Attending Orthodox Services


My extended family isn’t that religious.

Only one of my brothers is Catholic and my eldest brother and my sister are lapsed Protestants.

My parents are both Catholic but they don’t practice.

My in-laws and their families are all lapsed or practicing Protestants.

Mostly it’s just a way to avoid conflict about me being a Catholic and people trying to steer me to their Church.

It’s also a way for me to avoid disappointment.

I have a wife and four going on five children so I don’t have a lot of friends because I don’t need unstable people in my life that are in a give me problems.

That means I can be a bit cold-hearted at times with people but I do it to protect myself and my family I have to.

I have two really good friends that I hardly ever see one that’s an Evangelical that I haven’t seen probably in two years and the other that I see every Sunday who is more of a traditionalist than I am.

Both my friends are married and have children although my Catholic friend is old enough to be my father and his children are around my age.

Basically the people that are the most stable are the most unavailable and with my work schedule being a night shift worker I don’t have time to socialize and that’s also kind of hard with as many children as I have.

In my own life I gave protestantism a chance it didn’t make sense to me still doesn’t and I don’t want anything to do with it more than I have to.

I have had some bad experiences with Protestants to people out and about with my in-laws so I am a bit prejudiced.

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Thank you for this reply. It will definitely make me understand some of your posts better that I have seen.

My famlily probably (actually most definitely) do not give Catholicism much thought. It is a mixture of Catholcism not being relevant at all in my country and that they are not that religious.

My Polish Catholic family in law on the other hand is very religious. And how they accepted me with open arms would say a lot about them. My “possible” prejudice would be mainly because of what I see on this very forum. Luckaly I have them to compare and always prefer to see the good. (Alrhough sometimes very difficult).

What your initial post I replied to made me think of (everyone may have their reasons as you explained and maybe not you in the perticular case) is the closed mindedness that is so many times evident on here. For instance, I could have refused to take my family in law to the Catholic Church. I could have refused to enter and sit in my car for more than an hour. Or even worse I could have been angry that they cannot join us at my Church. But all these scenarios would have made me the bad guy on CAF.


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What is attendance at false worship - Fr. Michael Muller

To worship God according to a rite contrary to all precepts of the Gospel is a false and unlawful worship of God. Hence it would be a grievous sin for a Catholic to worship God according tot he ceremonial laws of the Jews, for though they were prescribed by God for the Jews before the coming of Christ, yet they were abolished by Christ in the new law.

It is also a false and unlawful worship of God to adopt a new religion in opposition to the doctrine of the true Church of Jesus Christ, the Roman Catholic Church, and assist at the religious worship of such a false religion. Hence, even if a Catholic despises in his heart such a false religion and worship, it is unlawful for him to play the organ, or to sing, or to discharge the office of sacristan, in Jewish or Protestant temples during their false worship, or to compose hymns or music for the same, or to ring the bell for calling the people together, or to contribute money towards the erection of temples for false worship, or to call a Protestant minister for the performance of some religious rites, as, for instance, the rites of marriage or baptism, or funeral, etc.; or to take Protestant Children, or accompany grown persons, to Protestant Sunday-schools or church and stay with them during their religious worship. Any such act is strictly forbidden by the law of God and of the Church, because it is a real communication and formal co-operation in a false worship, and a real approval of it.

Pope Paul IV, wrote to the Catholics in England: “We are forced to admonish and to conjure you, that on no account are you to go to churches of heretics, or hear their sermons or join in their rites, lest you incur the wrath of God; for it is not lawful for you to do such things without dishonoring God and hurting your own souls.”

Here one may say: The reason why I play the organ, or sing, etc., in a Protestant church, is because I get a pay which enables me to support my family. I answer: What you do is a grievous violation of the first commandment. It is never allowed to commit a mortal sin in order to acquire the means of support. Alas! that there are so many people who make a living by unlawful means ! "But the bishop, or parish priest has given me permission to play the organ, to sing, etc., in the Protestant church,’ says another one. I answer: Neither any priest nor bishop, nay, not even the Pope, can give you permission to violate any of the commandments.

"But I am well instructed in my religion,’ says another. I answer: I doubt what you say. If you were well instructed, you would know that attendance at false worship is a mortal sin, and that this sin is still greater for him who plays, or sings, at it, or renders any other kind of service for it. And do you see no harm in committing a mortal sin? Do you see no harm in the great scandal you give to those Catholics who know of it, and to the Protestants, whom by your playing and singing, etc., you confirm in the belief that their religion is as good as the Catholic religion?

Taken From - Teacher of Mankind, Pg. 331 -332.



Canon law identifies them as in schism.



Family is one thing you can’t divorce from family.

That’s a little bit different then say having a stranger or acquaintance invite you to Church.

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Canon law identifies them as in schism.


First, I think it is fair to say the the “schism” between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is ecclesiological in nature. From Pope Saint JPII encyclical Ut Unum Sint, “The resulting change found its historical expression in the ecclesial act whereby ‘there was removed from memory and from the midst of the Church’ the remembrance of the excommunications which nine hundred years before, in 1054, had become the symbol of the schism between Rome and Constantinople.” So the excommunications of 1054 where the symbol of the schism and they had been removed by Pope Saint Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I on the last day of the Council. What is going on now is a disagreement with upper management if you will.

