Ciao tutti! I am brand new to CAF and I couldn’t have stumbled across this place at a better time. I married my husband 3 months ago and while I knew he had some interest in the Greek Orthodox church, I didn’t realize how deep this calling was for him until he told me he feels a pull toward the orthodox priesthood. At first I was floored. I am a cradle Roman Catholic, granted I have been in a spiritual drought for some time, but I never dreamt of being anything but Roman Catholic. Three years ago my husband converted from Lutheran to Roman Catholic and I thought that would be the end of our spiritual adventures. On the other hand, I’m not surprised at all. My husband studied Greek and Latin in college and his best friend is a Benedictine monk. But I’m still feeling utterly overwhelmed.
I am not completely unfamiliar with the Eastern Catholic traditions as my mother’s side of the family was Ukrainian and faithfully practiced eastern orthodoxy. I think what concerns me the most is I already don’t feel like I’m a good Catholic with my personal struggles. And obviously orthodoxy is far more strict in its traditions and rituals.
So I guess you could say I’m fairly terrified of what it means to be a good orthodox wife–particularly one of a priest…
Hi! It would be nice if you could give a specific questions on questions so that we can try and help you out. At this point, I don’t know what to say. Are you asking about Eastern Catholicism? Are you asking about should you convert to Orthodoxy?
Your husband could switch to the Eatern Catholic Church and become a married priest. The Ukrainians are especially big on the married clergy. And even if he becomes Orthodox, that does not mean you need to be. You can always be a good wife to him by being a good Catholic and the rest will follow! I will pray for both of you during this time!!
Some of your comments make me wonder - when you say “Greek Orthodox,” do you actually mean “Greek Catholic?” From what I know, the two are practically identical except that the Greek Catholics are in communion with the Church of Rome.
Hi! I guess I would like to understand the major differences between Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy. Basically, what to expect if we decide to make the big change. I’ve participated in a Russian Orthodox mass and didn’t really enjoy it (it was a very very small parish and we were stared at the entire time. Very uncomfortable). However, I want to support my husband during this journey of his and perhaps try and keep the culture shock to a minimum for myself…
So I guess the big question now is what should I concentrate on studying first in my investigation of this faith?
Just a few questions, [LIST=1]
*]if you’ve been in a drought in your faith for some time, why did your husband convert to Catholicism from Lutheran? What was the draw for him?
*]Was your mother’s side Eastern Catholic or Eastern Orthodox?
*]Why do you think the EO are more strict with their traditions and rituals than Catholicism?
Hi! To answer 1. It was funny how it worked out. My husband was reaching the peak of his faith when he decided to convert and I was just starting my drought. He was drawn to the traditions of the Church and the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist.
Hmmm, I didn’t know there was a difference. My mother was baptized and confirmed at the same time when she was an infant, does that distinguish between the 2?
Well, I’ve been to several catholic churches throughout my life and most of the parishes were quite…relaxed I guess is the best word for it. In my small experience with the orthodox church, I have a hard time seeing myself doing vespers every day, or fully participating in the fast during Lent, or even going to confession and mass on a regular basis. I guess I’ve always had this vision of EO as this strict constitution that I have no business being a part of if I can’t get into gear with my own faith.
Hi smad! From what my husband has told me, the greek orthodox church is fine with married priests as well. I don’t think I could be seperate from him in our faith though. If he wants to do this, I want to be by his side the whole time. But I still feel like I’d be entering something very different from my own faith practice. Thank you for your prayers
I don’t know about Orthodoxy, but it is my understanding that Roman Catholics who make a canonical transfer to Eastern Catholicism are under particular scrutiny for their reasons and motives. If your husband explains that his reason for transfer is only to become a priest, he is likely to be denied or delayed. I understand there is something of a “waiting period” after conversion before someone can discern a vocation to the priesthood. In other words, these Churches want to make sure that your love for the Eastern Churches is genuine and not just a dislike for Roman Catholic discipline.
Hi Elizium! While only God truly knows his heart, I believe he has a genuine love for orthodoxy. I know he participated in some of the masses before we married, I just didn’t realize he was this into it. Luckily, since he has a close friendship with an orthodox monk, he can vouch for my husband. In fact, they’re planning a trip to a monastery in Texas to speak to the spiritual father there. But your comment does raise my other uncertainty about all this. I’ve told my father about it and I immediately received a negative response. I don’t even know how my mother would react. And while I would love the support from my family I also realize my husband comes first. And now I’m rambling on. :o
Why not investigate Eastern Catholicism first? There’s nothing to be lost if you try. You remain Catholics which I think is very important to you. The beliefs are almost the same with Orthodoxy, except that you remain in communion with the Pope
To answer #2, that is not enough information to tell.
