Monday, February 10, 2014

love & do what you will: who am I to judge....

....if you feel called to officially change rites from Roman to Byzantine Catholic?

some additional thoughts after my last post "Just Visit- don't change your rite to Byzantine."....there's a thread on facebook that has some good points...I'm Anne Boyd on Facebook if you care to friend me. 

First off- I'm not really sure if our dear Pope Francis really said exactly "who am I to judge"- at least not in the way of saying, 'oh well, don't judge an evil behavior, there's no sin in 2014.' 

A question I get asked pretty frequently is about changing rites to be able to become married clergy. Just like my last post on 'general official changing of rites,' I usually say no- or at least 'live the rite for at least a year, become really involved, change rites whether or not you will be ordained clergy.' All is permitted with a clear, educated conscience.
So, as St Augustine said, "Love and do what you will." That sounds really easy, doesn't it? If one loves, one can do anything! 

The question remains, then, what is this 'love' that I need before I can do what I want? Well, God is love. I believe it follows that if we are like God (theosis) and radiate His perfect love, then we are free to do whatever we want. Of course, if we are reflective of God's love, then we will only want the good. We are perfectly free to choose the good and we will not sin.

So my feeble point here about officially changing rites is that if you "love" while choosing to change, then it will be for the right reasons and it will be done with a sincere heart. And then my last post will be of no use to you. 

10 comments:

  1. I changed churches back in university, and I would agree in a sense that people need to change for the right reasons, and it could be the right reasons if one of the Eastern churches helps them progress in theosis. My main caution that I try to communicate to people interested is that we are not just Roman Catholics with a different 'mass'. We have entirely different theologies and traditions. If they are going to be upset that their is no adoration or rosary or celebration of the Immaculate Conception, they may want to stay in the West and try to learn more about the mystical traditions within the western tradition. Our Eastern churches are so small they are in danger of being washed out by Western Christians falling in love with the liturgy but not understanding the differences in teaching, which can lead to an erosion of the genuine Eastern Christian understandings. I hope that makes sense and sounds charitable enough....

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    1. you make a very good point! I'd like to add that one must attempt to 'live' their rite (their Liturgy, their specific Marian devotion, their calendar, etc) before they 'supplement' with a tradition from a different rite

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  2. I would say that 50% of the people who have told me that they transferred did so because they don't like something or because the "other" church doesn't have this or that. Its like their going grocery shopping and looking for what's convenient for them. Also, I have even seen people come in under these circumstances and leave for the same reasons. You should transfer into a church because you feel called to grow and serve in that community. Its pretty silly what we have made of ritual transfer. I could make a list of things that I don't like that happens in my church or what the "other" church does better, but their my family and I feel bound to them. A church is a family and you are right we should transfer under the guide of love. Just my thoughts.

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    1. Ric- I agree. I wrote this follow-up because I wrote it right before we had a deacon and wife to dinner. There we were- my formerly Orthodox husband (until he was 17), me a Catholic covert when I was 12 and then on to the Byzantine rite when married, and the couple- both Protestant-Roman-rite- Byzantine rite converts. and it is 'working' for us...it was a serious move for all of us and we are staying with our Byzantine 'family'

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  3. I don't think it's totally outrageous that part of a person's reason for changing (of course not the ONLY reason) be the devastating situation in the Roman Church. In a local Roman parish we have teenagers in sweatpants/yoga pants handing out Communion. A lot of the teachers at a local Roman Catholic school are pro-gay marriage. As it is said, the first law of the church is the salvation of souls. If people believe that the situation in the Roman Church is harmful to their Faith, and they are nurtured in the Byzantine tradition (orthodox doctrine is a right, not a luxury), then I say, God bless them! Also, if some young man wants to change churches to become a married priest, let the local Bishop and our Patriarch discern the young man's intentions...after all we are an independent Church in communion with Rome, we should start acting like one.

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    1. I hear you! I still am pessimistic about a person remaining with their new rite if they have negative reasons for coming into it- now- I also know people who came into the Byzantine rite because they were 'running away' from something, but now they are firmly established here and they are willing to stick with us through our imperfections

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  4. A bigger problem that I see in the church than the "rite-changers" (I'm talking about the UGCC in my city), will be the cradle Ukrainians not being well versed in their faith. For example, many times cradle Ukrainians will ask why I became Greek Catholic. I'll mention the Jesus Prayer as part of the journey and they'll say "The what???" These people have been active in the parish for 30 years, been through Ukrainian scouting and Ukrainian school on Sundays and they don't know the most basic things about the Eastern tradition. There are other people who don't even know the name of our Patriarch, never heard of the Nativity Fast, etc. (Some of these people work in the church office). There are even Ukrainian Orthodox people who come to our parish (due to being married to a Ukrainian Catholic) and THEY call it "Mass" not "Liturgy". I did hear on Ancient Faith Radio recently that there was a case of a man who was Greek Orthodox and didn't learn of the Jesus Prayer until he was 70 years old, so I guess it is not only a Greek Catholic problem.

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    1. ...I am afraid that for many, many people there is a grave lack of faith (and even curiosity)- one of my silly gauges of a person's passions- I look on their car. Are they a church-going family? There will be some sign of that. More frequently, there will be stickers and symbols of which sport the family is 'into.'

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  5. to Anon: There are devotions that have roots in eastern countries and devotions particular to a specific area. Just because a ukrainian doesnt know the Jesus prayer doesnt mean they arent well versed in their faith. its just not a devotion that is heavily practiced in their specific location. the family of greek ritual churches is big. there are a lot of cultures and a lots of mentalities within it. they are not going to have the same mindset as a 5th century person from asia minor. there are many adaptations to the originally received faith and prayer which change and develop over time. after living in ukraine for a while and going to the divine services daily while there, i dont think i ever once saw or heard of any mention of the Jesus prayer. just as they have moleban services which are fully eastern that others outside the slavic world dont practice doesnt mean the others arent versed in their own tradition for not knowing it anymore than a roman catholic is ignorant for not knowing about the little office of our Lady.
    also, they say that most catholics until this recent centuries didnt even know the name of the pope. its really not that important. you really dont need to worry about your clergy beyond your own local church. it has absolutely no bearing on your process of theosis.
    neither does your choice to use an english word derived from latin or greek that mean the same thing anymore than using Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, one being derived from the latin and one from the german. most of these are only issues for the hyper sensitive converts to one of the greek rite churches

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    1. Thank you for your comment- I agree with it....but there ARE some communities that are lacking in formation with out-of-church devotions. The fact is- most believers will 'only' be in church on Sunday...we should encourage believers to learn how to extend their prayer life into the rest of the week

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