Catholic vs Orthodox?


#1

I am trying out different churches. I have tried Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, and Non Denominational. There’s just one more that I want to try, the Orthodox Church. As of now, I am leaning heavily on Catholicism, but I still want to try the Orthodox Church. I am quite familiar with how Catholic Mass works, so here are my questions.

1: How are the teachings different between the two?

2: How is the Mass at the Orthodox? What do you have to do?

All answers are greatly appreciated!


#2

No difference. The catholic doctrins are in orthodox traditions and practices.
It is old rite, mass is 2.5 hours.
The catholic has the teaching better organized. In orthodox, if you didn’t get it from your family it is harder.
Somehow their initial name holds true ; catholic spreaded all the world and orthodox kept the traditions…


#3

Well to answer your first question :

  • The Orthodox reject the Supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. Some go as far as to deny the Pope’s primacy but this is rare in my experience. They see the Pope only as the Patriarch of the West and first among the equals but nothing more. Catholics on the other hand acknowledge the Pope as the Vicar of Christ, the Head of the Church on earth, the Primacy of the Pope and Supremacy of the Pope as well as Papal infallibility when it comes to matters on faith and moral pronounced Ex Cathedra.

  • The Orthodox believe the Church of Rome to be in heresy where as Catholics believe the Orthodox to be schismatics but not heretics.

  • The Orthodox believe in the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father where as Catholics believe in the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father AND the Son (Filioque)

  • Catholics believe in Purgatory while the Orthodox do not.

  • Both Catholics and Orthodox believe themselves to be the True Church – the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church that contains the fulness of truth.
    Personally I’m with the Catholic Church on this issue :smiley:

These are just some of the teachings that Catholics and Orthodox disagree on.


#4

They don’t have an ‘initial’ name, both call themselves Catholic and I find the pretense of trying to be Orthodox Catholic and Catholic in communion with Rome at the same time to be intellectually dishonest in the extreme.


#5

Great question! Difference in teaching stem from Original sin Vs Ancestral sin.
There is a differences in definitions beween nature, being, essence, and energies!

Eastern Orthodox believe in the real presence, but do not ascribe terms to what that means like transubstantiation.

The EO Churches and the Eastern Catholic Churches have the divine liturgy of St. John Chrysosotom or St.Basil the Great.

Since it says you live in L.A there are a few Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox parishes that you can visit.

I would recommend the Russian Orthodox Church in Hollywood. The priest is a convert to the Orthodox Church and a brilliant guy. He went from fudamentalist, to a universalist diest, to Eastern Orthodox priest :thumbsup:

There area few Eastern Catholic parishes that would be edifying like the Coptic Catholic in Elysian Valley (Frog Town) the guy who does bible study for the youth will invite you to sit in, he is very " on fire" so to speak.

To be honest, if you want to learn the Catholic or Orthodox faith and be around very knowledgeable laity Go East my friend. The Eastern Catholics know why they are Catholic, and the Orthodox know why they are Orthodox. The usuall guy in the pew in the Latin rite is often times oblivious to the why, other than, because my parents were Catholic.

You can gain a lot from an Eastern Orthodox perspective by listening to Ancient Faith radio, also they had an evangelical convert that is on general hospitol give a testamony on to why he became EO that is pretty good on the Ancient Faith Radio archive. ancientfaith.com/

From a Catholic perspective you can listen to Arch-bishop Fulton Sheen on the late great bishops site americancatholictruthsociety.com/articles/sheen.htm

Keep seeking truth :slight_smile: God bless


#6

My point of view is from somebody with a basic knowledge and understanding.
From a more literate person you can find out different points of view, in different matters.


#7

There are Eastern Rites Catholics in union with the Pope.

You want to try to attend one of them…to get a flavor of the Eastern rites…la-archdiocese.org/Pages/Parishes/EasternCatholicParishes.aspx


#8

There are genuine theological differences, but (besides the papacy) they tend to be at an intellectual level where the sorts of people who get mad at each other and start fights are precisely the ones who LEAST understand those differences (me included, I’ve learned!)

Mostly the schism is about pride, vanity, nationalisms, bitterness and resentments covered over with a thin veneer of theological excuses to justify them - on both sides, historically.

But I’m not opinionated and I don’t over simplify things! :wink:


#9

For nearly 1000 years these two were ONE church.

For all the differences they have today, they are still much closer in many respects (and in my opinion, which is of no consequence) than either is to any protestant churches, with the possibility of the High Anglicans.

I do invite criticism, for my own benefit and knowledge.


#10

Read the Catechism. The true Church ‘subsists in’ the Catholic Church (n. 870). This is not the same as being the Catholic Church.

