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


Online armchair theologians :joy: I see the exact same thing. And I know the ROC can be kind of the “Trad Catholic” version of the Orthodox you know, being the “third Rome” and all lol!

I have definitely seen this and in particular Protestant converts to Orthodoxy that still carry around their anti-Catholic baggage.

I agree with you. There have been great strides in Catholic/Orthodox dialogue under Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.



Seriously, as I love being Catholic (I am Latin by canon law but realistically speaking while my family ties are latin, I am interested in both Eastern and Western Catholicism in it’s fullest), if Latin Church somehow ceased being Catholic and Eastern would remain Catholic, I would rather emphasize me being Catholic than Latin. After all being Catholic is about being in unity with Church of Christ- being Eastern or Western is just about your own tradition and point of view. While both are of course very important, I think being in Union with Christ is more important than maintaining legacy. I think the problem is we put our traditions first and being Catholic second- while I think we should do it other way. That is like putting nationality before being Christian (meant as parable, not as refference to national structure of Orthodoxy this time).


I’d like to ask one thing, what do you mean by Orthodox person accepting Rome and Catholics as orthodox being sufficient to consider themselves Catholic? Wouldn’t they still be subject to preaching against Rome and not praying for the Pope in Divine Liturgy and so on? While I believe they would be considered Catholics, I also think they should find some Catholic Church (if possible, of course) too, to live full spirituality IN the Church.


If someone is an Orthodox Christian, and they have accepted in their heart that Rome is Orthodox and they consider the Holy Father their spiritual Father, there is no need for them to leave their Byzantine Orthodox Church and become Roman Catholic.

We are already in a spiritual, sacramental communion with the Orthodox, but we lack full visible communion. But if an individual Orthodox discovers the fact that Rome is orthodox and reconciles in his heart to the Holy Father, it is enough. There’s no need for him to leave his Orthodox community and “convert” to Catholicism, since he’s already in a Catholic Church.

The Orthodox Churches are fully valid Catholic Churches. They exist, as a confederation of Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches, in a state of material schism from the rest of the Church in visible communion with the Holy See. The individual Orthodox who has reconciled to the Holy Father in his heart but who wants to remain in his Orthodox Catholic Church can do that in good conscience.

I’d also argue that for the sake of the Ecumenical movement, we NEED people who have reconciled their hearts to the Holy Father to stay put in their Orthodox Churches.

If every individual Orthodox who discovers Rome’s orthodoxy leaves the Orthodox Church and becomes Roman Catholic, then the Orthodox Churches will be in perpetual schism because only the anti-Catholic Orthodox will ever remain. We need the number of Orthodox who are reconciled to Rome in their hearts to outnumber the Orthodox who are anti-Catholic if our Churches are ever going to reunite.

I’d also say that an individual Orthodox who reconciles to the Holy Father in their heart should not become a Uniate/Eastern Catholic either… Both the Catholic Magisterium and the Orthodox have agreed that Uniatism is no longer acceptable. (Not saying Eastern Catholics are unacceptable - I’m de facto an Eastern Catholic myself… I’m saying Orthodox “converting” and becoming Eastern Catholics is redundant and actually counter-productive in the grand scheme of things.)


Note: this ONLY works with people who are already Orthodox. Someone who is ALREADY Orthodox and reconciles to Rome in his heart can stay in the Orthodox Church with no issue. However, a person already in the Catholic Church (or if he’s a non-Christian or a Protestant) wanting to leave and become Orthodox and claiming they are “reconciled to Rome in their heart” is wholly unacceptable. If they were truly reconciled they’d understand there’s no need to “convert” and become Orthodox. The only scenario I can imagine this being acceptable would be if the Catholic lived in a place where there were only Orthodox Churches and no Catholic Churches whatsoever… And even then he must not allow himself to be re-baptized, or re-Chrismated as those both are implicit denials of Rome’s Orthodoxy… And obviously he couldn’t renounce Rome as heretical either. If he did any of those things he’d be a formal schismatic.


That actually makes a lot of sense- however, is therefore Uniatism discouraged entirely? If, for example, Bishops of Autocephalous Orthodox Church agreed on union with Rome, would it be accepted or not? As far as I understand then, is it same case for Orthodox who accepted Pope in his heart to go to Orthodox Church as to go to SSPX or sedevacantist churches WHILE accepting Pope in our hearts?


It would not be accepted.

The Albanian Orthodox Church petitioned Rome to become Uniate a while back… Rome declined.

Rome made an agreement with the Orthodox that uniatism is not the answer to healing the schism between East and West.


I’d make the argument that if you were wanting to associate with schismatic groups like the SSPX or sedevacantists then you haven’t truly reconciled to the Holy Father in your heart…

The SSPX and sedes are in a different boat from the Orthodox. They are schismatic Roman Catholic groups… Small numbers of individual Roman Catholics who seceded from a particular Catholic Church (the Roman Church). For the most part, the SSPX and sedes are formal schismatics, not people merely in material schism. That’s a VERY important distinction.

