Sunday, April 15, 2012

Q:How do we know the Roman Catholic Church is the original and not the Orthodox Church?

Somebody asked me when did the Orthodox Church leave the Roman Catholic one? How do we know that we are right and they are not? This is a slightly tricky one since we are both Apostolic. Following the Fall of the Roman Empire, the (Roman) Catholics remained in the West. What came to be known as the "Orthodox" remained in the East and claimed to be the continuation of the Roman Empire [which we now call Byzantium despite their claims] As you know, we date our first pope back to St Peter [Jesus' disciple & friend]. One might ask, can there be anything earlier than this? I'm sure they have the same claim however - afterall we are both Apolostolic. However, determining which is 100% the TRUE Church might ultimately come down to faith.
For me, "proof" that our Church is the correct one [between the two] lies in the fact that we continue to use Latin [the first Bible which was commissioned by the Pope & translated/compiled by St Jerome c185 AD]. We continue to use unleavened bread for Eucharist [as Jesus did at the Last Supper- we know this because it was a Passover Sedar]. Our priests are not allowed to marry- we are told in Scripture that those who can do so [remain celibate & chaste] should - those that cannot should marry & create (Catholic) children. They also reject the Immaculate Conception. The Orthodox Churches have no formal stand on Abortion [-no opinion or forbidding of the murder of babies?...]   If I have learned correctly, Orthodox are "Catholics" as well but they qualify the same as those which are not in full communion with the Holy Mother Church [Vatican/ Rome].

Unofficially, the distance combined with the different cultures between the East and the West allowed for the Eastern Catholics to develop different influences upon their practices, superstitions and beliefs [I say superstitions because in the 400 - 700's there were many... in the Orthodox churches we have a record of somebody making an icon painting the supposed godparent of a child .... ?].   By the time we split, both the Eastern & Western Churches were (unofficially) kind of doing their own thing. When our Churches officially split in 1053 [despite wikipedia I learned it as 1053 in History] we (the Roman Catholic Church) continued to use Latin and the continued to use the Vulgate Bible [until very recently when we allowed it to be translated- I think with the Douay Rheims version]. The hill on which Vatican is (and always has been) is the place where St Peter (our first pope) was crucified upside down. We continued to hold this as our Church's center/head quarters/ capital while the Eastern Church created Constantinople as a new center/capital to their new (Byzantine) empire. I hope this helps explain : D