Questions about Eastern Catholicism


#1

Hello,

I am thinking about switching over to one of the Eastern Catholic rites. I don’t want to create a controversial thread, so I’m just going to say that I have my reasons for doing so, and that I can’t in good conscience stay where I’m at, but that I also can’t in good conscience go too far yet.

I have a few questions:

  1. Someone told me that the Ruthenian Catholic Church “has no future.” I’ve tried to ask him via email why he wrote this, but I have yet to hear a response. The Ruthenian Catholic Church is the largest Eastern Catholic group in my area, and the only EC churches near me are Ruthenian.

So, I really want to know: what is the present status of the Ruthenian Catholic Church? What are its problems? How does it compare with the other EC churches?

  1. Is it difficult to switch rites from Latin Rite to one of the Eastern rites? I understand that you need a letter from your pastor and a statement of reason to be sent to the Latin Rite and Byzantine Rite bishops. Has anyone undergone this process? How long did it take, and are many people rejected?

  2. Someone told me that, in switching rites, you are forced to sign a document stating certain restrictions. For example, I have heard that there is a “non-ordination clause” which one switching rites is forced to sign so that the Byzantines can’t steal ordinations from the Latins.

  3. Are Ruthenian priests married? I have heard that the Vatican does not allow married Ruthenians to be ordained…at least at this moment. However, I have read that the Vatican is supposedly taking the proposed ordinations by a case by case basis.

If I ever switch rites, get married, and decide to enter the priesthood, would the Vatican more than likely frown on me, especially as I have an Irish last name?

I’m not even sure if I am to become a priest yet, but I know that I am not to become one where I’m at right now. Maybe on the fringe of the Latins, but that direction is a little too rigorist for me, even if the liturgical worship is beautiful.

Thanks for your advice! :slight_smile:


#2

Where did all the Eastern Catholics go? :confused:


#3

[quote=Madaglan]1) Someone told me that the Ruthenian Catholic Church “has no future.” I’ve tried to ask him via email why he wrote this, but I have yet to hear a response. The Ruthenian Catholic Church is the largest Eastern Catholic group in my area, and the only EC churches near me are Ruthenian.

[/quote]

Ruthenian Catholic numbers have been diminishing over the years, but I would not say that the Church is in trouble.

[quote=Madaglan]So, I really want to know: what is the present status of the Ruthenian Catholic Church? What are its problems? How does it compare with the other EC churches?

[/quote]

You should attempt to experience the nuances within the different EC Church liturgy if possible. I am partial to the Ruthenians–it is beautiful beyond description. :slight_smile:

[quote=Madaglan]2) Is it difficult to switch rites from Latin Rite to one of the Eastern rites? I understand that you need a letter from your pastor and a statement of reason to be sent to the Latin Rite and Byzantine Rite bishops. Has anyone undergone this process? How long did it take, and are many people rejected?

[/quote]

You could begin going to an EC Church and never need a letter. You will always be counted as a Roman Catholic, but you can attend Divine Liturgy and receive in an EC Church anytime.

[quote=Madaglan]3) Someone told me that, in switching rites, you are forced to sign a document stating certain restrictions. For example, I have heard that there is a “non-ordination clause” which one switching rites is forced to sign so that the Byzantines can’t steal ordinations from the Latins.

[/quote]

I officially changed from Roman Catholic to Ruthenian Catholic. I did sign a paper verifying it, but this is part of canon law. I’m not familiar with the so-called “non-ordination” clause. Talk to your priest.

[quote=Madaglan]4) Are Ruthenian priests married? I have heard that the Vatican does not allow married Ruthenians to be ordained…at least at this moment. However, I have read that the Vatican is supposedly taking the proposed ordinations by a case by case basis.

[/quote]

Canon law says that if an EC man is already married, it is possible that he can be ordained to the priesthood. Monks cannot be married.

[quote=Madaglan]If I ever switch rites, get married, and decide to enter the priesthood, would the Vatican more than likely frown on me, especially as I have an Irish last name?

[/quote]

Your name would have nothing to do with it–the archbishop would play a big role.

[quote=Madaglan]I’m not even sure if I am to become a priest yet, but I know that I am not to become one where I’m at right now. Maybe on the fringe of the Latins, but that direction is a little too rigorist for me, even if the liturgical worship is beautiful.

