Asking for advice on faith

I have been a bit of a wanderer lately, being blown about on turbulent seas. I am a Roman Catholic who went from being a diocesan/novus ordo attendee to the most rigid and unforgiving rad trad TLM-goer I know. After spending a few years in that toxic mindset (and I am only speaking of my personal errors, the communities themselves were mostly full of loving and devout Catholics, there were only a few oddballs, myself being the loudest among them), but after a few years I burned out altogether. I spent a few sporadic months intermittently attending an Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy before giving up commuting altogether and attending the local Orthodox parish. My own beliefs seem to be up for grabs. I tend to find myself more convinced of Orthodoxy’s apologetics than I do of the Roman Church, yet I still feel as though I “belong” in the Roman Church. I’m certainly asking for prayers but I was even more interested in advice from any on here who are on a similar journey, or perhaps who made the journey before. Where did you end up? How did you make sense of everything?

Thank you in advance to any and all who post here. God Bless you and your families!

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Welcome to the CA Forum @WanderingPilgrim!
Wherever God wants you to be, follow Him. Praying that God will help you to find your way. After all, we’re brothers and sisters in Christ. Glad that you’re interested with Orthodox Catholic, not with other denomination who will speak harsh to the Church.

Being born as a Roman Catholic is a privilege. You can witness the imperfection but the thing that prevails is your love for God, the Church, and its people. The beauty of the Church’s people and their faith stands there forever. Keep love for our Church.

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This was ultimately my dilemma. I felt so certain I and my family would be happy at our local Orthodox parish. My kids responded well to the Divine Liturgy and they liked the priest and the kids (our local Roman parishes don’t have anything going on this department). They never engaged the novus ordo mass. The traditional latin mass caught their attention for the music (the Los Angeles area has one of the best scholas/choirs in the world, so that certainly helps), but the Masses themselves couldn’t hold their attention (they are 3 and 4). Everything seemed like it was going smoothly but when I announced to my wife that I’d like our family to start the process to become catechumens to joining the Orthodox Church, and asking her opinion, she made it very clear to me that she would never convert. And not for theological reasons. Hers are strictly cultural reasons (her family is hispanic and she fears what her mother would think of her if she converted to another church). And so this slowed our progress in Orthodoxy as I cannot imagine moving forward if it meant not being in communion with my wife. And worse, I cannot stomach the idea of my children not being in communion with their mother. We have an Eastern Catholic parish a couple hours away but it’s simply too far to commute to to have as a regular part of our lives, so our only realistic choices are two roman parishes (novus ordo) that I simply find no peace in, or a tiny but wonderful Orthodox parish, that my wife finds no peace in. It is troublesome, to say the least.

Pilgrim,

I’ve seen this happen before. It seems to me as if you’re interpreting your relationship with God according to externals. And it’s not that externals aren’t important; they are. But still you should first be seeking Jesus in the quiet of your mind, or – thanks be to God for this tremendous benefit for Catholics – before the Blessed Sacrament (literally anywhere you can find Eucharistic Adoration). Be less concerned with which mass type you go to, and more with what Jesus wants from you, right now, for yourself and those in your life.

As for the specific religious concerns, it seems obvious why you burned out after going milquetoast N.O., then toxic radtrad, then the near-total opaque strangeness of Eastern Catholicism when you haven’t been born and bred to it. That kind of burnout is par for the course for those who tend to define their faith by the trappings of their masses; I’ve seen it happen in several others close to me (I myself attend a parish with N.O. and Tridentine masses, and I switch back and forth). It’s a matter of seeking to “feel” something about your faith while you’re practicing it, even while you know intellectually that our faith isn’t about feelings.

I’m sorry if this sounds judgy or pushy. But you are a Roman Catholic. Our Church is…let’s say, imperfect. The goal, then, is to stay where you are and slowly, steadily, and patiently work to make it better. It’s always been in our hands. Start with your personal prayer life, then worry about N.O. vs. traditional vs. Maronite (or whatever).

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This could be God’s signal that you should stay in the Latin Church. BUT these adorable kids responded well to the Divine Liturgy… Let’s ask God to help your family and give us clarity! Have you also tried to ask your mama-in-law about his matter?

My children are certainly my biggest concern. And no, I haven’t spoken to her about it. We are not close in that way (cultural/language barriers). But my in laws are not exactly devout (and I don’t mean to judge them here). They are more toward cultural catholics then anything else. They go to Mass almost every Sunday, God Bless them, and never take the Eucharist (since they rarely ever go to confession, maybe once a year or less according to what my wife told me). They are first generation Mexicans and grew up in very Catholic environments (at least culturally). So Catholicism is in their blood, and I love that about them. Our children are at the age where they are eager to participate and soak everything in (my son has memorized the Our Father at 4 years old, something I am very proud of him for). They WANT to be in Church, something that won’t last long “if” we don’t get things figured out and start building up consistency around them. I fear that if we keep bouncing back and forth and if they see their parents going to different churches, they will almost certainly lose the faith altogether once they are old enough to be influenced by the spirit of the age.

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Those kids, they were really adorable :heart: That was lovely and pleasant to hear that they became devoted to God at a very young age!

I left the RCC for years, throwing everything I thought I knew out but later seeking for some higher truth and hope than this world has to offer, sometimes more seriously sometimes less, but seeking-anywhere and everywhere. Than I fell in love with the Bible, to my surprise, and began to walk in simple and genuine faith, hope, and love for God. I became a conservative Protestant but many years later studied my way back into Catholicism, to my even greater surprise, after studying Church teachings for myself.

