speaking to other Catholics about Orthodoxy, one is given the impression that most folks adopt a model of understanding the relationship between Catholicism and Orthodoxy that is similar if not identical to the relationship between Catholicism and Protestantism. In other words, the general (or perhaps "popular" is a better word) Catholic mindset is that the Orthodox are, effectively, Protestant.

Now, I'm talking about this mindset at the popular level (up to an including certain pop-theologians, evangelists, and apologists within Catholicism). I know that at the official level the Catholic Church's teachings on Orthodoxy and on the relationship between Orthodoxy and Catholicism are quite different from the teachings on Protestantism.

Can anyone recommend some official Church documents to read on this topic?


Predominantly, yes. Although I have had similar discussions with Latin-minded Eastern Catholics.
Posted By: Economos Roman V. Russo

Re: Convert Question - 05/10/14 07:58 AM

Simply put, the Orthodox Churches are the Catholic Church of the East and the Catholic Church is the Orthodox Church of the West! Sadly, they are not in full communion with each other. Time to read Archbishop Elias Zoghby's Tous Schismatiques again!
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/10/14 03:54 PM

Originally Posted by Phillip Rolfes

I hadn't actually thought of it that way. That's very interesting. Now what would you do with this: Say a person is convinced that both Catholicism and Orthodoxy are the fullness of Christ's Church and that what separates us are not dogmatic issues, but rather differences in theological approach as well as human sinfulness. What would one say to that?


Well, this particular Roman Catholic would say something along the lines of, "You took the words right out of my mouth." I often (lovingly) speak of Orthodox as Catholics who won't admit it... smile

We are extremely close. Much more so than too many Catholics and Orthodox appreciate still. But to assert that we're "exactly" the same ("dogmatically" speaking, not referring to the particular malleable cultural elements), unfortunately, overstates the case just a little bit - if in regards to no other issue, in regards to differing views on the papacy. Purgatory? Immaculate Conception of Mary? Filioque? The differences between us on these issues and nearly all others are mere differences in perception, not in reality. But when it comes to the papacy...That seems to be the one and only true "sticking point."
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/10/14 04:02 PM

Originally Posted by Phillip Rolfes
Here is the primary issue that I am having in relation to this question. When speaking to other Catholics about Orthodoxy, one is given the impression that most folks adopt a model of understanding the relationship between Catholicism and Orthodoxy that is similar if not identical to the relationship between Catholicism and Protestantism. In other words, the general (or perhaps "popular" is a better word) Catholic mindset is that the Orthodox are, effectively, Protestant.


...I'd probably give this one a "yes and no." I'd say it's safe to say that, yes, many Catholics view Orthodox as "Protestants" in the simply sense of having "protested" and departed from full communion with the Church. However, I don't think this equates in too many Catholic minds to the Orthodox being the sort of full equivalent of your local Calvary Fellowship or Assemblies of God. I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of Catholics recognize and appreciate that there are literal degrees of separation in any circumstance in life, and the degree to which the Orthodox are separated from Rome is not nearly the same degree to which the other Christian communities tend to be.

Does that make sense?

Quote

Now, I'm talking about this mindset at the popular level (up to an including certain pop-theologians, evangelists, and apologists within Catholicism). I know that at the official level the Catholic Church's teachings on Orthodoxy and on the relationship between Orthodoxy and Catholicism are quite different from the teachings on Protestantism.

Can anyone recommend some official Church documents to read on this topic?


http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/c...faith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html

It's been several years since I last read the document, so I don't recall if it's apt to answer your question sufficiently or not. If not, let me know and I'll go digging for something else...

Peace.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Convert Question - 05/11/14 11:04 PM

Dear Talon,

Many Latin Catholics I've discussed this with over the years have shown very little interest in, and knowledge about, the history of the Eastern Churches.

The idea of Rome's Primacy was based on whether Rome had the faith of Peter.

With respect to the Filioque for starters, the Eastern Churches saw Rome as having excommunicated itself from full communion as a result.

In fact, many traditionalist Catholics I know today regard Vatican II and its aftermath as being "non-Catholic."

The case of Honorius demonstrated in its day that a pope could be condemned for heresy and/or other issues.

In other words, Rome's orthodoxy was and still is something that the entire Church needs to be convinced of before its Primacy could be upheld.

