Rumors of Unwed Catholic Women
#1
I have a friend who is nearing thirty and has never had any lasting relationships with women.  Every time we chat he always laments the lack of eligible Orthodox women in our part of the country and recently made the claim that there are many eligible Catholic women and a shortage of Catholic men. Thus you can probably see where his thinking is leading him to "Why not just find a good Catholic woman to marry?".  Obviously as I've pointed out to him, it's not that simple, because marriage involves another human being who must be willing to marry him.  And frankly, he has a some serious psychological-social issues, being bi-polar, suffering from bouts of intense paranoia and in excessive need of reassurance of what other people think about him all the time. He is, however a very hard worker, makes excellent money ($50 k+ per year), rents his own apartment and is otherwise very high functioning. 

For years I have been counseling him to visit other Orthodox parishes and go to social events to try meet other women outside our area but with a few exceptions he hasn't taken the advice.  I've recommended prayers to St. Xenia of St. Petersburg (a patron Saint of those seeking a spouse), which he did for a short period of time before quitting. Now every conversation we have is to reiterate all the reasons why the handful of bachelorettes in the parish are not compatible for him. 

At this point I have resigned myself to him being responsible for his own inability to find a mate. But my question is, even if he could find a Catholic woman who was attracted to him and willing to work with his issues, do you think an intermarriage between Catholic and Orthodox advisable, or even possible? I know both the traditional Orthodox and Catholic position is to marry within their respective traditions, but what with so few Orthodox in America and so many more Catholics it seems that this is going to be a more common situation facing folks hoping to get married.
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#2
(01-02-2021, 06:26 PM)PilgrimMichelangelo Wrote: he has a some serious psychological-social issues, being bi-polar, suffering from bouts of intense paranoia and in excessive need of reassurance of what other people think about him all the time.

This is what is keeping him from marrying, not a lack of eligible bachelorettes; and both are probably better off this way.

Not to say these problems cannot be overcome, but if this man truly wants to marry, he needs to resolve these issues first; or he and his wife would have a very tough marriage.

(01-02-2021, 06:26 PM)PilgrimMichelangelo Wrote: do you think an intermarriage between Catholic and Orthodox advisable, or even possible?

I don't think such an arrangement is ever advisable. I really think a couple should be on the same page with regards to such fundamentals such as faith in action.

But I also don't understand why so many Orthodox, especially those who lean traditional, continue to resist becoming Catholic considering what is becoming of the Orthodox church.
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#3
(01-02-2021, 07:04 PM)NSMSSS Wrote:
(01-02-2021, 06:26 PM)PilgrimMichelangelo Wrote: he has a some serious psychological-social issues, being bi-polar, suffering from bouts of intense paranoia and in excessive need of reassurance of what other people think about him all the time.

This is what is keeping him from marrying, not a lack of eligible bachelorettes; and both are probably better off this way.

Not to say these problems cannot be overcome, but if this man truly wants to marry, he needs to resolve these issues first; or he and his wife would have a very tough marriage.

(01-02-2021, 06:26 PM)PilgrimMichelangelo Wrote: do you think an intermarriage between Catholic and Orthodox advisable, or even possible?

I don't think such an arrangement is ever advisable. I really think a couple should be on the same page with regards to such fundamentals such as faith in action.

But I also don't understand why so many Orthodox, especially those who lean traditional, continue to resist becoming Catholic considering what is becoming of the Orthodox church.

Yes, that is the same conclusion I have come to. He is heavily medicated for the bi-polar disorder which keeps him (mostly) level, but the paranoia and need for reassurance have to be resolved otherwise any prospective woman would (rightly) rule him out of the spousal short list because he is too emotionally unstable and needy.

The reason so many traditional Orthodox resist Union with Rome is because in their popular interpretation of Orthodox tradition Rome is the offending party in the Great Schism and therefore they are the true Orthodox Catholic Church.  But their mockery of contemporary Catholicism and spiritual pride at being the "one, true Church without blemish" is going to be thrown into their faces when the modernist-globalist butchers turn their knives on the Patriarchates as they are doing in Constantinople vs Moscow and Antioch vs Jerusalem.  Also, despite Rome's current crisis, there is something there that I have not detected in Orthodoxy and that is that her traditional theological expression meets the needs of the times and the controversies of the day without losing her little "o" orthodox savor, whilst very little of contemporary Orthodox theology seems able to get beyond Palamas and the fall of Byzantium and thus remains in a sort of gloss upon the tradition, or state of stasis.  

Personally, although I am quite sympathetic to traditional Catholicism, I hesitate to throw myself into the Catholic Church when she is in such a poor way and so little is clear about how to deal with a heretical pope or even papal pronouncements or actions (thinking JPII, B16) that contradict the pre-Conciliar magisterium.  Intellectually I always end up being a Sedeprivationist/Sedevecantist or SSPX type R&R.  Also, I have so many connections at this point within Orthodoxy that the people feel like "home" even though my liturgical "home" is definitely the traditional Roman Rite, the Byzantine rite being too foreign and not striking a chord of harmony in my Western soul no matter how much I try to love her exotic flavor.
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#4
(01-02-2021, 08:03 PM)PilgrimMichelangelo Wrote: Yes, that is the same conclusion I have come to. He is heavily medicated for the bi-polar disorder which keeps him (mostly) level, but the paranoia and need for reassurance have to be resolved otherwise any prospective woman would (rightly) rule him out of the spousal short list because he is too emotionally unstable and needy.

