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Faith/Spirituality Forum: Clarifying some matters:re Eastern Church and conversion

by Catherine Frakas 23 Jun 2001

Clarifying some matters:re Eastern Church and conversion QUESTION from David on October 17, 2002 Dear Br Ignatius
Thank you for your reply
I understand what you are saying about the Catholic Church first then Rite. I am now seeking to come in the Western Rite because I have come to the Church fist and foremost because of Truth and to do the will of God. I apologise if I sounded demanding, what you read was probably some of my frustration at not being understood or really wanting to be understood. Actually I am more at peace now and trust God for his will in my life. I respect the Church Authorities and am heading into the Church through the western Rite. I am thankfull for the leading of God and am becoming once again more excited about coming into the Church. In Fact my priest is saying he may be able to have me in before the end of this year. Say a prayer that the road ahead into the Church is more smooth.
I do believe that person of different nationalities can be attracted to the M Rite and that Rites can be Universal as is the Latin Rite. Of course in practice I know this is not the case. Thats all I am saying. The way things are versus the way they should or could be. Am I wrong, is each Rite supposed to be Ethnically bound except the Latin Rite?? Is that part of Gods plan for the Catholic Church?? Again I ask your forgiveness for sounding demanding and not more humble. That is not my intention.
Finally, if you have knowledge about this, May I ask the Canon law questions? Canonically can I be refused entry into the Catholic Church through an Eastern Rite Church?? For any reasons?.
Thank you again for your time Yours in Christ David
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on October 19, 2002 Dear David:
I am glad your wrote back to clarify this. I was worried about you.
We will certainly be in prayer for you as you begin your Catholic life.
As to these issues, I am not aware of any restriction for a person who wants to join one of the Eastern Rites.
I do know that many people who are really Latin Catholics who have gone over to the Eastern Rites have caused a LOT of trouble in many cases. This is because they are expecting the Eastern Rite Liturgies to be more like the pre-Vatican II Latin liturgy I think. This, and the general clash of cultures has caused many problems. It is VERY difficult, though not impossible, for one to inculcate themselves into a different culture.
The reason why the Eastern Rite parish you approached may have not been very welcoming is because of this history of problems with people who are not part of their ethnic background.
But, as far as I know (and I am not a Canon Lawyer), one is free to join any Rite they wish.
But if, for whatever reasons, stumblingblocks occur, even if illicit, then we must do as you have done -- the CHURCH is what we are joining regardless of Rite and that is more important then having our preferences satisfied.
You may want to contact the St. Joseph Foundation (a group of Canon Lawyers) to get an answer to your canon law question. Their website is: St. Joseph Foundation
God bless.
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