This is great advice! It may feel urgent, and I get that, I’ve been discerning which church to join for over a year now and I am so ready to be done… but there is no rush and in hindsight it’s much to make the right decision and take a tone of time. Both churches believe that if you convert to one, then later decide “oh no I made I mistake I should have been the other” and convert to the other church, you’re doomed. So if you believe that (which I really struggle with that!) you better take all the time you need to figure it out. If you’re going to go into detail with your research like it sounds like you want to then you might need a few years!
It’s sustained just fine for the last 2,000 years…
That’s a question no one here can answer. Both Churches have apostolic succession therefore a valid Eucharist. It comes down to whether or not communion with Rome is a matter of importance to you.
The RCC and EO are theologically similar, but the community feel is quite different, as are the rituals. When people go about “picking a religion” they tend to over-emphasize theology and underestimate the impact of community feel and familiarity with the rituals. Depending on your background (nationality, languages, etc.) the EO might be much harder for you to really feel at home in. Or the other way around, of course. Also, depending on your lifestyle (a lot of traveling? where is your regular place? etc.), you might want to take into account that the RCC is far more ubiquitous than the EO. Take any metropolis in the world outside countries that are “native EO” and you’ll probably find only one EO church (or none), probably with no English-language service, while you’ll find a dozen or more RCC’s, with many offering Mass in English.
By the way, there is also quite a difference between the EO and OO (Oriental Orthodox). You might want to look into that too, if you’re leaning to Orthodox way.
See also my earlier post on (almost) the same topic:
P.S. On the matter of theological fundamentals, I believe the EO to be in error about original sin. (They don’t believe in it.) This is kind-of a big deal. Then again, the RCC has Her Own idiosyncracies.
I chose Rome first because of Peter. It seemed to me that biblically, Christ set Peter apart. After The resurrection, it seems Peter remained in a strong leadership position.
I also chose Rome because it seems like Christ wanted his church to remain unified. There is so much division and borderline sectarianism in Orthodoxy. In the last few months there was a major schism between Moscow and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
I also chose Rome because it fit much better. I have no ethnic connection to any of the Orthodox churches. For many of those churches, ethnicity seems central to understanding the rituals, and fitting in at the parish. I’d be like a fish out of water at an Orthodox Church.
The things you bring up like the sacking of Constantinople and Galileo/Capernicus are really ancillary points of history. No one can say that people associated with the Catholic Church or the Orthodox churches were always 100% correct in action they took through 2000 years of existence.
Since millions of people attend each sect what can we conclude that listening to God does to guide someone to the correct church?
Most people don’t take God unto consideration when deciding to change churches. They are usually motivated by other concerns.
This is a personal decision in which you need to make up your mind about where you’re called.
I myself was faced at one point with a similar choice, Egyptian Coptic, or RC. I liked both, but chose to remain in the Catholic Church, bcs culture does matter, I feel. I know with the Coptics, I’d be surrounded by mostly Egyptians speaking Arabic, and just did not want to feel like an outsider. May seem like a superficial choice, but it’s not.
This is why I ended up EO. My American experience of RCC vs EO were very different! In the RCC church I felt like I experienced a very “cultural” expression of Catholicism, as in people seemed very detached, a large congregation where 80% of people in attendance come, talk to no one, then leave. I forced myself on every person I spoke to I felt like. In my Eastern Orthodox Church, everyone was extraordinarily friendly, even the priest approached us on maybe the second time we came and asked us about ourselves and what our background was etc. 90% of my Antiochian parish are converts, which is very common in the OCA or Antiochian churches, and they are very full of zeal, which as a convert myself, from atheism, is very refreshing. When you’re making a drastic change in your life, you want to be around people who get that, not people who see it all as any other day. Just my experience . I still highly respect the Catholic Church as it was my first experience of the Church in general .
Isn’t it amazing. Millions of people are born, and some listen to God when He asks them to consecrate themselves to Him as Priests and Religious.
The Church is not a sect.
I agree! The Eastern Churches, whether Catholic or Orthodox, tend to be more friendly in the sense that they are much smaller. You really get to know the person/family sitting/standing (OCA) next to you. We share a meal, potluck, after every Liturgy where everyone attends.
Well, since you’re asking a forum comprised mostly of Catholics, of course we’ll tell you to convert to Catholic. Just remember that Roman Catholic is not the only kind of Catholic, there are Eastern Catholics as well. That might be an interesting subject to research.
My advice is to visit Catholic and Orthodox churches and see their Mass and Divine Liturgy, respectively. And of course, pray a bunch.
What makes one a Catholic.
From a Melkite Catholic Bishop ameritus (Eastern Catholic Bishop)
"To be a Catholic Christian means that one accepts the primacy of the Pope of Rome, because he is the successor of St. Peter. To be an Orthodox Christian means that one does not recognize the primacy of the Pope of Rome, but considers him as “first among equals.”
According to the Catholic teaching, Christ did not create a church with five heads of equal importance. He established One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church whose invisible head is the Lord, but whose visible head is the Pope of Rome.
The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches states it in these terms: “The bishop of the Church of Rome, in whom resides the office (munus) given in a special way by the Lord to Peter, first of the Apostles and to be transmitted to his successors, is head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the entire Church on earth; therefore in virtue of his office (munus) he enjoys supreme, full, immediate and universal ordinary power in the Church which he can always freely exercise.” (Canon 43 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches) From: https://melkite.org/eparchy/bishop-john/are-we-orthodox-united-with-rome
He explains it well
Point being, Jesus established His Church on Peter and those in complete union with Peter. THAT is Our Lord’s Church. Only one Church fits the description. The Catholic Church.
Me and my wife constantly battle over this, as I have a Catholic background ( I prefer the Latin Mass), and she has an Orthodox background. She refuses to consider the Catholic church due to the current abuse scandals and corruption within the Church clergy which I do agree goes to the top in Rome.
I have suggested Eastern Catholicism but she won’t do anything that prays in the “Name of the Pope” during the prayer of consecration. It has had a bad affect on me, I have missed Mass more often than not lately. Issues involving the kids have contributed to that as well.
I have been an Eastern rite Catholic for 30 years, and then our parish closed down. We prayed as we considered what our options are. We found a RC parish that had a Catholic school and high school, a soup kitchen, a 24 hour/7 days a week adoration chapel. There were a lot of different ministries going on in the church too. I felt like they were blessing the surrounding community as well as the parishioners. It was something we could get behind and support. We are a part of something bigger.
Love the EO Church.
But there is only one Church in existence still claiming the authority given to her by Jesus…still calling for councils(just as in ACTS 15)… and still offering incense and a pure offering to the Lord, daily, as per Malachi 1:11.
When I first stepped foot in my current RCC Parish, my wife and I barely made it in the door and the priest came to introduce himself and asked about us and had a 15 minute chat. He was very warm and friendly and frankly that’s what made the decision that we found the right parish instantly.
Thank you for sharing that. I think that is key information. The Church is the body of Christ (of believers right?), united in one Spirit. And I know that even St. Peter and St. Paul had a disagreement (about circumcision I think), but they worked that out, or rather God’s Holy Spirit did. The whole council thing makes so much sense because of history, all the way back to the original disciples of Christ that He Himself chose.
I’m really legitimately confused how this is an argument for the RCC… you can’t have a legitimate council by yourself.