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First I need to say that I received this information second-hand. The person that told me (who is fairly well versed in all things ecclessiastical) received his information directly from several clergy. Second, my tone may be a little snarky, but I'm not a happy camper. Third, there just has to be a better way!

- It's simply not a matter of BCCs being too small/having limited resources to conduct RCIA-like classes (which is unfortunately often the case), but also a matter of jurisdiction. Protestants, who are considered "Western," are required to join the Latin Church. If they want to by Byzantine, they must join the RCC, then ask for a change of Rite AFTER a two-year period in which they more or less have to prove themselves as Byzantine. So even if a BCC wanted to have convert classes it couldn't, unless the converts were from a historically "eastern" country. (Do the EO make their converts join only their "Western Rite" churches? ... think not.)

- Orthodox (usually because of marriage) who join the RCC are in fact supposed to join their respective Eastern Catholic Church counterpart. One... how many RCC priests know or encourage this? Two... as we all know, it's hard enough to even find a single ECC or OE church in most areas of the country. On the plus side, however, since they are already "Eastern" they don't have to wait two years; they can go to the head of the line! Of course they must join their counterpart (i.e., Russian Orthodox to Russian Catholic).

- A priest was told to stop offering the Divine Liturgy in Spanish. The reason, as best as can be figured out as the "stop order" was in pure Church Canon-ese, was that it violated the norms of his particular Church.

- One couple, whose marriage unfortunately is in very, very serious trouble, wanted to file for an annulment. She was RC, he was EO (not sure of jurisdiction). They were married by an EO priest, but began attending the BCC almost immediately. She was told that because of her marriage, she technically became EO. So, when she went to research annulment procedures with the BCC, she was told that she would, instead, have to find the Eastern Catholic counterpart of the EO jurisdiction that she was married in, join it (probably after two years), then seek an annulment.

I believe Canon Law and Church norms are necessary... but they should be viewed as guidelines and that Eastern concept of "economy" needs to be taken out of the trunk and dusted off. Will there be a BCC in 15-20 years? Doesn't look good.

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Originally Posted by Maverich
- It's simply not a matter of BCCs being too small/having limited resources to conduct RCIA-like classes.


These 'rules' are one fo the reasons we are so small. Add to this the hoops RCs have to jump through to change even after being members of BC churches for years and years and what do you have? Evangelization?
Rome is in no hurry. We have only been in this country a little over 100 years and we're pretty close to being invisible.

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[/quote] Will there be a BCC in 15-20 years?

When its put like that its pretty worrying. I was never catholic before becoming Melkite (I was raised church in wales). I wonder how long the change of rite is going to take.

David

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Maverich,

Welcome to the forum. Quite the first post. Unfortunately, my time tonight is very limited, so I'm going to give you the short answers. If no one gets to more detailed replies, I'll go into more depth on Sunday or Monday night.

Originally Posted by Maverich
It's simply not a matter of BCCs being too small/having limited resources to conduct RCIA-like classes (which is unfortunately often the case), but also a matter of jurisdiction. Protestants, who are considered "Western," are required to join the Latin Church. If they want to by Byzantine, they must join the RCC, then ask for a change of Rite AFTER a two-year period in which they more or less have to prove themselves as Byzantine. So even if a BCC wanted to have convert classes it couldn't, unless the converts were from a historically "eastern" country.

Technically, this is an accurate interpretation of how Latin Canon Law is interpreted. You won't find many here who consider it correct or an interpretation that they are prepared to embrace. As to a two-year wait, there is nothing set in stone anywhere regarding that; an individual technically could seek such enrollment in conjunction with/at time of his/her entry into communion, should the individual elect to do so.

Quote
Orthodox (usually because of marriage) who join the RCC are in fact supposed to join their respective Eastern Catholic Church counterpart. One... how many RCC priests know or encourage this? Two... as we all know, it's hard enough to even find a single ECC or OE church in most areas of the country. On the plus side, however, since they are already "Eastern" they don't have to wait two years; they can go to the head of the line! Of course they must join their counterpart (i.e., Russian Orthodox to Russian Catholic).

Correct and not an issue for most folks, although one will occasionally find the individual coming from Orthodoxy who wants to go West. As to awareness of this on the part of Latin clergy, it's probably not that unknown to them, but whether it's encouraged/promoted may be a different story.

Quote
A priest was told to stop offering the Divine Liturgy in Spanish. The reason, as best as can be figured out as the "stop order" was in pure Church Canon-ese, was that it violated the norms of his particular Church.

This would presuppose that such order came from his hierarch and I find that difficult to imagine. Both the Ruthenians and the Melkites have a few parishes with substantial Spanish-speaking populations of faithful. There is nothing in the Particular Law of either Church that would prevent the use of Spanish, of which I'm aware. I don't know if there are any UGCC parishes with Spanish congregations - but I can't imagine that there are none. As to the other EC and OC jurisdictions in the US, their parishes tend to be more ethnic and I'd be surprised to find that any had a Spanish congregation; the stand-alone parishes (those w/o jurisdictions - the Russians, Malankara, Ethiopian/Eritrean, and Copts) are unlikely to have a demand for Spanish.

