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Can an Eastern Rite (Russian) Catholic attending a nearby Latin Rite Catholic Church have a priest from the Latin Rite church as a Spiritual Father? If the Eastern Catholic is 85 years old, does he have to follow the strict fasting/abstinence guidelines for his rite, or can the Latin rite priest advise on this matter as a Spiritual Father?

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Welcome to the forum, BarbaraJan!

Others here who are far more knowledgeable than I may contradict or correct me (please do, if I'm wrong!), but I see no particular problem with a Latin rite priest being your spiritual father. But I guess it might depend somewhat on how you and he are defining "spiritual father" and what it entails. I don't recall hearing or reading anything about a spiritual father having to be from your own particular Rite, or even that he must be a priest, except for the purposes of the Sacrament of Repentance/Confession.

As for the fast, I believe that one should strive to do one's best to follow the fasting guidelines established by your bishop/eparchy/etc. If a Latin priest is one's spiritual father, it seems to me that, yes, he can advise, as long as he has an awareness of and appreciation for any differences in fasting guidelines between two different Rites.

I look forward to seeing what others have to say about this!

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Originally Posted by J Michael
Welcome to the forum, BarbaraJan!

Others here who are far more knowledgeable than I may contradict or correct me (please do, if I'm wrong!), but I see no particular problem with a Latin rite priest being your spiritual father. But I guess it might depend somewhat on how you and he are defining "spiritual father" and what it entails. I don't recall hearing or reading anything about a spiritual father having to be from your own particular Rite, or even that he must be a priest, except for the purposes of the Sacrament of Repentance/Confession.

As for the fast, I believe that one should strive to do one's best to follow the fasting guidelines established by your bishop/eparchy/etc. If a Latin priest is one's spiritual father, it seems to me that, yes, he can advise, as long as he has an awareness of and appreciation for any differences in fasting guidelines between two different Rites.

I look forward to seeing what others have to say about this!

I just wanted to add that a "Spiritual Father" doesn't even have to be a "Father". One may benefit just as much from a "Spiritual Mother", with the exception of course of administration of the Sacraments.

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Christ is in our midst!!

BarbaraJan:

Welcome to the forum. We hope your time here will enrich you spiritually.

I think you will find Latin fasting regulations vastly different from your experience in the Russian Catholic Church. We have only two real "fast days" in the year--Ash Wednesday and Good Friday; each Friday of the year is otherwise only an abstaining from meat.

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Hello, Bob,

I’m already Latin Rite Catholic. I’m wondering what the fast and abstinence guidelines are for the Russian Catholic Church. My 85 year old husband is Russian Orthodox and we were married in the Orthodox Church 34 years ago. His church is an hour or more away and he just didn’t go all these years, except a few Easters. I’ve been going to Mass for all 63 years of my life, and he began going with me. Recently he expressed an interest in becoming Catholic so he can take Holy Communion when we go to Mass. He accepts the Pope, and other Catholic teachings. According to Canon Law, he simply has to make his profession to the priest at my church and make a good confession. However,he wouldn’t be Latin Catholic, he would be Eastern Catholic, per Canon Law, and changing his ascription to the Latin Rite would require a letter to the Holy See, and it most likely would be rejected. I know once he’s Eastern Catholic he can participate in the Eucharist in any Catholic Church; however, I’m under the impression that he needs to still follow the fasting and abstinence rules of his sui juris church, the Russian Greek Catholic Church. There is one 33 miles from our home. The problem is he is very set in his ways. He doesn’t eat a lot, but he does eat a 1/2 cup of yogurt daily and one hard-boiled egg daily, and as an Eastern Rite Catholic he would have to forgo dairy and eggs during the fasting seasons. He eats little snacks in between so his stomach doesn’t get acidy. The thought of giving up those things makes him nervous and I think this will be a stumbling block, which makes me sad because if sticking to his regimen causes him to sin, he won’t be able to partake of the Eucharist, so what’s the point of anything. Could he fast more leniently and give more alms instead? If he could be Latin Catholic he could follow my fasting guidelines, but I guess that’s not likely. I don’t know what to do.

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Dear BarbaraJane (apologies for omitting the "e" previously!),

Might I suggest that the surest way to find out what the fasting guidelines for the Russian Greek Catholic Church would be to contact the parish that is 33 miles from your home, or the eparchial office? I can tell you what the guidelines are for the Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church, of which I am a member, are, but they might be different. Here they are, taken from https://www.eparchyofpassaic.com/files/ECL-5702-WEB.pdf (please note that this 2 years old, but the regulations have not changed.):
Quote
Fasting Regulations
†All who receive Communion in the Eparchy of Passaic are
required to abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays of the
Great Fast.
†All adults who receive Communion in the Eparchy of Passaic are
required to abstain from meat, eggs, and milk products on the first
day of Lent, Monday, February 15, and on Great and Holy Friday,
April 2.
†These are the minimum requirements; however, our Tradition is
to abstrain from meat after Meatfare Sunday and from dairy prod-
ucts after Cheesefare Sunday.
Dispensation
†Pastors and Administrators may, for a just cause, grant to the
individual faithful and to individual families, dispensations or
commutations of the fasting rules into other pious practices.

Please note that dairy and eggs are only prohibited on the first day of Great Lent, and on Great and Holy Friday. I've no doubt that, given your husband's venerable age and possible health concerns, any priest would be happy to dispense him even of those requirements. But, perhaps I presume too much...

Hope that helps!

In Christ,
Jeff

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Thank you, Jeff! I found the Russian Catholic priest’s email and sent him the information I delineated here. I hope he sees it your way as it would be devastating if my husband couldn’t receive the Eucharist now that he’s approaching his late years.

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Originally Posted by BarbaraJane
Thank you, Jeff! I found the Russian Catholic priest’s email and sent him the information I delineated here. I hope he sees it your way as it would be devastating if my husband couldn’t receive the Eucharist now that he’s approaching his late years.
You're most welcome!

Prayers for you and your husband.

In Christ,
Jeff


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