Implicit in your suggestion is that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church - this is a recent heresy known as Feeneyism. Look up Fr. Feeney and see what happened.


#11

Although the faiths of the two Church’s are similar, they are not the same.

They have completely different ecclesiologies. Whereas the Catholic Church defines its unity in the person of the Pope, the Orthodox Church defines its unity by the faith itself, which means to people who are Orthodox keeping the faith that is handed down is of utmost importance and anyone, even bishops, can and will be challenged if they stray.

The Orthodox Church tends to be less stringent on specifics, the example already given is the real presence, where the Catholic Church has dogmatized how it happens, the Orthodox Church doesn’t particularly care and simply holds that the Eucharist IS Christ.

Another way this shows is canon law, while there is a body of canon law in the Orthodox Church, it isn’t a true legal document like the Catholic Code of Canon Law is, and the spirit in which the law was written (as interpreted by the Fathers) is considered far more important than what it actually says.

The initial reason for the schism between the two Churches was initially based on Western attempts to assert authority over the East (whether this was legitimate or not is the great debate), but over the last two centuries some very major issues regarding the faith, through dogmatization of certain practices by the Catholic Church, have come to the fore (at least from the Orthodox perspective).

That said I recommend you visit both Churches, and talk to priests in both Churches. I urge you not to give in to the lie that Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox are the same thing. We are very similar (moreso even than Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholics), and while I do hold them in a certain respect, few with much knowledge of the subject, on either side, would pretend it is the same thing.

I wish you well on your journey.


#12

Nine Two has given the best answer so far, and I would urge you, saying this in all possible charity, to not seek answers about Orthodoxy from Roman Catholics (or even Roman Catholics who used to be Orthodox), especially here. Many on this site believe they know Orthodoxy when they do not, and present their misrepresentations as fact.

The best place I’ve found online for Orthodox discussion is The Ancient Way forum, which is a subforum of Christianforums.com. We’d love to have anybody with questions.

Please note I am not using this as a means of proselytizing anyone, merely providing a resource for learning Orthodoxy from the Orthodox.


#13

I sincerely believe if one is thinking about Catholicism and Orthodoxy, they should be allowed to explore Orthodoxy even if they are Catholics. It is not about encouraging people to leave the Catholic Church (some would contend that the Orthodox Church IS the Catholic Church) but for me it accomplishes two things. First, satisfy the curiousity. If we just convince them from here to abandon their Orthodox throuhts, that may not be the end of it. Might as well know full well what Orthodoxy is about, and if Catholicism is really where the truth is, they will be back.

Second, know what Orthodoxy really is about. If they accept Orthodoxy, it is because they know what it is about. If they reject Orthodoxy, it is because they know what it is about. I’ve had Orthodox clergy tell me they won’t stop anyone from their flock from taking a look at Catholicism, and I’ve had Catholic clergy tell me that they won’t stop anyone from taking a look at Orthodoxy.


#14

Quite a question and the answer depends greatly on your own POV.

In trying to be as objective as possible, I will say that they are often functionally equivalent, despite operating from sometimes seemingly incompatible paradigms.

A common example (and only one of very many) is the disagreement between the two on the Marian dogmas taught by the Catholic Church: the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Orthodox Church rejects both as taught by the Catholic Church. Because they do not conceptualize Original Sin in the same manner as Western Christians (who derive their views from the writings of St. Augustine a Western Father), the Catholic concept of the Immaculate Conception does not make theological sense to an Orthodox Christian. However, they nevertheless teach and believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary lived an entirely sinless life.

Likewise, they reject the Catholic teaching of the simultaneous assumption of Mary’s body and soul into Heaven, instead teaching that Mary first died a natural death (the “Dormition”) then had her body assumed into Heaven three days later. Again this is derived from different understandings of Mankind’s fallen nature. “The wages of sin is death.” Based on Augustinian original sin, Catholics traditionally believed that Mary couldn’t die, since through Immaculate Conception she was preserved from Original Sin. Thus like Elijah, she was whisked away to Heaven body and soul. Meanwhile Orthodox, not sharing the Augustinian view, believed that while Mary never sinned, she was still of fallen nature and thus did necessarily die. (It’s worth noting here however that the Papal definition of the Assumption strongly implies in its wording that Mary died a natural death prior to the Assumption.)

So they think in entirely different ways, even if they come to many of the same conclusions. In practical purposes for the average believer, they’d be far more similar than different.

And I think the single greatest thing dividing them, to which all these other points are secondary or derivative, is the stark differences in how they understand the primacy of the Bishop of Rome (which other posters have already mentioned.)