Alex
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/12/14 02:13 AM

Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic

The idea of Rome's Primacy was based on whether Rome had the faith of Peter...In other words, Rome's orthodoxy was and still is something that the entire Church needs to be convinced of before its Primacy could be upheld.


Alex, in this particular thread I'm speaking of the Catholic position and from one Catholic (myself) to another (mardukm). At present anyway. Obviously, the Catholic position is that Rome has not fallen into heresy and, therefore, the See of Rome remains primary over all the others.

This said, I'm a bit intrigued by the Orthodox concept of a patriarch excommunicating himself. Who is it that decides in Orthodoxy whether this has, in fact, happened or not? In the middle of something like the Arian heresy when (as I understand it) about 90% of the East's bishops were Arian, would it not look, from this vantage point, as if it were Rome that had defected? And yet...

...And this said...I think we both have our threads mixed up, lol.
Posted By: mardukm

Re: Convert Question - 05/12/14 09:14 AM

Completely agree that this is the state of the case with our Orthodox brethren.

Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Talon,

Many Latin Catholics I've discussed this with over the years have shown very little interest in, and knowledge about, the history of the Eastern Churches.

The idea of Rome's Primacy was based on whether Rome had the faith of Peter.

With respect to the Filioque for starters, the Eastern Churches saw Rome as having excommunicated itself from full communion as a result.

In fact, many traditionalist Catholics I know today regard Vatican II and its aftermath as being "non-Catholic."

The case of Honorius demonstrated in its day that a pope could be condemned for heresy and/or other issues.

In other words, Rome's orthodoxy was and still is something that the entire Church needs to be convinced of before its Primacy could be upheld.

Alex
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Convert Question - 05/12/14 09:55 PM

Dear Talon,

I think we are both on topic here.

As with Arianism - yes, a good portion of the Church went into one of the three forms of Arianism at the time.

The East, at that time especially, was theologicall vibrant and active. Rome had become dormant in that respect, save for the need of the Eastern Patriarchs and Emperors of an arbiter for their constant struggles - that arbiter was the Pope of Rome.

Those who held Arian views were condemned. There was a struggle within the Church over this, as you know, and the O-orthodox side won out.

Rome's views on the Filioque were turned into a dogmatic statement - as you also know. That is quite different than struggles with heresies etc.

In fact, had Rome left the Filioque as a theological tradition/opinion of the Latin Church alone while adhering to the original form of the Creed - that would have been acceptable to the East.

The Orthodox party at Florence said as much. The Orthodox Saint Archbishop Mark Eugenikos of Ephesus actually came to Florence with the view to reuniting the Church as long as Rome would removed the Filioque in the Creed (he had no intention of asking Rome to drop it from its theological repertoire).

From the Orthodox Catholic POV, the Filioque teaches two Sources of the Spirit within the Most Holy Trinity - and I've heard RC theology professors say that Rome herself rejects that and did not intend the Filioque to teach that.

Rome could have averted the whole thing by simply returning to the original Creed of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Alex
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Convert Question - 05/14/14 06:32 PM

Originally Posted by Phillip Rolfes
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.

Hi PR. I see you've already gotten a number of responses, but let me add mine anyhow: the Catholic Church doesn't approve of Catholics going over to Orthodoxy. (Please note that that's in regard to anyone who is already Catholic -- if I were Orthodox I certainly would not go over to Catholicism. And thank God that the days of proselytizing Orthodox, as a matter of policy, are over!)

However, with all due respect to your friend, it seems to me that putting the question as "is it a sin for a Catholic to convert to Orthodoxy" is a slightly skewed way of looking at it.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Convert Question - 05/14/14 06:37 PM

Originally Posted by Phillip Rolfes
Say a person is convinced that both Catholicism and Orthodoxy are the fullness of Christ's Church and that what separates us are not dogmatic issues, but rather differences in theological approach as well as human sinfulness.

Don't get me started. In my experience, not-entering-into-full-communion-with-Rome-is-a-matter-of-sinfulness-and-pride is one of the most commonly used polemics among Catholic posters on the web. (Though not on this forum, thank goodness. smile )
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Convert Question - 05/14/14 11:28 PM

Dear Peter,

There are certainly many layers to Catholic praxis and theory in this regard!

