Coptic catholic convert

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
Hey you guys, the following are quotes from someone who used to be coptic orthodox and then became coptic catholic instead, please comment if you have any info..

So what began my journey to Catholicism? It was a very simple, almost imperceptible change in the Coptic Liturgy – the removal of the phrase “head of the Apostles” from the title of Sts. Peter and Paul. I wanted to find out the reason for the change, so I investigated the Church Fathers. What began as a PURELY academic exercise into the phrase “head of the Apostles” in the early Church eventually blossomed into a realization, and finally full acceptance, of the Truth taught by the Catholic Church.

For instance, with regards to the papacy, no matter what papal issue began the discussion (or argument), it always came down to an argument to which I had no response, “You believe in the apostolic principle of collegiality [i.e., a juridical body with a juridical head]. What makes you think the principle should stop at the level of Patriarchate? Why should it not apply to the Church as a whole, instead of just local Churches?” (Of course, I admit that such rhetoric would fail to convince an Eastern Orthodox who has a different ecclesiological paradigm).

For example, re: the Immaculate Conception. I once told a Catholic friend (before my translation), “If the IC deprives Mary of the ability to sin, then it deprives her of free will.” He responded, “Jesus did not have the ability to sin. Do you claim as well that Jesus had no free will?” This was irrefutable logic, in my mind’s eye. I often use that rhetoric myself nowadays, always with the same result – either acknowledgment, or silence.

I already had an answer for this one, I cannot understand how someone can find this irrefutable logic, but anyways here goes:

The question:“Jesus did not have the ability to sin. Do you claim as well that Jesus had no free will?”
is paradoxal in intself, just like the question: "Can God make a stone so heavy, that even He can't lift it?" Jesus didn't sin, because He was God, (and man too of course), sin is what drives us away from God, when we sin we brake God's rules, sin leads to death, because God is Life, and thus it's only logic that sin, which is being far from God would lead to death!
So God cannot sin because He is God, He's good, He's life...

I don't know what the catholics say to the verse where Mary says about Jesus: my Saviour...
I can see no other explanation to it than the fact that she needed saving, also I thought this whole dogma came after the 'apparitions' in Lourdes.

The reason I put apparitions between ' ' is that if we don't believe that St Mary told Bernadette that she was immaculately conceived, then why should we believe St Mary appeared there in the first place!!! But anyways, there were many who got healed in Lourdes, but I just thought that maybe God wouldn't dissapoint people who came to be healed there with the intercessions of His holy Mother, the Theotokos... even if she didn't really appear there.

Ok please tell me what you think

God bless you

I’ve also been asked how I feel about the Liturgical changes in the Western Church. Shouldn’t this have been a sign for me that the Catholic Church was betraying its Traditions and prevented me from becoming Catholic? This, again, demonstrates a similarity between the Coptic and Catholic paradigms. To Copts, the bishops are the guardians of our souls, as indeed Scripture states, and it is within their authority to bind and loose to determine the ways and helps by which we are divinized; the form of the Liturgy is under the purview of the bishops. The Liturgy, for Copts, like the Catholics, is intended primarily to draw us closer to Christ, the summit of the Liturgy being the Eucharist, all other elements of the Liturgy regarded as a means to prepare ourselves for or to properly meditate upon the Eucharist. Given these two elements, I as a Copt have really no business judging the Liturgy of the Westerns. IF I was to judge them, I would judge them based on the two criteria above – 1) were changes to the Liturgy made by the proper authorities; 2) Are the changes made to permit or enhance union with Christ? I find the Western Catholic Church has met both criteria (of course, notwithstanding particular elements in a Mass or Liturgy that are absolutely required for Mass/Liturgy to be valid). Sensationalist accusations of a local church doing this or that in the Liturgy are obviously not the fault of the Catholic Magisterium, since these occur at a parish level (i.e., these extreme practices were not instituted by the local bishop).


  • I definately would like to leave our theologians in this forum to answer this very good question. However, I just would like to add the following as someone who is Coptic and ended up in the Catholic Church simply because there was no Coptic in the area I lived:

    On the plus side, they are apostolic... they have the same sacraments we have. The issue of the supremacy of the pope wasn't the thing that led me to stay Orthodox, nor was it the Immaculate Conception. I found that really charming to be amongst a bunch of people who honoured St Mary to such extreme like that. If I said "I love st. Mary too" - they'd be really happy. lol .

