Different Catholics?

I have read a few different forums refering to the Roman Catholic church, the Latin and the Eastern…What do all of these mean? Are they all the same church, or are they all branches of the catholic church? Or am I completely off and the other two have nothing to do with the Catholic Church?

There are Catholics in union with the pope who are members of different “rites”. They are all Catholic, but, for example, how the mass is celebrated in the different rites could be different. They might have their own laws, but the morals and all that good stuff are the same. Some of these were out of union with the pope some 400 years ago (the date a guess), but are now in union.

Most of the Catholic Church is western, but some 2% (I’m guessing, don’t shoot me) is one of the eastern rites.

Hopefully an Eastern rite Catholic will happen along to firm up the percent…

Some rites are Latin, Chaldean, Maronite, etc. I’m not an expert. I only figured out the others existed 5 or 6 years ago.

there is even an episcopal rite. in san antonio, there is a church that used to be episcopal, but decided that they wanted to be united with the catholic church (yay!) so they changed a few things, and now are considered an episcopal rite of the catholic church.

i hope to see more and more of this in the future. it would be awesome (though very difficult to imagine) to see a baptist rite, and a methodist rite, and a lutheran rite…

let us be one, as He and the Father are one.

even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

[quote=leschornmom]I have read a few different forums refering to the Roman Catholic church, the Latin and the Eastern…What do all of these mean? Are they all the same church, or are they all branches of the catholic church? Or am I completely off and the other two have nothing to do with the Catholic Church?
[/quote]

The Catholic Church is a body if 23 smaller churches(sui iuris). These are organized under 6 rites. The Latin Church is the largest. They all run themselves with there own canon laws and there own liturgy.

All these churches believe the same thing but they take a different approach sometimes and they have different customs. For example the eastern churches allow priests to marry. However all of these churches recognize the authority of the pope.

Here are some links from the 1912 encyclopedia and one to an encyclical by Paul VI.

newadvent.org/cathen/05230a.htm

vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_orientalium-ecclesiarum_en.html

Maybe some of eastern Catholics on here can give some information.

[quote=leschornmom]I have read a few different forums refering to the Roman Catholic church, the Latin and the Eastern…What do all of these mean? Are they all the same church, or are they all branches of the catholic church? Or am I completely off and the other two have nothing to do with the Catholic Church?
[/quote]

It would be more accurate to say there are different Rites **within **the Catholic Church, for instance the Latin Rite which is the one most of us belong to and which we are most familiar with, and then there are the Eastern Rite Catholics, for example Byzantine, Alexandrian, Antiochene, Chaldean and Armenian. These are also known as Uniate Churches and what clearly distinguishes them from Western Catholicism[Roman Rite] is the presence of a married clergy. They are all in union with Rome.

They should not however be confused with the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is a separate body independent of Rome.

Gerry :slight_smile:

[quote=Pug]There are Catholics in union with the pope who are members of different “rites”. They are all Catholic, but, for example, how the mass is celebrated in the different rites could be different. They might have their own laws, but the morals and all that good stuff are the same. Some of these were out of union with the pope some 400 years ago (the date a guess), but are now in union.

Most of the Catholic Church is western, but some 2% (I’m guessing, don’t shoot me) is one of the eastern rites.

Hopefully an Eastern rite Catholic will happen along to firm up the percent…

Some rites are Latin, Chaldean, Maronite, etc. I’m not an expert. I only figured out the others existed 5 or 6 years ago.
[/quote]

Hi,
There are about 1 billion Roman Catholics and about 190 million Eastern Catholics.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon14.gif Not that all are practising.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon13.gif

Yours in Jesus, Mary & Joseph,

John

[quote=RobedWithLight]It would be more accurate to say there are different Rites **within **the Catholic Church, for instance the Latin Rite which is the one most of us belong to and which we are most familiar with, and then there are the Eastern Rite Catholics, for example Byzantine, Alexandrian, Antiochene, Chaldean and Armenian. These are also known as Uniate Churches and what clearly distinguishes them from Western Catholicism[Roman Rite] is the presence of a married clergy. They are all in union with Rome.

They should not however be confused with the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is a separate body independent of Rome.