But Rome can't have it both ways. If Orthodoxy is a "Sister Church" and the like, if an EC becomes Orthodox - how is this a betrayal of anything save for the papacy in its current form? (Assuming that there is a version of the Petrine Primacy that would one day be acceptable to Orthodoxy).

If the ecclesiology of the various unions that gave rise to the EC Churches are, in Rome's view, no longer an acceptable basis for future church reunion - doesn't this mean that the existing EC Churches have somehow lost legitimacy in the eyes of Rome (a legitimacy they never had with Orthodoxy in the first place?).

Also, the idea that union with Rome ("communion with Rome" is a later EC concoction) is an historical focus of church unity is something that is part of RC ecclesiology - but it simply isn't part of the more collegial Church model of Orthodoxy.

In other words, Rome has yet to come out of its own idea about how its role has played out in history and is being played out today.

One reason for this, which has negatively impacted ecumenism too, is that the roles of Rome as "Particular Church" and Rome as "Ecumenical Petrine Ministry" have become tangled up in an ecclesial construct that doesn't question its own legitimacy, but, instead, affirms still a form of papal triumphalism - especially when certain RC's (and EC's) accuse Orthodoxy of being "prideful" et alia in refusing to "submit to Rome" (which is what is really meant anyway).

No wonder Orthodoxy is entirely suspicious of RC ecumenism.

Alex
Posted By: Mark R

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 01:57 AM

If I may butt in, none of the popes in my lifetime, from Paul VI, was triumphalistic (one was larger than life), it is only some apologists and "boosters" of many levels who are. Rome has made vaious obligations to various groups at different times and expressed herself most strongly at all of them. It is hard to go back on what one states so emphatically, as she is wont to do. An early Oxford movement member saw the Reformation as a poor re-setting of a broken limb, I see the RCC as if it were an old person constantly taking medicine, half of which is to couteract the the side effects of the other half (with all due respect to the elderly and the RCC).
Vatican II was supposed to have taken care of this sort of cognitive dissonance between the RCC and other churches, but too many people muffed up the interpretation of the council from the start, which gave fuel to the fire of reaction, which has breathed life into a lot of pre-Vatican perspectives which we have to live with as part if a Catholic revival.
You almost need a split personality to be Eastern rite Catholic.
Posted By: Michael_Thoma

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 08:53 AM

Originally Posted by Mark R

You almost need a split personality to be Eastern rite Catholic.
The same can be said for Orthodoxy, no matter which jurisdiction - EO or OO.. somehow its ok for an EO, OO, or EC to live with such "paradoxes" but when RCs do, it's cognitive dissonance. Why the double (triple, quadruple) standard?
Posted By: Mark R

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 11:29 AM

I am not Orthodox, but have been fence-sitting about converting, so I do not understand how being Orthodox requires a split personality. For an Eastern Catholic the split personality occurs thus: otoh ultramontane Latin types teach you have to accept the Latin interpretation of every doctrine, oto some Easterners believe they are as Orthodox as the "separated" Orthodox and you may disregard any Latin particularities as an EC.
I know different Orthodox jurisdictions have differing emphases on disciplinary and sacramental matters (I attend liturgy at a ROCOR church), but this is not as wide a chasm as that between non-extreme expressions of the Latin or Eastern rites. Maybe I am wrong.
I was not trying to construct a double standard. I understand that the RCC for a long time has been the big kid on the block and has had an opinion on practically EVERYTHING, unlike other churches, and therefore has the most historical baggage to sort out to have amicable relations with other churches. The cognitive dissonance occurs when the RCC may speak XXI century, yet another church may hear only XIX century, so to speak. Or as often happens in some apologetic circles, self-appointed Catholic spokesmen intentionally speak XIX century and critics from other churches hear this and say, "See, the Catholics are still as casuistic, (or whatever negative) as they have always been" Yet this would not be authentic teaching in the eyes of proper authorities. The "luxury" for the Orthodox is that usually an outre pronouncement comes from a quarter that could be disregarded as having little importance, such as the Old Calendar Greeks.
Standards are different due to the circumstances of the different churches, but I would not chracterise them as multiple standards.
Posted By: Mark R

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 11:34 AM

To return to the topic...I think it may be a sin to convert if it requires re-baptism. I was always afraid that would be a sin against the Holy Spirit.
Although Catholics did this too, and I have seen Catholics do this still on occasion.
Posted By: DMD

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 11:45 AM

Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Peter,

There are certainly many layers to Catholic praxis and theory in this regard!

