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#421866 02/10/22 02:08 AM
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I am a cradle Roman Catholic, but have been exploring Eastern Rite Catholicism and the EO church in the last few years to help reconcile some theological issues I've struggled with. Things I've been struggling with like: post-enlightenment understanding on hell, Marian apparitions where a very Latin Mary (apparitions being also a post-schism thing) tells people to pray the rosary (also post-schism) to avoid God's wrath which will land them in a Dante-esque hell, also legalism, scapulars, indulgences, more progressed ideas of sin and confession mortal/venial, kind/number confession, natural theology, age of reason (delaying children's participation in full sacramental life), etc.

My question is: Can I reject these things and still call myself a Catholic, and would I be more at home in an Eastern Rite? Or have I theologically crossed a line into EO?

Thank you sincerely

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Originally Posted by Tadhg
I am a cradle Roman Catholic, but have been exploring Eastern Rite Catholicism and the EO church in the last few years to help reconcile some theological issues I've struggled with. Things I've been struggling with like: post-enlightenment understanding on hell, Marian apparitions where a very Latin Mary (apparitions being also a post-schism thing) tells people to pray the rosary (also post-schism) to avoid God's wrath which will land them in a Dante-esque hell, also legalism, scapulars, indulgences, more progressed ideas of sin and confession mortal/venial, kind/number confession, natural theology, age of reason (delaying children's participation in full sacramental life), etc.

My question is: Can I reject these things and still call myself a Catholic, and would I be more at home in an Eastern Rite? Or have I theologically crossed a line into EO?

Thank you sincerely

You have crossed the line.

I entered the BCC from Protestantism 21 years ago. I was going to Orthodox Vespers and was drawn to Orthodoxy but felt at the time that the Church should have one head on earth. This was a mistake which came from my PCA Calvinist understanding of Covenant Theology. Because of this, I felt that I should be Roman Catholic, but when I attended a Novus Ordo Mass, it turned me off. It was my Protestantism with robes. Then someone suggested the BCC parish in town, which I was ignorant of. I was told (quite erroneously) that I could be "Orthodox in Communion with Rome." That seemed to answer my problem and I entered the BCC parish on April 14, 2001.

Now I am leaving for Orthodoxy. Why?

Because about five years ago, I was confronted with exactly what the term "in communion" means. It means that you are in complete agreement with the doctrines, dogmas, and other teachings of the Roman Church. This is why we do not allow Protestants to the Holy Table for the Eucharist. It is not because we hate them, and some of those dear folks may love Jesus more honestly and completely than we do. It is because we are simply not in agreement on doctrine and dogma. The Eucharist is a sign of unity, therefore, to allow them to the Holy Table would be to visibly promote a lie.

The more deeply I got into historical studies for the book I was writing, the more I saw Roman Catholicism as having drifted into error and away from the teaching of the Apostolic Fathers. (Dear RC friend, if you dispute this, all you have to do is show me quotes from men like St. Ignatius or St. Irenaeus which support the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, Indulgences, Papal Infallibility, Papal Supremacy, withholding the Eucharist from infant children, baptism by sprinkling as a norm, etc.)

Your own personal study has led you to question these things. You will not be happy as a BCC because you will probably, depending on the parish to which you go, meet people who have no understanding of what it means to be Orthodox, even though they are supposed to be "Orthodox in Communion with Rome." In visiting numerous parishes in Pennsylvania, and in watching the drift of the Ruthenian church into "all-inclusive language," I found myself disturbed by the lack of Orthodoxy. The men who signed the Union of Brest would no doubt be horrified. Becoming "Latin Lite" was not their intention. I have been in discussions at the "Coffee Hour" with visiting Roman Catholics who scalded me when they found out that I do not accept all that Rome teaches. Even though I was told that I could be "Orthodox in Communion with Rome," the fact of the matter is that I am expected to be Roman Catholic in dogma and doctrine. I've had enough and I am on my way out to a beautiful OCA parish in Virginia.

You may PM me if you wish further discussion on this. Perhaps I can be of some help to you, having already walked the trail you find yourself on now.

May God bless, lead, guide, and direct you!

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God bless you brother, thank you for taking the time to so thoughtfully reply. I connect with much of what you shared.

Right now, I am in the process of figuring out where the lines are. I feel like leaving Catholicism is akin to a divorce, and if there is any way I can stay in good conscience I should (and want to, I love my community). But what Catholics need to believe, and what they don't, is largely subjective - and there isn't much common understanding here. This is evident: Cardinal Burk and Richard Rohr are both Catholics in good standing. Also, I need to determine where I need to submit to what I don't yet understand, vs. honor my convictions and conscience.