[/quote]

Don’t become EC because you are angry with the Roman Catholic Church. That’s not a good reason. Do everything you can to reconcile with the Church you now belong to, then check out the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. If it speaks to your heart, you may want to take the plunge. I surely never regretted it–although I still love the Roman Catholic Church.

Good luck and God bless,
Mickey


#4
  1. No idea.

  2. Usually, you need a regular amount of parish experience. The Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic (for example) requires that you visit a church for two years on a regular basis The reason is that a tranfer of rite is a once-in-a-lifetime commitment. You need to be sure that you truly want to be Byzanitne rite (for example). In the event the Orthodx ever restore communion (a faint dream), you must also be ready to see your Eastern-rite Church be realigned with their Orthodox counterpart, a difficult process ot be sure.

If you are serious about an Eastern rite, be a regular attendee at their parish. Get involved as best you can, and get very accustomed to their liturgies, fasts (which are more rigorous), laws, spiritualities, etc. Remember however that even as you visit an Eastern church, you are still Latin Rite, and thus responsible to observe the fasts/laws/days of obligation/lent of the Roman Catholic Church (which differs from those in the Eastern rites). So although you are regularly attending an Eastern church, you are still Latin rite.

When your pastor thinks it is time to request a transfer of rite, you will write a request to the Eastern bishop, who will forward the request to the Latin-rite bishop (i believe). If they both approve, then the Apostolic Nucio in Washington (who represents the Apostolic See) will approve of the ritual tranfer. Your letter must state why you plan to switch rites. They want ensure that you are not planning to do so simply transfering in order to get married as a priest, or because you are disgruntled with the Novus Ordo mass, or due to a grudge against the Latin rite, a former parish or bishop, etc. It must be based upon a sense of calling, a deep commitment, and a love of the spirituality (so much so, that you have decided to enter into a life-long “marriage” with that rite).

  1. Perhaps some rites require that clause… not any that I’m aware of (then again, I’ve never tranferred). Each rite is different.

  2. I believe the Ruthenians are allowed to ordain married priests freely nowadays. It’s worth looking into… but most Eastern Catholics in the US have (finally!) been granted that permission.

  3. If you’ve legitmately transferred your rite, than you are under the laws of your new ritual church, not the Latin rite. So you would be allowed to marry. That being said, the issue of your interest in the priesthood may be raised in the process of tranferring. Make sure that your ritual transfer is not grounded upon your interest in the married priesthood. And, if that is not the reason for your transfer, AVOID mentioning your interest until after you’ve transferred (advice from an Eastern Catholic pastor friend). Still, it might take you several years before the ritual transfer would be complete, so your interest in both the Eastern priesthood, and possibly marriage, is something you must keep in the back of your mind for a few years.

And again… be sure that any disagreement with the Latin rite laws (especially clerical celibacy) is not within your heart when deciding to switch rites. I know it’s difficult… that being said, it wouldn’t hurt to study John Paul II’s teachings regarding the beauty and value of celibacy. God will lead you, and you’re in my prayers.

  • Hugo :slight_smile:

#5

Originally Quoted by Mickey:

Don’t become EC because you are angry with the Roman Catholic Church. That’s not a good reason. Do everything you can to reconcile with the Church you now belong to, then check out the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. If it speaks to your heart, you may want to take the plunge. I surely never regretted it–although I still love the Roman Catholic Church.

Good luck and God bless,
Mickey

I understand you concern.

Perhaps I can explain my situation and you can give me advice. I am a cradle Latin Rite Catholic, and for most of my life I have gone to the Novus Ordo Mass every Sunday. However, I have always cringed at the thought of going to Mass. When young, I hated it because I thought it was boring and stolid. It was because of the Mass that I stopped going to church altogether for about two years. During that time I read the Bible and the works of the early Church Fathers. They re-ignited my interest in Christianity, but my interest in the Novus Ordo Mass worsened, if anything.

I don’t mean to lash out at the Novus Ordo Mass. There are many, I am sure, who have been brought to Catholicism because of the Novus Ordo Mass. There are some, I am sure, to whom the Novus Ordo Mass speaks on a very spiritual level. However, personally, I always feel on edge, like something is wrong, while attending a Novus Ordo Mass. Recently, I have realized that I’m not like every one else, and that the music, much of it written by and for Protestants, rather than fill my soul with divine love, only makes me angry and at unrest the rest of the day.

