The RC church is a huge, monolithic organization and has the momentum of a giant oil tanker at full speed. I picture Pope Benedict as a tiny little tug. He might want to turn the course of the tanker but is ineffective in so far as he's only able to make very small changes. In all honesty, does anyone think he can do away with entrenched Catholic dogmas? and practices.
IMHO, this is bang on the mark. I once heard an Eastern Catholic priest tell a story about an audience some Catholics had with the Pope (Paul VI if memory serves). During the audience, one of the faithful asked the Pope: "Holy Father, how many people work in the Vatican?" The Pope considered the question thoughtfully for a few moments, and then responded: "Oh, I would say about half." In other words, fifty percent of the people working in the Vatican were trying to implement the policies and practices of the Roman see, while the other half were either tying them up in bureaucratic knots, ignoring them, or actively opposing them.
negative experience of the Eastern Catholics with the Roman Church should put the Orthodox on the alert. Here is but one example: the field of canon law. They have been struggling for decades to have eastern concepts recognized in their canon law, but continue to have to make decisions based on Roman concepts, as I see it seemingly because Roman canon lawyers simply can't be bothered to go online and order a few books on Orthodox views of canon law and ecclesiology! Anyone who doesn't believe me is welcome to root around for themselves and find some info. Perhaps you could start with the work of the well-respected Eastern Catholic canon lawyer Fr Jobe Abbass (sp?)
It seems that well-intentioned Catholics sometimes seem to have great difficulty grasping eastern concepts. But when they work at it, they can come up with remarkably charitible and gracious ways of relating to the Orthodox. One should remember that a considerable amount of positive change that emanated from Vatican II(and all but the most rigid Orthodox, IMHO, would have to acknowledge that at leastsome
positive things came from Vatican II) was inspired by the Melkite Church. A document like the one signed at Balamand, however, is a mixed creature. Clearly, there are elements in Balamand that are totally incompatible with Orthodox ecclesiology, but on the other hand, some of its declarations show remarkable sensitivity and deference to Orthodox values and concepts regarding the nature of the Church.
Orthodox nervousness regarding the Catholic Church cannot all be dismissed simply as Orthodox paranoia, though there is an unfortunate element of that present. There are prominent Catholics out there, who, IMHO, are rightly viewed by the Orthodox as having a kind of benevolent yet arrogant superiority complex regarding the Eastern Church based on genuine ignorance about the differences between the West and Orthodoxy. "The Orthodox are exactly the same as us, except that they are completely disorganised and don't have the benefit of communion with the Roman see, poor souls.Oh yes, and they have such a beautiful and rich liturigical tradition."