    It wasn't even the idea of purgatory that made me stay Orthodox, nor was it the Filoque.

    It was the communities in the Catholic Church. I found that although we can be close friends with them (religiously), it would be wiser to raise a family in the Orthodox faith. There are communities that condone immorality. There are some that are Charismatic, and frankly, some are on the verge of witch-craft. There are some communities that evangelise chastity, and others who promote fornication as a way of becoming closer to God (!!).

    Equally what put me off was this: Not all Catholic Churches give the Blood. Only the Body. In very few parishes do they have the Blood. Furthermore, the Eucharist that is broken on the alter - i.e. that is consecrated to be the Body of our Lord, is not what is distributed to the people during communion. The congregation has the small hosts (the small round wafers) and the priest eats (all by himself) another host (larger piece). That's so strange. That was more worrying than any dogma.

    Then, to add insult to injury, one priest then gives a protestant woman the Body of Christ to distribute it out to the people. Gosh!! What a careless thing to do!!!! I would NEVER see this in any Orthodox church. The respect we have for the sacrament of communion is just second to none. That's more important than ANY dogma. And it is this respect for the Holy Communion that is more valuable than the dogmatic differences we could have.

    Anyway, one of the biggest drawbacks came from One Community. They were very Orthodox (i.e. they had the body and blood etc) - yet catholic (viva la pape etc). Very righteous and pious. The followers prayed and fasted the same as us. Yet there was one small problem:

    They were ex-communicated from the Catholic Church.

    I mean, that just put me off right away. I thought to myself: That's it...that was the final straw.

    Its great to go to a Catholic Church to pray in case of Emergencies etc, or if you are in a Catholic country on vacation, it is excellent. However, what the RC has become - I'm not sure now if going there often is beneficial. It all depends on the community you join - and then that is quite worrying anyway.

    The good thing about the CoC is that a priest in Scotland will not say anything theologically or morally different than a priest in Sydney. It will be the same doctrine, same values, same mass, same sacraments, same tune, same everything. The fact that everything is done the same as it was done before is quite appealing.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the Catholic Church, but there's something quite broken in it. It has NOTHINg to do with the Immaculate Conception, purgatory, or the Supremacy of the pope. It is divided in itself. That's the worst thing. Can you imagine attending an anti-abortion campaign with the Catholic church and then having to explain to catholics who invited you to the campaign that fornication is wrong??? Can you imagine that? Servants of the Church requiring the need to be told that fornication is wrong?! If these are servants of the Church, and organisers of the Church, what about the ministers?? What about the clergy?

    As I've said, the only good community i've seen in the RC is actually ex-communicated from the RC itself. They recognise the pope, but the Pope doesn't recognise them (lol). They re-baptise everyone again according to their dogmatic rites, and they can no longer participate in masses or communion OUTSIDE of their little Catholic community (and this was the BEST community i found in the entire RC!!).

    The way I see it is this:
    A coptic man who is ignorant of theology who takes the Holy Communion in the Coptic Church believing that it is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and takes it in awe and respect is far better off than a catholic man who is equally ignorant in theology or differences between his church and ours and who partakes of the Eucharist in an environment that nurtures casual lack of respect and slothfullness for this Holy Sacrament.

    Now, before you attack me here... I just want to say that it was John Chrysostom that used the word "slothfullness" with respect to taking the Holy Communion.
  • The question of Jesus snning... I think that being God, he does have a free will, but being Almighty and infinite, knows what his own commands are. If God did not have a free will, how would have He created the universe? He chose not to sin, because he defined sin. Jesus was sinless, and had full control of the universe and sin.

    As for the IC, I believe that God chose Saint Mary because she had used her own FREE WILL to a degree of humility and never strayed from God's commandments. She loved God to no end. But she was born as human, and although she is the greatest among us, was born in sin. She had free will, but had been born in sin. She was the cleanest person for God to dwell in. Yet although she chose not to sin, she was born with it. It is almost like heredity. Although you cannot change anything of you out of free will, you are born with it.
  • Thanks, guys, but what about the papacy thing and the change in liturgy text???
    Anyone more info???
  • Hebrews 4:15 (New King James Version)
    15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

      The Orthodox Study note says: "Christ's empathy with sinners rests on His being tempted in every way we are."
      Thus he had free will because in His Humanity, Christ was tempted (remember His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest?) but never sinned (He's God).

