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

Yes, and I still have them. I think if I’d been living in a place where I could have attended the Orthodox church I’d have converted to it instead of becoming Catholic. My personal favorite for an orthodox perspective is Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy by Fr Andrew Stephen Damick. He also has a blog and a podcase. I can’t help with Catholic sources because none of the ones I’ve read have satisfactorily resolved my issues. They all just seem to say the same things.

oh one more book

The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787): Their History and Theology by Leo D. Davis SJ who is a Catholic. Forgot about that one. But it tended to send me even more to the Orthodox side.

It only matters who the first pope was to Catholics.

Good point! I just wondered how they determined Linus was “their” first pope and what happened to their Papal authority.

Being known and building friendships doesn’t happen at mass. If you want to be known and build relationships you must be active by getting involved where there is a need for volunteers.

Bolding mine.

This is exactly why I, despite liking a lot of what the orthodox churches have to offer, won’t consider conversion to them.

As I mentioned above in post # 19, caesaropapism was never accepted in the Orthodox Church. When emperors attempted to force their will on the Eastern churches, particularly in dogmatic and liturgical matters, the end result was generally a big feud between the two. If caesaropapism really was an acceptable practice, then the Orthodox Church would never have rejected the Council of Florence, and thus would be part of the Catholic Church today. As we all know, that never happened.

The charges of caesaropapism against the Orthodox Church are grossly exaggerated, and really are no different from the close alliances between kings, emperors, and popes in the Latin West throughout its history. Remove the log from your own eye, before you try to remove the speck from your brother’s.

So I’m a hypocrite for not liking a tendency of nationalism in Orthodox churches and using that dislike as reason for lack of personal conversion to that faith? I don’t recall telling anyone why were wrong for being Orthodox. Perhaps you can quote me where I have stated that? Perhaps you can quote where I encourage others to follow in my personal preference and not convert to Orthodoxy?

I’m going to say something that will not sound nice for others, my excuses, but I’m glad you’re leaving LDS and will start RCIA


(I will probably get sanctioned for this too :wink: – I’ve had two this week — so afraid of the truth)

Thank you for the books mentioned. I’m going to buy them.

I’ve just finished RCIA at a Catholic parish near by. But my disagreement of what its parish has done is something that will take a while for me to understand.

No, I did not call you a hypocrite for disliking the close ties between nationalism and some Orthodox churches. I merely argued that it was hypocritical to say that it was something exclusive or near exclusive to Orthodoxy. Catholicism was used in post-Napoleonic France as a form of nationalism. The papacy for many years in the 19th century was used as a rallying point for Italian nationalism. Catholicism to this day is still used by the Spanish monarchy to promote national integrity and unity, while the monarchy actively persecutes and tortures political dissidents. All I am saying is that history shows that Catholicism is just as prone to this problem as Orthodoxy. Therefore, to reject Orthodoxy on these charges of caesaropapism or anything similar of the sort, would logically require you to reject Catholicism as well.

and the big Catholic one - Ustaše,
(read it fast though, because it will get removed fast by mods – too much truth)

Not really, even if everything the Orthodox say is right, I’m still a totally western European person, I’d feel totally out of water in the east, and it would feel silly to me, like those non-Japanese folks who get waaayyy into Japanese culture.

I think that is a rational position to hold too. It would be quite strange and distracting to place yourself in a church environment that you feel completely at odds with culturally, and that you might very well never adapt to. To me, this seems much more of a rational and sound basis for choosing one over the other than using simple historical misconceptions.

In the past, I started resuming going to Catholic churches when I initially tried Orthodoxy. My reason was because the Orthodox church near me mostly only spoke Greek. I could not adjust. I waited until I moved to somewhere else before I resumed my conversion process and attendance to an Orthodox church.

P.S. I just want to point out that I was never at any point advocating the abandonment of Catholicism, but rather pointing out that some reasons for choosing Catholicism over Orthodoxy (ie caesaropapism) were insufficient or self-defeating.

Yeah, although I imagine things will improve with time and assimilation of immigrant communities. I mean you used to have heavily Polish and Irish Catholic churches that are just Catholic now.

Really, rational eh? I thought it was a little petty to be honest, but if I call it “patrimony” and think of it as the hand of God at work in having certain places be a certain religion like the western European mix I came from, I suppose it might be rational. Or maybe it’s that consumerist culture making culture seem less important than my car, television, computer, etc and not a rational reason.

Try to look at it from my perspective. I decided to convert to Orthodoxy. However, at the time, the Orthodox church I attended in the area wasn’t benefiting me spiritually. The language barrier made it almost impossible to understand much of what was going on, and the cultural divide was quite large. I could not really make any connections with anyone there or gain a further understanding of the faith. Furthermore, I couldn’t receive any sacraments there. So I resumed going to Catholic churches instead. In general, I always made clear to the priest my intentions to become Orthodox eventually, but they were kind enough to give me the sacraments of communion and confession. Resuming Catholic services benefited me more than attending a church I simply could not adjust to. I could not make the transition until I moved and found an Orthodox church that did mostly English, but also a lot of Greek too.

Choosing the church you believe to hold the correct doctrines is indeed important. But to do so at the expense of your relationship with God is detrimental. That’s how I view it at least.

Do you have a source, preferably from the church fathers that states this as true? I am very involved and have built many relationships, my concern is for the majority that show up and leave. Especially ones living sinful lives or stagnant in their spirituality. There is a lack of communion where we are called to be in communion.

I’m a Western European mutt from Australia, part Swedish, part Scottish and part English who grew up in the high Anglican tradition. My initial exposure to Orthodoxy was a huge cultural shock but I made the effort to learn what was actually going on and what was behind the various cultural practices which I found so alien initially. Having understood them and recognising their value I have now embraced them and my spiritual life is much, much richer as a result. I have no desire to return to the Western mindset and culture which now seems so much poorer in comparison.

Of course what never gets mentioned is the fact that all the Eastern rites combined make up barely half of 1% of the Catholic Church. Over 99% of the Church is Latin rite.

Interesting. Thank you for sharing! Which orthodox church do you attend in Sydney? What did it require to convert?

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