Can a Roman Catholic become Ukrainian Catholic?

Is there any way for a Roman Catholic to become a Greek or Ukrainian Catholic?

I mean, does he just start calling himself Eastern one day? Or what?

I ask in this thread because I am a Roman Catholic. And I’ve been attending the Novus Ordo Mass for all my life. Last Sunday, however, I had the life changing experience of attending the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom at the only Ukrainian Catholic Church in the city.

I’ve been reading up on the Divine Liturgy, Eastern Christianity, and even watching videos. But it’s nothing like actually being there. Since there are no serious theological repercussions in switching from Roman to Eastern, I want to become an Eastern Catholic.

At very least I am strongly considering it. Fasting… is kinda scary to me. But the piety and holiness of Eastern Catholicism interests and excites me and enkindles my Spirit.

You can change rites, but only after you’ve attended your UGCC for a year or two. Note that you can only change rites once in your lifetime. Keep attending Divine Liturgy, praying and fasting, and be patient. :byzsoc:

I hadn’t known about the rule about changing rites only once in a lifetime, and it find it a bit suprising. Is it a really firm rule or just a general recommendation to discourage people from casually “Church shopping” within the Catholic Church? I understand wanting to discourage the frequent changing of rites, but I’d think if someone changed rites, say from Latin to Ukrainian and then realized that in their heart they were still Latin, that they would be allowed to return to their native Church. Or if someone changed rites and then moved to a region in which that Church didn’t have a presence, would they be forced to attend a parish under a different bishop than their own indefinitely?

It should be noted that “changing rites” is actually a formal canonical transfer between two sui juris churches. Theoretically, a Ruthenian Catholic could transfer to the Ukranian Catholic Church and remain in the Byzantine rite.

As I understand it, you can only change rites once. If this needs correction or clarification, I hope someone will do so.

A Catholic, Western or Eastern, can attend a Catholic Church that is Roman Rite or Byzantine Rite or XYZ Rite in Communion with Rome – no change of rite is necessary. Many Eastern Catholics find it difficult, for example, to attend an ECC (due to location) so they end up attending an RCC. You don’t need permission (or a change in rite) to do so.

This week I’ll attend a Roman Catholic Church for Daily Mass and an Eastern Catholic Church for Divine Liturgy on Sunday. I’m blessed to live in an area with both Eastern and Western Catholicism.

Start attending, there is nothing preventing you from attending regardless where you belong canonically. I’ve known people who have attended the Ukrainian Church for years and remained canonical Roman Catholics. You can indeed practice the praxis of the Ukrainian Church and follow all traditions if that is the spirituality you will earnestly follow. Why not try it out for a time and see if it indeed fits you. I know how you feel, I felt the same way one year ago. I haven’t looked back. I wanted to do a canonical transfer but the process has been slowed down on my end. My bishop is more than willing to take me in. But I will continue to follow the Eastern praxis as it is where my spirituality now lives.

Thanks, all of you. I did not know that you need to wait to change rites, or that it might be a one-time only decision. It’s almost like a marriage, in a way. Maybe I ought to give it some time and thought.

After all, the Roman Missal is being updated soon. Maybe the Liturgy will improve. (I recently heard some of the music my Diocese is using for the new Mass, and I don’t like it much. But maybe if enough souls sing it together it will sound better.)

And like I say, I am kinda wary of the whole… fasting thing. I am under the understanding that there are at least two fasts: the Great Fast of Lent and the Fast of St. Phillip during Advent. I’ve never actually made much of an effort to fast in my practice. And I’m just a little… tense over the idea. I’m sure I’d come to appreciate the idea after a while, but right now I’m kinda like the kid who’s never jumped off of a diving board before. As a man who loves his food, I’m more than a little uneasy about that.

But I do love the Liturgy. And there is great appeal in saying I am a “Catholic” that is anything but Roman. Protestants and the secular world seem to be under this impression that Roman Catholicism is the only Catholicism. I wonder what they would think of Eastern Catholics, if they got a little publicity…

So many things to think about.

