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Friends :hello!:

We say that there is no salvation outside the Church. When a 15-16 year old Catholic is suddenly convinced by the Eastern schismatics that the Pope is a presumptuous tyrant and is thus making plans to leave Rome and become Orthodox at 18, can he be saved? His parents are very Catholic, and his mother made sure he and his three sisters know what the Church teaches. There is no ignorance here, vincible or otherwise. He knows exactly what is being taught and rejects it. I believe he was confirmed, too, which makes it an even more grave rejection of the inspirations of the Holy Ghost.

Can such a person attain to sanctifying grace, the life of God? Should I be harsh in declaring the Church's teachings about schism? What would be the best way to handle this poor, deluded person?
There have been true saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. They have valid sacraments and very rich traditions of prayer.

As for the kid, if he genuinely believed that the Pope is the rightful leader of the Church, he wouldn't have switched. And frankly I don't think people chose what they believe. In any case, none of us can see his heart and understand his motives or thoughts, so don't pass judgement about whether he's going to heaven or hell. Just pray that he comes home to Rome.
I had a friend and benefactor from the SSPX who recently became orthodox. No excuse for ignorance on his part.  :( He didn't even want to speak about his doubts or worries to a priest. He came to his decision by reading about their arguments and believing that they re right

Pray very much for him and the boy mentioned. My worry is that once they enter, it will be most difficult for them to leave. Perhaps some ex-orthodox fishies here could comment?
I apologised for being so harsh and choleric to him, but it unnerves me to see a person who helped me decide to accept Rome begin to inch away himself... God does not tolerate such schism. Obviously Orthodoxy has had saints, but they were grown up in the Orthodox system. Did any of them abandon Rome first?
These statements from Vatican I should prove helpful:

"Those who have accepted the faith under the teaching power of the Church can never have a just cause of changing or doubting that faith" (Vatican I, Sess. III, ch. 3: Denz. 1794).

"If anyone shall have said that the condition of the faithful and of those who have not yet come to the true faith is equal, so that Catholics can have a just cause of doubting the faith which they have accepted under the teaching power of the Church, by withholding assent until they have completed the scientific demonstration of the credibility and truth of their faith: let him be anathema" (Ibid.: Denz. 1815).

What's more, while the Eastern Schismatics do have valid sacraments, they perform them illicitly, making them unprofitable.  See especially the Council of Florence, Cantate Domino (Denz. 714); Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, n. 13; Pope Pius IX, Amantissimus, n. 3; Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, n. 9.7; and Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi, nn. 57, 103.

Sources:
http://www.catecheticsonline.com/SourcesofDogma.php
http://www.papalencyclicals.net/
I was raised Catholic (passively, i.e., through the school I went to, not by my parents) and received all my first sacraments and confirmation in the Catholic Church, but became an atheist in my early teens. At the end of high school when I came to accept the basic beliefs of Christianity, I didn't want anything to do with the Roman Catholic Church because I still had a lot of problems with Catholicism and I couldn't accept it. I found the claims of the Eastern Orthodox to be pretty sound and I accepted their doctrinal claims at the time and attended the liturgy at an Orthodox parish for a while. Needless to say, I came back to Rome, because it really didn't take me long to realise that the doctrinal claims of the EO are total rubbish. The truth of the matter is so glaringly obvious that it presents itself to any sincere person who looks and searches for the truth. There's a guy at my parish who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy last year and, suprise suprise, eventually realised that their doctrinal claims are bullshit, so now he's back at the Roman Catholic Church and awaiting formal reception into the Church.

Eastern Orthodoxy is very, very pretty, and can be very tempting. Their liturgy is incredible and their spiritual and theological teachings are deep. There's definately a lot to learn from Eastern Christianity. It certainly appealed to me, and I can understand why it appeals to others, but I think that ultimately their claims simply don't hold water, and any sincere thinker has a good chance of realising that.

Pray for your friend, and try to get him to realise the truth. CAF gets a lot of bashing on here, but Jimmy Akin has assembled a very good collection of patristic quotes which support Roman Catholic theologian positions in The Fathers Know Best: Your Essential Guide to the Teachings of the Early Church (San Diego: CA, Catholic Answers, 2010). His article, 'Why I Am Not Eastern Orthodox' is also very good, and can be read here: http://archive.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0504bt.asp

The first statement in the Vatican I quotation  (
"Those who have accepted the faith under the teaching power of the Church can never have a just cause of changing or doubting that faith" (Vatican I, Sess. III, ch. 3: Denz. 1794)) presupposes the existence of a Catholic world that no longer exists, unless in very restricted cases. The other statement, however, the anathema statement, I find most appropriate.

These are very complicated times. The SSPX sacraments have also been celebrated illicitly for years and they are now on better terms with the Catholic Church hierarchy and are not in schism, so the argument that the absence of liceity of the EO sacraments somehow makes it "worse" I find lacking.

