A long time ago I realized the Grace of the Holy Spirit was not to be found in the Roman Catholic Church. It grieved me to step back and see just how far Rome had deviated from the Church. In the last century the slow destruction of orthodoxy has accelerated into a maelstrom. Where there was once at least dignity, if not Truth, there is now nothing. The affection I once felt for Roman Catholicism in a nostalgic sort of way (the faith of my family going back countless generations), is gone. Now there is only disgust and revulsion.
There have always been, and will always be, clergy in any profession of faith who live an upside-down life, embracing sin, using the church as earthly institution for their own fleshly gain. Wherever there are humans, you will find them; none is exempt. However, when an institution has corporately engaged in corruption for generations, they begin to flaunt it publicly, preaching depravity and punishing virtue. Witness the the horror that is the Episcopal Church. Roman Catholicism is going the same way, and in a spectacular fashion.
I have never engaged in much evangelism and avoid polemics. If someone told me they were considering becoming Catholic or Episcopalian (or any type of Protestant) I would express polite interest, possibly inquiring after the reason they were considering it, etc. If they asked about Orthodoxy I would answer their questions, but Truth is not a matter of debate; it just Is. I’m nonconfrontational and afraid of misrepresenting my Faith accidentally.
However, we’re in the last days. The evil one is showing his hand. I am not intending to be ugly, but from now on, if someone tells me they’re thinking about Catholicism, etc. I will tell them in no uncertain terms to run in the opposite direction. The time for polite nothings is past. I debated about posting this but I feel I can’t in good conscience keep silent.
On the other hand, I know well the feeling of, “but if I admit this church is wrong, there’s nothing left. Where will I go?” It’s like telling yourself that there is no God. You can’t even contemplate it. I remember this feeling so clearly, even this many years later. This is why so many good people are closing their eyes and ears and refusing to see what is happening in front of them: leaving is quite literally unthinkable.
I look back and wonder what made me take off the blinders and realize Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is Orthodoxy. I guess it was the Grace of God. Certainly no one argued me into it. That makes this post kind of pointless, in a way, but I am sticking my neck out there and posting it anyway. You may disagree with me and point out your saintly non-Orthodox relative/friend/priest as proof that I’m wrong. I’m not here to argue. I know that Orthodoxy is the Truth, the only Church. I can’t express it very elegantly, and I’m not formally trained in theology. (I will forestall some of those protests by saying that I am well aware that Orthodoxy doesn’t have a monopoly on holy people. I have very devout family members who are without a doubt much better people than I am. But Christ’s Holy Church is Orthodoxy, and nothing else.)
I’ve lost friends over the years partially as a result of divergence of beliefs. I’m not as close to my family as I would like. Christ tells us that we are but strangers in this world, our “native land” being the Kingdom of God. It would be “smarter” in a worldly sense to keep quiet, be Nice, tell little lies of omission. I will not, however, take the easy path of pretending each religion is as good as the next. It doesn’t make you a popular person, and in coming times will result in being labeled a criminal. But I’ve chosen my path and I will not depart from it.
If I have expressed any of this poorly, resulting in misunderstanding, it is solely my own responsibility. Please forgive me.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner!