Should I convert to the Roman Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox Church?


#42

The ÉO Church is good and holy. I believe the Roman Catholic Church has (at least) a couple of attributes that make it the better option.
1). The Catholic Church is less culturally divided
2). The Catholic Church has a wonderful history of sending missionaries all over the world, establishing orphanages, schools, soup kitchens, hospitals etc
This ability to leave behind family and comfort is a beautiful testament to living the Gospel. The Catholic Church is unparalleled in acts of charity to all in need.


#43

The Catholic claims that the Oneness, Catholicity, and Apostolic nature of the Church — three marks of the Church recited in the great Creed — can only be fully maintained with a correct understanding of Peter and his role.

This is the substantial difference between Catholics and Orthodox. You need to look into this more. Plenty has been said on this forum. You will want to consult good Catholic (and Orthodox) sources as well.

Here is my brief take on it: The Catholic view on Peter’s office not only is scriptural and patristic, but makes the most sense as well: It is the position of the Pope, not the Ecumenical Patriarch, that provides true center of communion in the one Church founded by Christ.


#45

Your approach will lead you to Catholicism. The Orthodox tend to view the western churches as too intellectual. The Word of God is encountered in prayer and He will lead you to the right church, it their standpoint. Reason only takes you so far. They’re big on God being unknowable.

There’s more ambiguity in their teachings and their unity as churches is different from Catholic unity.


#46

What? Huh? Where did you hear such nonsense.

That is categorically not true.

The EO do not buy into the Augustinian notion of personal guilt–but that is not dogma in the RCC, either.

To call this “uncharitable” would, well, be a charitable way of describing the attitude expressed.

There are more churches in the Catholic communion than there are canonical EO churches . . .

hawk


#47

I’m not sure what precise terminology the Orthodox use. By “original sin” I am not just referring to the sin committed by Adam and Eve – of course the EO believe in that as do all Christians. But by “original sin” I am referring to the RC doctrine that every human being since has been born affected by this sin. Perhaps I should have called it the belief in the “personally inherited consequences of original sin.” (Which, btw, is still not quite the same as inherited guilt.)

Based in part on the discussion in this thread, and specifically this post of yours, it seems that the EO do not believe in such personally inherited consequences, be they guilt or otherwise. If they did, then the immaculate conception (as discussed in the linked thread) would have been unusual, and not as obvious as 2+2=4, as you argued.

It seems that the EO only believe that newborns suffer the “environmental” effects of original sin by being born into a world that has been affected by it. This too could loosely be called “inheriting original sin”, but it is not the personal inheritance that the RCC’s doctrine has in mind. The RCC’s teaching is that every newborn is from birth affected by an innate evil tendency which must be counteracted by baptism. I believe the RCC to be right about this.

EDIT: Corrected a few confusing errors; please re-read!


#48

They certainly believe that in the fallen state we are all affected.

Again, note that the particular of RC doctrine is “only” doctrine and not dogma.

No inconsistency. We are all affected by the fall, face death, and a tendency towards sin as a consequence; this is very much EC and EO teaching. The EC are in line with the EO on this, rather than the RCC.

That tendency is definitely there in Eastern theology, affecting every person individually. Baptism doesn’t counteract that tendency under RCC teaching, but remits the past stain.

hawk


#49

Noted, but (continuing further off-topic) the inconsistency is there. You argued in the other thread that the IC is an unnecessary dogma because it states the self-evident (“2+2=4”). If you (representing the EO) acknowledge that we are all born with an innate tendency to sin, then clearly someone who is free of that from birth (as the RCC’s IC dogma holds for the BVM) is highly unusual and not a self-evident matter. (And note that I’m not a big fan of the IC dogma, so this isn’t my attempt to defend the IC.)

I took a quick peek at an Orthodox webpage to compare another point of view. It argues that in the EO view the inherited consequence of original sin is limited to mortality. It makes no mention of man’s innate tendency to sin being a consequence. This really is different from the RCC teaching.

To the OP (@DictatorCzar): to bring this digression back in line with the thread topic, let me say that I probably should have worded my point about original sin differently. The EO believe in the event of the original sin just like the RC do, and they also believe that that event still has consequences for newborns now. But, the RCC and EO do not precisely agree about what those consequences are. At the very least there is a difference in emphasis. No need to take my or dochawk’s word for it; you can do some reading for yourself on this topic if theological differences matter to you.


#50

1). The Catholic Church is less culturally divided

Not in a parish with 60-100 different nationalities and languages. The saying “This is the way we have always done it.” is not possible. That parish has to develop its own traditions when decorating the church for Christmas or using simpler language during the homily for the first couple of minutes for children and all those learning the official language and then “some more for the adults”.


#51

You can if you are THE world wide, universal Church…only one in existence


#52

The choice is yours and can only be yours. As a Catholic I would, naturally, persuade you to become a Catholic. However, whether you choose the Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox you must do so out of personal conviction and not from any intellectual argument I could use to persuade you.

Go to the Orthodox church near you and to Catholic ones and see which one feels right to you.

The Eastern Orthodox churches are churches and they have valid sacraments. Therefore, you will still be part of a valid faith if that is the route you choose.

I will pray for God to guide you. Good luck for your journey.


#53

Are you saying the parish is diverse, or divided?