But Rome can't have it both ways. If Orthodoxy is a "Sister Church" and the like, if an EC becomes Orthodox - how is this a betrayal of anything save for the papacy in its current form? (Assuming that there is a version of the Petrine Primacy that would one day be acceptable to Orthodoxy).

If the ecclesiology of the various unions that gave rise to the EC Churches are, in Rome's view, no longer an acceptable basis for future church reunion - doesn't this mean that the existing EC Churches have somehow lost legitimacy in the eyes of Rome (a legitimacy they never had with Orthodoxy in the first place?).

Also, the idea that union with Rome ("communion with Rome" is a later EC concoction) is an historical focus of church unity is something that is part of RC ecclesiology - but it simply isn't part of the more collegial Church model of Orthodoxy.

In other words, Rome has yet to come out of its own idea about how its role has played out in history and is being played out today.

One reason for this, which has negatively impacted ecumenism too, is that the roles of Rome as "Particular Church" and Rome as "Ecumenical Petrine Ministry" have become tangled up in an ecclesial construct that doesn't question its own legitimacy, but, instead, affirms still a form of papal triumphalism - especially when certain RC's (and EC's) accuse Orthodoxy of being "prideful" et alia in refusing to "submit to Rome" (which is what is really meant anyway).

No wonder Orthodoxy is entirely suspicious of RC ecumenism.

Alex


That is so precise, you really nailed the Orthodox progressive point of view - to which I ascribe -

The bolded section is the paradox which troubles many.

As one Greek Catholic priest friend of mine complained recently, the Greek Catholics endured as much, if not more, for their support of the Papacy and the concept of
Union and that all they received in return were new signs to put on their backs reading 'Kick Me Here.' Perhaps harsh, and not reflective of the Popes of recent times, but surely entrenched within the bowels of the Curia and Latin church's inner mind.

Somehow we all have to figure out a way to escape history and recognize that destiny is not bound by past errors along the way.
Posted By: Athanasius The L

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 11:46 AM

Originally Posted by Mark R
To return to the topic...I think it may be a sin to convert if it requires re-baptism. I was always afraid that would be a sin against the Holy Spirit.
Although Catholics did this too, and I have seen Catholics do this still on occasion.

Neither Catholics nor Orthodox "re-baptize", at least not from their perspective. The Orthodox and Catholics alike hold that baptism cannot be repeated. Catholics "re-baptize" when the prior "baptism" was invalid. In the case of doubts, the Catholic Church administers conditional baptism. For the Orthodox, the concept of validity is rather foreign to their mindset. However, if the prior "baptism" was deemed not to have been a true baptism, then baptism will be administered. In either case it is not a matter of re-baptism.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 01:00 PM

Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Originally Posted by Mark R
You almost need a split personality to be Eastern rite Catholic.
The same can be said for Orthodoxy

Tough to respond to this without clarification of what you mean. Are you saying this because of the Western-Rite Orthodox?
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 01:05 PM

Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Peter,

There are certainly many layers to Catholic praxis and theory in this regard!

But Rome can't have it both ways. If Orthodoxy is a "Sister Church" and the like, if an EC becomes Orthodox - how is this a betrayal of anything save for the papacy in its current form?

I'm okay with not calling it betrayal, but I can't see it being acceptable.

Of course, I'm open to hearing alternate povs ... and, likewise, I would be interested in learning whether Orthodox posters believe that it's fine for an Orthodox to depart for Catholicism.
Posted By: DMD

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 01:18 PM

Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Originally Posted by Mark R
You almost need a split personality to be Eastern rite Catholic.
The same can be said for Orthodoxy

Tough to respond to this without clarification of what you mean. Are you saying this because of the Western-Rite Orthodox?


WRO as someone posted on oc.net earlier today has maybe 2000 adherents worldwide and is at best a 'boutique' expression of faith. It gets more play online than in the real world. I usually refrain from discussing it as I rarely can discuss it outside of my own life experience in dealing with the issues between the exponentially larger than WRO Eastern Catholic/Orthodox divide. Frankly, I think people should be what they want to be - both WRO or Eastern Catholics and the existence of either or both doesn't bother me.
Posted By: DMD

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 01:20 PM

Originally Posted by Athanasius The L
Originally Posted by Mark R
To return to the topic...I think it may be a sin to convert if it requires re-baptism. I was always afraid that would be a sin against the Holy Spirit.
Although Catholics did this too, and I have seen Catholics do this still on occasion.

