What Would It Take To Join Roman Catholic Church?

Discussion in 'Navigating Through Church Life' started by Justin Haskins, Jun 5, 2013.

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  1. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Living in America, there are not many options for people who believe in being within the holy catholic church...You can either be Anglican, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox. These are, in essence and to varying degrees, the only apostolic churches (with a few minor exceptions of course). Given all of the trouble conservative Anglicans have had recently in the U.S., is there a point you would consider either the Roman Catholic Church or Orthodox Church? If there is, how would you deal with the requirement of believing in papal infallibility and papal supremacy (in the case of the RCC)? If you would choose to be Orthodox, how would you deal with the various theological differences there?

    I am not personally sure that there is any point at which I would be able to join the RCC because I reject papal infallibility and supremacy (but especially infallibility). If all Anglican churches became completely heretical in the U.S., I would at least consider joining an Orthodox Church, but I have a feeling I would just end up at the back of an RCC church every Sunday, never engaging in the sacraments or getting confirmed.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Justin,

    There are also the Oriental Orthodox Churches (Coptic. Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopian, etc.) and the Assyrian Church of the East (but you probably already knew about those).

    If I had no other choice I would join the RCC, if only to have access to the sacraments. Over time, I have come to see that most of the troublesome RCC doctrines can be seen in an Orthodox manner, with papal supremacy/infallibility being acceptable if seen as:

    1. A primacy of honor and more like the position of a President, not a monarch.
    2. Despite the infallibility dogma, I can't imagine a Pope making a pronouncement without first consulting with the Bishops of the Church. Even the dogma itself was voted on at the First Vatican Council.

    The Eastern Rite Catholic Churches have come to terms with RCC teachings (and are allowed to keep their Eastern theology), and the biggest issues I personally have with the RCC are the Marian apparitions, which are not required to be believed, yet the Church approves them as worthy of belief.

    A lot of the more difficult RCC doctrines have been watered-down quite a bit in recent decades (for instance Limbo has basically been jettisoned). Eastern Rite Churches are only required to believe in an intermediate state and that prayers are beneficial for the dead, which we Orthodox already believe, so purgatory is really a non-issue. The Augustinian aspects of Roman theology (juridical, legalistic) are troubling, but the Eastern Rite Churches are not required to utilize Augustinian theology, so I don't see why a RCC should have to either.

    So hypothetically, if nothing else was available other than Protestant bodies, yes, I would go Roman Catholic. If you ever do consider the Orthodox Church I would recommend the Antiochian or OCA, since they don't stress the ethnic aspects as much (of course some parishes in those jurisdictions are exceptions) and most of their parishes use English in the services.
     
  3. Celtic1

    Celtic1 Well-Known Member

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    I do not say the following lightly. One of my closest friends is Roman Catholic, and I have known some good people who are Roman Catholics. But there is no way I would ever join the RCC -- no way, never, not a chance. I don't consider it an apostolic church. To be called apostolic, a church must follow the teachings of the apostles; those teachings are found in the NT. The RCC does not meet the criteria necessary to be called an apostolic church.

    I agree with a lot about the EOC, more than many Protestant churches, but there are a few areas of serious disagreement, as well, so I don't think I could be Orthodox. I could be Old Catholic; in fact, I suppose I am since I was ordained by an Old Catholic archbishop. :) But there is considerable variety among Old Catholics -- some are very liberal.
     
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  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Justin all such talk is premature. The Anglican church is true church of antiquity, apostolic era, and of God. Therefore it can stumble but will never fall. Let's not get into plans for how to join the Arians or the Donatists when we should be working to uphold the Church.
     
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  5. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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  6. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Active Member

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    What would it take to join? An end to RCIA (which takes an insanely long time), maybe some better music...and an assurance that I can disagree with CCC 841 and still be saved. I'd also need a local parish & priest that I could actually respect.

    In addition, I'd like straight answers on the problem of Pope Honorius, the recent innovations regarding Papal Infallibility, the creeping universalism (as seen in events like the disastrous Assisi interfaith meetings), and the enormous theological differences between today's Church and the pre-Vatican II Church. The usual answers are filled with runaround and double-speak, doing little to satisfy the curiosities of the informed seeker.
     