Gerry :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Eastern Catholics would prefer an updating of some of the terminology above, and the vatican Council generally supported their desires. “Rites” is a limited term, as it suggests simply a different ritual. In fact “Church” is the prefered term, as these are particular churches in the fullness of the term. They have their own governance, spirituality, liturgy, bishops, canon law and autonomy. “Unitiate” is also considered a slur.

ALso troubling is the suggestion that their most notable feature is their ordination of married men. That both raises the discipline of priestly celibacy in the West to a status that is not appropriate and suggests that the tradition of married priests is somehow a feature so significant that it dominates their tradition.

So, are the priests in the eastern rite allowed to marry or not?

If some one want’s to become catholic. How do they know what rite they should believe in or is it all the same as far as the Catholic Church is concerned?

Before I ask this question I feel that I should let you kno that I am NOT being sarcastic.

I have always been taught that there has to be one true church. If the catholic Church is the one true church why does it accept so many branches that believe differently. As an LDS we are taught that we are the only true church of God…that he restored the gospel on this earth…There are many other religions that claim to be Momon but they are not accepted by the LDS church. Is that the case with all of these “rites” or are they truly accepted by the catholics.

again I am not being sarcastic. So please don’t take it that way I really want to know.

Hi, leschornmom!

Yours are some very good questions - questions we Eastern Catholics welcome! I’ll try to answer as succinctly as possible… hopefully some of my Eastern Catholic brethren can chime in and clarify.

First, a little background…

I am a Catholic, although I am not a Roman Catholic. I am a member of the Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church in America. We are one of 23 “Churches” that together make up the Catholic Church. The Roman, or Latin Catholic Church is, far and away, the largest of the Churches of Catholicism. They are sometimes referred to as the Western Catholic Church. The other 22 Churches collectively comprise the Eastern Catholic Church - their combined membership doesn’t even come close to that of the Roman Catholic Church, but they are Catholic nonetheless - every bit as Catholic as those members of the Roman Catholic Church.

Each of these 23 “Churches” has its own heierarchy, leadership and Code of Canon Law. Each shares the same faith and theological beliefs, although the way these beliefs are expressed may be very different. Any Catholic member of any one of these Churches is absolutely free to worship and partake of the sacraments (Holy Mysteries, as they’re referred to in the Catholic East) in any other Catholic Church. That’s one of the things that makes Catholicism so great - we are uniform in our beliefs, but we are very diverse in how we express those beliefs.

So, you may ask, if each of the 23 Catholic Churches has it’s own Codes and leadership, what is it that holds them all together?

The answer is simple - His Holiness, John Paul II, the Pope of Rome.

Every Catholic, regardless of which of the 23 Churches he or she belongs to, recognizes JPII as the direct successor of Peter, the one hand chosen by Our Lord to lead His Church on earth. Although he serves as the Patriarch of the Roman Catholic Church alone (my Church, for example, has a Metropolitan Archbishop as its direct head), the Pope also serves as the pastoral shepherd of all Catholics, since he is Peter’s successor.

(continued)

So, are the priests in the eastern rite allowed to marry or not?

Can Eastern Catholic priests marry? No. Can married Eastern Catholic men be ordained to the priesthood? Yes. Subtle but significant difference. If a man is already a priest, he cannot marry, but if he is already married prior to his ordination, he may in fact become a priest. Keep this in mind… here in America we tend to look at Catholicism through American eyes. While still rare here, married Eastern Catholic priests are the norm throughout the rest of the world. When Eastern Catholics first migrated to America in the late 1800’s, they came to a land where Eastern Catholicism and its customs were virtually unknown. The only Catholic Church heierarchy in America at that time were Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops who themselves, sadly, knew nothing of Eastern Catholicism. In an effort to avoid confrontations and scandals vis a vis their own celebate Roman Catholic priests, they disallowed any married Eastern Catholic priests from ministering within their diocese and, in fact, had countless married priests shipped back to the “old country,” leaving the Eastern Catholic congregations without priests to minister to them. For years, the Eastern Catholic Churches in America respected this Roman Catholic influence over their traditions and allowed only unmarried, celebate priests to serve in America, even though the married priesthood was and had always been perfectly acceptable and proper! It is only in recent years, since JPII’s encyclical Orientale Lumen, that the Eastern Catholic Churches in America are slowly tossing out the vestiges of “Latinization” and reverting to their ancient practices and traditions, not the least of which is the married priesthood.