I truly think that an Eastern Church may be for me. I went to an Indult TLM (Low Mass) about a month ago. I enjoyed the clear emphasis on reverence and God in this Mass, but I felt that, although the Mass was proper and impressive, there was little heart behind it. I can’t really explain it; the Mass just seemed too heady to me. Then again, there was no music.

You said that it’s not good to become Eastern Catholic if you are angry at the Roman Catholic Church. Does this apply to my case? I’m angry at the Roman Catholic Church, yes, but I also feel spiritually dry in the Novus Ordo Mass, and I sensed that the TLM, while liturgically beautiful, lacks something deep and spiritual–for me at least. I’m sure that theologically the TLM is fulfilling. So, I’m thinking that the Eastern Churches might do the trick.


#6

Magdalan: What you’re describing is not inherent to the “Novus Ordo”. In fact, the way it is actually written is VERY reverent, done in Latin, which traditional choir and chanting. Try to find a parish that does masses that more rigidly conform to the Mass of Vatican II. What you’re describing is within the bounds of the Mass, but is not the way it’s typically celebrated outside of the U.S., and espescially in the Vatican.

I attend a Dominican church where a traditional “Novus Ordo” Mass is performed, and it’s breath-taking. Remember, John Paul II’s funeral Mass was of Vatican II vintage as well, and it was beautiful. It’s all about HOW the Mass is done, not the Rite doing it.


#7

Do you have a solid spiritual director? It sounds to me as if you are more in need of spiritual direction and training - and catechesis - before you make any commitments to change rites.

I am in a parish that uses the hymnal from Oregon Catholic Press, and I don’t want to start a firestorm about that. I would point out, however, that many of the songs in there are based on the Psalms, the Old Testament writings, Epistles, and, I beleive, the Gospels. To take a shot at them as being written for Protestants, or being protestantised is, IMHO, to show ignorance of the Scriptures.

And while I am asking questions, how deep and long is your prayer life? Do you spend organized time each day in prayer? Do you say the Office? if not, you might start that, too, before you look at jumping ship. I found that saying the Office (and right now I am terrible at it) made a profound difference, after awhile, in how I approached the Mass.


#8

Originally Quoted by adventistnomore:

So you would be allowed to marry. That being said, the issue of your interest in the priesthood may be raised in the process of tranferring. Make sure that your ritual transfer is not grounded upon your interest in the married priesthood. And, if that is not the reason for your transfer, AVOID mentioning your interest until after you’ve transferred (advice from an Eastern Catholic pastor friend). Still, it might take you several years before the ritual transfer would be complete, so your interest in both the Eastern priesthood, and possibly marriage, is something you must keep in the back of your mind for a few years.

Yeah, I see where you are coming from. Here’s my situation.

Do I feel like I’m possibly being called to the priesthood? Moderate to big yes.
Do people tell me that I should become a priest? Yes.
Do I feel like I’m called to be a Latin diocesean priest? Big no.
An order priest? **I considered the Jesuits for a while, since they seemed to fit me exactly. But, after reading about the general state of the Jesuits today, and after much thought on what I would be doing, I determined that this is not what God has planned for me. I love the Jesuit Order’s history and saints, and I probably would have sacraficed everything to become a Jesuit, but I must seriously say here, curse Arrupe and the modernist Jesuits from GC31+ who rearranged the Jesuit Order to something alien to its original purposes. ** I think that I would only become a Latin priest if I were to become a Jesuit–but circumstances don’t allow it. I was born too late.
A monk? No.
Do I possibly feel like I’m being called to become married? Yes.
Do I feel pained in the thought of not ever being married? Big yes.
Do I feel called to being celibate the rest of my life? Big no.
Will God drag me to becoming celibate the rest of my life? **I hope not, but I fear very much so that God will force me (through disease, physical and mental illness, spiritual dryness, etc.) to be celibate the rest of my life. **
Do I feel like God is drawing me away from the present Latin Rite for my better good? Yes.
Towards more traditional worship? Definitely yes.
Towards traditional Catholicism? **I’m not totally sure, but I don’t think so. Too polemical and headstrong. **
Towards the East? Big yes
Towards non-Christian Eastern faiths? Big no.
Towards Orthodoxy? Maybe. Not sure yet.
Towards Coptic Christianity? **Maybe. Not sure yet. **
Towards Eastern Catholicism? Maybe. Not sure yet (depends on Orthodoxy question).

