Treading a fine line between Catholic and Orthodox

Forgive my ignorance, if you would, as an unhappy evangelical Anglican looking for something more rooted in history.

I know good, solid Catholics. I know committed and sound Orthodox. And I am completely confused about what to do about it. I love my rosary and devotion to the blessed Mother. But I love the view the Orthodox have of healing the sickness of sin. I love adoration. But I love the doctrine of theosis and union with God.

I’m not asking anyone to make any decisions for me, I know that is something for me alone, but in amongst all the other confusions, difficulties and oppositions , this seems like a really, really big issue and I am struggling to see a way through. Can any Orthodox or Catholic who has been through a similar trial offer advice?

Honestly not looking for a fight or a slanging match.

I have not been in this situation but from my limited perspective you can’t go wrong with either. Peace and understanding be with you in your journey.

Have you considered the Eastern Catholic Churches, particularly the Byzantine Rite ones such as Ukrainian or Ruthenian? These would give you “the best of both worlds”, it seems.

Depending on where you live, you could consider a Byzantine Catholic Church. There you would have the eastern / Byzantine Rite spirituality, but still be in Communion with the Catholic Church.

Or, if you live close to one, you could consider an Anglican Use Catholic Parish.

God Bless

You beat me to it. If you’re torn between EO and Roman Catholicism, one of the eastern rite churches would seemingly be a very sound place to focus your attention. Any of the Byzantine Rite churches in particular would be a good place to start.

Why not both! Since the Lord Jesus is actively involved in both Churches why not pick up from both. I realize you want to belong to a parish so you can still do this while learning from both sources. It is very much like when you go to any fast food place and they always ask “do you want this in a combo?” Perhaps God is asking you this question. Perhaps God is asking this to all of us. By combining both worlds we get this better perspective and who knows but a better deal as well. Pray for guidance to help lead you into the direction which the Lord is searching for in your heart. Unity will become realized when more people will decide to become a “combo”. You can still be a combo while belonging to one or the other Church.

And there are also WRO (Western-Rite Orthodox, for anyone who’s not into abbrev.) parishes. Not saying there’s one near you, necessarily, but it’s a possibility.

Yep he could try that , or the oriental Catholic Churches

As someone who leans toward many Eastern positions, and whose family was traditional Ukrainian Catholic/Orthodox, I would say (and this is my humble opinion) that an Orthodox Christian doesn’t have to reject anything in his tradition to be a part of the Catholic Communion.

Of course, this is a controversial claim, but I find it more and more justified daily. Just my :twocents:

Christi pax,


For example, the Catholic Church, including the Latin Rite, teaches theosis, although traditional we use the term deification instead (theosis is a Greek langauge word, deification is a Latin one). For example, here is my favorite passage of Docter of the Church and Thomist St. John of the Cross:

In order that both these things may be the better understood, let us make a comparison. A ray of sunlight is striking a window. If the window is in any way stained or misty, the sun’s ray will be unable to illumine it and transform it into its own light, totally, as it would if it were clean of all these things, and pure; but it will illumine it to a lesser degree, in proportion as it is less free from those mists and stains; and will do so to a greater degree, in proportion as it is cleaner from them, and this will not be because of the sun’s ray, but because of itself; so much so that, if it be wholly pure and clean, the ray of sunlight will transform it and illumine it in such wise that it will itself seem to be a ray and will give the same light as the ray. Although in reality the window has a nature distinct from that of the ray itself, however much it may resemble it, yet we may say that that window is a ray of the sun or is light by participation. And the soul is like this window, whereupon is ever beating (or, to express it better, wherein is ever dwelling) this Divine light of the Being of God according to nature, which we have described.

In thus allowing God to work in it, the soul (having rid itself of every mist and stain of the creatures, which consists in having its will perfectly united with that of God, for to love is to labour to detach and strip itself for God’s sake of all that is not God) is at once illumined and transformed in God, and God communicates to it His supernatural Being, in such wise that it appears to be God Himself, and has all that God Himself has. And this union comes to pass when God grants the soul this supernatural favour, that all the things of God and the soul are one in participant transformation; and the soul seems to be God rather than a soul, and is indeed God by participation; although it is true that its natural being, though thus transformed, is as distinct from the Being of God as it was before, even as the window has likewise a nature distinct from that of the ray, though the ray gives it brightness (The Ascent of Mt. Carmel).

I don’t think you can find a better explanation of theosis out there :slight_smile:

Christi pax,


(And as others have said…) Have you considered joining an Byzantine Catholic Church?

Christi pax,


Yes, I quite agree that they should be considered as well – although, to be fair, I believe Padres1969’s post was referring to all of the 23 Eastern Catholic (i.e. Greek Catholic and Oriental Catholic) Churches.

Actually, now that I think about it, we should really mention the Oriental Orthodox Churches (and the ACoE).

The problem is that Oriental Catholic Churches are harder to come by than Oriental Orthodox Churches, and both are harder to find than Byzantine Catholic/Orthodox Churches. The only Oriental Church I know of in the US is a Coptic Orthodox Church in Washington, D. C., though I’m sure there are a few more.