So, what steps has he taken, if any, to resolve those problems?  Wallowing in sorry will not get him anywhere if he wants a wife, assuming that he can become capable of marrying.  He may not, and this may be a difficult cross he must bear, but he can turn this cross of suffering into a cross of joy.

As for your comments on Orthodoxy, I admit I know very little on East-West relations to give an articulated response.  I have no qualms over what you have said.

I suppose I was also thinking as well of one Orthodox friend I know who spends quite a bit of time with Eastern and traditional Roman Catholics as his social circles (since so many of the pius Orthodox in this part of the world are much beyond his age demographic).  He bemoans the inability to find an Orthodox wife in similar manner as your friend, yet he will not be convinced by arguments of the supremacy of Rome.
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#5
(01-02-2021, 08:14 PM)NSMSSS Wrote: So, what steps has he taken, if any, to resolve those problems?  Wallowing in sorry will not get him anywhere if he wants a wife, assuming that he can become capable of marrying.  He may not, and this may be a difficult cross he must bear, but he can turn this cross of suffering into a cross of joy. 

As for your comments on Orthodoxy, I admit I know very little on East-West relations to give an articulated response.  I have no qualms over what you have said.

I suppose I was also thinking as well of one Orthodox friend I know who spends quite a bit of time with Eastern and traditional Roman Catholics as his social circles (since so many of the pius Orthodox in this part of the world are much beyond his age demographic).  He bemoans the inability to find an Orthodox wife in similar manner as your friend, yet he will not be convinced by arguments of the supremacy of Rome.

He seems unwilling or unable to address the paranoia, except for asking me whether or not he seems a little paranoid then he does pushups or other exercises asap to try and flood his system with endorphins. He claims this helps for a short period of time. As per the need for reassurance I have yet to bring it up as I just recognized the other day while talking to him. He is extremely sensitive of criticism even when he has asked for it of several friends and acquaintances and goes into denial when we bring up pertinent critiques. Right now he is not in a marriageable state and may not ever be as you observed. 

Roman supremacy is indeed a bitter pill for most Orthodox to swallow. Most can accept at least a theoretical Roman Primacy based on the concept of the Pentarchy, or five ancient Sees of Christendom. I find I can accept Supremacy so long as it doesn't devolve into an iron fist smashing the venerable and holy Eastern traditions and forcing the Roman Rite on them.  In my vision of the Church in full health, she allows many diverse ritual traditions, and a certain local autonomy in certain matters with Rome as the final court of appeals in disputes. In fact, this is how she functioned during the first millennium and somewhat in the early medieval period pre-Trent and VI.  Vatican II (despite all of its other erroneous flaws) actually restored (at least theoretically) this vision of unity-in-diversity by the reorganization of the Church as sui juris Churches with the Roman Church ranking first out of the 24 local Churches.  

One one level I do wish healing the schism would be as simple as that, the marriage of Catholic and Orthodox...but alas I fear it will not be so. 

Perhaps the only way a marriage between our traditions could work is if the couple agreed to raise the children according to one tradition. Though it does seem fraught with trouble in explaining why daddy or mommy go to different churches. There would definitely have to be a lot of love and humility and forgiveness in such a marriage especially if the couple was very pious. It could be either a beautiful thing or a dumpster fire of religious suffering and struggle.
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#6
(01-02-2021, 09:01 PM)PilgrimMichelangelo Wrote: He seems unwilling or unable to address the paranoia, except for asking me whether or not he seems a little paranoid then he does pushups or other exercises asap to try and flood his system with endorphins. He claims this helps for a short period of time. As per the need for reassurance I have yet to bring it up as I just recognized the other day while talking to him.

I'm not sure what good professional medical help is available for such a person, but this is where he needs to start anyway.  Amateurs such as ourselves cannot properly address such mental states, but if we can be the influence that gets him to take the steps necessary to get help, then that's about the best we can do.

(01-02-2021, 09:01 PM)PilgrimMichelangelo Wrote: He is extremely sensitive of criticism even when he has asked for it of several friends and acquaintances and goes into denial when we bring up pertinent critiques.

This is getting off topic, but I knew someone once who couldn't take criticism.  Any suggestion for a proposed change or improvement was met with strong refutation.  You may have made only a valid suggestion and not a proposal connected to a serious life issue.  Didn't matter.  "Don't try to change me" was the response you'd get.

How much of a mentality such as that is associated with bipolar or paranoia disorders?

(01-02-2021, 09:01 PM)PilgrimMichelangelo Wrote: Right now he is not in a marriageable state and may not ever be as you observed.

Such should be communicated directly and clearly to him if it has not yet.  People need to hear the truth whether they will acknowledge it or not.