So, you see that I’m feeling somewhat called to three things: the East, married life and the priesthood. I know 100% that I’m not called to become a Latin Rite diocesean priest (NO priest; TLM priest, like FSSP = 80% sure that I’m not called), and, although maybe in the past, I don’t feel called to any Roman Catholic order.

Everyone implies, when they talk with me, that I will become a Latin priest. It makes my blood curdle, not simply because of the celibacy issue, but because of other issues, too, which probably would have been non-issue a hundred years ago. Although the celibacy issue does indeed bother me, since I feel like my heart is being torn in two–desperately desiring for me to be married and have that type of companionship, but also wanting to become more intimately involved in the Church by becoming a priest–I don’t believe that the Latin Rite’s celibacy rule should be abolished, as this might destroy the honor placed on celibacy by Scripture and Church Tradition.

And again… be sure that any disagreement with the Latin rite laws (especially clerical celibacy) is not within your heart when deciding to switch rites. I know it’s difficult… that being said, it wouldn’t hurt to study John Paul II’s teachings regarding the beauty and value of celibacy. God will lead you, and you’re in my prayers.

If and when I switch rites, and if I decide that the Roman Catholic Church is the Catholic Church founded by Christ, then I would definitely understand the legitimacy of the clerical celibacy laws. I agree that celibacy is a worthy state, but I also understand that the call to the priesthood should not be equated with the call to celibacy. I agree more with the Eastern Catholic (and Orthodox, and early Church) perspective on that one.

Thank you for your prayers :slight_smile:


#9

Originally Quoted by otm:

Do you have a solid spiritual director? It sounds to me as if you are more in need of spiritual direction and training - and catechesis - before you make any commitments to change rites.

Yes, I do have two Latin Rite priests with whom I speak on a regular basis.

I am in a parish that uses the hymnal from Oregon Catholic Press, and I don’t want to start a firestorm about that. I would point out, however, that many of the songs in there are based on the Psalms, the Old Testament writings, Epistles, and, I beleive, the Gospels. To take a shot at them as being written for Protestants, or being protestantised is, IMHO, to show ignorance of the Scriptures.

The songs are beautiful, and I am aware that the songs are based on the Scriptures. I did not mean, when I said that they were written for Protestants, that they are unsuitable for Catholics ears. It is not the content that disturbs me. It is the fact that I see the use of these songs in a wider context–in the ecumenical context. And I think that to mix Protestant songs in the Catholic Mass (however noble and beautiful these songs are) is, if not doctrinally sound, at least unwise, as it lessens the focus on traditional Latin hymns, and on the atmosphere created by these hymns. Pope Benedict XVI himself likes the older Catholic hymns more, and has recently commented on this.

But this is my main theological contention The *personal *reason (as opposed to theological reason) I don’t like the Protestant hymns in church is because I personally find the tunes–not the Scriptural lyrics—as spiritually empty…to me personally, but probably not to others in the church. I really enjoy the older Latin hymns, as well as the Eastern services, such as the Paraklesis, or the Akathist hymns. In fact, just a few weeks ago, there was song I heard. It was absolutely beautiful, and the song and lyrics were composed in something like the 1200’s A.D.

I am not ignorant of Scriptures, btw. Your post sounds angry. I am sorry if what I wrote was not clear. I am very much concerned with presserving Church Tradition. I am also, admittedly, concerned for my spiritual well-being, which is in peril right now.

And while I am asking questions, how deep and long is your prayer life? Do you spend organized time each day in prayer? Do you say the Office? if not, you might start that, too, before you look at jumping ship. I found that saying the Office (and right now I am terrible at it) made a profound difference, after awhile, in how I approached the Mass.

Well, prayer life is pretty good, considering my present situation, which is more or less the purgatative state of the Dark Night of the Soul. Do I spend organized time each day in prayer? Well, when I’m not thinking about literally killing myself over the very real mental, physical and spiritual torment, yes; when I am, I try my best to pray, but I cannot. I’m sorry, I cannot. I must lack faith in the Almighty.