Neither Catholics nor Orthodox "re-baptize", at least not from their perspective. The Orthodox and Catholics alike hold that baptism cannot be repeated. Catholics "re-baptize" when the prior "baptism" was invalid. In the case of doubts, the Catholic Church administers conditional baptism. For the Orthodox, the concept of validity is rather foreign to their mindset. However, if the prior "baptism" was deemed not to have been a true baptism, then baptism will be administered. In either case it is not a matter of re-baptism.


AS is often the case in Orthodox RCC relations,neither side can really admit that they are saying nearly the same darned thing but using different 'hocus pocus' terminology to hide the fact, lest the hot air of ten centuries of vitriol and empty polemic be exposed.

In the end it is the papacy and what it should be which divides us. Primacy, supremacy, universal jurisdiction...They are the basis of our divide and I do not see them going away.

Much of the rest we can nuance to death and make it 'go away.'
Posted By: Michael_Thoma

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 01:22 PM

Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Originally Posted by Mark R
You almost need a split personality to be Eastern rite Catholic.
The same can be said for Orthodoxy

Tough to respond to this without clarification of what you mean. Are you saying this because of the Western-Rite Orthodox?
Not at all. The WRO didn't even come to mind. Just look at the basic, ongoing, unanswered debates within Eastern Orthodoxy for example - leaving Oriental Orthodoxy aside for a moment - the rights and privileges of the EP - what are they, who says so, and is it a matter of Tradition or simple convenience? Is the ROC within it's right to grant Autocephaly? Is the AOA-NA headed by a single head Metropolitan who is the only vote in the AOC Holy Synod and does he or the Patriarch have the authority to dethrone installed hierarchs? To chrismate, profess in, or baptise or not to baptise OO, RC, EC, ACoE, protestant converts; what about those from other EO jurisdictions - conditional just to be on the safe side; Triple immersion required or suggested? In regard to primacy - collegiality with weak head, or strong head rubber stamp college? Are non-EO graceless schismatic heretics, or sister churches separated? Is it more important to be ethnically correct, or actually practicing the faith in regard to Marriages, Baptism, Eucharist? etc
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 01:23 PM

Originally Posted by DMD
Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Originally Posted by Mark R
You almost need a split personality to be Eastern rite Catholic.
The same can be said for Orthodoxy

Tough to respond to this without clarification of what you mean. Are you saying this because of the Western-Rite Orthodox?

WRO as someone posted on oc.net earlier today has maybe 2000 adherents worldwide and is at best a 'boutique' expression of faith.

Good point. In any case, that probably wasn't what Michael_Thoma was referring to anyhow, but IDK.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 01:24 PM

Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Originally Posted by Mark R
You almost need a split personality to be Eastern rite Catholic.
The same can be said for Orthodoxy

Tough to respond to this without clarification of what you mean. Are you saying this because of the Western-Rite Orthodox?
Not at all. The WRO didn't even come to mind. Just look at the basic, ongoing, unanswered debates within Eastern Orthodoxy for example - leaving Oriental Orthodoxy aside for a moment - the rights and privileges of the EP - what are they, who says so, and is it a matter of Tradition or simple convenience? Is the ROC within it's right to grant Autocephaly? Is the AOA-NA headed by a single head Metropolitan who is the only vote in the AOC Holy Synod and does he or the Patriarch have the authority to dethrone installed hierarchs? To chrismate, profess in, or baptise or not to baptise OO, RC, EC, ACoE, protestant converts; what about those from other EO jurisdictions - conditional just to be on the safe side; Triple immersion required or suggested? In regard to primacy - collegiality with weak head, or strong head rubber stamp college? Are non-EO graceless schismatic heretics, or sister churches separated? Is it more important to be ethnically correct, or actually practicing the faith in regard to Marriages, Baptism, Eucharist? etc

