I was baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church when I was a baby (obviously). Although I hadn’t really been a believer since I was about 14 (I became a sort of agnostic), I am now 25 and have decided to join the Roman Catholic Church.
My question is can I be confirmed in the Church? or does the fact that I was baptised as a baby means I can’t be confirmed? if someone has first-hand experience or is a priest himself, I’d greatly appreciate if he could help me.
Do I have to retain the Eastern Rite seeing as I have virtually no connection with the Greek Church (aside from being baptised in it) and there are no Byzantine Greek Rite parishes in the entire UK (I live in England). There are Ukrainian and Arab but I have no reason to want to join them.
I know I will have to ask my priest ofc but I wasn’t aware of these complexities until quite recently.
The Catholic Church recognizes the sacraments of the Orthodox Church. Therefore, since you’ve already received the sacraments of initiation, you won’t receive them again. You simply make a profession of faith and you are Catholic.
You will be received into the Eastern Catholic Church that corresponds to your Orthodox Church, so in your case the Greek Catholic Church.
As a Greek Catholic you could attend Latin Catholic Masses and be part of a Latin Catholic parish. If you want to change from Greek to Latin Catholic there is a procedure to follow that involves the bishops of the two churches.
If you go to your local Catholic parish, you will probably be told that you need to go through RCIA and will be received into the Latin Catholic Church. This is not correct. While you will probably need some instruction in what Catholics believe and how we practice, you won’t participate in any rites. Your local RCIA folks may need to check with the Chancery Office to make sure they do things correctly. The Diocese of Gary has a nice summary of things here: dcgary.org/pdf/Reception-Orthodox-Christian.pdf
Do you know where you were baptized? They should have a record of it. And since typically the Orthodox confer all three sacraments of initiation at once you should also have been confirmed/chrismated and received the Eucharist.
As I read through your post I started to think that you want to become Catholic out of convenience (nearby parishes on so on) and whatever reason you might have to consider becoming Catholic is of lesser important to be honest.
Im glad to see that you do think seriously of take part in the one true church, but nevertheless I think it’s important for anyone to not rush it to much as one has to know why you want to join the church (dogmas and reading the catechism).
The reason I say this is because once you’ve become Catholic it’s for life (or at least it should be) and if you just made a rash desition years ago without thinking it through you may easily end up being a non practicing Catholic or worse leave the faith.
So my advise is to compare the Greek Orthodox Faith to the Catholic Faith and really think long and hard about some of the main reasons why we’re in a schism.
Because if you don’t do this before becoming a catholic you could easily regret your desition if you suddenly face this questions and trust me at some point you will.
So topics such as the Papacy, the Papal infallibility, the teaching of original sin to mention some of the main differences is smart to investigate further so you know what faith you’re leaving too.
Again I hope you don’t read me the wrong way, but the reason I do say this is so you make your choice with as good knowledge as possible:)
Remember, it is the most important choice in a persons life:)
First, you assume that I haven’t already considered the differences between the Orthodox and the Catholics (Latin) in theology, ecclesiology and so on.
I put it to you that I know the differences and appreciate their significance far more than 90% of the Catholics and Orthodox out there (not that that is some great achievement - the widespread ignorance is staggering…).
Second, you assume that I must compare the differences between the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches.
Why not compare the Catholic and the Anglican? or the Catholic and the Lutheran? what is so special about the Greek church’s teachings? my baptism as an infant is quite irrelevant when it comes to which kind of theology and ecclesiology I consider to be true.
Third, I have joined this forum in May 2013 (so I’m a member for more than a year). I have spent, since before 2013, a lot of my time reading ancients like Aquinas (especially), Augustine (secondarily) and moderns like Ratzinger and Rahner. I am, I want to believe, firmly embedded in the Latin tradition although as a new spiritual if not actual member of the Church, I lack some of the experience that cradle Catholics probably possess.
But regarding theology and eclessiology, it is false to suggest that I would like to be in teh Latin Church for reasons of convenience. The Latin fathers and the modern Catholic theologians made me a Christian and that’s the kind of Christian that I am. If that’s the wrong reason to be a Catholic, I would like to know what a good reason is.