      His example shows us how to let Him sanctify (deify) our will. His Divinity deified His Humanity (I know, I know this is a non-Chalcedonian site- I am being very general here....I love you guys ;D.)   

  • this is a remarkable question and just as remarkable replies i must say. Please allow me to put my 2 cents in :)Saint, beloved mother Mary, was, is, and always will be immaulate in thought body and soul. Largly, because by the grace of The Father that was poured on her. She would have to be to acommedate the Holy Spirit and God in Her womb. Remmember that God took flesh from her to become man. as for The Lord not having or having the free will to be able to sin or not to , to my appinion as a fellow Christian, is that we were created in his image and likeness, therefore, as a man or God, He posses freewill, but remmeber that God does not tempt nor can be tempted. His nature is Holyness, as His Spirit is Called "Holy Spirit", his will then must be contary to sin, His divinity, you will ask me then what about his man or flesh side? I am most certain that The Lord was Tempted by the advarsary with all temptation yet he remained sinnless out of his own free will. He had to be spotless to be the acceptable lamb for the slaughter for the remission of sins. Sin and temptation is from the devil, as all evil is, for he is the father of lias, the lord was able to overcome him, which proves the perfection of his divinity and humanity. I am the least one who should even try to reply to these awesome topics, for I am A sinner who knows nothing, but could not resist. Now, as to marry born in to sin, because of Adam, thus, The Lord being also the same because He is incarnated from her, I truly believe, one and all, should not be intised to enter into to much contemplation about these matters, but rather glorify God that he chose to be made as we are to abolish the grasp of death away from us out of his great love; it cost many great men of rank in the past greatly as they wished to entertain such thoughts, and the like, in regards to the hersies, forgive me for being brief. We should be thankfull for what the Lord has done in our sight, which is marvelious in our eyes.
      In regards to rc and Orthydoxia, that has bin something i have conemplated in my mind for a long while now. For a while, I had the notion that since Jesus is one, why are there so many differant aspects being sold to us, thus i continued to fast pray that God would lead me where he will, the right house of God; to make long story short, by his grace i ended in a coptic Church, with a solid rep. and foundation, as it also has relics of the greatest of some of the myrters. Bin there for afew years. Later, while i was involved in great deal of research i encountered most facinaitinng findings about the rc world that left me uncertain. I have seen proofs, from both equaly intriguing and great, that would make the worst of un believers to become Christian. To the point where I could not discredit any of them both. From the aperation to the miracls to house that is sapt with running Holy oil from every religious article in the house, espacialy saint mother mary, and other saints aswell. In the same house i held in my hand a rose pedly, that has bin researved in a specail class, with  The Lord face and the crown of thorns, clrearly, on his head, could not be crafted but only created! Now, all of this is a combination of the rs and coptic, it left me with many ? espacially on why they are so differrant on so many issues, like purg., limbo, and the blood in the communion, and so on. Again, I came to pray and leave the answer to my Father, inwhom i have intrusted my salvation by his grace and mercy. but i believe you must be one or the other with an opened mind to these buggling question; also, must not judge eachother. and untill the Church is made into one, which will be, keep on praying for more revealations and the truth. And, by the way, I am happy and blessed to be who I am, a Copt, untill God choses for me any differant. God bless all, pray for me a sinner.       
  • i wish more people would read the doctrines of the roman church, such as from the council at florentine they decided and unbaptized infant goes to hell. do more research on the catholic beliefs and you will be shocked or even how the popes have become heretical. pope john paul put a statue of buddha on the altar, benedict is abound in heretical thought, just one of his many heresies is the outright denial of the bread and wine becoming the body and blood of Christ. and he wrote these when he was a cardinal.
  • [quote author=Ioannes link=topic=7495.msg101738#msg101738 date=1239448483]
    i wish more people would read the doctrines of the roman church, such as from the council at florentine they decided and unbaptized infant goes to hell. do more research on the catholic beliefs and you will be shocked or even how the popes have become heretical. pope john paul put a statue of buddha on the altar, benedict is abound in heretical thought, just one of his many heresies is the outright denial of the bread and wine becoming the body and blood of Christ. and he wrote these when he was a cardinal.

    im interested, could you provide some links for prove of that whole buddha thing???
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