fatherpatrick

Roman Catholic inquiry into Orthodox Christian Faith

In Orthodox ecumenism on June 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Issues and helps on the question: What ought Roman Catholic inquirers keep in mind while investigating the Holy Orthodox-Catholic and Apostolic Church and its holy Faith?

 Frequently I am asked about how Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism differ. When this question arises, I usually try to orient my reply (short snippet or long discourse, depending on pastoral need) along a rephrased question: What issues have arisen which have alienated Roman Catholics from the ancient and abiding Holy Tradition of the Apostolic churches? As my readers are well aware, the Church of (old) Rome boasts apostolic foundation, looking to the grace-bearing relics and holy tradition of the great chiefs of the apostles, Ss Peter and Paul. However, with the ravages of time bearing down upon the several fault-lines of papism, scholasticism, medievalism, feudalism, reactionary rationalism (anti-modernism), and finally the wholesale collapse of Christian culture in the 18th through the 20th centuries, Roman Catholicism bears almost no resemblance to its ancient apostolic heritage.

Protestantism is itself the child of medieval, scholastic Roman Catholicism and carries within its bosom the seeds of its own fractious essence and ultimate demise—as witness the utter intellectual and moral confusion of the old-line denominations and the evangelical flight into emotional enthusiasm, mild new-ageism, or even gnosticism.

Holy Orthodoxy is the only house still standing on the Rock!

I recommend these two links for further reading, in order to point out key issues of interest to Roman Catholics. The first, a condensation of issues from a more intellectual and moderate point of view, somewhat pro-ecumenist but still from well within our Orthodox frame of thinking, is from the V. Rev. Thomas Hopko, retired dean of St Vladimir’s Seminary, New York:

http://www.svots.edu/Faculty/Thomas-Hopko/Articles/Roman-Presidency-and-Christian-Unity.html/

This article was developed in part by the public invitation to address the question which Pope John Paul II had issued to non-Roman Catholic spiritual leaders, What is the role of the Bishop of Rome? (My words; I cannot locate the exact words used by the pope).

There is another, shorter and more traditional way of addressing the Roman Catholic deviation from Holy Tradition by His Eminence, Metropolitan HIEROTHEOS (Vlachos), of Nafpaktos (Greece). The Metropolitan is well-known for his many publications, easily google-able. My own translation of his brief article is carried in this link:

http://members.cox.net/orthodoxheritage/MOM%2009%202003%20EN.htm

I sincerely pray and hope that all active, disenfranchised, and former Roman Catholics will find help along the holy Way of salvation by these articles. Any such are invited to contact me directly regarding their own struggles, as I, too, grew up a son of the Roman Catholic Church. When I became Orthodox, I did truly return to the faith of my fathers!

There is hope! Christ is risen!

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