I’ve tried just about every Latin series of prayers–from the Divine Chaplet, to Novenas, to the rosary, etc. Everything is so dry. Not to accuse you, but do you know what it’s like never having had a spiritual experience, never to have personally encountered God, through prayer, through the world, or through other people? I have never had this, and the past five years I have had serious depression, which makes it a constant struggle for me to pray, much less with with conviction. I have no emotions, each day is bleak and hopeless, empty of God. But every so often I do pray, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Thank you for your words of comfort.


#10

Originally Quoted by Ghosty:

Magdalan: What you’re describing is not inherent to the “Novus Ordo”. In fact, the way it is actually written is VERY reverent, done in Latin, which traditional choir and chanting. Try to find a parish that does masses that more rigidly conform to the Mass of Vatican II. What you’re describing is within the bounds of the Mass, but is not the way it’s typically celebrated outside of the U.S., and espescially in the Vatican.

I attend a Dominican church where a traditional “Novus Ordo” Mass is performed, and it’s breath-taking. Remember, John Paul II’s funeral Mass was of Vatican II vintage as well, and it was beautiful. It’s all about HOW the Mass is done, not the Rite doing it.

Thank you for your unique perspective. You are correct, I think, that it is not the rite but how a Mass is done which counts. Unfortunately, most of the Masses I’ve been to are not as reverent as the one, say, that is presented on EWTN. The Mass presented on that station is the most reverent Novus Ordo Mass that I can think of having ever witnessed (albeit from tv).

I have a friend who is visiting a Benedictine monastery; and he says that the Mass performed there is much more reverential than most Masses in the U.S.

To qualify your statement, which I believe is for the most part true, the rite also is very important. It lays the guidelines and boundaries for how a Mass is to be offered.

I hope that everyone doesn’t think that I’m Mass-bashing, but even when I watch EWTN’s Mass (which I consider to be par excellance Novus Ordo) I cannot help but think, deep down, that something is missing. :frowning: Something deep down is saying, this is reverential and holy, but there’s something more. And I have yet to find this something more. Even when I attended the TLM near me, which was very reverential, I still got the same feeling: something more. So, it’s not just the Novus Ordo Mass.


#11

Originally Quoted by me, earlier:

The songs are beautiful, and I am aware that the songs are based on the Scriptures. I did not mean, when I said that they were written for Protestants, that they are unsuitable for Catholics ears. It is not the content that disturbs me. It is the fact that I see the use of these songs in a wider context–in the ecumenical context. And I think that to mix Protestant songs in the Catholic Mass (however noble and beautiful these songs are) is, if not doctrinally sound, at least unwise, as it lessens the focus on traditional Latin hymns, and on the atmosphere created by these hymns. Pope Benedict XVI himself likes the older Catholic hymns more, and has recently commented on this.

I just want to clarify this further, so that there are no misunderstandings. I believe that there are many Protestant songs which are very beautiful. In fact, I listen to several of them at home, such as “All in All,” “Days of Elijah,” “Come Expecting Jesus” (on my Songs 4 Worship CD’s). However, I feel uncomfortable hearing these songs (and those just a little older) at a Catholic Mass. It is not that I feel the songs are themselves wrong, but that I feel they don’t belong in a Catholic Mass–primarily because they oftentimes, in my own opinion, attempt to neatly fuse the traditional Catholic spirit with a Protestant one, which I think is impossible; but secondarily because I recognize the danger of using the symbol of one whom one considers in opposition to the faith.

To use an illustration on this second point, the earliest Church Fathers did not use in their worship as much incense and statues as Catholics today–primarily because the early Church’s enemies, the pagan worshippers, used these with certain non-Christian associations and in the different contexts of polytheism. To frequently use statues very early on in Christianity, while not doctrinally wrong, would have created the appearance of a pseudo-unity between pagans and Christians; and it may have led well-intended Christians to borrow (which is different than reappropriate) the beliefs of paganism.

I suppose that in reading how the Anglican Church lost its catholicity through the slow but sure editting of the liturgy by Cranmer, et al. also alerts me to potential dangers.

Also, I don’t see why we need to use Protestant hymns if Catholicism is 2000 years old. Has not Catholicism, during this time, generated enough songs to fit at least one hymnal?

correction: * “unsound”, not “sound.”


