Where is the peace and healing promised through the mysteries of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?
I'm troubled by this thread and some of the attitudes of some on it. I wish we could speak with greater peace, confidence and kindness.
First of all, I apologise if any of my posts have offended you.
I agree that sometimes we speak more vehemently here than is sometimes necessary. You are right about that.
But in other ways, I think that in all honesty, you have to realise that this is a forum for debate, and people will adopt a debating posture at times.
You should remember that people here have come from various backgrounds and have had various experiences. I also have a great affection for Roman Catholicism. I was going to become Roman Catholic for 2 years before I found Orthodoxy.
Have you read the book "The Orthodox Church" by Timothy (Metropolitan Kallistos) Ware? At one point in this book he underlines at one point that people don't realise the deep misgivings that the Orthodox can still have about Roman Catholicism because of things that have happened in history, and IMV, unfortunately, continue to happen today to some extent. And Metropolitan Kallistos is known for his irenic stance in ecumenical encounters! There is a lot of Orthodox paranoia about the Roman Church too, that is just part of human sinfulness, unfortunately, and for which there is no excuse. The Church is made up of all too human components.
Sometimes a more polemical tone might be necessary in order to better establish positions, particularly in light of the currently fashionable ecumenical view that "underneath it all, we're all the same." Well, Christians of various confessions do have lots that they share, but unfortunately, the Orthodox believe that there are a lot of things that divide them as well. Again, you are right that there is no excuse for a vitriolic tone, but sometimes it is necessary to adopt a more forthright stance in order to make clear our unfortunate differences. The Orthodox find themselves alone, in many ways, in thinking it necessary to underline differences today. Our view of what constitutes the Church shares many things in common with the Roman Catholic view, but holds other things differently too. The trouble is that many Roman Catholics don't acknowledge this. They think that the Orthodox are just the same as them, except that they need to accept the authority of the Pope. The Orthodox find themselves isolated, being the only major Christian confession holding to a more "exclusive" view of ecclesiology nowadays.
I would encourage you to check out various other discussions that have transpired over the years hear at OC.net..... if you realise that you will encounter threads much more polemical in tone than this one and won't mind that, that is. I'm kind of surprised that this thread affected you that much, compared to what has been written in the past. Anyway, you could try the tag "ecclesiology" or "celibacy" and see where it gets you.
I'm sure that you have been to RC forums on the net. I've never visited them myself, but I understand that Orthodox posters aren't exactly treated with the greatest of charity there either at times. But I know that your post is not about one-upmanship. You expect there to be a higher level of peace, decorum, etc. to be found here, because after all, we are Orthodox. Well, unfortunately,the Church is made up of a lot of fallible human beings. And the devil likes to stir things up whenever he can. Try to remember also that we would be a different bunch of folks if we were all meeting together at a conference or something. I know that when I meet Roman and Byzantine Catholics in person, we can have some great discussions that can get difficult, but really relate well to each other as people and have genuine Christian concern for each other too. The internet is a really limited place in terms of being able to encounter the real
person. I think that if many of us who write here could meet in person, we would be able to laugh about the polemical stance we have sometimes held here online.
Be that as it may, I ask your forgiveness again if I have offended you.