If some one want’s to become catholic. How do they know what rite they should believe in or is it all the same as far as the Catholic Church is concerned?

Catholics do not “believe in” a rite. They believe in Catholicism. This Catholicism may be expressed in many different ways, hence the different “rites” that you’ll see incorporating the celebration of our faith. Fact is, most Catholics become so because of their parents - if Mom and Dad were Roman Catholics, odds are that you’ll end up being a Roman Catholic, too (my Dad was a Byzantine Catholic, so here I am! :slight_smile: ).

It’s a little different with those who convert to Catholicism later in life, however. Although we Catholics all share the same beliefs, we express those beliefs in different ways, as is evident by the fact we have 23 separate Churches worshipping in numerous different rites within our fold. As mentioned before, the Roman Catholic Church is, by a huge margin, the most well-known of the 23 Churches. It’s the one that lay people most often associate with the word “Catholic.” A potential convert to Catholicism, however, would be doing himself a great disservice by assuming that the Roman Catholic Church is the only Catholic Church. Certainly one would be wise to visit as many of the separate Churches within Catholicism before committing oneself to conversion into one or another. Many converts find that Catholicism expressed from the Eastern standpoint “speaks” to their soul on a more elemental basis than that of the West. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful and flawless guide in these matters - Trust Him! As a side note, The Catholic Church allows its members to “officially” change canonical Church affiliation only once per lifetime, so converts should choose their Church wisely. Remember, too, that as a Catholic you can only belong canonically to one of the 23 Churches, but you can participate and worship freely in all of them!

(continued)

I have always been taught that there has to be one true church. If the catholic Church is the one true church why does it accept so many branches that believe differently… Is that the case with all of these “rites” or are they truly accepted by the catholics.

All Catholics believe, know actually, that they are members of the one, true Church. Our “branches” do not believe differently - they merely express those beliefs differently. We trace the history of our Church all the way back to Jesus Christ Himself. When the Apostles set about spreading Jesus’ Word throughout the known world, they set off in different directions, through different countries and continents. Naturally, the customs associated with worship assumed the “flavor” of the particular locale, but the Word remained constant! This diversity remains to this day.

With regard to your point about acceptance, sadly, we still have our own task to confront, even amongst ourselves. Many Catholic faithful and clergy develop “tunnel vision” with regard to our Church and its awesome diversity, and instead see things only from the perspective of their own canonical Church. I’ve had fellow Catholics tell me things like, “You can’t be Catholic - you’re Orthodox!” or the ever-popular, “Yeah, but you’re not a real Catholic…” :frowning: Hopefully, inquiries like the ones you posted here will serve as “door-openers” with regard to the amazing diversity present in our Catholic Church, for both Catholics and non-Catholics alike!

a pilgrim

[quote=leschornmom]I have always been taught that there has to be one true church. If the catholic Church is the one true church why does it accept so many branches that believe differently…There are many other religions that claim to be Momon but they are not accepted by the LDS church. Is that the case with all of these “rites” or are they truly accepted by the catholics.
[/quote]

They are ALL Catholic. They are accepted 100%. I can go to their parish, they can go to mine, we are the same religion. Um, just in case, the Greek Orthodox Church is not what we are talking about here. They do not accept the pope the way a Catholic does.

The other rites do not “believe” differently. They believe the same. They may have different laws and regulations about stuff. They may talk differently or have different customs.

There is a distinction between doctrine and the laws. The Church can come up with laws/rules, like don’t ordain married men, but it is only a law and can be changed or it can be different if you are in a different rite. It is not doctrine that married men cannot be ordained. In fact, they can be. The Latin rite just doesn’t do it usually. Other rites are more likely to ordain a married man.

Doctrine= Christ rose from the dead
Law= whether or not you ordain married men

a pilgram,
Thank you so much for you answer. It was very helpful. I look forward to discussing doctrine with you in the future and I’m sure my husband will too.:slight_smile:

As a Roman Catholic, am I allowed to attend Mass/services at Eastern Rite Catholic churches? When I lived in St. Louis, there was a Byzantine Catholic service on Saturday nites in one of the side chapels of the Roman Catholic basilica. I assumed I was allowed to attend, and did so a few times. I loved it. The ritual incense and chanting and iconostasis (right word?) really provided an aura of deep spirituality and mystery to the service, something lacking in a lot of ordinary Catholic churches these days.