At some point I found the love of God in a very profound manner, after praying a very simple prayer for another person-it’s a long story. But suffice it to say that we must put God first, and thereby love first. If the goal of our faith is to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves then we cannot go wrong. There will be no room for the “spiritual pride” that we so easily fall into coveting. Consider these simple but super profound words from St John of the Cross, quoted in the catechism addressing our particular judgment in para 1022:
At the evening of life we shall be judged on our love.”

Love frees us from the slavery of sin and from the legalism which is based on fear and the ugliness of our own pride in general. Some more profundity, simple as it sounds at first, from Augustine this time:
Love, and do as you like”.

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These don’t really explain Rome’s position on labelling as apostate, those who leave her communion for another faith. Which is weird in particular, with Orthodoxy. Until the 1970s, a Roman Catholic could fulfill their Sunday Obligation at an Orthodox Divine Liturgy, and even today would permit Orthodox Christians to communion openly (so long as they were in a state of grace) and had the permission of their bishop/metropolitan. Yet, if a Catholic should wish to officially join these communities because they believe what they teach, then that Catholic would be an apostate and could not validly confess their sin of leaving the Catholic faith and would essentially be doomed to hell unless they recanted and came back to communion with Rome (I’ve been told this by more than one priest, namely, that I will be unable to recieve a full and total absolution from an orthodox priest as I wouldn’t be able to confess my apostasy/schism since it would be intentional and unrepentant. That is, unless or until I came back to the Catholic communion). It, in effect, is legalese holding someone’s soul spiritually hostage.

Love that you’re still open to Catholicism. Yet, the kids are only 3 and 4, and separating in Mass could lead to misunderstandings and confusion. There should be one who’s ready to set all things free and if your wife is not ready for it, then you’re the one who’ll set things free. Just think that you’re a gentleman who’s ready to give yourself and everything to a beautiful lady. If you’re setting things free, that includes the package. What package? Hehe, that includes teaching them in a Roman Catholic’s ideology but don’t worry, it would do good things to them. I’ll really pray for this matter.

I think the idea is that if you leave for Orthodoxy because you believe what it teaches, you shouldn’t care what the Roman church says about the state of your soul.

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Will it harm his soul if he leaves for Orthodox Catholic Church?

Unless Roman Catholic ideology is false? As I mentioned elsewhere, I am mostly leaning toward Orthodoxy, theologically. I’m not 100% convinced but am definitely leaning that way. I’m not in a position that I’d be comfortable just trusting Rome with my children. It was the notion of trusting Rome with my children that had me looking East to begin with lol.

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True. If I was 100% convinced on Orthodoxy, I certainly wouldn’t care what Rome thought. But I’m not there yet. I’m almost there, but I don’t like to move too quickly. Not with how much change our family has gone through, spiritually. I’m trying to take things slowly, for my wife’s sake. And I pray constantly, of course, for the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. It helps finding others who are in the same boat, or have made the journey before. Their insight has proven helpful in the past and I pray I will get some more!

It could be that your kids are picking up your unease. Young children are strangely perceptive of non-verbal cues. If you could somehow find peace and engage your spirit in a novus ordo Mass, your kids are likely to follow suit.

Have you tried different Masses at each parish? Prior to the pandemic, my parish had about 5 Sunday Masses (counting the vigil), some with a more reverent feel mainly due to the music. These days, with face masks and no congregational singing, the music is less attractive, but on the bright side, the Sign of Peace is a bit more dignified.

We also have a few different priests with their own personalities. There’s even one who I strongly suspect of liturgical abuse, but he’s just so lovable in other ways, I have to forgive him. At my parish, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but that’s all right with me.

If your issues with the novus ordo are deeper or more structural than that, I can’t give you specific advice, but generally some kind of attitude adjustment might do you good, bearing in mind that it is still the Mass with Christ present for you.

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My trouble with the new mass is theological in nature. I don’t think it would be possible for me to find peace in it again. And yes, we have tried literally every Catholic parish within a 2 hour radius of us. 6-7 novus ordo/diocesan parishes, 2 TLM parishes, 1 Eastern Catholic parish, 2 missions, 1 seminary, 1 Catholic college chapel, etc.

The happiest I’ve been as a Roman Catholic, was attending an SSPX chapel in North Idaho. But I was only able to stay up there for a month before I had to move back to California.

You’re planning to convert to Orthodox Catholic Church, right? It’s fine because they’re in communion with Rome. But the kids are the main priority to keep them out of confusion.

Theological? I find that surprising.

To be clear: I’m not saying he shouldn’t care for the state of his soul, or that he should go Ortho. I’m saying that it doesn’t seem logical to both leave the Roman Catholic faith, and yet still care what the faith you just left says about the state of your soul.

As for what actually happens to one’s soul, I’ll leaving that up to God, but will say this: while the line between an Eastern Rite of the Roman Catholic Church and an actual Eastern Orthodox Church may be thin, it is yet a very stark line. A Catholic who accepts the primacy of the pope in Rome, the magisterium of the Roman Church, and the true teachings of the Roman Catechism, can switch into an Eastern Rite with little difficulty but absolutely cannot become Eastern Orthodox, which does none of those things as they are schismatic. There are other serious differences in what the two churches teach, though it is also still true that Eastern Orthodox sacraments are acceptable for “Roman papal Catholics” in a pinch.

Oh, I’m not trying to say those things. I don’t even have any intentions. My apologies, if I was not clear with that question. I was asking if the Orthodox Catholics are still saved by the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings since they are in communion with the Pope.

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