Christi pax,


Been there. Studied under an Eastern Orthodox monk but couldn’t give up on Pope Francis. Actually gave up trying to revert to Roman Catholicism, I was born into it but my entire family on both sides left after V2. I was in limbo. This Orthodox/Catholic split is not going to heal in my lifetime. So then I discovered a local Eastern Catholic parish. You may find others there like yourself. We recite the rosary, have adoration, morning prayers before Divine Liturgy and parishioners with chotkis on their wrists. I can live out my days at peace with God and His church.

I still visit a little Russian Orthodox parish for Saturday evening prayers, vigil. We receive annointing.

I’ll be honest, it was a toss-up for me when I was exploring it too. I wasn’t sure whether to go Orthodox or Catholic. There are nearby churches for both, and they both seemed right. In the end I went Catholic, and I have no regrets and can’t imagine being anywhere else now. I feel I was led by the Spirit. But I see nothing wrong with the Orthodox Church, except perhaps that I think there is an advantage on the Catholic side of having the central authority of the Pope. I know Orthodox would say that’s not a weakness on their side and my understanding is the papacy is a real hangup for them on unification. But I think it’s an advantage for Catholics to have the successor of Peter and the authority therein. But the Orthodox have a genuine apostolic succession and they have the sacraments, so if you go that way I think you’d still be doing fine.

I’m an Orthodox convert from Catholicism. I still pray to my patron saint, who is not recognized in Orthodoxy, say Catholic prayers, and on occasion still use my rosary. Some Orthodox don’t like this, of course. Additionally, I still attend Catholic mass and receive communion when I am unable to attend an Orthodox service. But those are the sorts that I’ve really only encountered here on the internet, not in real life. I don’t pay them too much mind. Hope this helps.

I’m a Protestant convert. As I worked my way back to the ancient Church I was faced with the Great Schism. I can’t say I really dug into Orthodox theology but I think I investigated enough to have a basic understanding. There is much that I like about the Orthodox approach. But I also concluded that it was compatible with Catholcism. Of course there are issues, but I see them more as misunderstandings than significant differences in theology. I see no reason why you can’t be a Catholic but incorporate Orthodox spirituality. I love to say the Jesus Prayer.

I chose to be Catholic because I am a western man. While there is much I like about Orthodox theology Catholic theology also resonates with me. If there had been no Protestant Reformation I would have been Catholic. I would have been under the Bishop of Rome. I also came to agree with his role in the Church as taught by the Catholic Church. But thinking about what I would have been, Catholic or Orthodox, helped me. It seemed to me what I needed to do was reconcile with the ancient church. The issues between ancient churches was a matter to be settled by the authority of the church and not by me. And coming to see how close they are I most sincerely hope we can be reconciled to be a greater witness to the world.

  1. Pray. And I’m not really meaning formulaic prayers from either tradition…I’m talking about talking with God. And listening for His answer, in your heart.

  2. Attend services in churches near you, in whatever faith(s) you are considering. Conversion isn’t so simple as signing a registration form and paying dues…it’s a daily struggle to walk closer to God, and grow in holiness. Where will you find what you need to grow closer to God?

  3. Talk to the priests. Really talk. Book an appointment (more like, several!) and hash it out with them. Where you are now, what questions you may have, concerns for your family…get it all on the table. Ask for a “beginner” prayer rule and try to follow it. Ask for reading suggestions or other avenues (is there a parish class or gathering coming up, perhaps) to help you in your discernment. Also find out if there are any particular services coming up that might be of interest to you - a saint’s feast day, or a vespers service, etc.

  4. Be patient. This is an important decision, whether it means leaving your current faith community, or not. If you read around the 'net, you’ll see plenty of converts who “deconverted” later, because they acted in haste and later regretted it. Take your time investigating, visiting, talking, and most of all praying.

  5. Ask your Catholic-inquirer questions here. Ask your Orthodox-inquirer questions at an Orthodox forum.

I don’t want to push us away from the OP’s question, but I think a little clarification is in order: I agree with you if you’re using the term “Oriental Catholic” to mean exclusively those Catholic Churches that have an “Oriental Orthodox counterpart” (e.g. the Coptic Catholic Church).

(Analogously, some use the term “Eastern Catholic” to mean exclusively the Greek Catholic Churches since they are the ones that have an “Eastern Orthodox counterpart”.)

I think a lot of Catholics and perhaps a fair number of Orthodox struggle with this. I do. I ended up Catholic just because it feels more like home to me. I am “Western” if you will and my family background is Catholic - there are many reasons. I feel there is a long, illustrious history of saints, tradition, sacraments (the “original” Church) in both but since none of that is lacking in the Roman Catholic Church, I just stay there. But I regularly apply the “two lung” theory, reading and even praying in the Orthodox tradition. I look at the RCC as the Western wing of the Orthodox Church. :wink: Whether it is right or wrong, I tend to just kind of “borrow” from other traditions (Orthodox, Protestant) and stay home. Works for me. In the end I would say to you just find a parish where you feel you belong in the community and can pray to God authentically. That is probably where God wants you. People over intellectualize this dilemma a lot IMHO.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit