Catholic vs Orthodox

How do I know that the Catholic Church is the continuation of the One True Church, and not the orthodox? Both were seemingly founded by different apostles, and the Catholic church recognizes the Orthodox sacraments, but not the other way around. Also, Catholic’s cannot seem to trace their apostolic succession past the 12th century. It just seems more likely that the Orthodox Church is the continuation. Any ideas?

Which Orthodox? How many councils do they hold to? Which geographic boundary defines them?

In my experience there isn’t anything that a Catholic believes that an Orthodox cannot believe. That includes the Latin understandings regarding the Pope of Rome.

The reason why the Catholic view of the Papacy is superior is because we consider Christ’s unique commission to St. Peter as meaningful, and that the Papacy is the practical the only visible leadership that can unity all the particular churches.

Christi pax.

Explain why Catholics cannot trace their apostolic succession past the 12th century?
Which apostle founded the Orthodox church?

For a millennium the Churches nowadays known as Catholic and Eastern Orthodox the one Church.

Again, which Orthodox Church?

I can tell you my thoughts that helped me when I converted from Protestantism.

First, I think the Catholic Church, with its view on the papacy has the only really workable principle for unity in the Church. I think unity is something that is desired by God. And I just don’t think the Orthodox have a principle which can achieve this.

Second, I am a westerner. This doesn’t really answer your doubts, but it helped me know what I should do. I think both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches have credible claims to be the one true ancient Church. But which should I be? When I struggled with this I concluded that I as a westerner man should follow my bishop. My bishop and the bishopric of my forefathers are clearly members of the Latin Church. The Latin Church is under the Holy Father.

Third, the Orthodox were willing to end the schism. The Orthodox at a council, I forget which one and I think there may have been two, were willing to end the schism. It didn’t end up happening. But they were willing to end it knowing that meant agreeing to a primacy of the papacy. So if they didn’t object to this way back at the council how can that be a problem today?

I would resist the temptation to set them as unambiguously in-contra to one another.

Both were seemingly founded by different apostles, and the Catholic church recognizes the Orthodox sacraments, but not the other way around.

As some have pointed out, which Orthodox Church?

Peter headed the Church in Rome. His brother Andrew did so in Byzantium (which was to be Constantinople - the seat of Greek Orthodoxy).

And while the Catholic Church does explicitly recognize Orthodox sacraments without Orthodox reciprocation to the same degree, it should be noted that the Orthodox have never rejected Catholic sacraments at a council-level (at least that I’m aware of). You couldn’t even argue that they were for-certain “separate” churches until the 14th century or so.

Also, Catholic’s cannot seem to trace their apostolic succession past the 12th century.

That’s news to me. I was of the understanding that the succession for one was the same as the other until somewhere between the 11th and 14th centuries - as the schism was a process and not an event.

For any Catholic reading, I would recommend that you show any Orthodox clergy you encounter the exact same level of respect you hopefully show your Catholic clergy.

Why do you say we can’t trace our apostolic succession back further?

This was the same conclusion that led our family to join the Orthodox Church. We converted to the RCC in 2013 knowing a little about the Orthodox Church, but assumed that since we live in the USA where RCC is more prevalent, we should join there, not thinking much about the differences between the 2 churches. But pretty soon after we felt that we were Orthodox Christians going to RCC church. I began to see that almost all RCC writers are completely fine with innovating and taking protestant ideas and making them the RCC teachings. They would claim to have the Church Fathers as their own, but never would they read or use their theology and traditions of asceticism. I would only read commentaries and theology from the Fathers of the Church and began to see that the RCC has rejected their teachings on things as important as the Sacraments and rules on prayer and fasting. The fact that the RCC knows that the proper form used for Baptism since the early Church was a triple immersion in water symbolizing Christ’s 3 days in the tomb, and yet continues to needlessly use a secondary form that might be allowed if the proper form is not possible, is indicative of all the shortcomings that have become the norm in the RCC. Orthodox preserve the teachings of the Fathers and are very skeptical of anyone trying to be innovative. Many Saints have lost their lives to preserve things such as the icons, and many RCC seminarians look forward to having a church with plain walls.

And for all these insulting comments about which Orthodox Church, please do some simple research. The Orthodox Church that the RCC split from at the turn of the 2nd millennium is the Orthodox Church.

