Which rite do I belong to?

I am a devout Roman Catholic or so I thought. Now it turns out that my biological father is Russian Orthodox. Someone said that this makes me an Orthodox due to birth. There was no record of my being baptized as a baby.

I was not baptized in Holy Mother Church till I was 14 (I received no training nor attendance in any religion till my neighbors started taking me to Mass when I was 12). God Bless them.

I also have children. But, since I am a woman they would be considered Roman Catholic right?

So what am I officially?

Canonical status depends on certain circumstances including if the children’s father was Catholic at the time of their baptism, whether the parents were married or the father was identified at the time of the baptism, which ritual church he belonged to if the father was Catholic, what age the children were at the time of their baptisms, and which ritual church they or their parents intended to enroll them in. Your set of circumstances means you are Latin Catholic. Assuming that your children’s father was not Eastern or Oriental Catholic at the time of their Catholic baptism, and that they were baptized under the age of 14, your children are also Latin Catholic.

The confusion most likely is from Canon 111 §1 which states:

A child of parents who belong to the Latin Church is ascribed to it by reception of baptism, or, if one or the other parent does not belong to the Latin Church and both parents agree in choosing that the child be baptized in the Latin Church, the child is ascribed to it by reception of baptism; but, if the agreement is lacking, the child is ascribed to the Ritual Church to which the father belongs.

Some people mistakenly believe that this canon means that children are always born into the church (or even the non-Catholic religion) of their father. Church enrollment is designated by baptism, not by birth. By virtue of a Catholic baptism, you are then canonically enrolled into one of the 23 Catholic churches sui iuris. In your situation, your baptism was after the age of 14. According to Canon 111 §2:

Anyone to be baptized who has completed the fourteenth year of age can freely choose to be baptized in the Latin Church or in another ritual Church sui iuris; in that case, the person belongs to the Church which he or she has chosen.

Since you chose the Latin church, that is the ritual church you were enrolled in.

Recommended reading:

How a person is ascribed to the Latin Church or another Ritual Church sui iuris
The canonical condition of physical persons in canon law
Eastern & Oriental Catholic Rites & Churches - A Reference Thread

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