OIC.
Posted By: Mark R

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 01:36 PM

Ditto on WRO.
Athanasius, I am sorry but some of the Orthidox do re-baptise. It is common among the Greeks, it done for quite a span by ROCOR. I know people do not like to count ROCOR during their anti-ecumenical phase, but they were in communion with Serbia and Jerusalem at least then. If Fr. Seraphim Rose had delayed converting by several years, he would have been re-baptised. Objectively, if one year RC baptism is recognised, the next year it is not and a convert from Catholicism is baptised Orthodox, it is re-baptism.
To be honest, when I was much younger it was what held me back from Orthodoxy (I much preferred the ROCOR parish in town, and I still do).
Posted By: Athanasius The L

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 03:01 PM

Originally Posted by Mark R
Ditto on WRO.
Athanasius, I am sorry but some of the Orthidox do re-baptise. It is common among the Greeks, it done for quite a span by ROCOR. I know people do not like to count ROCOR during their anti-ecumenical phase, but they were in communion with Serbia and Jerusalem at least then. If Fr. Seraphim Rose had delayed converting by several years, he would have been re-baptised. Objectively, if one year RC baptism is recognised, the next year it is not and a convert from Catholicism is baptised Orthodox, it is re-baptism.
To be honest, when I was much younger it was what held me back from Orthodoxy (I much preferred the ROCOR parish in town, and I still do).

My point is that from their perspective, it is not rebaptism, just as we Catholics do not believe we rebaptize converts who were "baptized" invalidly.
Posted By: DMD

Re: Convert Question - 05/15/14 04:44 PM

HEre is the link to the Greek ORthodox Metropolis of Denver's pastoral guidelines governing the reception of Converts. I specifically direct your attention to "IX. Receiving Those Previously Baptized through Chrismation" Trinitarian baptism in the form of the Father , Son and Holy Spirit is acceptable. Other formulas are not. Chrismation of all converts has been required by the Archdiocese since 1987. I believe that these are uniform regulations of the entire Greek Archdiocese (EP) within the USA.


http://www.denver.goarch.org/offices/registry/forms/baptism.pdf
Posted By: Searcher

Re: Convert Question - 05/16/14 06:43 AM

Reading through the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver's pastoral guidelines governing the reception of Converts (link posted by DMD) I came across something to me was strange.

VIII. "the following persons can not be Sponsors: .....(f) An Orthodox Deacon, Priest, or Metropolitan."

Why would a deacon, priest, or metropolitian not be allowed to be a sponser? These men surely have been educated by/in the faith.
Posted By: Michael_Thoma

Re: Convert Question - 05/16/14 09:04 AM

Originally Posted by Searcher
Reading through the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver's pastoral guidelines governing the reception of Converts (link posted by DMD) I came across something to me was strange.

VIII. "the following persons can not be Sponsors: .....(f) An Orthodox Deacon, Priest, or Metropolitan."

Why would a deacon, priest, or metropolitian not be allowed to be a sponser? These men surely have been educated by/in the faith.
An EC priest once told me he cannot be a sponsor/Godfather because he would be 'spiritual Father' to the baptized and would concelebrate(?) the baptism if invited.
Posted By: JBenedict

Re: Convert Question - 05/16/14 10:30 AM

Roman Catholic priests and religious were until 1983 explicitly forbidden from being godparents under the 1917 Code of Canon Law (Can. 766). They could, however, get special permission to serve. While there's not a blanket prohibition now, the ideas as to why it was discouraged still apply.
Posted By: DMD

Re: Convert Question - 05/16/14 12:29 PM

If Orthodoxy is one thing, it is like the what Will Rogers once observed when asked if he belonged to an organized political party. He replied, no - he was a democrat. One could make a similar response about Orthodoxy.

Plenty of ACROD clergy and deacons are Godfather. My uncle was my Godfather, my father's best friend at seminary was my brother's godfather and so on through the present day - including a baptism or two this year across our diocese.

And we are under the omophorion of the EP - but independent of the Greek Archdiocese. Not unlike the status of the Eparchy of Muchachevo in relation to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Muchachevo is in union with Rome, but not in the UGCC synod.
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Convert Question - 05/16/14 01:03 PM

Quote
An EC priest once told me he cannot be a sponsor/Godfather because he would be 'spiritual Father' to the baptized and would concelebrate(?) the baptism if invited.


