Orthodox and Catholic converts: have you ever struggled between the two?

From another thread started by Tommy about the obstacles, I’d like to know about the converts:

Before you decided to convert to either Orthodoxy or Catholicism, have you ever struggled and dabbled between the two?

I have had my doubts before I decided to choose for Orthodoxy. Living with doubts and dabbling between the two has not been pleasant to me.

I know about the verses of st. Peter, etc.

I like Orthodoxy because I believe and love the eastern Traditions, incense, veneration, the standing, icons.


I have another question: which Orthodox and Catholic books do you recommend me to read? (I already have Scott Hahn’s , The Protestant’s Dilemma, The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware)

I grew up Catholic, had doubts about it and ultimately chose in favor of Orthodoxy. I went through a period of about 2-3 years of trying to decide whether to convert, but haven’t had any serious doubts since then.

I am a cradle Catholic, however I seriously considered converting to Eastern Orthodoxy in my late teens. I attended Divine Liturgies and pretty much agreed with Orthodox theological peculiarities such as the the filioque controversy.

Then I had a ‘sea change’ back to Catholicism and am now a convinced Catholic. Looking at the state of Russian Orthodox Church under Putin and the extent to which it is complicit in the crimes of that regime against Ukraine have confirmed the prudence of that choice for me. There is such beauty and truth in Orthodoxy, yet I just cannot square that with the nation-statism that pervades its modern incarnation.

I utterly abhor caeseropapism and nationalism mixing with religion. In a decent country like Bulgaria or Greece, the national-church model works perfectly. In a bad country like Putinist Russia, well we see the results.

I still prefer certain elements of Orthodox theology (ie the more compassionate regard for sin, the less legalistic and more mystical emphasis etc.) but I will never again consider swimming the Bosphorus due to my disagreement with the ecclesiastical structure of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Hesychasm is wonderful and the Catholic Church has much to learn from Eastern Christian traditions (I do believe that Orthodoxy excels Catholicism in certain theological areas), however Eastern Orthodoxy does not attract me anymore as a potential ‘home’, at least not while the Moscow Patriarchate acts the way it acts.

They believe Linus, not Peter, was the first Pope?

I’ll be following this thread. Having to choose between four Churches (all claiming to have direct Apostolic lineage) is unpleasant to me, too. That said, I trust that The Lord will guide me.

At the moment, I am leaning most towards Eastern Orthodoxy.

I guess it depends on how you define “pope?”

I never had to choose. The Eastern Catholic church suits me just fine. Love the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom and grateful that I have that option.

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Let us not forget about the beauty of the Eastern Rites, specifically the Byzantine Rite. Preferring a beautiful eastern Liturgy, rather than Latin, is not truly a reason to chose an Orthodox church over the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has many Rites all of which are beautiful.

May God Abundantly Bless you

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Yes, the Catholic Church has the same Rites as the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Church of the East.

The Catholic Church (via the Eastern Rites) has all of the different Christian Rites of the Apostolic Churches.

So liturgy and theology shouldn’t be a deciding factor. The question should be do you believe that Peter and his successors were given a special role or not?

If you believe it, then you should be Catholic. But you don’t have to be a Roman Rite Catholic (aka Latin Catholic or Roman Catholic), as you can be a Byzantine Catholic, Coptic Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Maronite Catholic, etc.

God Bless!

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I was baptized Lutheran-Missouri Synod, grew up Assemblies of God/Charismatic Evangelical, drifted away in my late teens, drifted back toward Methodism, rejected churches again, had a spiritual crisis, almost joined Eastern Orthodoxy(OCA) until questions about their teaching on the Papacy, and converted to Catholicism. This Easter vigil will have marked 3 years, but I’m realizing the importance of reconnecting with fellow Confirmandi and people my own age. You start to feel isolated and fatigued, and it seems like very few care until they get married and want to set a good example for their kids. That’s possibly a fatigue and depression-induced generalization.

A little OT, but if I’m correct, caeseropapism in the Eastern Church goes all the way back Constantine. I agree that bad things tend to happen when a secular powers intermingle with religious powers. Just look at some of the popes we had during the middle ages.

Thank you for sharing!
Well, political issue is basically not my reason to or not to convert. I’ll get more headache thinking about why the Catholic pope or Orthodox partriarch do certain things. I was in search of a good spiritual life. I was in depression when I was a member of a Protestant denomination. I used to hate my life

I was just like you, growing up in Charismatic movement and I too had spiritual crisis until I entered the Orthodox Church.

Whatever my choice will be in future, it will be either Orthodoxy or Catholicism. Now I can say I am more into Orthodoxy, but who knows my future…

Really good to know that others are experiencing similar feelings. I feel drawn to the Eastern Fathers of the Church very strongly. I feel that I have learned almost a new religion by reading Maximus, Basil, Irenaeus, Cyril of Alexandria own words. I dream of a Church where holiness is expected and each member pushes the others to growth. In theory it seems that in the East this is expected more than in the West which is supposed to be welcoming of all. In the West it is easy to get lost in the swarm where you might not even be known by name by the priest or any one else. It is more up to you if you will be recognized. Sacraments are handed out to anyone and truth is in books if you want to learn it. Basic teachings about Christ are unknown by all, including Deacons and Brothers, Christ really has two wills?, etc. I believe that I have been called to teach, and I wonder if I should stay in the West and help here, knowing I can never be a priest, or look in the East and possibly become a priest.

I didn’t struggle too much. I found the scriptural evidence alone quite convincing for Peter’s office once it was pointed out to me. It was important for me to be in communion with the Pope.

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Blessed are those who get Byzantine rite Catholic Church near by.

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This was a tough one for me. I love the people of my local Orthodox church, my daughter has many friends there, it’s a much smaller, tight knit congregation, their music is incredibly beautiful, and my husband wouldn’t need to get an annulment before I could join the church. But at the end of the day, these aren’t really reasons to choose Orthodoxy, right?

I’ve been avoiding actually attending more than Vespers because I was afraid it would dry me to them even more (for the wrong reasons). But as much as I was in awe during the entire Pascha service last weekend, afterwards, that “call” I have felt to the Roman Catholic Church was just as strong and unwavering. It sounds so incredibly charismatic to think in terms of feelings, but it is what it is. I know I’m in the right place - whether I am at Mass at my parish or any other parish (I’ve gotten to visit a few because we travel.)

A Catholic friend of mine pointed this out after I commented how much I loved the Orthodox Pascha service!

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Not really. I have thought it would be easier to belong to a church five minutes down the road, but I haven’t taken that thought too seriously.

I suppose I did struggle for a bit. At the time, I had returned to Catholicism for about five or six years. But I took the Orthodox contentions about the authority of the papacy seriously. After examining the historical evidence, I decided that their arguments held more sway and legitimacy. So that’s really what sealed the deal for me, although I did appreciate their ecclesiastical structure more too.

As for what someone said earlier about caesaropapism, that is generally a mischaracterization of the Byzantine Church. Yes, emperor and patriarch worked in close conjunction, but generally they often battled one another as well.

Russia indeed though is certainly a troubling situation. Czar Peter the Great abolished the patriarchal throne during his reign and simply made a council instead. The patriarch of Moscow only came back during the early 20th century, and since then has really been nothing more than a puppet of the Russian state. All this being said though, luckily the Russian Orthodox Church is not the only Orthodox Church. The prestigious Mt. Athos monastic community has even issued an anathema against the Kirill of Moscow and his thuggish lackies. Many within the Orthodox world really dislike Putin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Never had any doubts.

A book I can recommend is “Church, Papacy and Schism. A theological perspective” by Philip Sherrard.

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