But then how do you explain Anglicans and other Protestants, who (in my experience) do not have such a rigorous intellectual tradition to draw on? I've actually heard this more from Anglicans or Episcopalians than Catholics, maybe because the Catholics at least have the "two lungs" theory going with the Eastern Catholic churches.
Anglicans not having a rigorous intellectual tradition? Don't tell them that... some of the sharpest Theological minds in the last 100 years have been English if not Anglican! Papist has a point the West has nothing if not 'practical' in it's application of the Gospel message (seek justice, feed the hungry, cure the sick, etc). Western Christendom sought for good or ill to apply the Gospel in a very practical way as opposed to the more interior and mystical methods of the East. Now I'm not trying to say that the West had not Mystics or the East had no Hospitals but that there was and is a very distinct difference in the application of the Gospel message in these two traditions. No to mention the fact that Orthodoxy and Catholicism have been at odds for a thousand years. Up until Vatican II the Western Church held a very chilly relationship with the Eastern Churches. This move to recognition of it's Sacraments as licid as opposed to illicid and seeing them as 'a branch' or 'lung' of the Holy Catholic Church is frankly 'novel' to my understanding of Rome and their views of the East throughout history. You don't have to look to deep for the war of words between these two venerable traditions to encounter the polemical rhetoric that has existed on both sides for a very long time. If Catholics are immigrating to the East and thinking this is not a 'violent break' with the continuity of Western Tradition it is because of ignorance on the part of the West and a radical change in position of the Western Church toward the Eastern Churches. When we talk about the Latinization of the Byzantine Churches we forget that it was done because the Western felt the need to 'correct' the errors of the Eastern Churches or at the least to strengthen their traditions with the greater clarity found within the Western Church. Remember, historically Latinization was not simply a matter of continuity but of correction. This is way so many Traditional Catholic groups broke from Rome after Vatican II. I am not old enough to remember the destruction of Altars throughout all of Roman Catholicism in the late 1960's and 70's but to those who 'lived' through that period, it was a 'Reformation'. Out with the old and in with the new as the saying goes. We are going through a time when 'old is new again' which is part of the charm of Orthodoxy. That and it is very rich philosophically and far less dogmatic and rigorist which has heightened it's appeal in the modern pluralist Western Worldview. The kind of certainty one finds in Western Christianity is simply unpalatable. It's far too legalistic and sure of itself for a post-modern society. Be that for good or ill it is where we find ourselves in our day. The practical certainties of Western Society, borne out of the application of the Gospel, has failed to bring about it's objective of equality for all. This has failed across the board in the application of charity, law, healthcare, economic opportunities, etc. The "top down model" has lost it's luster and the population has turned to 'self-help' in mysticism. New-age, Yoga, Buddhism, Meditation, etc have all blossomed in the West because of it's failure to achieve the 'practice' good. Eastern Christianity has historically maintained similar 'therapeutic' practice (Ascesis) which, in effect, fill the void and given many who have half-heartedly embraced a foreign therapeutic method a way of returning to their Saviour without the loss of a 'therapeutic' practice (Ascesis). To a large extent the Catholicism of the 60's and 70's engaged in a kind of syncretism with these Eastern Mystic Practices and ultimately created a wealth of contradictions within their own tradition which has served to weaken their convictions. This 'watered-down' Catholicism has simply reaped what it has sown for the last 40-60 years and has bleed out any resemblance to the faith and practice of itself a hundred years ago. All this for the sake of relevancy in the face of modernity. That was ultimately the failure of Vatican II... the Western Church feared for it's own relevancy and in that fear deconstructed itself into irrelevancy. The very thing it sought to avoid. This is always the case when one is motivated by fear. One does exactly what one wants to avoid. The modern Catholic desire for union with Orthodoxy is, in my opinion, it's only means of restoring any spiritual relevancy to itself. Either that or a return to the Roman Catholicism of the past. The later choice would be far more honest, if Roman Catholicism actually believed in themselves and their tradition, but such would be damaging as droves of lukewarm Catholics would immigrate to Protestantism and even to Orthodoxy. In the temper of current Catholicism a union with Orthodoxy would be far more palatable for progressive elements as it gives them 'more room' to achieve their agendas without the rigorist ethical and moral legalisms of Classic Roman Catholicism. Regardless, which path is ultimately taken Christianity will be forever struggling with liberal and conservative 'wings' as modernity continues to make inroads into the Church. As a Catholic, myself, I don't know of a secure refuge from these forces. Although Orthodoxy has maintained it's traditions under endless persecutions it has not faced the test of time against modernity which I see as a far more corrosive adversary. In the end, I believe there will be a remnant of the true Church of Christ but I am not sure where that will be.