Interesting. My son's Godfather is a married Ukrainian Greek Catholic Priest, whose wife is his Godmother. If my memory serves me right, my parish priest offered for him to concelebrate the liturgy (and serve as sponsor) but he simply wanted to be there as the sponsor.

Btw: pictures of that event can be viewed here grin (sorry to plug my family blog)
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/18/14 10:39 PM

Originally Posted by DMD

Somehow we all have to figure out a way to escape history and recognize that destiny is not bound by past errors along the way.


Mm!!! Somebody needs to write that into the Book of Proverbs. smile

Amen and amen.
Posted By: Talon

Re: Convert Question - 05/18/14 10:43 PM

More material for expanding Proverbs...

Originally Posted by DMD

AS is often the case in Orthodox RCC relations,neither side can really admit that they are saying nearly the same darned thing but using different 'hocus pocus' terminology to hide the fact, lest the hot air of ten centuries of vitriol and empty polemic be exposed.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Convert Question - 05/19/14 07:41 PM

The only way to escape from history is to know history, and to confront it objectively and with an open mind--or so Archimandrite Robert Taft has always insisted.
Posted By: Toninho CF

Re: Convert Question - 07/02/14 02:50 PM

The number, if my memory doesn't fail was that about 75% were Arian.

Furthermore, it's been too many years also, but in the early centuries of the Church, almost every apostolic seat of the East was presided by some heretical bishop or patriarch. With a careful examination only Peter's was preserved and guaranteed by Jesus this possibility. The whole filioque, has been accepted and understood by many of the Eastern Churches, although some are allowed (from what I have come to understand) to say it or not in the Creed.

Today I am Catholic for a reason: The promise of Jesus to Peter, and its verifiable endurance through many great and also a few bad popes. My take on it is that ONLY God could have made such a promise and keep it.

All dogmas make perfect sense and are Scriptural to me, with the exception of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, which is not readily found in Scripture, but I understand and embrace wholeheartedly.

For example, I explain sin and Purgatory based primarily on Scripture and my own experiences. After years of pondering and praying over this, I found that my whole understanding of this topic does not fit well with the Eastern theology as I am understanding it, yet, it aligns very well with the Catholic Church's teaching.

In the end, this desire to hop ship is complex, unless going into another Eastern Catholic Church. If someone feels in their heart called to become a Muslim, as it has been happening like crazy since 9/11, is that person going into the light or darkness, yet, it may feel like the right thing in their heart.

The fact is that REASON needs to transcend personal FEELINGS. You never abandon the ship. Where the head is, there is the body. Orthodox are not Protestants by a mile. Protestants only have 2 sacraments, while the Orthodox have all 7. I see them as our equal. Brethren who are not at home. Protestants are similar, but more deficient in some areas.

So let's pray that the prayer the Lord Jesus that "we may be One just as He and the Father are ONE" may come to fruition.
Posted By: bergschlawiner

Re: Convert Question - 07/03/14 02:32 AM

"The promise of Jesus to Peter" I don't see where that has any connection with the choice of any particular city like Roma as the capital of the church and it seems to be pretty accidental that Peter landed in Rome, the political capital of the pagan empire. Could have just as easily been Antioch for that matter.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Convert Question - 07/03/14 01:44 PM

In fact, Peter was in both Antioch and Rome - precisely because these were the great cities of the pagan empire.

The Church subsumed many pagan traditions etc. and Christianized them.

Rome became what it is today not only because of the relics of STS Peter and Paul, the Chiefs of the Apostles who were martyred their, but also because Rome was the capital of the empire.

It became the capital of the Church as a result (and Antioch also held a pre-eminence as a patriarchate for a similar reason(s)).

Alex
Posted By: Toninho CF

Re: Convert Question - 07/04/14 01:20 PM

bergschlawiner

I agree with you regarding the choice of city, but I don't agree with the ACCIDENTAL part. God does not do things in random. His Infinite Wisdom defined Rome to be the city where the Apostle of Our Union sat and presided over the whole church.

One thing that is critical today is the unity of the Christian world. What is the link that binds us all together; Jesus Christ. But that link has proven to be insufficient in the broken world that we live on, as the centuries past and the present times' diversity of truth proves it. God never abandoned His people in the Old Testament. The Church is the New and Everlasting Covenant, the One that will endure until the End of Time. So where is our unity in Truth?

