Attending Orthodox Services


Just like my title says, I am inquiring about the morality of attending Russian Orthodox mass on Sunday. The parishes in my area tend to be extremely modern to put it politely with their approach to mass and I do not fit in well culturally either. I have no desire to evangelize and I would rather just go where I might fit in better.



There’s no Latin Mass near you?



No Eastern Catholic parishes?





You are certainly welcome to visit a Divine Litirgy. The Orthodox have closed communion so do not approach.

However, this does not fulfill your Sunday obligation. So you will still need to attend a Catholic mass.



I think Canon law forbids it. Your Sunday obligation would only be fulfilled if you couldn’t reasonably find a Catholic Rite Mass (you say that there are Catholic parishes around you, so you don’t meet this condition).



No problem attending their liturgy. Keep in mind, receiving their Eucharist is saying you say AMEN ( I agree) to all that they believe. We can’t really do that as Catholics. There are issues to consider. AND it (attendance at their liturgy) doesn’t count for our obligation to attend mass on Sunday. (source)



This sounds kinda goofy but I had no clue that Eastern Catholicism was a thing. I just thought that all Eastern Catholics were Orthodox.



It is called the Divine Liturgy and yes, you may visit, just don’t go up to receive the Chalice.

We, well myself and many others, consider ourselves to be Orthodox in Communion with Rome. We are called by Rome to reclaim our ancient ecclesiastical heritage. Read the Second Vatican Councils Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite, Orientalium Ecclesiarium and Pope Saint John Paul II Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen.




You can’t fulfill your Sunday obligation at a schismatic Church. You must attend a catholic liturgy. Moreover, we cannot actively participate in non-catholic services, as that is forbidden by Divine positive Law. You cannot passively attend such services if there is danger of losing your own faith or causing scandal to others.



That’s not Church teaching, that’s your private opinion.

And don’t bother trying to do some SSPX style gymnastics and start quoting from 15th century canons and random documents saying “see the Church DOES teach this.”

We are bound by CURRENT Canon Law and discipline. The Church is the authentic living Magisterium, not internet traditionalists.



I’m not sure that the Church even teaches that we are in formal schism with the Orthodox Church.

So when Pope Francis was on his Apostolic Journey to Turkey in November of 2014 and he attended the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Church of Saint George in Istanbul he was in danger of losing his faith and creating scandal within the Church? He not only attending the Divine Liturgy but he addressed His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew. You can read it here.




This is incorrect.

If you are Catholic and in unqualified submission to the Successor of Peter, you are obliged by the Holy See’s Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism. It states:

  1. By liturgical worship is meant worship carried out according to books, prescriptions and customs of a Church or ecclesial Community, presided over by a minister or delegate of that Church or Community. This liturgical worship may be of a non-sacramental kind, or may be the celebration of one or more of the Christian sacraments. The concern here [in this section] is non-sacramental worship.

  2. In some situations, the official prayer of a Church may be preferred to ecumenical services specially prepared for the occasion. Participation in such celebrations as Morning or Evening Prayer, special vigils, etc., will enable people of different liturgical traditions—Catholic, Eastern, Anglican and Protestant—to understand each other’s community prayer better and to share more deeply in traditions which often have developed from common roots.

  3. In liturgical celebrations taking place in other Churches and ecclesial Communities, Catholics are encouraged to take part in the psalms, responses, hymns and common actions of the Church in which they are guests. If invited by their hosts, they may read a lesson or preach.


a) Sharing in Sacramental Life with members of the various Eastern Churches

  1. Between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Churches not in full communion with it, there is still a very close communion in matters of faith. Moreover, “through the celebration of the Eucharist of the Lord in each of these Churches, the Church of God is built up and grows in stature” and “although separated from us, these Churches still possess true sacraments, above all—by apostolic succession—the priesthood and the Eucharist…”. This offers ecclesiological and sacramental grounds, according to the understanding of the Catholic Church, for allowing and even encouraging some sharing in liturgical worship, even of the Eucharist, with these Churches, “given suitable circumstances and the approval of church authorities”. It is recognized, however, that Eastern Churches, on the basis of their own ecclesiological understanding, may have more restrictive disciplines in this matter, which others should respect…


Are you telling me that Church teaching becomes irrelevant as time passes? Funny how you have no problem saying the Nicene Creed on Sundays, despite it being formulated centuries ago…

Irrelevant, because @semper_catholicus is speaking of doctrine, not discipline. (Funny how they all say that “traditionalists”, a name you ascribe to semper, are the ones conflating dogma and discipline…)

And since the magisterium is “living” and constantly changing, as you opine, will Pope Francis’s teachings become irrelevant in 500 years?

Speaking of the “living magisterium” does not equate to saying that doctrine can change, or a reason to completely throw out the hermeneutic of continuity.



Hold up…

Since when do ecclesiastical disciplines require our obsequium religiosum? I thought we’re allowed to have our own “liturgical preferences”, supposedly?



The formal/material distinction refers to subjective culpability, not the objective state of schism; as such, the distinction can only be applied to individuals, not entire groups, especially a group whose adherents hold a wide range to different views. The Catholic Church teaches that the Orthodox Churches are in an objective state of schism, as well as the members of these Churches, but due to the principle Ecclesia de occultis non iudicat, not every member, as an individual, may necessarily be a formal schismatic.



You’re still obligated to go to a Catholic Mass, UNLESS, there is no way you can get to a Catholic church. I’m actually quite fond of the Byzantine liturgy, if there’s a Byzantine rite Catholic church near you, Ruthenian, Melkite, etc, do go to the Divine Liturgy there. THAT said, if have time to go to a Catholic Mass, and want to be a regular attendee at the Divine Liturgy at a Russian Orthodox church, do that, just make sure you don’t receive communion (their bishops probably wouldn’t let you anyway). Going to an ROC liturgy doesn’t mean not going to a Catholic one. When I went to a Sunday liturgy for a Syriac Orthodox church, I just made sure I went to a Catholic Mass, first.



Canon law must be in accord with Divine Law. If Canon Law is not in accord with Divine law, we must observe Divine law.



Are you questioning the correctness of the Supreme Legislator of the Church? The Saint of God’s revision of Canon Law, promulgated in 1983 after the much needed revision of the Pio-Benedictine code, most assuredly and most absolutely accords with Divine Law.



The norms do not compel obsequium religiosum. Norms of the Holy See regulate and mandate behaviour and external comportment which are to be adhered to…such as the many ways laid out in the Directory in which Catholics may actively participate in liturgies and initiatives of the Churches and ecclesial communities not in communion with the Church of Rome.

  1. The Directory is addressed to the Pastors of the Catholic Church, but it also concerns all the faithful, who are called to pray and work for the unity of Christians, under the direction of their Bishops. The Bishops, individually for their own dioceses, and collegially for the whole Church, are, under the authority of the Holy See, responsible for ecumenical policy and practice.
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