. . .

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Second, the Church recognizes that Orthodox doctrine, in general, are accurate. From the same encyclical, “In accordance with the hope expressed by Pope Paul VI, our declared purpose is to re-establish together full unity in legitimate diversity: 'God has granted us to receive in faith what the Apostles saw, understood, and proclaimed to us. By Baptism ‘we are one in Christ Jesus ’ ( Gal 3:28). In virtue of the apostolic succession, we are united more closely by the priesthood and the Eucharist. By participating in the gifts of God to his Church we are brought into communion with the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit … In each local Church this mystery of divine love is enacted, and surely this is the ground of the traditional and very beautiful expression ‘Sister Churches’, which local Churches were fond of applying to one another (cf. Decree, Unitatis Redintegratio , 14). For centuries we lived this life of ‘Sister Churches’, and together held Ecumenical Councils which guarded the deposit of faith against all corruption. And now, after a long period of division and mutual misunderstanding, the Lord is enabling us to discover ourselves as ‘Sister Churches’ once more, in spite of the obstacles which were once raised between us’. If today, on the threshold of the third millennium, we are seeking the re-establishment of full communion, it is for the accomplishment of this reality that we must work and it is to this reality that we must refer.”

I think that what I highlighted shows that the Church of the first millennium, although diverse in it’s theology and liturgical practices, both East and West are apostolic and shared the same faith. Now, I highlighted full communion because, in my opinion anyway, it shows that the Church recognizes that we have in imperfect communion with the Orthodox because we share apostolic succession and the Eucharist.

Now, before you repost the Note on the Expression Sister Churches the encyclical states, “Following the Second Vatican Council, and in the light of earlier tradition, it has again become usual to refer to the particular or local Churches gathered around their Bishop as ‘Sister Churches’.” So we can refer to each other as Sister Churches when referring to “local Churches,” and not, as the Note expresses, the Catholic Church as a whole and the Orthodox Church as a whole.



I know that we do not see eye-to-eye on these things and I want you to know that I am not trying to "pick a fight" and although I may not always agree I do appreciate your insight.



They left the Church, and do not share apostolic succession, and are now outside the Church. Hence they are Schismatic. They do not accept the Catholic Church and reject a number of her dogmatic teachings. Hence they are Schismatic in the true sense of the word.

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The do share Apostolic succession.

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No, they no longer do, from the time they depart from the True Church, that being the Catholic Church. The Church is not two headed. She has one head alone. Heretics do not share with the Catholic Church Apostolic Succession.

“Apostolic succession is the transmission by means of the sacrament of Holy Orders of the mission and power of the Apostles to their successors, the bishops. Thanks to this transmission the Church remains in communion of faith and life with her origin, while through the centuries she carries on her apostolate for the spread of the Kingdom of Christ on earth.” ~ CCC #861 – 865



The Orthodox most certainly do have Apostolic succession. Without Apostolic succession, they could not have valid sacraments and the Catholic Church unambiguously teaches that the Orthodox have valid sacraments. I’m on my phone now and can’t paste appropriate references for you, but I am sure that somebody else will have gotten to it before I am able to. Otherwise, I’ll try to post some later on this evening.



Validity of the sacraments is not the same as Apostolic succession. You seem to be mistaking the two issues.

You will find the following article that explains this point at length:

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And here’s an article that says the Orthodox do have Apostolic succession.




No. If one cannot attend Mass because it is not available, then the obligation ceases. It is not fulfilled by attending an Orthodox Mass; there is no obligation to fulfill.

Example: you find yourself in the Ukraine on a Sunday and there is no Eastern or Western Catholic church within your ability to attend. No obligation.

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You really should not take sides on matters of which you do not have a solid foundation. The article you cite dose not discuss the Orthodox; it only discusses the Anglicans. Don’t presume that which is not addressed.

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In spite of a difference in their appreciation of the office of Peter, the Catholic Church, the Orthodox church, and the other churches that have retained the reality of apostolic succession are at one in sharing a basic understanding of the sacramentality of the Church, which developed from the New Testament and through the Fathers, notably through Irenaeus. These churches hold that the sacramental entry into the ministry comes about through the imposition of hands with the invocation of the Holy Spirit, and that this is the indispensable form for the transmission of the apostolic succession, which alone enables the Church to remain constant in its doctrine and communion. It is this unanimity concerning the unbroken coherence of Scripture, Tradition, and sacrament that explains why communion between these churches and the Catholic Church has never completely ceased and could today be revived.



As I said, the Church is not two headed. She is of one head and one alone. Those not united with that head have never been regarded as part of the tree let alone having apostolic succession. That claim would be a mere pretense to say the least.



None of this statement is untrue of the Orthodox. And they are in no wise heretics.



Sources for this, please? Magisterial documents will say that the Orthodox have Apostolic succession. The old Catholic Encyclopedia isn’t a magisterial source.



I guess you’ve never read any of the documents from the Second Vatican Council.



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