I know many Catholics are converting to EO to escape Pope Francis, or the Novus Ordo, etc., but I actually like Pope Francis and have no issue with a reverent Novus Ordo. I actually gravitated too heavily into Thomistic thought and the Chuch Fathers. Aristotelian overlays on Western theology and Thomistic metaphysics are very intellectually satisfying, but leave little breathing room for mystery, and more importantly (in my mind) the idea of Christian epistemology kept coming back. The majority of people, of Christians, who have existed don't have the privilege of education to access natural theology and come to these deep understandings of God. It felt like all of this theologizing was asymmetrical to a true Christian epistemology. Finally, it's subjective, but many changes (granted, not dogmatic) born in the post-enlightenment western church intuitively feel off to me.

Thank you again, and I may take you up and PM you when I can organize my thoughts more coherently. I'm a bit muddled right now.

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Christ is in our midst!!

Tadhg,

Welcome to the forum. We hope you time here will be spiritually bnenficial.

Bob
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[quote=Tadhg]God bless you brother, thank you for taking the time to so thoughtfully reply. I connect with much of what you shared.

Right now, I am in the process of figuring out where the lines are. I feel like leaving Catholicism is akin to a divorce, and if there is any way I can stay in good conscience I should (and want to, I love my community). But what Catholics need to believe, and what they don't, is largely subjective - and there isn't much common understanding here. This is evident: Cardinal Burk and Richard Rohr are both Catholics in good standing. Also, I need to determine where I need to submit to what I don't yet understand, vs. honor my convictions and conscience.

I know many Catholics are converting to EO to escape Pope Francis, or the Novus Ordo, etc., but I actually like Pope Francis and have no issue with a reverent Novus Ordo. I actually gravitated too heavily into Thomistic thought and the Chuch Fathers. Aristotelian overlays on Western theology and Thomistic metaphysics are very intellectually satisfying, but leave little breathing room for mystery, and more importantly (in my mind) the idea of Christian epistemology kept coming back. The majority of people, of Christians, who have existed don't have the privilege of education to access natural theology and come to these deep understandings of God. It felt like all of this theologizing was asymmetrical to a true Christian epistemology. Finally, it's subjective, but many changes (granted, not dogmatic) born in the post-enlightenment western church intuitively feel off to me.

Thank you again, and I may take you up and PM you when I can organize my thoughts more coherently. I'm a bit muddled right now.[/quote

I can appreciate that you are "a bit muddled" as this is a huge step away from what has been familiar and comfortable to you for a long time. I would suggest that you not be in a rush and continue to study and consider what it is that you believe and where these beliefs will find a home.

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Hi Edward, we have not communicated on this forum for many years. I am on the same boat as you, seeing myself slowly drifting further into the Syriac Orthodox church. The few things holding me back the practicals, lack of fully functioning parish near me, social connections, etc. On faith, I'm literally having the same struggle as you, I'm not certain why our Eastern Catholic prelates do not want to address this. What can I do but move on, I'm just a simple layman who's raised these questions to deaf hierarchical ears for nearly 20 years

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To all those looking to the Orthodox:

What would be the chosen jurisdiction/church? How does that church receive converts, by baptism, chrismation, otherwise?

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Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Hi Edward, we have not communicated on this forum for many years. I am on the same boat as you, seeing myself slowly drifting further into the Syriac Orthodox church. The few things holding me back the practicals, lack of fully functioning parish near me, social connections, etc. On faith, I'm literally having the same struggle as you, I'm not certain why our Eastern Catholic prelates do not want to address this. What can I do but move on, I'm just a simple layman who's raised these questions to deaf hierarchical ears for nearly 20 years

This letter was sent to my priest on Monday:

Dear Father:

This is a most difficult letter for me to write, for I have developed a number of good friendships at Annunciation and have been privileged to serve the parish in a number of positions. Nonetheless, after a long struggle with my conscience and my beliefs, I feel it is time for me to leave Annunciation and go to a parish where the things I believe are not in conflict with the teachings of the BCC. Specifically, I will be converting to Orthodoxy.

In the year 2000, as I studied the apostolic faith while still a Protestant, I was told that I could be “Orthodox in Communion with Rome,” also known as Byzantine Catholic. Not knowing fully all the differences between Eastern and Western theology, I thought this was an acceptable compromise to my desire to become Orthodox and my sense at that time that the Patriarch of Rome is the head of the Church on earth. I was mistaken in this ecclesial understanding, and also in what the term “in communion” means.