On the other hand, Raskolnikov, I am not convinced by your argument that the person would not have converted had he believed that  the Pope is the rightful leader of the Church. I think the question is, should he know this, based on what he was given to understand about the Faith by his parents and church teachers? If he should know, he is responsible. Even in your case, I would love to know (as I am utterly ignorant about all of the doctrinal differences between us and the EO) what you found acceptable in the EO church as opposed to the RC church when you went through that period you mention. Are you sure it was doctrine? I find most people in these cases are choosing not because of doctrine but because of moral practise. In the old days, people wanted to becoem Anglicans so they could marry, or get divorced, etc.

Laetare, I do agree with Raskolnikov that you should pray for your friend, and be an excellent friend to your friend, and I am sure that the Truth, if that is what he seeks, will win in the end, and it is the end that counts. These are troubled times, and I will not rush to judge a man who in error, chases a beautiful liturgy because he has been disgusted with the horrors of 20th century western liturgy. But he needs to be back, and bring some Eastern liturgists with him!
It is in the truly mystical moments of prayer when one realises the glory of God shown forth in His Holy Church. The saints were implored on this great solemnity, so I am assured of their prayers for this unfortunate youth.
(10-31-2011, 11:03 PM)maldon Wrote: [ -> ]The first statement in the Vatican I quotation  (
"Those who have accepted the faith under the teaching power of the Church can never have a just cause of changing or doubting that faith" (Vatican I, Sess. III, ch. 3: Denz. 1794)) presupposes the existence of a Catholic world that no longer exists, unless in very restricted cases. The other statement, however, the anathema statement, I find most appropriate.

These are very complicated times. The SSPX sacraments have also been celebrated illicitly for years and they are now on better terms with the Catholic Church hierarchy and are not in schism, so the argument that the absence of liceity of the EO sacraments somehow makes it "worse" I find lacking.

On the other hand, Raskolnikov, I am not convinced by your argument that the person would not have converted had he believed that  the Pope is the rightful leader of the Church. I think the question is, should he know this, based on what he was given to understand about the Faith by his parents and church teachers? If he should know, he is responsible. Even in your case, I would love to know (as I am utterly ignorant about all of the doctrinal differences between us and the EO) what you found acceptable in the EO church as opposed to the RC church when you went through that period you mention. Are you sure it was doctrine? I find most people in these cases are choosing not because of doctrine but because of moral practise. In the old days, people wanted to becoem Anglicans so they could marry, or get divorced, etc.

Laetare, I do agree with Raskolnikov that you should pray for your friend, and be an excellent friend to your friend, and I am sure that the Truth, if that is what he seeks, will win in the end, and it is the end that counts. These are troubled times, and I will not rush to judge a man who in error, chases a beautiful liturgy because he has been disgusted with the horrors of 20th century western liturgy. But he needs to be back, and bring some Eastern liturgists with him!

I'm not sure I buy the whole "you should have known" thing. It'd be like if I came home tonight and my mother said, 'where's my mothers' day present? Don't you know that mothers' day has been changed to November 1st?" Well sorry mum, I didn't know. "But you should have known! Your old enough to find out these things on your own!" Yeah, well, sorry, I genuinely didn't know.

I just don't see how someone can be culpable for something that they don't know, and the nuances nature of religious claims means that a person can be very familiar with the claims without actually believing them. And we don't chose what we believe. I never did. I kicked and screamed and ran but God brought me into the Catholic Church anyway. I'm glad he did, but I never woke up one morning and decided, "I think I'll believe in Catholicism."

That said, Maldon, I must admit: it wasn't entirely doctrinal stuff. In my case, I didn't want to be Catholic. I still carried a lot of deep anti-Catholic prejudice which I had picked up in high school and therefore I was looking for something which was distinctly not Roman Catholic. That's because I misunderstood Catholic teaching and I had a lot of ignorant misconceptions abotu the Catholic Church, but also because a lot of Catholic moral teachings frankly did not make sense to me at the time. I accepted the doctrinal claims of the EO Church, but I wasn't originally motivated by them. Anyway, that's all behind me, and I'm glad I got out of there quickly and came safely back to the Roman Catholic Church, which is without a doubt the best thing that ever happened to me. I could have said "the best decision I ever made in my life," but I still don't think it was entirely my decision to become a Catholic. Given how stubborn and prejudiced I was, I can only make sense of it by realising that God made me a Catholic.
I've been tempted many times to become Orthodox and quite frankly with the state of Rome today I can't blame anyone else either. The problem is that it is hard to deny the role of Peter in the early Church. I have never found a serious argument against the papacy and believe me I've tried. The thing is Rome since Vatican II doesn't fool anyone who looks only on the superficial level. Part of the reason I stay Catholic is because the claims of the papacy are difficult to refute and because I was schooled into the Faith by Feenyites which makes me fear greatly for my salvation should I leave even though I have been tempted many times over and to be honest this latest Assisi debacle had me thinking very seriously about it again.
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