The Orthodox are a whole collective of individual particular Churches… Not just a group of disenfranchised Roman Catholics. The Orthodox, in general, are also not schismatics (meaning formal schismatics). The Orthodox exist in a state of material schism, but individual Orthodox Christians may or may not be formal schismatics.

(And please no debate on the SSPX status… That horse is dead. I understand they are de jure “canonically irregular.” I consider them de facto schismatic, and my opinion is solid. Don’t waste your time or mine trying to convince me otherwise.)


I would agree with your opinion about SSPX, won’t argue over that (and of course we probably share opinion about sedevacantists). Perhaps I misinterpreted my thoughts- I merely wanted to understand how is their status different from Orthodox Church status- and thank you for clarifying it.

Is therefore Albanian Orthodox Church even in schism from Rome? I do not understand why would Rome ever deny anyone’s communion with Christ’s Bride (if it indeed was sincere) just to please others who are outside of it. Even if schism is only material here, they are not allowed to be in fullness of the Church canonically and partake from gift of Papacy that our Lord gave His Church. Seems a bit weird to me.


It’s not that the Holy Roman See isn’t maternally solicitous for all her children to be in peace and full visible communion with herself… Rather, it’s certain issues which result from uniatism in our modern day which has caused her to rethink her position and try a different approach.

If the Holy See reestablished full visible communion with the Albanian Orthodox Church, for example, it would actually do more harm than good. The other Orthodox Churches would see it as a betrayal, and it would cause the East to slide further away from the West.

The Holy See wants to draw everyone in, not push them further away.

Read this for more information:

There are two documents there. The second one is "the document of the joint dialogue commission on the theme: “Uniatism, method of union of the past, and the present search for full communion.”


It seems to me that Holy See wants to get to the “all or none” approach with Orthodoxy coming to union with Catholicism. They do not want to accept individual autocephalous churches themselves to not anger ones who do not desire communion with Catholic Church yet- only time will tell if that is the right approach. Same situation has happened with Ukrainian Catholic Major Archbishop being denied Patriarch title to not anger Russia. While this approach might be right, my honest opinion is that we should not limit our own brethren to please ones who are disunited with us. I do not mean to say we should not be tolerant and kind to our separated brethren, but we should not forsake Eastern Catholics in the process. I’ve also read somewhere that Eastern Catholics usually reject these documents on the grounds that they imply they shouldn’t exist in the first place (which is, however, explicitly denied in the documents).


Hey man. Catholic Church never attacked science. Instead they actually created modern science: The scientific revolution was made in catholic lands. Some great advances in science were made by the Church: It counts the genetic of Gregor Mendel, the gregorian calendar, the modern physics aportations of Lemaitre and the first universities of Europe.

In the particular case you mentioned: Let me tell you that Church never condemned heliocentric theory, the Galileo case is actually a bit more complicated.


I’m an Eastern Catholic myself and I clearly know that’s not what they’re saying…

Uniatism served a purpose at a certain time and place… That time and place is no more. It’s not that the Churches which came back into communion with the Church aren’t welcome in the Church anymore - that’s absurd. It’s that the method with which those unions were brought about historically have been tried and found wanting for application in our day. The Holy See has discerned a new path must be taken.


And the Catholic Church has formally apologized for the 1204 sack of Constantinople and condemned it as a horrific act of violence. Even the Pope at the time was furious it happened…

The Orthodox on the other hand, have never apologized for the Massacre of the Latins of 1182 which preceded the sack of Constantinople…

I think that says something.


Please give me a reliable source.


Stay catholic


Yes. Orthodox perceive that their liturgy is more spiritual uplifting and would not want to unite with Catholics and then have the Roman Pope, using his supreme universal jurisdiction, change their liturgy to make in more in accord with the current Ordinary form Roman Mass. It is true, is it not, that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Roman Catholic Pope has supreme and universal jurisdiction over the whole Church, East and West?


Eastern practice doe not commemorate the entire heirarchical chain in the liturgy. A priest com memories his bishop, a bishop the metropolitan, the metropolitan the patriarch (or other head), and the patriarchs each other.

The current EC listing all the way up is a latinization. (but, interestingly, results in commemorating the Pope at least three times, as compared to once in the RC liturgy).


That would be an abuse of power, and there’s no reason to believe it would happen. The Synods and the Patriarchs are the ones who reserve the right to modify their liturgical rites. The Pope has never made any change to any Eastern Rite Liturgy, ever, as far as I know, so it’d also be historically unprecedented.

Lastly, the Orthodox could (and should) make it a part of their terms of reunion that their full liturgical rites will remain untouched and the Pope agrees not to touch them.


However, in patriarchal Divine Liturgies, all the Patriarchs including the Pope would be commemorated, even in the 1st millenium.

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