#54

I was once making similar decision, as if I should or should not convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. After reading some little of history, Eastern Orthodoxy seemed right to me…

However, as I’ve read more and more, I approached the point where I was almost sure that I would not convert to Eastern Orthodoxy because of their position on Pope vs Ecumenical Patriarch and Nationanistic Churches. Thing is, I could understand their view of Pope if their view of Ecumenical Patriarch made sense to me. Now I do not mean to offend any Orthodox around, I still hold your faith in respect. However, fact Ecumenical Patriarch is Primus happened because of “practical reasons” as he was in Imperial Capital. Understandable, sure. Now, thousand years later, he retains his position because of “tradition” when it is so impractical right now. Before first millenium it was practical to make him primus (or above other Pentarchs excluding Rome) so it happened. Tradition of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem had no authority. Now, thousand years later, no one else is elected Primus because it is practical- Constantinopolitan tradition has higher meaning. Ecclesiology in Oriental Orthodoxy for example, has more decentralized model but also seems to make more sense to me.

Meanwhile in Catholicism, teaching Pope is Peter’s successor is in line with pre-schism councils and patristic scources. It is true Pope did not excercise his power in the way he uses now- however nothing suggests he couldn’t. It was just custom to not step in, until it was needed.

Also, as I began to approach all the things leading to schism and excommunication of Michael Cerularius, I seem to be inclined towards Catholicism much more as stepping on Eucharist is indeed grave sin worthy of excommunication if one does not repent from it.

I will pray for you to choose right. Pray for everyone of us to choose right, as God wants- not as men see it. After all, I am fallible and might have made mistakes in my “research” too. As others have mentioned, from Catholic standpoint converting to Eastern Orthodox would still get you valid sacraments but would separate you from unity of Peter and Church (in sense of catholicity).

Also if you are interested in Eastern tradition (be it theology, liturgy, anything), Eastern Catholics exist. I am Latin Catholic by canon law but I attend Eastern Liturgies a lot. They are fully Catholic in unity with Pope but they maintain their tradition. However, depending on your location you might or might not have them around.


#55

Just because there are divisions from the Catholic Church does it mean the Catholic Church is still NOT one. Those who leave Peter, are the divided… The divided don’t take away from the Catholic Church that Jesus established on Peter and those in union with Peter as being ONE. The divided effect THEMSELVES, but NOT the Catholic Church in union with Peter, from being ONE.


#56

The icon of Saint Peter is on the iconostasis of every Orthodox Church on this planet. I wonder if he is depicted in absolutely every Catholic Church on this world. I know he is on top of the Basilica frontispiece in Vatican but how about in every Catholic Church in this world?


#57

And what does THAT ICON of St Peter mean to the E Orthodox, when they no longer are in union with the successor to St Peter or those in union with St Peter?


#58

Change of subject. Why change the subject? Is it because you don’t like the answer to the question? Who is then divided from St. Peter?


#59

I’ll let an Eastern Bishop emeritus answer that question.

From Bp John in a Q/A


#60

It seems that current Melkite Bishop Nicholas Samra sees it a bit differently. As well as Patriarch, as we Byzantines like to refer to him, of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk has put it being Orthodox in communion with Rome is "the unity of Christ’s Church of the first millennium.”

ZP


#61

I’m firmly on the side of Bp John.

To say nothing that calling yourself “Orthodox in communion with Rome” is, in the eyes of most Orthodox, highly insulting and even blasphemous.

To the Orthodox, you are NOT Orthodox… You are a uniate and a schismatic/heretic.

Why would you choose to identify first with a group of Churches who consider you a heretical uniate, and second with the Catholic Church to which you belong?

Call yourself Catholic… Say you’re Catholic and orthodox… Say you’re Eastern Catholic and orthodox.

But seriously… You’re doing nobody any favors by calling yourself “Orthodox in communion with Rome.” In fact, you’re alienating yourself from both Catholics and Orthodox by doing so. You’re putting your Catholic identity second, thus alienating yourself from Catholics. Then you’re falsely claiming to be Orthodox, thus alienating yourself from the Orthodox.

Condemnation of the Roman See and NOT being in communion with Rome is an integral part of the Orthodox Church.

I challenge you to find an Orthodox Priest or Bishop who would receive you into the Orthodox Church without renouncing Rome as heretical.


#62

Re: Christ’s Church in the first millenium,

when I’m reading the following from the article, Re: St JPII, and the pope being the issue of disunity , when he is clearly trying to explore all avenues of unity, then I have to ask, why is the pope called an issue of disunity by the [ bishop and/or the Patriarch]?

From your article.(emphasis mine)
“on September 29, 1998 when Pope John Paul II met with the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs and strongly encouraged them to help restore full unity with Orthodox Churches. St. John Paul II asked them to seek with him the most suitable forms of Petrine ministry, engaging them and also Orthodox Patriarchs and theologians “in a patient and fraternal dialogue on the ways to exercise this ministry of united”. Basically he said and recognized that the Pope was the issue of disunity in sense – so let’s talk about how my ministry can be adapted and properly understood.18 Such an important dialogue has ups and downs – we see this also in the International Orthodox/Catholic Dialogue as well as its forerunner, the North American dialogue. A damper arose once again over Antiochian Dialogue toward unity. But a new sign appeared just this year. The horrific war in Syria, the near extermination of Christianity in Iraq, the instability of all the countries of the Middle East, particularly in Egypt and Palestine, the severe rivalries among Sunni and Shiite Muslims, once again spilling over to Lebanon which had a majority of Christians until its disastrous war: all this now threatens the existence of Christianity and its faithful.”


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