Catholicism and Orthodox

Is there a branch of faith that combines the two?
Is it ok for a Catholic to go to Orthodox masses once a month?

Some of our canon experts can confirm this, but no, you cannot substitute an Orthodox Mass for a Catholic Mass when one is available. You can attend an Orthodox Mass, but you’d still have to go to Catholic Mass to fulfill the Lord’s Sunday obligation. :o

an eastern rite catholic church maybe?

That is what I thought, but don’t know if it is right because I don’t know what that is??

For the above thread-thanks for the clarification that it is necessary to attend a regular Catholic mass for it to count with an extra visit to an Orthodox church.

So, how could I combine both is my dilemma?
Any more insight?

Eastern Rite Catholic Churches would be your safest bet. They have the Divine Liturgy (like the Orthodox) but are in communion with Rome.

Eastern Catholics worship in the same manner as the Orthodox but are in full communion with Rome. You can always satisfy your Sunday obligation at an Eastern Catholic divine liturgy. Go to the Eastern Catholicism board here at Catholic Answers for more info. Start a thread there if you like.


I was wondering what prompted you to post such a question. Would you care to enlarge?


You may go to an Orthodox Divine Liturgy as often as you like. Many non-Orthodox have done so for years and years.

However you will not ordinarily be allowed to commune in an Orthodox Divine Liturgy unless:

*]You have prayed and fasted
*]Had a recent confession
*]Believe what Holy Orthodoxy teaches, and nothing extra
*]Have been formally received into the church.
Interestingly, the Papacy has been encouraging intercommunion, so I don’t see why it would not count toward your Sunday obligation. I believe this is worth looking into a bit more deeply.

In any case, you could always take in the 7:30AM (or 8:00AM) low Mass and still have time to make the 9:30AM Divine Liturgy, with time to spare for breakfast in some cases. If that doesn’t work you can probably make the 12:00 Mass after Divine Liturgy. I used to do this quite often myself.

I will not argue with your point here, but I will elaborate upon it.

Worshiping in the same manner as Orthodox is not important, it is really superficial. It is what one believes that is important. The worship, and the prayers, arise from the belief.

When we say that the Eastern Catholics are in full communion with the Pope, we are saying they believe everything Roman Catholics believe. Quite frankly, it is not Orthodox just because it resembles Orthodox.

It is not really “a branch of faith that combines the two” any more than Western Rite Orthodoxy is.

The externals (vestments, chants, etc.) are just not that important, and people who seek after these things may be missing an important point: what does the church teach?


A couple of points - Catholics may receive communion in an Orthodox church in a case where there is no convenient Catholic church available. Of course whether or not an Orthodox priest will let you take communion is another thing altogether as your list of pre-conditions make clear. I’ve done it but that was in an area of Russia where due to the wonderful policies of Mr. Stalin a lot of Catholics had been displaced in the 1950s and refused permission to build a Catholic church. Since only a certain er, neutred form of Orthodoxy was allowed Catholics and Orthodox alike had been taking part together in the underground church and so had built up an unusually tolerant relationship - especially considering the historical tensions between the Russian Orthodox and Catholic church. It’s only since the USSR collapsed the Catholics in the area have been able to feel safe about freely practising their religion and there are still only a few Catholic churches in a large geographical area. So although strictly speaking they shouldn’t be doing it the local Orthodox priests do dispense communion given their shared history in this area of Russia. I have however also had rough experiences with Orthodox priests when my wife asked in Russia in a city we were both working in would the priest marry us (in an Orthodox church) he started on me in Russian and my wife (then fiancee) asked me to leave the church with her as he became offensive and started ranting about me ‘corrupting her and leading her away from the true russian faith’. This kind of mixing of nationalism with religion by some russian orthodox priests has actually led to my wife been rather lukewarm at time about her faith as she feels it is alien to christ’s mesage and she feels it is a weakness of russian orthodoxy. I probably know more about the orthodox church by this point than she does I think as I have a magpie mind and like to learn about everything and see how all knowledge connects. For me I view this mixing of nationalism as akin to points in irish history where to be ‘really’ irish one had to be catholic - i don’t view this kind of phases of thought in one geographical area as a reflection on the central truths of orthodoxy - merely a relfection on how fallible we all are, catholic or orthodox.

Er, now I will put my soapbox away…

I totally agree with that - Eastern Catholics are not Orthodox lite - this line of thinking has several problems both from a Catholic and Orthodox viewpoint. From a Catholic viewpoint it marginalises Eastern Catholics as not wholly Catholic - Which they are of course. For the Orthodox it (as you say) minimises different doctrinal and theological differences by favouring style over content.

Hi Vilnius,

As others have already said, there are Eastern Catholics – in full communion with Rome but using a liturgy that’s very similar to what most Orthodox use.

Similarly, there Western Rite Orthodox (WRO) – in full communion with Constantinople but using a liturgy that’s very similar to the ExtraOrdinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible (at this time) to be in full communion with both Rome and Constantinople. It is, however, possible to be in full communion with one of them, while at the same time trying to be extremely fair-minded and charitable toward the other.

I think I would say “permitting”, rather than “encouraging”.

There was actually a policy, a few decades ago, that Catholics could fulfill their Sunday Obligation by attending an Orthodox liturgy (without receiving communion, of course). I’m not entirely sure why that policy was made, or why it was later changed.

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