Oh, is there anything theologically significant about the UGCC that differs from the RCC? I understand we both seem to imply that Mary had died before she was assumed into Heaven, for example. And that “original sin” is, for Easterners, more like a “lack of grace” - an emptiness in each of us that is filled by the waters of baptism - than an actual “sin” that we all carry that must be washed away in baptism.

I think the amount of wait time is dependent on the diocese, unless you marry into the Eastern Rite. I know in our diocese it was 5 years of consistent attendance. Luckily for my husband and me, he was able to enter into the Eastern rite when we married.

You know, our priest told us that most of the parishioners were not Eastern Catholics. Everyone treated each other like family… not sure if this is the same as in all Eastern Churches, but the ones we’ve been to, it’s REALLY hard to be a wallflower in Church. haha.

For anyone considering it, it would be good to discern with eyes wide open. The sacraments are done differently than in the Roman rite: priests can be married (I think one has to happen before the other, but I am not sure which way!), babies receive all three sacraments of initiation at once and receive communion their whole lives, parishioners can go up to the priest during communion to receive blessings even if they are not able to receive the Eucharist… It’s really cool. :smiley:

Time is immaterial. When I first told my bishop that I want to switch, I was only in my 10th month attending the parish. He was happy that I want to. But other circumstances have made me postpone my application. It will happen in God’s time. The important thing is that you can show that you have found a true spiritual home in the new Church you go to. The reason most bishops would wait is they do not want you to eventually regret your decision. Theoretically you can change more than once, but its a red flag already if you do.

Remember when Jesus asked the Apostles to travel and asked them to take nothing but a few bare necessities? If you do decide to leave the Roman Church for an Eastern one, do not take any sort of baggage. Just bring your faith and humility and obedience with you. Don’t move because you hate something from the Church you came from. Move because you found something you love more in the Church you are moving to.

Fasting is not as strict in the East as it is in the West. By “strict” I mean its not a “do it or else” kind of attitude. In the West there are a few fasting days, but its more or less “do it or else” in most cases, with a few outlined exceptions. Find a spiritual father or mother who will guide you into achieving the spiritual goals of fasting. People are not blindly thrown into fasting regimens without proper spiritual preparation and guidance.

Well, many Roman Catholics themselves think that Roman Catholicism is the only Catholicism. I guess this will be your true test, when you are persecuted by the ignorance of those whom you are in communion with.

There is no implication of Mary’s death in the Byzantine Rite. We believe it happened, no questions asked. Otherwise, what does the word “Dormition” in the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos stand for?

This chart helped me out a bit …
stjohnchrysostom.org/OurTraditions/Fasting.aspx

I’m still over on the left hand side. :slight_smile:

Note that they are guidelines, not rules.

Dissatisfaction with the current state of the Roman Liturgy at least as it’s often put into practice, belief in the Dormition and that it was a kind of death, thinking of Original Sin more as an absence than something present in the soul, and finding the Byzantine Liturgy beautiful are all common things for Latin Catholics. A distaste for the name of Rome is, in my opinion, probably not healthy for any Catholic, West or East.

I’m not saying you aren’t being called to become an Eastern Catholic, but I would definitely go about the whole thing slowly and carefully and if in the end you are unsure err on the side of staying in your native tradition.

Dissatisfaction with the current state of the Roman Liturgy at least as it’s often put into practice, belief in the Dormition and that it was a kind of death, thinking of Original Sin more as an absence than something present in the soul, and finding the Byzantine Liturgy beautiful are all common things for Latin Catholics. A distaste for the name of Rome is, in my opinion, probably not healthy for any Catholic, West or East.

I’m not saying you aren’t being called to become an Eastern Catholic, but I would definitely go about the whole thing slowly and carefully and if in the end you are unsure err on the side of staying in your native tradition.

