1. Are you really Catholic?
YES! Thanks for asking! While the Byzantine Catholic Church looks very Orthodox, we are proud to have the Bishop and Pope of Rome as our supreme pontiff. Thousands of Eastern Catholic bishops, priests, monks, sisters and lay people were imprisoned, tortured, and killed through the ages (recently during Europe's stint with communism)- simply because they refused to renounce the Holy Father. Theologically and liturgically, they would have remained the same- just without the Pope. They laid down their lives to remain in the Catholic Church. Now in Central and Eastern Europe, the Church is dealing with the consequences of this. For example, most of the Eastern Catholic churches were confiscated by the state and given to the Orthodox church- the state church.
2. And your husband is a priest?
Be careful what you wish for! I prayed to God for a good Catholic husband who would lead the family spiritually- that's what I got!But seriously, this question deserves a longer answer- maybe next Friday's Quick Takes on Conversion Diary.
3. What's with all the incense and the priest having his back to the people?
While it might look very traditionalist, this is just the way we have always done the Divine Liturgy(Mass). Incense and having the priest lead the people during the Byzantine Liturgy is the way we do it! Liturgical reforms or changes have been very few since St John Chyrsostom developed the Byzantine Liturgy in the early days of the Church.
4. Do you really abstain from meat every Wednesday and Friday and in Advent and Lent?
For the Eastern-rite Catholic, both Advent and Lent are seen as penitential seasons.We try to take both fasting and feasting seriously! I know monks and nuns who are much stricter than these guidelines, however.
5. Why do the Eastern Catholic churches have so few believers?
Even the largest, most successful Eastern Catholic church will have less believers than the local Western-rite parish. There are many reasons for this: in the U.S., Eastern Catholic immigrants were forced to become Western-rite if they wanted their children to attend the local parish school; others were lost to Evangelical or Orthodox churches that fulfill ethnic needs better; others simply don't have an Eastern-rite church close by.
6. So you can't say the rosary?
Of course we can say the rosary! The difference is this, the rosary is a Western prayer- we also have prayers that honor Mary, the Mother of God. These prayers are more liturgy-like and a priest leads them. So for a private devotion, the rosary is perfect! Eastern Catholics don't want to lose their traditions, however.
7. So the Pope is really, really your boss?