- Baptism makes us children of God and members of the Catholic Church. Through baptism, one also determines one's own right to the church (sui iuris). Man is called to live the Christian life in the rite in which he is baptized.
- If a person has been baptized in a church or community that is not in full communion with the Apostolic See, then he becomes a Catholic through an affiliation, which he should do according to sincere conviction. You cannot join until there is an understanding that the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ, and when it understands, you must enter into full communication with it. It is a great sin to join for false reasons, but no less - inaction with the full realization that the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation (except in rare cases when there is no physical opportunity to join). By consciously and voluntarily remaining Orthodox or Protestant, such a person seriously sins.
Joining is a formal act. You need to contact the rector of the Catholic parish, undergo the necessary preparation and participate in the accession rite, which usually consists only of pronouncing the Creed.
Joining takes place before the head priest because it depends not only on the desire of the questioner, but also on the Catholic Church itself, which, in the person of the head priest, tests the motives of the person and decides whether to accept him into fellowship. If someone thinks that you can become a Catholic automatically because of your desire, then he is mistaken. A Catholic is one whom the Catholic Church itself takes into communion with herself.
That is why, prior to joining, there is a period of catechesis, which in our parish lasts about one year. During this preparatory time, those who wish to join the Church communicate with the abbot and study with him the basics of Catholic doctrine. The abbot helps believers not only to learn faith, but also to learn to live according to the spirit of the Catholic Church until the very moment of joining.
Transition from Orthodoxy to Catholicism
The community of local churches, conventionally called the Orthodox Church *, is the closest in religion to the Catholic Church, so the transition from "Orthodoxy" to Catholicism is the easiest and easiest.
The Catholic Church recognizes all the Orthodox sacraments - baptism, anointing, weddings, priesthoods, and therefore the Orthodox Church does not need to go through them again during the transition. In order to become a Catholic, you just need to go to the nearest Catholic priest and ask him to accept you as a member of the Ecumenical Church. In some cases, after a personal interview, the priest may send for catechesis, i.e. a course of study of Scripture and Tradition, but most often, if the result of the interview is satisfactory, you will simply be asked to read the Nicene Creed, and from then on you will already be a full member of the Catholic community. There is no special “rite of accession” to the Catholic Church other than baptism and anointing.
Transition to Catholicism from Protestantism
The transition to the Catholic Church from Protestant churches - such as the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal or any other church community, the historically successive Protestant Reformation - is slightly more complicated due to a number of fundamental differences in teaching and practice among Catholics and Protestants.
The water baptism performed in a church where the correct apostolic faith in the Triune God is professed is recognized by the Catholic Church as a true spiritual birth, regardless of who and at what age the believer was baptized. But all the other sacraments - marriage, anointing, priesthood - will need to be repeated.
The fact is that these sacraments, transmitting certain gifts of the Holy Spirit, are found only in the chain of apostolic ordinations that goes back to Christ Himself and His apostles. As a result of the Reformation, the teaching and practice of church sacraments in the communities that separated from the Catholic Church were essentially distorted, which led to a rupture of the continuity of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, for the seeker of truth, the Protestant will need to walk a spiritual path, return to the lost sources of the Divine Truth and charismatics (gifts of the Holy Spirit).
The Catholic Church for Protestants is a mother, she speaks the same language with you, thinks in categories that are understandable to you, serves humanity in the same way as numerous Protestant missions scattered for the preaching of the holy gospel throughout the globe serve. Here you can realize all your gifts and initiatives in the service of Christ. For this, the Catholic Church has developed many tools - numerous brotherhoods, congregations, orders, missions, commonwealths, unions, each has its own vocation, each has its own tasks and goals that complement the main goal of the Catholic Church: to reveal the presence of Christ in this world until the end of time .
The process of churching in the Mother Church will not be boring for you. You, as well as the Orthodox, need to start with an interview with a Catholic priest, who will develop for you an appropriate scheme for joining the Church.
Most often, the ex-Protestant undergoes a full catechization course, lasting from two to three months to a year, during which he will be acquainted with the basics of church teaching, with the history, theology and practices of the Catholic Church. Then, if you had not been baptized in the Orthodox Church before, you will be given the sacrament of anointing (the transmission of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands of the apostles after baptism - see Acts 11 of Chap.) And you can begin to confess and Communion of the Lord.
Which of the Catholic Churches is better to go to?
Perhaps this is not known to everyone, but within the framework of the Catholic Church there is a wide variety of local Catholic churches that have different rites of worship, different traditions of piety and their own theological schools. The most famous of these local churches is Roman catholic church. It is the largest Catholic church with an ancient history and authentic Western ritualism. In many cities of Ukraine, Russia and other countries of the ex-USSR, it is the RCC that is most common.
Another famous and numerous church is Greek Catholic. Depending on the country of your residence, it can be Ukrainian, Russian, Belorussian, Ruthenian, Romanian or even Greek Greek Catholic Church. All these are local churches, which once were in a split with the Catholic Church and belonged to the community of Orthodox Churches, but then restored unity with the Ecumenical Church, entering into Eucharistic communion (communion) with the throne of St. Peter, the Church of Rome. All these churches practice the Byzantine (Greek) rite identical to that which is in the Orthodox Church. Theologically and culturally, they belong to the Byzantine tradition, their only difference from the Orthodox churches is the complete doctrinal unity with the Roman Catholic Church and jurisdictional subordination to Rome of various depths.
Formally, a person who was baptized in the Byzantine (i.e., Orthodox) tradition when transferring to the Catholic Church is considered a Greek Catholic, even if he becomes a parishioner of a local Catholic church of another rite, for example Latin, if he is converted to Roman Catholics, or Armenian, if adjacent to the Armenian Catholic Church. But in practice, as a rule, no one follows this and the believer is free to choose a rite and a parish to his liking.
Go to a service in the temples of the local Catholic churches accessible in your city, chat with the priesthood, with monks, with ordinary lay believers and think about how close this spiritual communion is to you. Of course, you need to belong to the true Church of Christ regardless of any material circumstances, and it is worthwhile to become baptized even if in the Catholic parish accessible to you you at first do not find deep spiritual fellowship. I assure you: very soon the Lord will give you good companions in your spiritual path, and you will not be alone, because in any case our main Interlocutor and Friend is the Son of God, the God-Man Jesus Christ.
With any choice, you will have the fullness of all spiritual gifts entrusted by Christ to the Church two thousand years ago and abundantly nourished by the Holy Spirit until the present.
All the local Catholic churches are in complete communion with each other, and having church in one of them, you will be able to absolutely attend the Divine Services and participate in the church ordinances of any other Catholic church, including much-needed confession and Communion.
As the Lord said in the Gospel of John, “I have other sheep that are not of this court, and they are to be brought to Me: and they will hear My voice, and there will be one flock and one Shepherd” (John 10:16).
I wish you success in this blessed way! Do not let the difficulties that may arise in your spiritual journey frighten you. Jesus has already passed for you, suffered everything, you just need to update already available you have the spiritual potential and bring to the Lord the abundant fruits of His Holy Spirit.