#12

If and when I switch rites, and if I decide that the Roman Catholic Church is the Catholic Church founded by Christ, then I would definitely understand the legitimacy of the clerical celibacy laws. I agree that celibacy is a worthy state, but I also understand that the call to the priesthood should not be equated with the call to celibacy. I agree more with the Eastern Catholic (and Orthodox, and early Church) perspective on that one.

Hmmmm… this paragraph disappoints me. I can’t imagine that the Latin rite would need to “confirm” its laws on clerical celibacy as “legitimate.” I humbly ask you to become better acquainted with the theological heritage of the Latin rite, and of the Scriptures themselves. An inspiring place to begin your search is within the writings of John Paul the Great. Take a few days, and meditate upon the meaning of both marriage and celibacy. Let God’s word enlighten you to the significance of celibacy, and its irreplaceable value within the Church and the Western priesthood.

ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2TBIND.HTM (search for “celibacy,” “continence,” and “marriage.”)


Madaglan,

The early Church unequivocally upheld the dignity, praise, and relative superiority of celibacy, as did the apostles (1 Cor. 7). Although not all Catholic rites came to view the call to celibacy as an essential qualification for the priesthood, all have viewed it as a preferred trait in those called to the demands of Christian ministry. Therefore, Latin rite priests and bishops are chosen from among those who already have a calling to live single lives dedicated to God. It is not a regulation or condition, but an entrance requirement. In most Eastern rites, married individuals may be priests, but from ancient times, bishops have been selected only from among the celibate.

You my personally feel called to marriage… ** I struggle with the same issues ** as I consider my vocation and ritual calling as I return to the Catholic Church (I was raised Protestant). Unless you transfer to the Eastern rites (again, for positive reasons alone), you are bound to humbly surrender to the millennium-long tradition of the Latin rite. And, I must admit, it is a beautiful tradition… a difficult one, but one that enlightens man and glorifies Christ. I was baptized Latin rite, and although I may not understand God’s calling in my life with regards to marriage, the ministry, or my own spiritual attraction to the Byzantine rite (I am considering being chrismated as a Byzantine with episcopal/Apostolic permission), I love the teachings and canons of the Latin rite with all my heart. Its legacy is irreplaceable within the Church.

I believe that at this point in time, your situation requires a different answer than ritual transfer. You may decide to enter the Byzantine rite someday, but at this point, you have to rediscover the beauty, heritage, and truth of the Catholic faith, particularly its Latin expression (your native rite). The Catholic Church is a family of 22 legitimate Christian traditions in communion with one another: each beautiful, each unique, and each drawing its life from the apostolic tradition preserved in them. One may feel that one or another rite speaks to their spirituality more deeply, but one should ever feel that any rite of the Catholic Church is inferior to another in such a way as to claim that its traditional norms are misguided, too rigid, or subject to dissent, etc. (Side note: It’s funny; the Latin rite has a reputation of being one of the less demanding rites of the Church in terms of its fasting cycle, etc.) Part of being Catholic is to welcome and appreciate the fullness and universality (catholicity) of Christian expression, and to become one with the theology, spirituality, and practice of all these traditions, particularly their native one.

Your embrace of one cannot be a denial of another in any way, even within your own soul. :slight_smile:

  • Hugo

#13

I can relate to your experience. It is somewhat similar to mine. I was born and raised Latin Catholic but also fell away from the Church and became a non-practicing Catholic for quite some time. (I think this was due mostly to the follies of youth and overall laziness on my part). It was the sacrament of reconciliation that brought me back. After a long absence of confession, I felt drawn to return to this sacrament. I wept. What a beautiful sacrament. I was now back in the fold as a devout and practicing Roman Catholic–receiving the Eucharist worthily–and joyful. Then I happened to experience the Divine Liturgy at a Ruthenian Catholic Church. Words cannot describe what I felt. It spoke to my heart. I began to study the Church Fathers, Eastern theology, iconography, etc. The mysticism of the East was inspiring to me–the perfect balance to the scholastism of the West. I was breathing with both lungs. I changed “rites” but as I said, I still love the West, and when I attend a Roman Catholic Church, I have a different perspective now.

I have experienced some Roman Catholic Churches that seem to have been protestantized (is that a word?). This is unfortunate, but when this happens I focus on the Blessed Sacrament. That is why I am there, and the Holy Orders of the priest assures me that it is valid.