I believe with every fiber in my being that it happens to be the Bishop of Rome. It could have been the Patriarch of Constantinople, or Jerusalem, or Antioch, or Alexandria, etc, but it is not. My beliefs and feelings are that I, wanting to be totally faithful to the Lord, would seek His Church, whether in Moscow or New York, Rio de Janeiro or Athens, etc... because I am eager to participate in a positive way to the Prayer of the Lord for Unity.
Posted By: Toninho CF

Re: Convert Question - 07/04/14 04:47 PM

bergschlawiner

One more thing to add about St Peter. At the end of his ministry, according to tradition (not Sacred Tradition), when things got dangerously hot in Rome and he was leaving the city, Jesus appeared to him. Do you remember this one?

Based on this incident, I see it as a twofold thing. First one is that it was time for Peter to suffer martyrdom, and the second is that it was to be done in Rome, as per Jesus' wishes.

Hence, we must deduce that at least some things are not as random for God as we may want them to be.

Blessings!
Posted By: theophan

Re: Convert Question - 07/13/14 11:13 AM

Quote
the link that binds us all together; Jesus Christ. But that link has proven to be insufficient in the broken world that we live on, as the centuries past and the present times' diversity of truth proves it


Toninho CF:

Christ is in our midst!!

If what I've highlighted is truly what you believe, you're in serious trouble spiritually and theologically. According to your profile, you state that you have interest in theology. Maybe before you post anything more at this forum you'd better go back to your studies as well as do some serious praying and some serious consulting with your spiritual father.

In any event, I invite you to go to Town hall and read the thread entitled "Who We Are." We are not in need of any more Latins coming here to preach to us about the Latin view of things spiritual, theological, or liturgical. The Eastern Churches have suffered enough over the centuries by this "Latin is Superior/Latin is the Yardstick" attitude. This attitude is what, in large part, caused the Great Schism and continues to be the major roadblock to finding full communion among the Churches today. This forum is an Eastern Christian forum with many members not in communion with the Bishop of Rome and other members who want to learn about the Christian East and how the various Eastern Christian Churches view the three areas I mentioned above.

Bob
Moderator
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Convert Question - 07/14/14 01:32 AM

Dear Toninho,

As Bob has said, you have presented a one-sided Latin view of things which we don't need to go into again here except with respect to some assmptions you make which are really old hat and, well, nonsensical.

The fact that there were heretical churchmen in the East during the various periods in the early Church rather points to the vibrancy of theological debate in the Christian East - and this at a time when Rome had long ceased to be anything resembling a theological centre.

Pope Honorius was indeed condemned as an heretic (however one wishes to define the circumstances) and his excommunication was pronounced against him by his predecessors until the 12th century.

The Latin theological views you present are just that - Latin and EC:s are not bound to adhere to them _ indeed, Rome bids us to return to our authentic Eastern Christian traditions instead.

We are Catholic for a reason too. We follow the traditions of our Eastern Fathers in Christ, including our Particular traditions regarding communion with Rome.

As Bob has said, we will not be preached at by any Latins as our Orthodoxy and Catholicism has been defined in the blood of our new martyrs and confessors.

Alex
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Convert Question - 07/15/14 12:46 PM

Quote
the link that binds us all together; Jesus Christ. But that link has proven to be insufficient in the broken world that we live on, as the centuries past and the present times' diversity of truth proves it

Toninho. Bob's response to this covered it well, but if I might chime in an additional point, I would call your approach an ultramontanist one (as opposed to just calling it a Latin approach).
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Convert Question - 07/15/14 10:16 PM

Dear Peter,

What's the difference? grin

Alex
Posted By: theophan

Re: Convert Question - 07/16/14 07:49 AM

Quote
the linkthat binds us all together; Jesus Christ. But that link has proven to be insufficient in the broken world that we live on, as the centuries past and the present times' diversity of truth proves it


Christ is in our midst!!

Please forgive me for pasting in this section--essentially quoting myself. If Jesus Christ is not a sufficient link to pull us all together, nothing and no one is. It seems to me that this is so basic that all else is not worth even talking about. He is the beginning, the center, and the end of my life. That is my foundation. Apart from Him all else is nothing and worth nothing.

Bob
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Convert Question - 07/16/14 07:38 PM

Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
grin

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