Good luck and God Bless


#15

Even Romans distinguish between Mary living a sinless life and her being conceived without Original Sin. What I am getting at is that the two doctrines, for Romans, are two different doctrines. Thus while Orthodox believe in one (her living a sinless life) we reject the other as heretical. It is therefor a bit incorrect to state that our belief in one can be made to correspond to your belief in the other.


#16

The Immaculate Conception is much more than simply living a sinless life. It makes the Theotokos more than human. This is where most Orthodox have issues with it.

Likewise, they reject the Catholic teaching of the simultaneous assumption of Mary’s body and soul into Heaven, instead teaching that Mary first died a natural death (the “Dormition”) then had her body assumed into Heaven three days later. Again this is derived from different understandings of Mankind’s fallen nature. “The wages of sin is death.” Based on Augustinian original sin, Catholics traditionally believed that Mary couldn’t die, since through Immaculate Conception she was preserved from Original Sin. Thus like Elijah, she was whisked away to Heaven body and soul. Meanwhile Orthodox, not sharing the Augustinian view, believed that while Mary never sinned, she was still of fallen nature and thus did necessarily die. (It’s worth noting here however that the Papal definition of the Assumption strongly implies in its wording that Mary died a natural death prior to the Assumption.)

The idea that Mary was simultaneously assumed body and soul into heaven is not the issue since it is not what the Catholic Church dogmatized (the bull declaring the dogma even lays out that it is Tradition that she died an earthly death). What the Catholic Church dogmatized was that she was assumed into heaven at all. The Orthodox Church teaches this as well, and only takes issue with the level of emphasis that is put on it (Anathema to anyone who doesn’t accept the teaching).

So they think in entirely different ways, even if they come to many of the same conclusions. In practical purposes for the average believer, they’d be far more similar than different.

Except you haven’t shown here that we come to many of the same conclusions. You’ve shown that we come to different conclusions and then you’ve equivocated them.
I don’t want to downplay the similarities. We are more similar to the Catholic Church than the Catholic Church is to most American Protestant denominations outside the Mainline.
But we also do have our differences, and there are other denominations (such as Anglicans (and I mean that in an international sense, not as in a breakaway group from the Episcopal Church in the US)) who are much closer to you than you are to us (I say this having been raised Anglican).


#17

From a Catholic perspective, the Immaculate Conception does not make Mary more than human, it’s simply the historically most viable way to articulate her sinless life within the framework of Augustinian Original Sin that has been so influential in the Western Church’s theology. That the Orthodox Church disagrees and takes issue with the formulation is not disputed. My point is that if I asked earnest but unlearned Catholic or Orthodox believers if Mary ever sinned, they both would answer unreservedly in the negative. If I asked them why she did not, they would both attribute it to her being “full of grace.” Yes, certainly the theologians of their respective churches would have a great deal more to say on it, but for the faithful in the trenches, it’s not a point of contention. Hence “functionally equivalent.” And this, in my admittedly far from exhaustive experience, is representative of a great deal of the usual textbook differences between Catholics and Orthodox.

The Assumption I understand is much less of a problem for Orthodox theologians (though I have seen Orthodox apologists attack it for its supposed basis on the much maligned Augustinian theology, which I made an half-hearted effort to address here). I’m fully aware that the real problem most Orthodox have with it is the manner of it’s promulgation, and thus I include it among those points of disagreement which are largely derivative from what I maintain is the real crux of the matter, namely Papal claims to unilaterally define dogma.

In a sense this is a microcosm of the Catholic-Orthodox relations in general, and perhaps just as instructive for the OP. Catholics, by and large, find the differences minute, even negligible, and would happily support an immediate restoration of full communion. Orthodox on the other hand tend to be far more cautious and wary of any agreement that would seem to compromise their precise formulations. And that’s by no means a bad thing as it’s only through that sort of meticulousness that the Christian Faith has been so preserved down through the centuries.

Believe me, I’m sympathetic to the Orthodox position in many instances, but so far not sufficiently to swim the Bosphorus. It is my belief (and one I freely and unreservedly acknowledge is not shared by many, especially among the Orthodox Church) that the two theological systems can otherwise be safely rectified with each other with the only real impediment to unity being different definitions of the role of the Bishop of Rome. But that’s just me.


#18

How? Adam and Eve didn’t have original sin, but they were not more than human.

Edwin


#19

I agree. The problem really is the Western understanding of Original Sin which necessitated having the Immaculate Concepcion, rather than the IC itself.


#20

It depends on what you mean by “lived a sinless life.” The requirement for what this would mean is different in the West, with the distinction between original and actual sin. The Immaculate Conception is in service of the claim that she lived a sinless life.

Edwin


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