(01-02-2021, 09:01 PM)PilgrimMichelangelo Wrote: I find I can accept Supremacy so long as it doesn't devolve into an iron fist smashing the venerable and holy Eastern traditions and forcing the Roman Rite on them.

I do too.  Again, I'm much in the dark on East-West relations, but when it even comes to the Eastern Catholic Churches, it really irks me how much Easterners and Romans (usually trad Romans) will fight amongst each other.  We're all Catholic here, right?  I suppose there are theological differences, schools of thoughts and small-t traditions that have made for differences over the centuries, but we are all in communion with Rome; and all the Easterners I know are much like myself: they like good liturgy (even if we differ on what that is) and can't stand the wallowing down of the Church int the post-counciliar era.

(01-02-2021, 09:01 PM)PilgrimMichelangelo Wrote: Perhaps the only way a marriage between our traditions could work is if the couple agreed to raise the children according to one tradition. Though it does seem fraught with trouble in explaining why daddy or mommy go to different churches. There would definitely have to be a lot of love and humility and forgiveness in such a marriage especially if the couple was very pious. It could be either a beautiful thing or a dumpster fire of religious suffering and struggle.

So, my mother (a cradle Catholic) for many years attended a Protestant sect Sunday mornings in addition to going to weekly Mass Saturday afternoons with my father.  He would not go with her (nor should he have since she shouldn't have been going either.  Thank God she has ended this and attends Mass only now).  While this is wildly different from "Catholic versus Orthodox", the substance was still the same: Daddy and mommy each go to different churches.

Speaking as a child in the midst of all of this, it wasn't good.  It's never good.  An essential family bond is missing when the family does not have their Sunday worship together.  It's also not good for the marriage if one spouse is attending the other's liturgy for the purposes of trying to maintain family unity and harmony.  We all know how a person is when he's someplace he does not want to be.

The children can become confused as well.  Since the children should be brought up Catholic, how would they handle, at impressionable young ages, conflicting information they might hear between the Catholic and Orthodox positions?  People speaking on behalf of both sides are going to try to convince the children they are right.  The other problem that can happen is the post-counciliar error very common that people don't see whether you're Catholic, Orthodox or even Protestant as being important.  All churches are equally good.  This was the erroneous viewpoint I had as a child because nobody ever properly catechised me that the Catholic Church is the one, true church.  I had a grandmother in a mixed marriage to a Protestant.  I sometimes accompanied her and my step-grandfather to his Protestant "church", and while I never liked it, I had formed the idea at a young age that it really didn't matter.  All the churches were equals (though I never liked even at that age how this sect did not have communion every Sunday).

So, I see dumpster file. People try to make mixed marriages work, but I honestly do not see where people think that this is good for them or for their children.
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#7
I am friends with a very nice couple where the man is Orthodox and the woman is Catholic. He goes to Mass occasionally, just to have the family pray together, and they seem like a lovely family, but I also know of other "mixed couples" where religion clearly creates tensions. I myself personally changed confessor when I met my wife, because I did not want us to get contradictory advice. 

Every situation is different, but I would not advise an Orthodox man to go looking for a Catholic woman. I myself feel extremely happy that my wife and I are both Orthodox. Our involvement in the parish is an extension of our marriage, and our faith is something that keeps us together - beyond hobbies and other involvements (we have not gotten any children). I am not saying that Catholicism is a completely different faith, but not sharing the Eucharist as a family is a big deal, and it is not even granted that their bishops would allow for the union to happen. 

In Christ, 
Nisse
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#8
A 'mixed marriage' doesn't even have to be between a Catholic and a non-Catholic, as bitter experience has taught me. When Dee and I married 38 years ago last Saturday, I was a conservative Catholic and she was a liberal. Over the next few years, I became a full blown Trad and she went even further into liberalism and modernism.

Whilst there were many contributing factors to our problems, one was definitely the difference in our approach to the Faith. I had become convinced that the NO Church was neo-protestant, she was convinced that it was 'patriarchal' and hidebound. 

She once told me that I belonged to a Church that no longer existed. At the same time the Diocesan paper was full of news of Orders shrinking, of convents closing, of collapsing vocations, and appeals for funds to help the elderly religious, I was getting newsletters that told of bursting Trad seminaries, of new monasteries and convents opening and of daughter Houses being founded. 

The tension finally became so bad that we separated, she 'divorced' me, and  didn't speak to me for 12 years. I laid siege to heaven, invoking the Patrons of difficult cases, St Jude Thaddeus and St Rita of Cascia. Prayer works! After 12 years, in 2017 we reconciled and are back together.

We don't discuss religion. I pray for her return to the Faith every day, but she considers herself a 'recovering Catholic'. I figure that I can do more by prayer and example than I can by prayer alone if she were to repeat the cycle of separation.

She refuses to admit that we're still man and wife, but Saturday she fixed a 'special' dinner (much nicer than our normal plain fare) and during the meal toasted me me with 'Happy what should have been our 38th anniversary'. I returned the toast with, 'Happy 38th anniversary'. She didn't argue.
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#9
Maybe this person has a vocation to a life of chastity.
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