  7. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Peteprint,
    Thank you for sharing your view on this matter. I am aware of the Oriental Orthodox of course, but I only chose to leave them out because they are largely absent from America (although not entirely!).

    I agree with much of your statement and feel the same way (coming from a different background of course because I am not Orthodox)...However, and I could be wrong, my understanding of the Roman doctrines on infallibility and supremacy are that your interpretations would not be allowed, even in private. This is one of the primary, if not THE primary, reasons why I have left the Roman Catholic Church. One is essentially automatically excommunicated if one rejects the supremacy of the papacy as they have defined it, as well as with papal infallibility. If you are "uncertain" of papal infallibility or supremacy, then you are able to stay, but rejection, even when that rejection is of the conscience only, is not allowed.

    Again, this is my understanding of Canon Law and the declarations made by the various councils on this issue. Some Catholics will tell you I am wrong, but when asked to produce the official doctrines which refute those I alluded to above, I have yet to find one up to the task.

    Justin
     
  8. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Very interesting as always. I would be interested someday to hear exactly what teachings you believe the RCC is so off on that they should no longer be considered apostolic (a very serious accusation!), but I suppose that is for another thread. I do, however, have another off-topic question I was hoping you could answer here because I have been meaning to ask and always forget...What exactly is a "Celtic Christian"? I have never really heard the term before other than in brief mentions in history without much of an explanation.
     
  9. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    I agree that the Anglican Church has a wonderful tradition (much of it anyway), and I don't discount your desire to refrain from these types of discussion. Perhaps you are correct...I have to admit though, at times, it seems like an inevitably hopeless cause.

    If all Roman Catholics actually abided by and knew the rules of the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church in America would at once become the largest church in the country. I don't mean to disparage Roman Catholics, only to say that from my experience, almost all Catholics disagree openly with one doctrine or another which they are REQUIRED to believe and defend by the rules of the Roman Catholic Church.

    Further, if the Anglican Churches in America could get their act together, I have no doubt the incredible loss of adherents would subside.

    But both of these scenarios seems improbable at the very best. It seems inevitable to me then that the Anglican Church in the United States will continue to collapse upon itself as members become older and their children refuse to attend.

    Thus, I have trouble hoping for that which I believe is nearly impossible. Belief in the impossible is, however, the very essence of faith, a lesson I apparently have yet to fully accept.
     
  10. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Dark Knight,
    I don't disagree with your various assertions...In fact, I too find nearly all of what you said disturbing to some degree. However, isn't it true that your own Anglican Church has also promoted heretical teachings on various topics? Yet, despite these, you stay...I think this is the reason I am able to at least toss around the idea...because no one seems to be getting it completely right.
     
  11. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Active Member

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    Yes. They have. And I am rapidly losing interest in trying to defend them...or in even putting up with it anymore. But that's a rant for another day. :D I probably have a more favorable view of the Catholic Church than many here, though my post might not have reflected it.

    It's all very complex.
     
  12. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    That is the understatement of the year!
     
  13. Lux Christi

    Lux Christi Active Member

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    Just a quick note regarding Papal Infallibility: I hope y'all understand that Papal Infallibility is only on matters regarding faith and morals, right? Which in theory means that the Pope can only be infallble so as long as it adheres to the teachings of the Bible as well as the Magisterium. If the Pope were to teach something outside the Magisterium and the Traditions of the Fathers, as well as the Scriptures regarding a matter, then for obvious reason that matter would not be binding.





    The Papacy certainly does not dictate what the faithful should or should not do, but be a Shepherd among the flock, and guide them to orthodoxy.

    As an Anglican and a former Roman Catholic, despite its staunch conservatism, strong hierarchical structure, and mandated clerical celibacy, all of which I absolutely loathe, the Roman Catholic Church has nurtured my faith and practice in my childhood and youth, from the moment I was baptised into the Christian Faith. I grew up in the Novus Ordo rite, but despite that, my childhood priest was very encouraging for my devotional life. My family (nuclear and extended), being mostly Roman Catholic, have taught me devotion to Mother Mary and her Child Jesus, as well as the Rosary and prayers of grace before meals. My family wasn't absolutely fanatical, neither were they completely lax in belief. My grandfather loved being part of the Knights of Columbus, while my grandmother faithfully prayed the Rosary in the Legion of Mary.

