I’ve told my story before, so I won’t bore y’all with another rehashing of my religious background. Instead, this time, I want to ask for advice one more time.
At this point, I am going through confirmation in the Episcopal Church, which will end in my being confirmed at the Easter Vigil this year. Whatever tradition I choose, I am quite sure that I am leaving the Episcopal Church. The main reason is the upcoming new prayer book (which lacks the traditional service that I’ve grown to love and will contain a new marriage rite that is “inclusive” of gay couples),but I’ve also noticed that we’ve spent more time talking about social justice and “the Christian response” to news items than we have about Christ, which seems just wrong.If I do stay an Anglican, it will be in ACNA or the Anglican Mission.
But that isn’t certain either. Although I generally agree, for the most part, with the Articles of Religion, there is some discord. The faith/works issue is something I struggle with, and I do believe, despite the Articles, that councils of the Church, when representing all bishops, are infallible by their nature. The trouble is more with worship and liturgical practices. I hold a doctrine of the Eucharist,that while allowed by the Articles, nonetheless clashes with the beliefs of most Anglicans. I thus wish to show reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament, which according to traditional Anglican teaching, is idolatry. I however believe that as Anglican priests are theoretically required to believe in the Real Presence, that not adoring the Sacrament is a most shameful and impious blasphemy. I also support the use of liturgical items considered taboo by Anglicans, thus I support priests wearing stoles, copes, dalmatics,etc. and the liturgical use of incense, both of which are frowned upon by conservative Anglicans.
Thus, my natural reaction is to ponder going Romeward. The problem is, despite having read through countless apologetic tracts, as well as catechisms, there are some Roman Catholic doctrines which I just cannot accept, chiefly Papal Infallibility, the Immaculate Conception, and the bread-and-wine-no-longer-exist part of transubstantiation. I also have qualms about the idea of Mary as Co-Redemptorix, although I realize that it is not dogma, I just feel like it’s something I could never subscribe to. There is also the issue, though this isn’t peculiar to Catholicism, that Western theology is too scholastic and reliant on classical philosophy, when sometimes I feel it would be better to embrace the mystery of faith rather than nit-pick the details. This is especially true of things like predestination and transubstantiation.
For these reasons, I’ve also considered Eastern Orthodoxy, as you may remember from older threads. It has all of the Catholic doctrines I accept, plus a gorgeous liturgy. My only concerns are my perceived difficulty in finding a parish with services in English, and adapting to the Byzantine calendar and worship structure, which is much more different from what I’m used to than the Latin rite. I also have a nagging sense, though I feel kind of stupid about it, that because my whole family are Western Christians, I would be rejecting my cultural identity by becoming Orthodox. But, for now, the good things about Orthdoxy outweigh those in my mind.
So there you have it. I am stuck in the middle between Anglicanism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy, feeling very unsure, and could use some advice. Thank you all in advance:)