I think a lot of ex-protestants go in this direction. Going Orthodox allows them access to the same historical and sacred approach to Christianity as Catholicism without submission to the Chair of Peter - something they’ve likely been deeply conditioned to balk at if their upbringing was anything like mine.

I began to see that almost all RCC writers are completely fine with innovating and taking protestant ideas and making them the RCC teachings.

Interesting. What would be an example of this?

They would claim to have the Church Fathers as their own, but never would they read or use their theology and traditions of asceticism.

I’ve heard the RCC described as “Augustine’s Church”. Most place him as a “father”.

Many Saints have lost their lives to preserve things such as the icons, and many RCC seminarians look forward to having a church with plain walls.

Many have died in the name of defending the truth of the Catholic Church as well. But I would agree that the rise of Islam has been harder on Eastern Christianity. The Oriental communions are on the verge of non-existence and the Orthodox were massacred under the “Turkification” of Turkey (with a tragic follow-up by the rise of the soviets).

Certainly, martyrdom isn’t restricted to just Catholics or the Orthodox. But you’ve had your share, yes.

But concerning building aesthetics, you might be pleased to know that the RCC in America seems to be swinging back from 1970’s minimalism.

The Orthodox Church that the RCC split from at the turn of the 2nd millennium is the Orthodox Church.

I’d caution against this language. Some (maybe most, by population) maintain that it was the Orthodox that split from the Catholics.

A more neutral term may be East-West or Latin-Greek or Catholic-Orthodox schism. And it took quite some time. Rumblings as early as the 6th century, not unambiguously separate until around the time of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.

Yes forgive me. I agree with what you are saying. I know the split probably resulted from some pride on both sides, but from a Theological view, we (Orthodox) must view the split as the west breaking communion with the Church. Simply because there can only be one Church. Now if members of the RCC after death can become members of the Church, I think it is unanimously understood that this is possible and likely. But the clarification is that they are not truly in the Church until that point. Which in the big scheme of things will not matter once Christ comes again.

As much as I like St. Augustine, I don’t think that many in the RCC realize that a lot his theology was speculation, and that close to his death, he realized that he had made numerous errors in a lot of his writings. His works were not read or treated with the same respect in the East until a lot closer to today. It was understood that the Fathers that formed the theology for the creed were the sources to go to learn the theology of the Church, mainly the Great Hierarchs St. Chrysostom, Basil, Gregory the Theologian, and others like Gregory of Nyssa, Athanasius, and Cyril of Alexandria.

As for the innovating and taking protestant teachings. Take the Scott Hahn group that get really into speculating about what is meant in the Gospel narrative. They teach a whole theology on the 4th cup or something. They teach questionable things like that the Holy Spirit can be likened to the love between the Father and the Son, and is similar to a Mother and Father making love and the baby becomes a person. And just the way they interpret the events in the Gospels contradict patristic commentary, like for example the Samaritan woman at the well; they claim that it was not a sign of Christ’s Divinity that He knew that she had had 5 husbands, but that the whole town would know; where the Fathers saw the importance of Him displaying His Divinity at that point. And the whole embrace of the charismatic movement with speaking in tongues and laying hands on people that fall and convulse and all this stuff Is knowingly attributed to the Protestants that started this. These are probably not very important things, but I am just going off of memory for now.

As for submitting to the Chair of Peter, the Orthodox are very submissive to their Bishop, who is in a sense the successor of Peter. As for the Bishop of Bishops that the RCC has created, even Pope Gregory the Great rejected this innovation. At the split, the role that the Pope of Rome was taking on was already becoming too supreme. The fruitage of that has only shown that the Church’s concern was a real one. The idea of speaking infallibly at an instant was not even thought of then.

Forgive me for speaking against these things. I just thought that maybe it would be fair for the person opening the thread to hear some things from a person that went through some similar circumstances.

No forgiveness given because no wrong was committed. :slight_smile:

About Dr. Hahn, he demonstrates that there are a lot of educated Catholics out there who want to investigate different ideas. Which is a good thing.

But I’d be real slow to label anything they conclude as thoroughly “Catholic” until the Church issues any sort of statement to that effect.

I’m sure you know of educated Orthodox doing similar things.

Concerning Petrine Seat; I see your point. I even considered adopting it before I decided to go Catholic.