Quote
One couple, whose marriage unfortunately is in very, very serious trouble, wanted to file for an annulment. She was RC, he was EO (not sure of jurisdiction). They were married by an EO priest, but began attending the BCC almost immediately. She was told that because of her marriage, she technically became EO. So, when she went to research annulment procedures with the BCC, she was told that she would, instead, have to find the Eastern Catholic counterpart of the EO jurisdiction that she was married in, join it (probably after two years), then seek an annulment.

That she "became EO" under Catholic Canon Law is a patently absurd interpretation. Under the Canons. even had her husband, subsequent to the marriage, entered into communion with an EC Church, she would have had the option whether to do so or not. If an EC canonist gave her that advice/interpretation, he needs to retire his shingle. Presuming she is a Latin by heritage and never canonically enrolled otherwise, her recourse is to the Latin tribunals - as should be the case.

Many years,

Neil - who is hopeful that your "well-versed" friend is sadly mistaken in the stories he has related - because otherwise there are some horribly poorly-informed Eastern clerics out there (I can't be surprised by the Western ones). The first saga angers me to no end, but doesn't surprise me - the third and fourth have steam coming out of my ears.


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Sorry to have to say this, but BEWARE of second-hand information; all too often it is misinformation. That obviously is no fault of yours - but do not listen to claptrap.

To quote Metropolitan Kallistos: "Do not grumble. Protest! But do not grumble." Yes, there is a difference. Grumbling dissipates energy; a carefully considered protest mobilizes our energy.

It simply is not the case that someone who is today a Protestant and who wants to join this or that Eastern Catholic Church must first become a Roman Catholic, then wait for a period of time, and only then request a "change of rite". I do not exclude the possibility that one particular Byzantine Catholic jurisdiction might have such a rule, but that is that jurisdiction's own madness, for which Rome is not to blame and for which the rest of us are certainly not to blame.

I'm not big on convert classes - but my "reason", to the extent that I have a reason, is that I've never been any good at catechesis - my apologies to God and to everyone else. Nevertheless, I have been known to receive converts, and no bishop has ever required me to do anything remotely resembling the process you describe. It might make sense in some specific cases to suggest to the prospective convert that he simply attend our Church for a number of months, to make sure that he knows both his own mind and what he is getting himself into.

In a pluralistic situation such as we find in most Western countries, all ideas (including religious ideas) are in the market-place. As a practical consequence, one need not expect any cleric to send people away from his Church in deference to an alleged "rule" (which, if it exists at all, can be applied only in countries where it might make some semblance of sense).

Point of information: what is an "OE church"?

If converts from Russian Orthodoxy were "required" to become Russian Catholics, our scant handful of existing Russian Catholic parishes would be much larger and much more numerous!

I don't know of any Byzantine Catholic jurisdiction which forbids the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Spanish. The Melkites certainly have Liturgy in Spanish where needed, the Ruthenians have Liturgy in Spanish in at least some places, and Patriarch Lubomyr has told the Ukrainians to get busy and make more use of Spanish. However, I can envisage two possibilities which might - I only said "might" - bring on such a prohibition in a concrete situation:

a) for some weird reason, a priest could be serving in Spanish in a situation where there is no pastoral need for Spanish whatever, and this is causing complaints from his own parishioners. The bishop might well tell him to cut it out.

b) One of the few parishes still under Latin jurisdiction could find itself the recipient of such an order, on the pretext that there are few if any indigenous Spanish-speaking Greek-Catholics. Not likely these days, but it could happen. No one has seriously attempted to stop me, but I'm sometimes asked why I use Irish - whereupon I produce the Irish translation of the Koran and inquire whether someone seriously wants to argue that Mohammedans should be allowed to speak Irish but not Greek-Catholics? That usually stops the discussion.

The proper thing for the wife to do in the case you describe is simplicity itself: approach the relevant Eastern Orthodox jurisdiction and obtain a Church divorce! When the Catholic priest then yells "Foul!" she may respond: "but Father, you told me yourself that my marriage automatically made me Eastern Orthodox!

More seriously, since such a nonsensical opinion is worthless (and I would be amazed if a normal Eastern Orthodox priest would admit the Catholic wife to communion regularly), she remains a Roman Catholic despite being married to an Eastern Orthodox Christian. In consequence, if she wants a Catholic annulment, the local RC diocesan tribunal is the place to go. If the tribunal tries to tell her that she is now Eastern Orthodox, it's time for her to make up her mind that she is not responsible for the babble of uneducated lunatics, obtain an Eastern Orthodox Church divorce, and tell the loonies to leave her in peace. However, CAUTION: without knowing all the circumstances first-hand I have no way of being certain what actually happened.

Will there be a Greek-Catholic Church in 20 years? Emphatically yes!

Hope these meanderings are of some help.

Fr. Serge




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