Today I am discerning the diaconate. I am married. Is the priesthood as a married man a possibility for me? Certainly. The Lord will let me know the answer to that one. But the celibate priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church is a blessed vocation with a rich history and ample Biblical support.

Pray about all this, Madaglan. It will be revealed to you.

Blessings,
Mickey


#14

Thank you everyone for your posts. First, I want to say to otm that I hope I didn’t come on too hard yesterday in my posts. However, I didn’t like being called ignorant and in need of catechesis, as well as “jumping ship,” as though I were leaving the Catholic faith altogether. I probably over-reacted in resonse to you. :frowning: This said, I will try to take your advice to study up some more on Latin beliefs. I have been reading this Peter Kreeft book called Summa of the Summa, and it’s fairly good. I also plan to read Anselm and other scholastics.

My favorite Latins, however, are English anchorites and mystics, such as Julian of Norwich and Margary Kempte (is she blessed?). I also love Dante and other medieval religious poetry, such as the poem of the Rood.

I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but just a few months ago I read Crossing the Threshold of Hope, by the late Pope John Paul II. Maybe it was the English translation, but I didn’t get much spiritual sustenance out of it, even though I tried my best to feel enlightened by it.

However, whenever I read about the original and traditional Jesuits, how they martyred themselves, etc. I am definitely inflamed with great interest in the Latin Church. The whole Jesuit model of selling everything you have, becoming spiritual and academic gurus, following a life of obedience to your superiors, and then going out to fight Protestantism, paganism and other evils, really appeals to me more than anything else in Catholicism. Although not a Jesuit, I especially like reading St. Francis de Sales’ tracts against the Reformed Christians to whom he was sent to re-convert. :smiley:

So, I definitely want to read St. Robert Bellarmine, but I can’t find his complete works anywhere. I believe Paulist press has a book that conatins selections from his books, but where can I find his complete works?

The mysticism of the East was inspiring to me…

I very much like it how the West traditionally has been very firm and clear in what it believes. I like the Jesuits because they are the epitomy of what I see as the Western genius–being deeply intellectual but spiritual and Catholic at the same time. On the other hand, sometimes I feel that intellectualism can go too far and replace revelation, or make revelation dependent on it. The Catholic Church rejects the over-rationalization which often results in modernism, but there is that tendency nontheless in placing high regard on the possibilities of philosophical inquiry.

I have always liked the East (even pre-Christian East) because there was something mystical–something beyond mere human comprehension. Oftentimes I get headaches reading about the intellectual struggles that rage in Western Christianity to this day. Eastern Christianity sometimes seems more practial and centered on the soul, rather than the mind.

I have experienced some Roman Catholic Churches that seem to have been protestantized (is that a word?).

Yeah, I mean, that’s the big problem I’m having. Most of the Roman Catholic churches to which I’ve been in my area are protestantized to more or less a degree. Maybe it’s the diocese, because I’ve gone to three separate parishes in my area on a regular basis, and one of them is the cathedral parish. I’ve been to a few other Catholic churches outside my diocese when visiting relatives, but I can’t remember what they were like.

I think one of my biggest problems is discerning the true Church. It’s really a struggle for me. I oftentimes wonder if the Orthodox Church is the true Church. If this is true, this is a big problem for me, since the Orthodox believe, unlike the West, that the apostolic succession and the graces worked through it are made comletely null once a body breaks itself from the living body of the Church.

So, a lot of times I’m at Mass wondering, “If the Orthodox are right, am I being artolatrist (from artolotry, bread worship) in believing that the priest has consecrated the bread?”

And then there are the Copts…

Originally quoted by adventistnomore:

I believe that at this point in time, your situation requires a different answer than ritual transfer…

Perhaps. I don’t know. I really want to read up on the history of the Church. Once I decide where the Church is to be found, I’ll focus more on that Church, be it Catholic, Orthodox or Coptic. I know that I am too serious and traditional to become a diocesean Roman Catholic priest, but not meant to become a SSPX (or FSSP) priest either.


#15

I’m reading the early pre-Nicene Fathers right now. However, I begin my M.A. in Theology program next Fall, so I’ll definitely learn Latin theology then. I just hope that, when I do learn Latin theology, I get to learn it as Catholics have understood it for hundreds of years, and in all its hard sayings, even those which might offend Protestants, Jews, Masons, other non-Catholics, etc. Not that I want to despise these groups, but because I want to recognize what Catholicism has and always will teach.