The basis is twofold, one, the Church of your baptism (for infants of the Father, Mother, or guardian as the case may be) is a constituent of your person. The Church cannot induce you to change ritual Church. And two, to preserve the various eastern ritual Church sui iuris, the faithful should stay put, and so being a member of the community has an effect on the community (we do not live for ourself alone). The exceptions are when it is for spiritual good particularly for the good of the family. There are a number of Church documents that address this.

Both very good principles, but I don’t see how they apply to the situations I mentioned which would seem to justify changing rites twice, either to reenter the Church of your baptism because you wrongly left it or when you live far from any parish of your sui iuris Church and wish to be fully a part of the Christian community with which you are in fact living.

For marriage, if the women changed ritual Church during marriage, she can return at the death of the spouse. (This should not be a cause for homicide.) Children under 14 that had a ritual Church change, can elect at age 14 to return. There is assymetry between the sexes, and the easten Catholic churches are more restrictive maintaining the ritual Church of the father. It is part of some eastern Catholic agreements on reunion from Orthodox.

You wrote: “Or if someone changed rites and then moved to a region in which that Church didn’t have a presence, would they be forced to attend a parish under a different bishop than their own indefinitely?”

They decided to move into an area without? Yes, they must endure, until a parish is created for them. They (those canonically enrolled) have the right, however, to ask their eastern bishop for help and also the Latin Church is obligated to provide for them in certain ways when they are in their care. They have the right to the liturgy and sacramental discipline of their ritual Church.

Admittedly the scenario about moving out of the pastoral range of your Church is more dubious. It still seems to me that it would be wrong to trap someone in a sui iuris Church they joined if they subsequently felt they should return to the tradition they were raised in. I’m glad that at least there is an exception for widows.

Generally the movement is from Latin Church to an eastern Church. In the mid-east there is more strictness for staying in the original ritual Church, and it is almost never allowed to become Latin. (The Congregation for Oriental Churches has a great role there.)

At my Byzantine eparchy in the USA, the Church, requires two years of regular participation before entertaining a plea to change ritual Church. That is due dilligence.

As far as I am aware, this is an old rule that predates the Eastern Code of Canon Law and is no longer the case. Transfers are no long once a life, BUT it is still highly frowned upon to do so more then once. Perhaps someone can pull up the relevant canon :shrug: .

As far as transferring, it is a serious thing and should be undertaken with great discernment and discussions with the parish priest of the church you are transferring to. Some churches have requirements (years attending and living out the spirituality/life) so discussing that with the local UGCC pastor would be necessary.

It should be said, that a transfer shouldn’t be a running away from your old spirituality and theology, but an embracing of the new one.

It is a possibility to change more than once. CCEO and CIC below:

CCEO Canon 33
A wife is at liberty to transfer to the Church of the husband at the celebration of or during the marriage; when the marriage has ended, she can freely return to the original Church sui iuris.

Can. 112 §1 After the reception of baptism, the following become members of another autonomous ritual Church:
1° those who have obtained permission from the Apostolic See;
2° a spouse who, on entering marriage or during its course, has declared that he or she is transferring to the autonomous ritual
Church of the other spouse; on the dissolution of the marriage, however, that person may freely return to the latin Church;
3° the children of those mentioned in nn. 1 and 2 who have not completed their fourteenth year, and likewise in a mixed marriage the children of a catholic party who has lawfully transferred to another ritual Church; on completion of their fourteenth year, however, they may return to the latin Church.
§2 The practice, however long standing, of receiving the sacraments according to the rite of an autonomous ritual Church, does not bring with it membership of that Church.

Canon 112 (NCCCL, Beal, Coriden, Green)
“… because ascription to a ritual church is definitive, it belongs to the status of persons.”
“In effect, the canon distinguishes membership from liturgical practice. This means that change of ritual church membership occurs in one of the three ways provided for in paragraph one.”

Thanks for the correction and clarification!

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