Are lots of Catholics going to migrate to the Orthodox Church?

I was thinking recently, regarding the scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church:

One one hand, American Catholics have these sexual abuse scandals horribly tarnishing the image of their church. On the other hand, they have a Pope who I get the impression is seen by many as being too liberal.

If I were an Orthodox clergyman who was tasked with trying to gain new members, I would be actively trying to recruit from this large pool of Catholics who are at once disaffected with the Pope and also feeling disgraced by the child-abuse issue. I would say, “come join the Orthodox Church, we are the oldest Christian church, we have the same veneration of the saints and the same old-school traditions, but without all the baggage of the Catholic church which has left you behind by being too corrupt, by covering up for evil priests, and by having a Pope who is too liberal.”

But then again I don’t know if the Orthodox even try to actively gain new members this way.

I doubt it. Orthodox services and doctrine are different enough rfom Roman Catholicism that it might be too much of a change. I’ve attended some Lutheran and Anglican services that were similar enough to the RC service that it would be an easier move. I worked for a funeral home for some time, you see, and attended many different denominations as a part of the job.

I grew up Catholic, and, as an adult, was a member of several ELCA Lutheran congregations (I’m now a Methodist). Liturgically, yes, a Lutheran service is very similar to a Catholic Mass. But, there are enough doctrinal differences between the churches that I don’t think it’d be a simple “switch” for a Catholic who’s knowledgeable about their faith.

Also, there’s the matter of the fact that, relatively speaking, there aren’t a lot of Orthodox churches in the U.S.

According to various Wikipedia articles, there are roughly 700 Eastern Orthodox parishes in the U.S., and 560 Greek Orthodox parishes. Meanwhile, there are 17,651 Catholic parishes in the U.S.

Given that disparity, I imagine that there are many American Catholics (particularly those who don’t live in cities with large populations of people with Greek or Eastern European ancestry) who don’t have an Orthodox church anywhere near them.

For that matter, the Orthodox Church has it’s own priest sex scandal (just not as big or as public as the Catholic one). So do many of the protestant churches. Especially the Evangelical ones: Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, etc.

Isn’t it much more likely that Catholics dissatisfied with the Vatican administration will splinter off to create an independent Catholic movement? It’s happened before, hasn’t it?

I know of a Catholic parish in St. Louis that split off from the RCC a few years back. As the story was related to me, St. Stanislaus Kostka was an unusual parish to start with, as its assets (the property, the buildings, etc.) were owned in an independent trust, rather than by the diocese.

When the archbishop of St. Louis ordered the parish to dissolve the trust, and turn over their assets to the archdiocese (which was facing several lawsuit payouts, due to sexual abuse by priests), they refused. The parish declared themselves to be independent of the archdiocese, and the “institutional Roman Catholic Church.” They recruited a priest to come to the church from Poland (since the Archbishop pulled their previous priest), and won a court ruling to remain independent.

One of the particularly noticeable differences is that St. Stanislaus Kostka conducts same-sex marriages – I attended the wedding of my onetime college girlfriend, and her longtime partner, there in 2015.

Isn’t there similarity between Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism?

From the standpoint of being Christian faiths, certainly. Both believe in the Trinity, that Jesus was the son of God, who died to pay for the sins of mankind, etc.

The various churches that one would classify as “Evangelical Christian” (there is no one “Evangelical Christian” denomination) are all Protestant churches, and the results of various schisms and splits tracing back to Martin Luther.

But, while the Roman Catholic Church is one of the most hierarchical of all western churches, the various Evangelical churches tend to be very decentralized, and many of them are either truly independent of any wider organization, or only loosely affiliated with a broader organization.

In addition, there are many doctrinal differences (transubstantiation being just one), and the Catholic Bible doesn’t even have exactly the same books that the Protestant Bible does.

Even in recent times, there have been conservative / Evangelical Christian churches who’ve had a negative, if not outright hostile, view towards Catholicism, and “papist” is a longstanding insult which has been used. It’s not entirely uncommon for conservative Protestants to believe that Catholics actually worship the Pope.

Or Mary. Or saints.

Ahh, ok thanks. I guess I was just remembering the “visions” of those like Erik Prince (of Blackwater infamy) who sought to unify the “most evangelistically assertive” branches of Christianity.

I knowq couple of Catholics who left the Catholic Church for the episcopalians over the sex abuse scandal. The services are very similar, the theology is similar, the politics are more liberal. It’s not a very hard step fora politically liberal Catholic to take.

Some other “high church” (Lutheran, Presbyterian) might also feel similar, but the theology is more different.

Greek, Eastern European, or Arab. All the major Arab Christian denominations are Orthodox, I think. As more immigrants from Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq migrate to the US, there will be an increased Orthodox population which may mix with Catholics socially and perhaps draw ex-Catholics to the Orthodox church.

Again, I don’t know if the Orthodox church even tries to actively seek new members, but if they do, now would be the time to do it, I think.

Well, you have organizations like the Southern Baptist Convention, but even those tend to have far less centralized control than even “mainline” Protestant churches, much less the Roman Catholic Church, as the autonomy of the local church is seen as an important feature of many of those denominations.

And, there are also many independent Evangelical churches, which aren’t a member of any broader organization at all.

Good point about the Arab Christian faiths (hey, I learned something today). But, I suspect that the absolute number of immigrants from those countries to the U.S. overall (much less Christian immigrants) in the years to come will be a drop in the bucket, and won’t have a substantial impact on the size of Orthodox Christianity in the U.S.

In addition, most Orthodox churchs that I’ve encountered - and I can think of three within five miles of the my house, as well as two Eastern Rite congregations - are tied pretty closely to specific ethnic communities - Greeks, Slavs, Arabs - which may not appeal to the basic white bread American Catholic.

On the other hand, any Catholic who thinks Francis is too liberal is probably not going to feel at home in an American Episcopalian church.

Missouri Synod Lutherans might be the best bet for your hypothetical Catholic.

Luther was (initially, at the very least) trying to fix what he belonged to, not start anything new.

Same with some other guy a millennium and a half earlier than Luther - I forget his name. :wink:

Number of Catholic Parishes in the Barcelona metro area: in the hundreds.

Number of Orthodox Parishes in the Barcelona metro area: one. And while I’d be interested in learning Russian, I expect the bits you learn in church don’t include mat.
Anybody switching to Orthodox would need to learn new rites, but also, it’s not as if we’d be 100% sure of leaving “the bad seeds” behind, so there isn’t much of a point. Also, for those of us whose main practical disagreements with the RCC include the treatment of women… the Orthodox Church isn’t what comes to mind when thinking of “less frozen-in-time pastures”. Episcopal would make sense (where it’s available), Orthodox hellfuckno.

The Center for Evangelical Catholicism would seem to suggest that there are at least some, more conservative, sub-sects of Catholicism that align more closely with Evangelical doctrines perhaps than Catholicism as a whole. This is what I was alluding to when I mentioned Erik Prince. He was (or is) involved in a conservative version of Roman Catholicism and Evangelic theology which shapes a political/religious ideology known as Dominion Theology. I say all this to acknowledge that “Evangelical Catholicism” looks to be only a fringe element or idea being pushed by very far-right parts of the religion and unlikely to attract many mainstream Catholics fleeing from the religion.

I can think of exactly two pope names that would capture my attention:


Anna I