Becoming Eastern Orthodox, catholics just approve?

I have a friend who has told me he is becoming Eastern Orthodox. He is a Catholic. I try to talk to him about it and tell him it is wrong and a sin and I pray for him. But he says, Catholics, even Popes would not condemn him for converting so it is ok.

I talked to another friend on Facebook and he said his catholic friend converted to Eastern Orthodox and acted like it was fine. I asked him if he prayed for him to come back to the Church and he said no.

There is a blogger who writes a spirituality blog that I have read for a long time. He is Catholic. He just told his readers he is going to become Eastern Orthodox. They are not trying to talk him out of it, or telling him it is a sin to leave the Catholic Church, they are only giving him encouragement! I don’t understand why? Eastern Orthodox are schismatic and it is a grave sin to leave the Catholic Church. I am the only one who is commenting that he should not leave the Church. Some people are saying Eastern Orthodox are not really schismatic so it’s ok. Is there any help you can give me on this?

Why do Catholics applaud other Catholics who leave the Church to become Eastern Orthodox?? Won’t they go to hell because they deliberately leave the Catholic Church? If they won’t, then why shouldn’t I convert like I thought of doing years ago? If it is ok, and Eastern Orthodox can go to heaven just like a Catholic (even if the person used to be a Catholic and converted), then why shouldn’t I convert too if I like their divine liturgy etc?

I cannot account for the attitudes of individual Catholics but the Orthodox Church is in Schism. The Catholic Church does not " approve " of Catholics who become Orthodox. Objectively, they commit a grave sin against faith by becoming Orthodox. That is all one can say about those who leave the Catholic Faith.

As an alternative they could become members of an Eastern Catholic Rite Church. That would be O.K.

You should never rely on Face Book or the comments of bloggers to make decisions about faith and morals. You have the Catechism of the Catholic Church as your guide and other valid sources of truth withing the structrures of the Church - the local Bishop, etc.


The Orthodox are schismatic. To convert from Catholicism to Orthodoxy is a grave sin. We cannot judge exactly whether Orthodox or converts from Catholicism are in Hell, because that’s God’s job, but we can know that being outside the Church makes it much more likely.

However, there is an Eastern Catholic Rite for every Orthodox Church. If you or your friend feel very attracted to Eastern Christianity, I heavily suggest investigating Eastern Catholicism.

The church is in a war against evil. It doesn’t have time for this juvenile garbage; if he joins the orthodox because of taste, then God help him because his blood is on his own head. This is pettiness and objective idiocy. Principled atheism is closer to godliness than this kind of behavior. How will you escape Hell treating your denomination as though it were a wardrobe to be selected?

Pray for him to gain understanding, he obviously doesn’t have it.

It was my understanding that the Catholic Church teaches that the Orthodox Church has valid sacraments and a valid priesthood, and even venerates some Orthodox saints. Didn’t JPII call the Orthodox Church “the other lung” of the church? If so, then Catholics should be able to convert to Orthodoxy without condemnation since they are just moving to another “lung”.

Do I have that wrong?

Bl Pope John Paul II soon to be Saint and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople concelebrated the Eucharist together.

But the church’s are not in communion “yet”. :nope:

From the Catechism:

838 “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.” Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.” With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.”

They’re much closer to us than, say, Pentecostals, but they’re still slightly schismatic. They do have valid Sacraments, apostolic succession, and many of their saints are full of virtue.

Schism is a grave matter. If a person schisms, receives their sacraments, and does not repent of their schism, they may go before God in mortal sin and be consigned to Hell.

There are billions of people in the world suffering and so badly estranged from Truth. This vile, spoiled, superficial behavior merits great fear on his behalf; he has been given so much.

As others have said, the EOs are in schism with us. Why doesn’t he become an Eastern Catholic? They are in communion with Rome.

God would consign a person to hell for simply going to “the other lung” of the church?

Pray for your friend. And no, I am not saying the Orthodox Church is bad or evil. None of us have the power to judge anyone for choosing to convert to another faith. God gave us free-will.

No they did not, this has been mentioned and refuted many times on the forum.

They didn’t concelebrate, but they had many friendly ceremonies together:

Absolutely; this is very much possible. Schism is considered a grave matter, and rightfully so.

The Church doesn’t come up with this stuff on the fly because it has an unhealthy fixation with power. Unity is something that is of tremendous import, both for the sake of internal charity among Christians, and for the sake of external evangelization. The reason this isn’t always perfectly obvious to people is because they may become too consumed with their own petty affairs to care about the bigger picture. A person may falsely reason to themselves “What’s the big deal if I attend the local orthodox church instead of the Catholic parish? They have the sacraments don’t they? I’ll still be a ‘good person’ and live a peaceful life. I’m not doing anything wrong”. Incorrect; they are doing something extremely wrong and extremely vain.

Imagine for a moment if all the orthodox churches, across Eastern Europe, Greece, Egypt, Russia, Ethiopia, and everywhere else in the world, were in communion with Rome and in recognition of its active Magisterium. Think of the spirit of power and grace it could offer. Imagine how much stronger it could be in reaching out to the faithless, the complacent, the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, and all peoples. I don’t see how you could ever deny that this would be a huge deal. Ditto with the reformist churches. But what does the world see instead? A divided East and West, and a smattering of reformist churches with more denominations than there are flavors of ice cream. Jesus weeps; Satan laughs. How can a person look at such a state and believe that it is in accordance with God’s will? It is the work of God to separate the sheep from the goats. It is the work of Satan to separate sheep from sheep. A person that schisms or reforms from the Seat of Peter is going to have to go before God with the terrible knowledge that they were part of the problem, not part of the solution. And how can this problem be solved? Well, it happens one individual at a time. Eventually it adds up into something huge. So why isn’t this person playing their part and remaining faithful? Well, apparently their defense is that they have an aesthetic infatuation with orthodox liturgy. Wow. The stupidity of it is breathtaking. This guy really, really doesn’t get it.

I didn’t read in the Op that the person is only converting for aesthetic reasons.

I am guessing that they have legitimate doctrinal disagreement with the Catholic Church. Presumably that is the reason they are converting to Orthodoxy.

For me as an ex catholic, now Protestant, looking in. Its a better witness to me for the person to respect the Catholic Church enough to leave it and join one they agree with than to stay and simply pay lip service to a community they disagree with. Thoughts?

I am inclined to agree. Although it is a grave issue either way, a Catholic that doesn’t actually submit to the Church would just be committing sacrilege on a fairly frequent basis. If a person abandons the Church for reasons of conviction, then if not anything else, it shows that they are not complacent but are being pro-active about their relationship with God. In time, they might return home.

There are many saints that felt the most desperate praying for those who are apathetic or treat their faith as though it were an accessory.

I would suggest that the OP try to submit to the Church as hard as possible, and pray for guidance. If he/she truly tries his/her hardest, God will understand.

I am, by the way, just speaking in academic absolutes. In the reality of this wild, disharmonious, complex world, a lot of Catholics grow up in quasi-religious homes and are poorly catechized to begin with, both with former instruction and with example. If God condemned people to Hell for falling short of perfection, we’d all be going to Hell. Just the same, we can’t abuse the grace of God and pretend that it’s no big deal whether a person belong to X or Y denomination. These divisions are extremely serious, and it is the kind of thing that can merit Hell.

Yes, extra ecclesiam nulla salus (outside of the Church there is no salvation). However, as the Catechism of St Pius X teaches, a Catholic who does not believe in all the doctrines of the Church is not a Catholic.

I would HIGHLY suggest people post with charity and respect.

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