[quote=sbcoral]As a Roman Catholic, am I allowed to attend Mass/services at Eastern Rite Catholic churches? When I lived in St. Louis, there was a Byzantine Catholic service on Saturday nites in one of the side chapels of the Roman Catholic basilica. I assumed I was allowed to attend, and did so a few times. I loved it. The ritual incense and chanting and iconostasis (right word?) really provided an aura of deep spirituality and mystery to the service, something lacking in a lot of ordinary Catholic churches these days.
[/quote]

Yes you are permitted, and actually encouraged to learn more about the Eastern “lung” of the church. You are welcome to receive the sacraments under the same conditions as in your own church.

In other words, you should be properly disposed. If you need a confession it can be arranged with the Eastern priest but you may handle that at your home parish if you like. One should also fast as prescribed (1 hour for you) before receiving.

The Byzantine Catholics have been geographically concentrated in the Northeast of the United States coal and smokestack country, but over time the faithful have been migrating all over the place. As a result many of the parishes and missions around the country are small and you might be surprised to learn that quite a few Byzantine Catholic parishes are served by Roman Catholic priests with bi-ecclesial faculties! Some Roman Catholic priests have become so enamored with the Eastern churches that they commit a great deal of energy and time to preserve and nurture the traditions.

So it is entirely possible that the priest you approach for the Holy Mysteries is himself a Roman Catholic. (I believe that is the case in St Louis)

So, the Roman Catholics don’t do the chanting and incence?

I went to a catholic funeral (my grandmothers) and they did the incence and some Latin I think does that mean that he was of the Bynzantine rite?

Is that the only other difference between the two… Married men obtaining the Priesthood & the chanting and such or is there more?

[quote=leschornmom]So, the Roman Catholics don’t do the chanting and incence?
[/quote]

They do sometimes!

I went to a catholic funeral (my grandmothers) and they did the incence and some Latin I think does that mean that he was of the Bynzantine rite?

No, not necessarily, and actually probably not. There just aren’t enough Byzantine churches around to make that likely.

All of the churches use incense, but the Roman church (the BIG one) has minimized use of incense and might only use it for very special Holy days and very solemn occasions. This is all at the discretion of the local pastor.

That’s why some people comment on it, they don’t experience it often enough and they appreciate it.

Is that the only other difference between the two… Married men obtaining the Priesthood & the chanting and such or is there more?

The big difference is not so apparent, the spirituality is different, the way ideas are expressed is different. The core beliefs are the same.

It might help if we go over some of the basics of the church growth and development:

What we are dealing with here is churches of very ancient history, the Apostles (especially) and other disciples spread in all directions, especially when there was unrest in Palestine. Usually they travelled along the well established trade routes. They planted new churches wherever they could, usually among Jews first. They were spreading the news that the Jewish Messiah had come and it was imperative that people (who were expecting a Messiah) be told!

As we know, most (not all) of the Jews were scepticle, but there were usually some God fearing gentiles associated with the Jewish temples who were also likely converts, they reflected the cultures they lived in.

Liturgy was rather simple then, and derived mostly from Jewish blessing prayers and synagog service. The basics of the liturgy are common to all of the rites of the Christian church, and can still be identified in every liturgy, including the Roman Catholic Mass.

BTW The first Prince to become a Christian was (I believe) the client-king of Edessa. The first independant country to become Christian officially was actually Armenia. All that time Christianity was spreading throughout the Roman Empire, even though it was outlawed, so there were many cultures touched by the Christian Faith in the first three centuries.

All of these cultures developed their liturgies as expressions of their own cultures, while they all believed the same truths. They all had a hierarchical structure: bishops, priests and deacons! They didn’t have detailed manuals or schools. Each new priest would learn up close from the bishop, like apprentices learn from a journeyman.

The first bishops were mostly just presiders, they were the successors of the apostles but in the beginning they might have had only one or two small congregations, The elders were close by in the congregation, but as the faith grew the bishop-presiders would send elders out to lead the faithful in the further villages and in neighborhoods of the big cities. The bishops (bishop-episkopos means overseer, or supervisor) would control the far flung congregations in their area, visit them and teach the priests their own way of saying prayers and doing the liturgy.