To be “in communion” means a common and united sharing of dogma and beliefs. The greatest sign of this communion is the Holy Communion of the Eucharist. This is why Protestants are not allowed to receive the Eucharist - they are not “in communion,” because of their not sharing the same beliefs that Orthodox and Catholics do. Therefore, while our communion with them is one of Christian charity, they cannot partake of the sign of communion - the Body and Blood of Christ.

It wasn’t until my third year in seminary that I became clearly aware of the vast difference between Eastern and Western theology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and anthropology. I was also becoming aware that rather than being Orthodox in these matters, as promised in the Union of Brest, BCC parishes are more “Roman Catholic Lite” with a strange Mass than they are actually Orthodox. I cannot begin to tell you how many BCC parishes I have attended which are filled with Latinizations and Roman practices such as praying the Rosary. When I first came to Annunciation, there were Stations of the Cross on the walls instead of the icons which are there now. The whole artwork of the parish suggested Roman Catholicism. For me, whose wish has been to be Orthodox since my conversion from Protestantism, this became an untenable situation, and it has only become worse over the last three years.

I do not belong at Annunciation parish because I do not accept the teaching of Indulgences, Purgatory, the Immaculate Conception, Treasury of Merit, Penal Substitution Soteriology, Papal Supremacy, Papal Infallibility, or the Filioque Clause to the Creed. These are the most egregious of Rome’s errors, errors that the Roman Catholic Church will have to reject before any form of real union can be restored between East and West. Yet as a Byzantine Catholic, the unspoken rule is that I must accept these teachings.

In short, I am Orthodox and not Roman Catholic or any of its derivatives. I can no longer ignore the voice of my conscience in this matter. It is therefore time for me to be joined to that body of believers with whom I have complete and total agreement in matters of faith and practice. Please know that I leave with regret and no anger toward anyone in the parish. If I have offended or sinned against anyone, I ask forgiveness.


I have begun to attend an OCA parish near me and this Sunday will approach the priest about being received into the parish. I am hopeful that by Pascha I will be fully Orthodox, both in praxis and in body.

I feel for you Michael, and hope that there can be a good resolution of your situation. Continue to pray and look for the Lord to act in His time. That is what I had to do and it was frustrating to wait so long. But hopefully I am on the way home.

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Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
The more deeply I got into historical studies for the book I was writing, the more I saw Roman Catholicism as having drifted into error and away from the teaching of the Apostolic Fathers. (Dear RC friend, if you dispute this, all you have to do is show me quotes from men like St. Ignatius or St. Irenaeus which support the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, Indulgences, Papal Infallibility, Papal Supremacy, withholding the Eucharist from infant children, baptism by sprinkling as a norm, etc.)
What is your book about? Title?

I would think your dear RC friend would enlighten you by asking you for quotes from St. Ignatius(A.D. 140) or St. Irenaeus (A.D. 202) on the developed dogma of the Trinity as in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (A.D. 381).

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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
The more deeply I got into historical studies for the book I was writing, the more I saw Roman Catholicism as having drifted into error and away from the teaching of the Apostolic Fathers. (Dear RC friend, if you dispute this, all you have to do is show me quotes from men like St. Ignatius or St. Irenaeus which support the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, Indulgences, Papal Infallibility, Papal Supremacy, withholding the Eucharist from infant children, baptism by sprinkling as a norm, etc.)


What is your book about? Title?

I would think your dear RC friend would enlighten you by asking you for quotes from St. Ignatius(A.D. 140) or St. Irenaeus (A.D. 202) on the developed dogma of the Trinity as in the the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (A.D. 381).


I'm not sure what the development of the Trinity has to do with the creation of Indulgences, the Immaculate Conception, etc. Perhaps you could enlighten me?

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Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
The more deeply I got into historical studies for the book I was writing, the more I saw Roman Catholicism as having drifted into error and away from the teaching of the Apostolic Fathers. (Dear RC friend, if you dispute this, all you have to do is show me quotes from men like St. Ignatius or St. Irenaeus which support the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, Indulgences, Papal Infallibility, Papal Supremacy, withholding the Eucharist from infant children, baptism by sprinkling as a norm, etc.)


What is your book about? Title?

I would think your dear RC friend would enlighten you by asking you for quotes from St. Ignatius(A.D. 140) or St. Irenaeus (A.D. 202) on the developed dogma of the Trinity as in the the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (A.D. 381).


I'm not sure what the development of the Trinity has to do with the creation of Indulgences, the Immaculate Conception, etc. Perhaps you could enlighten me?

You ask your RC friend for "quotes from men like St. Ignatius or St. Irenaeus which support the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory, Indulgences,..."; your RC friend asks YOU for " quotes from men like St. Ignatius or St. Irenaeus that support "the developed dogma of the Trinity as in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed."