It seems that the historical narrative has always been “Ok, that guy does get some sort of authority. But how much?”

While I submit to it, I have a feeling that dogmatically defining Papal Infallibility wasn’t as good an idea as the theologians of that day thought - even if it’s true. The greatest effect of Vatican II (in my humble opinion) was the glorious destruction of the post-Vatican I idea/attitude of “Okay, I guess we’re not going to have councils anymore. We’ll just ask His Holiness”.

Very good points. And thank you for your kindness. I would just say that where Dr. Scott Hahn and others are generally looked at with great love, Orthodox theologians that speculate and veer off of the known Patristic path are not celebrated by laymen as much as they are celebrated amongst other academics and academics of other faiths. (I must confess that I owe Dr. Scott Hahn a great deal for helping to solidify our embracing the RCC which was a very important step for us. It was his shows on EWTN on “Genesis to Jesus” that showed me that the RCC could explain Genesis and the connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament of Christ.)

I agree that VC2 did a few great things like the one you mentioned and also bringing in a lot of the Eastern elements into the liturgy and in the RCC catechetical theology. When I saw St. John Chrysostom and Maximus the Confessors and others being cited in the Catechism, I assumed that this had always been the case, but I found out later that before VC2, there was hesitance to go to Eastern Fathers for theology. But things like calling down the Holy Spirit for the consecration of the gifts into the Body and Blood of Christ I think had been abandoned and restored because of VC2. Sadly I think more harm was done by the council that outweigh even these beautiful movements. Most Orthodox have seen the stripping away of the Liturgy and the rebellions that took place immediately after that have been normalized (such as the priest turning to the west opposed to the people facing east) as a step further from unification.

Also, if I could clarify that most Orthodox had no problem with the Pope of Rome being kind of like the representative of the Church. The problem is that He is not the Church, and cannot make decisions for Her on His own. He was always regarded as the greatest defender of the Church, and so if possible it was good for Him to be involved with any matters regarding the Church’s stance on controversial things. But in history this did not always happen because many Popes didn’t speak Greek and plus travel was a lot more difficult. And I don’t think any Orthodox are Orthodox because they would be Catholic but don’t want to be under submission to the Pope. Rather, they see what has become of the RCC and see innovation that contradicts the Patristic Tradition and see that in the Holy Orthodox Church it can still be found. I admit that in America and I’m sure elsewhere there are lots of problems with Orthodox parishes, but at least it is kind of known that these are deficiencies and that there is a higher standard of living a truly Christian life. So take for example, most Orthodox know that from the early Church, it was established to fast from meat, dairy, olive oil, and wine every Wednesday and Friday and 4 set fasting seasons for the purification of the soul and body and to be able to equip ourselves for fasting from sin and detaching ourselves from the love of pleasures. The western
church I believe once followed these fasts, but does not any longer. In the Orthodox Church, maybe a lot of people don’t keep the fast, I’m not sure, but at least it is understood that the Holy Fathers kept this discipline the Church’s well-being and know that they should fast if they would like to grow in maturity. Same with a prayer rule.

I hope this links will help you in your study:

I became Orthodox precisely because I could no longer in good conscience hold to the Latin teachings concerning the Pope of Rome, as well as the Latin teachings concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit.

A question based largely on ignorance of Orthodoxy. The Orthodox Church is united in faith. The different jurisdictions in the United States and other missionary countries is a historical happenstance that has been explained here many times.

You may have to drop your Roman spectacles first, but the particular Eastern Orthodox Churches consider themselves together to be the Orthodox Church, just like the particular Catholic Churches (e.g., Latin, Maronite, Melkite, etc) consider themselves together to be the Catholic Church.

That was the council of Florence, early in the XV century. The Byzantine emperor, John VIII, persuaded the patriarch of Constantinople. Joseph II, to agree with Rome, eager to garner military support from Western Europe against the Turks. Given the situation of extreme duress, it can hardly be said that the Byzantine legates acted freely and consciously. Regardless, led by St. Mark of Ephesus, the only Byzantine legate to refuse to sign the acts of the council, the Byzantine faithful rejected it. And the rest is history…

I was puzzled by this too. If you go here, the episcopal lineage of most bishops come down to Card. Scipione Rebiba, who lived in the XVI century. :shrug:

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