Another big problem I’m having is feeling forced to choose celibacy or marriage when I have never had a romantic relationship, but less been on a date. And this is worsened because I really wish for this. I once watched an old black and white movie about a nun who taught at an elementary school. One of her students came up to the nun and said to her that she wanted to be a nun. The nun, in reply, said that it was too early for her to decide that, and she could only make that decision after growing up, having a boy friend, going on dates, etc. I keep this Hollywood nun’s advice in mind.


#16

CATHOLICISM HAS EAST AND WEST IN UNITY UNDER THE SEE OF PETER JUST AS IT WAS BEFORE THE GREAT SCHISM–THAT’S WHY I STAY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.


#17

[quote=Madaglan]Yes, I do have two Latin Rite priests with whom I speak on a regular basis.

The songs are beautiful, and I am aware that the songs are based on the Scriptures. I did not mean, when I said that they were written for Protestants, that they are unsuitable for Catholics ears. It is not the content that disturbs me. It is the fact that I see the use of these songs in a wider context–in the ecumenical context. And I think that to mix Protestant songs in the Catholic Mass (however noble and beautiful these songs are) is, if not doctrinally sound, at least unwise, as it lessens the focus on traditional Latin hymns, and on the atmosphere created by these hymns. Pope Benedict XVI himself likes the older Catholic hymns more, and has recently commented on this.

But this is my main theological contention The *personal *reason (as opposed to theological reason) I don’t like the Protestant hymns in church is because I personally find the tunes–not the Scriptural lyrics—as spiritually empty…to me personally, but probably not to others in the church. I really enjoy the older Latin hymns, as well as the Eastern services, such as the Paraklesis, or the Akathist hymns. In fact, just a few weeks ago, there was song I heard. It was absolutely beautiful, and the song and lyrics were composed in something like the 1200’s A.D.

I am not ignorant of Scriptures, btw. Your post sounds angry. I am sorry if what I wrote was not clear. I am very much concerned with presserving Church Tradition. I am also, admittedly, concerned for my spiritual well-being, which is in peril right now.

Well, prayer life is pretty good, considering my present situation, which is more or less the purgatative state of the Dark Night of the Soul. Do I spend organized time each day in prayer? Well, when I’m not thinking about literally killing myself over the very real mental, physical and spiritual torment, yes; when I am, I try my best to pray, but I cannot. I’m sorry, I cannot. I must lack faith in the Almighty.

I’ve tried just about every Latin series of prayers–from the Divine Chaplet, to Novenas, to the rosary, etc. Everything is so dry. Not to accuse you, but do you know what it’s like never having had a spiritual experience, never to have personally encountered God, through prayer, through the world, or through other people? I have never had this, and the past five years I have had serious depression, which makes it a constant struggle for me to pray, much less with with conviction. I have no emotions, each day is bleak and hopeless, empty of God. But every so often I do pray, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Thank you for your words of comfort.
[/quote]

I can’t speak for whether they were written for Catholics or Protestants - or just plain old Christians. But I believe that most of the writers for OCP are writing for the Catholic Church.

If I sounded angry to you, I apologize; I re-read it and I don’t pick that up, but my keyboard doesn’t have much in the way of inflection…

It doesn’t sound like you lack faith; it sounds like you may be clinically depressed. And speaking from personal experience, that is not a particularly good position from which to make major life decisions. Get thee to a good counselor, and if necessary, a good doctor.

Ok, now instead of stream of coonsciousness response, I have read the entire post. You are depressed.

No, I don’t beleieve that pills are a magic potion, all to make the world rosy. But depression is a sign of a chemical imbalance in the noggin, and putting up with that is no walk in the park - as you are already aware.

Your problem, I strongly suspect, is not about the Eastern rites vs. the Western rite, or about preserving any traditions, but more about trying to hang on to some shreds of sanity, and these are your hooks. That doesn’t make them bad, or wrong. But you need to get your head straight, or at least calmed down to the point where the mental torment is not a torment.

Been there, done that, don’t care to wear the t-shirt. There is help; quit stalling or avoiding it. That is why God gave us intelligent and caring physicians.


#18

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