I don’t take what you say negatively btw. You have assumed that I was taught Orthodox theology (I wasn’t) or that I ever agreed with it (I didn’t even care or know about it) and that therefore I should, somehow, now check why the churches are in schism 'cos if I don’t know that, I might want to remain an Orthodox (again, as though I should hold to the Orthodox positions regarding original sin, the primacy of peter, etc simply in virtue of being baptised in the Greek Church).
As I said, I didn’t take your post negatively. I did think it was amusing when you suggested that to be Catholic, I should know the differences between the Orthodox and the Catholic churches when, I am fairly certain, fewer than 1 in 10 of the believers in either church know much about what the Filioque even is, let alone what the other church believes about it.
I am quite ignorant of either Orthodox or Catholic practical, everyday faith. My knowledge is just theoretical. So I am not suggesting you are wrong that I might not be comfortable in the Catholic Church. Maybe I will dislike the Mass. But then I don’t belong in the Orthodox church either.
As far as theology is concerned however, I don’t doubt what I am and what I believe and who has influenced my thinking. It’s Catholic and more particularly Latin Catholic thinking that made me what I am.
Maybe I will be a miserable Catholic. I hope you pray for me.
As other posters have pointed out, you are more than welcome, once a Catholic, to fully participate in parish and sacramental life at any Catholic parish…Latin or otherwise. That being said, you will still be a canonical member of the Greek Catholic Church regardless of whether a Latin priest receives you at a Latin parish. It is important that you realize this because not all RCIA directors or even priests will realize this (the Eastern Catholic Churches are very small compared to the Latin Church and many of us Latins are very ignorant of the East). Once you obtain proof from the Greek Orthodox parish that you were baptized and chrismated, this must be clearly communicated to the Catholic priest who receives you as it would be gravely wrong to attempt the sacrament of confirmation a second time - baptism and confirmation can only be conferred once. You will be received by a profession of faith - and likely will also make a general confession of your life thus far as you never did receive the sacrament of penance in the Orthodox Church.
As a canonical member of the Greek Catholic Church, you are free to live and commune as a Latin Catholic in a Latin parish - but you will still be bound by the Greek Church’s rules regarding fast days, holy days of obligation, etc. If living Byzantine spirituality is not for you, it is possible for your canonical enrollment to be transferred to the Latin Church. It would be good to discuss this with the chancellor’s office of the diocese where you are residing.
According to my bishop (and we have actually had this conversation), an Eastern Catholic who is not living near a parish of his own rite is free to adopt the liturgical life and practices (including fasting and Holy Days of Obligation) of the local church. This would particularly apply to the Greek Catholic Church, as they have no presence outside of Greece.
The Christian faithful who are outside the territorial boundaries of their own Church sui iuris can adopt fully for themselves the feast days and days of penance which are in force where they are staying.
In families in which the parents are enrolled in different Churches sui iuris, it is permitted to observe the norms of one or the other Church, in regard to feast days and days of penance.
As others have noted, the Greek Orthodox give baptism, chrismation, and first communion at the same time. You would only need make a profession of faith to become Catholic. Speak to a priest about this.
In addition to your parish priest, I would also speak (or write) to the local canon lawyer in the diocesan chancery, as the local priest may or may not know what to do in the case of Eastern Orthodox/Eastern Catholic matters, and most especially if the Catholic Church sui iuris to which you would canonically belong to upon conversion (I am assuming from the remarks here the Greek Catholic Church of Greece, as opposed to Ukrainian-Greek, Russian-Greek, etc.) does not exist in your country.
If you have not intention of living as a Byzantine Catholic, you may request a transfer of rites from the Greek Catholic Church to the Latin Church. A transfer may normally occur only once in your lifetime, but as it appears you have already discerned much on this matter, this may be an option for you to consider.
My thing is that we are both True Churches, and IMHO it really isn’t a conversion since we hold the same Faith. Since the Catholic Church says that an Orthodox Christian can receive the Sacraments/Mysteries for me if I can fully participate in the life of the Church why Change Canonical Churches?