    As a practicing Anglo-Catholic, I must thank the Church of Rome for passing down beautiful devotions such as the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary (even with some laity's excessive pieties towards her) and the Rosary. That Purgatory is an expression of God's hope for us, and not this silly polarisation between eternal damnation of the lost, and the chosen elect few in heaven. That despite its attempt to rationalise Christian Tradition and Scripture to excess, it still leaves Genesis and Revelation without interpretation, as well as allowing for theistic evolution.

    I left the Church of Rome and joined the Anglican Church because of my attention to the nitty gritty, from the Papacy to demanded clerical celibacy (save their loopholes with ex-Anglican priest converts and Eastern Rite Catholics), as well as the 'One True Church' doctrine that pervades both the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. But as for daily life, Roman Catholicism has its own sparkling charm and beauty that maybe cradle Catholics know.

    As for my own personal thoughts, I still believe, along with the Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Church, that the Roman Catholic Church is on expression of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith. Whether I agree or not with some of the teachings of the Church of Rome, I can always know that they poessess the Sacraments, the Scriptures, Apostolicity, and God's Grace to help an individual's faith in daily life.
     
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  14. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Active Member

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    Yeah, I understand that (and thanks for sharing it). I just can't accept that, on one hand, Pope Honorius was a heretic; while on the other hand, he never taught anything contrary to true doctrine. Both cannot be true. I'm not trying to be flippant about it; it is a big problem for me. Nor do I accept that bozos like Alexander VI had any special charism whatsoever.
     
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  15. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    I too have a fondness of much of Roman Catholicism for many of the reasons you listed above.

    However, I think your theological understanding of papal infallibility is slightly off. You are right to say the Pope is only infallible so long as he adheres to the teachings of the Bible and the Magisterium, but according to the Catholic Church, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the Pope to teach anything ex cathedra (infallibly) which violates either the Bible or the Magisterium. For Roman Catholicism, the Pope's ex cathedra statements, by definition, MUST adhere to sacred tradition, the Bible, and the Magisterium. Thus, it is always a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whatever the Pope says conforms to the established doctrines the Pope is already bound to. That's what papal infallibility is all about.

    If I am wrong, I sincerely hope someone can correct me...but I am very convinced based on years of studying the issue carefully that I am not.
     
  16. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    A big part of the problem with Rome I feel, is its need to explain everything in detail. Orthodox believe in the body and blood of Christ at the Eucharist, but never felt the need to explain it (transubstantiation). In the same way, Orthodox pray for the dead and believe in an intermediate state, but never explained it as purgatory. Orthodox (99% of them) believe that Mary never sinned, yet have no doctrine of an immaculate conception.

    For some reason Rome has always felt the need to explain the mysteries of the faith (usually in a scholastic manner), and this causes problems, since human reason cannot come up with explanations that don't have flaws (and non-Catholics are quick to point these flaws out).
     
  17. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Theologically, I COMPLETELY agree with you.

    However, I don't think it's a mystery why they do this. It is pretty simple in my view. Rome does this because, well, it can. It claims to have papal infallibility and Church infallibility generally, thus if they didn't exercise these powers, I think the world would wonder why they don't. If you truly believe that anything declared infallibly true by the Magisterium is true, why not encourage them to be specific? It makes perfect sense within the Roman framework.
     
  18. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Christianity is about having faith. If you believe that Anglicanism holds the best doctrine, which it does, then we must all work for the Church which stands for the doctrine of God. We are not allowed to be summertime warriors or sunshine patriots. It is a church militant, on earth, and switching communions into a church with wildly heretical opinions is not a valid option. Anglicans have started liberalizing in the last 50 years while the Romans have started abandoning God since at least the 1300s.
     
  19. Lux Christi

    Lux Christi Active Member

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    I love the Anglican Communion, in both its successes and failures. It is a church of the people (both sinners and saints), and veritably one of the many Churches of God!
     
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  20. historyb

    historyb Active Member

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    If the Charismatic Episcopal Church was not available or a similarly conservative Episcopal Church than I would most likely go back to the Catholic Church, though I would have some reservations
     
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