So every area had a local culture, and a particular way of doing liturgy.

Since the faith spread from city to city first, and then into the countryside and small towns, the earliest Christian congregation were established in the biggest cities, and the bishops from there would plant churches in other places further and further away, helping these fledgling churches with money and sending out new priests where there might be a need.

{continued}
http://saints.oca.org/IconDirectory/sm/generaluse/holytheotokos.jpg

{continued from post #17}

These old city churches with their large populations became the guardians of the church in their countries. The bishops in the smaller cities that originated from the older churches looked up to the bishops in the big cities and sought their advice. The bishops of these elder churches became regarded as Patriarchs, and the way they did liturgy in their cathedrals was imitated in all of the local churches as far as the Patriarchs had influence.

The churches in the West grew from cities like Rome, Milan and Carthage first. Then spread elsewhere. Monks brought the faith into the wilderness.

The Eastern religious rites developed from these early Christian centers: first Alexandria, Antioch, Edessa and later in Constantinople and Seleucia-Ctesiphon. The faith spread from those points first along the trade routes, and then into the wildernesses, remote islands and deserts.

So then, five ways of expression have developed from these early Eastern Christian centers: This would include Byzantine, Alexandrian, Antiochene, Armenian and Chaldean.

Christians reached southern India in the first century (the Indians themselves say Saint Thomas preached there, and it is very likely he did) Christians reached Ethiopia by the third century and Christians reached China by the fifth century. Since there were no modern communications many of these groups were isolated from each other and developed local traditions. Today we respect all tradittions that do not conflict with the Faith, and that is why the Catholic Communion has 23 Sui Iuris churches!

See here for more details.

http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/graphics/father.jpg

Hesychios, Thank you so much for the back ground I certainly didn’t know about all the history your church claims. It definately explains the different rites in your church with out lessoning their position in the church. Does the Roman Catholic Church claim that any particular apostle lead it orriginally?

[quote=leschornmom]Hesychios, Thank you so much for the back ground I certainly didn’t know about all the history your church claims. It definately explains the different rites in your church with out lessoning their position in the church. Does the Roman Catholic Church claim that any particular apostle lead it orriginally?
[/quote]

The best answer is that Jesus Christ called the apostles, the Holy Spirit came to them at Pentecost and Simon Peter lead the church from that point onward. But we should remember that all of the apostles were engaged in the work of building up the church and are founders after Christ.

All of the apostles are presumed to have planted churches wherever they were able to go. It is certain that they crossed paths over the remaining years of their lives and preached in churches founded by each other.

Each apostle is presumed to have had a set of disciples of his own, that was certainly true of Peter and Paul. It was from these men that the apostles could find suitable bishops and presbyters to leave behind in various places.

When the Christians began to disperse from the Jerusalem area Simon Peter left for Antioch and led the church from there. St James was left behind as bishop of Jerusalem.

Simon Peter later went to Rome leaving as overseer (bishop) of Antioch a man called Euodius (who was followed by St Ignatius), relocating to Rome made a great deal of sense for a number of reasons: it was very centrally located in the empire, transportation was excellent (great roads and sea lanes) so letters could quickly go out and come in from any direction and a Christian community was already forming there among the Jews and Greeks living in the city.

Peters’ presence would have pulled the local church together. He worked from Rome for a number of years preaching the Gospel from his own memory and teaching, but scholars are uncertain as to how many years he was there. It is believed that he continued to travel but made Rome his center of activity. So Peter is acknowledged as the founder of the church in Rome, his school of disciples was centered there and from among them his successor Linus was chosen.

Paul is also believed to have ended his days in Rome, having been imprisoned for two years there before his execution. Some of his disciples must also have been in the city when he was killed.

Therefore the church in Rome is respected as the last home of the two most important apostles, Peter and Paul. These men perished during the same persecution.

So the bishops of Rome in succession following Peter were the leaders of the church in the West. They are the Patriarchs of the Western church and by virtue of the office of Peter have Primacy over the other Patriarchs. We call them Popes today.

Does that explain it for you? :slight_smile:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.