Dear Fr Deacon Lance,
I do not wish to only deal with the present reality, because the papacy has shifted over the centuries and I beleive it is important to this assessment to compare present models with past models. Since the popes claim that they are above judgment (cf. Dictatus papae), what is to stop an older model from being reemployed should circumstances change?
When I spoke of the pope directly appointing a patriarch, I seem to recall a situation with the Maronite patriarch some decades ago. Am I mistaken? As far as the pope directing the other synods to call a second conclave, this actually works against your argument--they obviously knew the pope would intervene so this probably figured in to their procedure. I have noted that no Orthodox Synod in recent memory has ever deadlocked on the election of a patriarch. If I am wrong, please advise me.
The idea that the Syro-Malabars and Syro-Malankaras had centuries to evangelize seems untrue; while the original St Thomas Christians did seem to have taken on a quasi-caste system early on and stopped evangelizing, it would have been exceedingly difficult for them to have continued up north anyway with Hindu and later Muslim pressures. In the present, there are missions of these churches in the North of India where they must have their bishops elected in concert with Rome, while of course the Latins do no such reciprocation in the South of India to my knowledge. If the Latin Church were really interested in equality, they would give the Indian Churches full canonical territory over India.
I do not agree with you that Eastern Rite Catholics are constantly straw-manned and used for polemics. You must be aware at the heat we take for refusing to allow the term Uniate--which in its original use is a perfectly accurate exposition of your Church--to be used since it has taken on quite the perjorative use. The administration of this site strives to be fair to Eastern Rite Catholics on this website, but at the same time, you know that we do not reciprocate your feelings of sister Churchhood and the like.
The idea that an unfinished and possibly uncanonical act of a local Synod is somehow the most papal act of your lifetime seems incomprehensible to me, and that is why I responded in such a direct fashion. It almost sounds like this is the way you justify your position. Whether the pope has "soft" restraints to the exercise of his power seems irrelevant to this discussion--it is like comparing apples to oranges. The best of a theoretical Catholicism (i.e. the Pope only exercises his power in concert with the college of bishops) is contrasted to the worst of Orthodoxy (i.e. a local Synod oversteps the canons). Why don't we compare the worst of Orthodoxy to the worst of Catholicism instead? Why don't we look at the fact that the Pope can do far more than any Orthodox bishop, and routinely does? So please do not tell me that since I was Catholic I know what bishops can get away with. Because I also know what Rome can get away with.
As Admin of this site you should take care that this site even as it promotes Orthodoxy does so without unfair characterizations and half truths. I have never claimed Eastern Catholic Churches function with same autocephaly their Orthodox counterparts do. To pretend as if we have no autonomy is as dishonest as Eastern Catholics who try and claim we have full autocephaly and the Pope has no jurisdiction over us.
I would take offense at what you wrote to me, but you are probably responding in this manner since I was direct to you first. Why was I direct though? Because your original post seems to be almost a gloating. It may not have been intended that way, but it looks either like gloating or a self-justification for why it's ok to remain Eastern Rite Catholic. I don't pretend that you do not have autonomy, but I believe it is disingenuous to state that it is the same kind of autonomy that Orthodox autonomous Churches have. Your own canon law makes it clear that it can be revoked at any time, despite "soft" influences the contrary. So I am not misrepresenting Eastern Rite Catholicism, and you may prefer not to direct me on how to administrate this site, especially given the steps we have taken in the past and continue to take to protect members of your Church from being insulted on this site personally via prejoratives. I sat down last night and read Pastor Aeternus again just to make sure I was not misrepresenting anything and that document makes it blatantly clear that the Pope has direct jurisdiction over every single Christian.