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Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
I cannot begin to tell you how many BCC parishes I have attended which are filled with Latinizations and Roman practices such as praying the Rosary. When I first came to Annunciation, there were Stations of the Cross on the walls instead of the icons which are there now. The whole artwork of the parish suggested Roman Catholicism. For me, whose wish has been to be Orthodox since my conversion from Protestantism, this became an untenable situation, and it has only become worse over the last three years.

I do not belong at Annunciation parish because...
Tell me about Annunciation. Where is it located? Who is the priest? What seminary did you attend?
Your book is a defense of apocatastasis. How does apocatastasis play out in the OCA?

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Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish_Ruthenian)
I can appreciate that you are "a bit muddled" as this is a huge step away from what has been familiar and comfortable to you for a long time. I would suggest that you not be in a rush and continue to study and consider what it is that you believe and where these beliefs will find a home.

Yes, I am trying to not be in a hurry. On the other hand, I have children approaching the 'age of reason' and I want them to participate in the sacramental life of the church. Still, as you've said, not something to rush.. Another thing that has made it difficult too is that I'm culturally western, and have no particular affinity for eastern Christianity (nor anything against it). I'm not running from the west, I'm just not finding all of the pieces connecting as I dig into the ancient faith. I know Orthodoxy has a Western rite, but from what I understand it is fairly contentious as to its legitimacy. Still more work to do... one question that comes up is: in EO, if I come to a decision based on conscience (eg. on apocatastasis, sexuality in the context of marriage, etc.), and my priest or bishop has spoken to the contrary (even if other bishops would agree with my conscience), do I have a duty to submit to my bishop, or can I hold that personal belief?

ajk - if you don't mind me asking, are you RC? Do you have any wisdom to offer some of my concerns?

Also, thank you for the welcome, Bob!

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Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Edward H (Irish Ruthenian)
I cannot begin to tell you how many BCC parishes I have attended which are filled with Latinizations and Roman practices such as praying the Rosary. When I first came to Annunciation, there were Stations of the Cross on the walls instead of the icons which are there now. The whole artwork of the parish suggested Roman Catholicism. For me, whose wish has been to be Orthodox since my conversion from Protestantism, this became an untenable situation, and it has only become worse over the last three years.

I do not belong at Annunciation parish because...
Tell me about Annunciation. Where is it located? Who is the priest? What seminary did you attend?
Your book is a defense of apocatastasis. How does apocatastasis play out in the OCA?


I would rather keep the information on my former parish to myself. As for the seminary, I went to St. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh.

There is no official eschatological position in Orthodoxy regarding Apokatastasis, therefore it is not a problem. The strongest statement I have heard against it is that we are allowed to hope and pray that God saves all men, but not allowed to teach that He actually will. At the end of my book, there is the following paragraph:

"The truth of this issue appears to me to be like a three-legged stool consisting of the revelation of God in Christ, i.e., that God is love, the revelation of scripture, and the Holy Tradition of the church. Taking any one of these three as a sole source of truth is a recipe for theological disaster. In doing my investigation and putting all three of these sources together, I believe I have good reason for a strong hope in God’s ultimate restoration of all things, including all people."

As I understand it from listening to Ancient Faith Radio and the things I have read, unlike the Roman Catholic Church and some forms of Protestantism, there is not an official book of catechism in Orthodoxy.

IF Orthodoxy holds a council regarding eschatology and condemns Apokatastasis, I will be obedient to what they declare, but I would see this as being rather unlikely, given that men such as the brilliant patristics scholar, Father John Behr, His Eminence Bishop Kalistos Ware, and a host of saints, such as St. Gregory Nyssa, Saint Macarina, and a host of others in the Church have expressed various levels of support for the joyful news of God's redeeming love.

PS . . . I would be honored if you are interested in what my investigation found if you would purchase a copy of the book.

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Originally Posted by Tadhg
ajk - if you don't mind me asking, are you RC? Do you have any wisdom to offer some of my concerns?

As to "wisdom," you should be the judge. I have strong opinions, the latest expressions in Post421302 and Post421324 and other posts in that thread.

Since 2003 I am a Deacon of the Eparchy of Passaic with direct experience of the pre and post VCII western church. With hindsight I'd say that the following from 2009 is something of a mission statement for many (perhaps all) my forum posts:

A Failure of our [BCC] Church: To effectively articulate why, as eastern, orthodox Christians we are, and why one should be Catholic – we, who are living (though perhaps rather imperfectly) the desired unity.

I do think that in general an adequate Eastern Catholic articulation of the Catholic faith, which I profess to be orthodox, is lacking.

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