Maybe this is why you are in a drought.
*]We have mass every day. Not obligatory but offered every day. Daily mass only takes 30 - 40 minutes.
*]Do you not fast NOW during lent?
*]We are expected to go to mass every Sunday. If you intentionally miss mass on Sunday it’s a mortal sin. So by all means go to confession whenever you have mortal sin on your soul. If you want to know where missing mass deliberately on Sunday is a mortal sin in scripture, just ask.
St Peter has some fantastic advice for this.
5 … make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall**;** 11 so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these things, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, * to arouse you by way of reminder, [2 Pet 1:]
Welcome to the Eastern Catholicism Section of the CAF.
You’ve only been married three months. He’s just begun the vocation he discerned he was called to in marriage and family. It seems like the horse before the cart to be talking about the priesthood. Perhaps someone of the persons who prepared you in your pre-Cana, marriage preparation could help you at this time, while you are trying to establish your new family.
Discerning a call to another Christian community (Orthodoxy), discerning a new vocation, in addition to the vocation to which he has already been called as a husband and father, would surely include you and considerable spiritual direction, and a great deal more experience in the sacramental liturgical world of the East, be that Catholic or Orthodox.
A Catholic may be a parishioner in any of the 23 Catholic Churches (the Latin “Roman” Catholic and the other 22 Eastern and Oriental Catholic churches in communion with the Holy See). One receives the sacrament of Holy Orders in the Church one is formally a member of. He is formally a member of the Latin Church at this time. As a married Latin Catholic ordination to the deaconate is an option for him. Ordination to the priesthood is not an option. It’s unlikely it would be an option for him were he to formally switch to an Eastern Church, a switch which also involves becoming active in an Eastern Church long enough to truly know the spirituality and the praxis one asks to enter formally. Had he been raised in an ECC he could certainly be ordained as a married man* if *that vocation were truly discerned.
I am an Eastern Catholic. Many places we are called Greek Catholic, more commonly now in the US we’re called Byzantine Catholic. Your mother being Baptized and Chrismated/Confirmed at the same time tells us she was either Orthodox or Eastern Catholic. We follow the same practices. Many of us who are Eastern Catholics have close relationships with Orthodox Christians and Orthodox parishes and visa versa. We love these, our very rich sacramental liturgical traditions. However, they are not everyone’s cup of tea.
It doesn’t sound like your husband is looking at our Eastern Catholic Churches, but again you have a hazy sense of what is going on so it could be either the ECCs or Orthodox he is looking at.
You indicate that confession and Mass are not a regular part of your family life. I would encourage you yourself to find a good confessor and begin availing yourself of the sacraments regularly. There may be an Eastern Catholic parish in your area where you could explore that option as Catholics. Check at Find-A-Parish By Location for a parish.
(You say your husband’s “best friend is a Benedictine monk”. Is this a different monk from the “close friendship with an orthodox monk” with whom he is planning the trip to speak with a spiritual father? )
the Eastern Catholic churches are like their equivalent Eastern Orthodox churches in everything (even in their fasts and rituals; meaning that yes, they are also “stricter” than your regular Roman Catholic church) but are in communion with the Pope; that is, they are part of the Catholic Church. They also have married priests.
As far as I know, the Eastern Orthodox church is very wary of accepting new converts as priests, so I guess your husband will have a long time to think about that and see if it is really his vocation or just an over-hasty decision.
I think you definitely should not leave the Catholic Church to become Orthodox. Not because they are more strict (indeed: their Masses, which they call Divine Liturgies, are longer and their fasts are more common and more demanding), but because the Catholic Church (both Roman and Eastern) possesses the fullness of the truth. Did he give any reason for changing from Catholicism to Orthodoxy? Perhaps it was out of his sense of wonder and awe at Orthodox liturgy? Perhaps he could check out a Greek Catholic parish, which will have identical liturgy.
Great advice, imho!!! Always cleave to the Catholic Church “and the rest will follow.” That’s certainly been the story of my young life thus far, and many others I know who are much older and more experienced with life in general.
I’d want to know from some of our Orthodox brothers and sisters if this is in fact an Orthodox group your husband’s friend is part of, or is it a group of folks who call themselves Orthodox but have no affiliation with an Orthodox Church. In the later case beware. I am aware of fully Orthodox Western Rite Russian Orthodox in the ROCOR. Maybe this group of Benedictines in Ohio and TX are legitimate Orthodox practicing in a Western Rite.