((This is a direct copy of a thread I made at Catholic Answers Forum's 'Eastern Catholic' sub-forum so when it references other threads I made, it is threads I made on CAF, but I would like to hear Eastern Orthodox responses and stuff here))
I am new to Catholicism (Confirmed in the Easter Vigil of 2009) and was brought to the Catholic Church by looking at history and coming to the conclusion that the Catholic Church was the original Church founded by Christ.
But as I learn a little about the Orthodox, I get confused. I know the Catholic argument in favor of Papal Primacy (which the Orthodox would agree with, it is issues of Papal Supremacy and Infallibility they disagree with), but in the Middle Ages, there was a great deal of corruption due to the power of the Pope (Papal Supremacy issues).
In modern times, the Catholic Church seems to be a mess. Maybe I have spent too much time at Fisheaters, but it seems the Church has liberalized considerably and many members of the hierarchy fall into this view. One seems to find Priests and Bishops who have little concern over sin issues, they view the Sacrament of Pennance as unimportant, there is liturgical abuse, support by many Catholics of things they are not supposed to support (i.e. abortion and contraception). Then there is the heavily legalistic thread within Catholicism, especially in the Traditionalist backlash, which I seem to have latched onto (i.e. if I just avoid mortal sin, then who cares about anything else).
It confuses me because I hear different advice from different Catholic Priests on important issues. For example, I deal with a masturbation/pornography issues, but I know of one Priest who when I confess it, treats it as though it is either not a sin (or at least not a mortal sin) because it is an addiction. I have had another Priest throw me out of the Confessional for going too often and he did not even allow me to confess my sins (I thought the only valid reason a Priest can refuse to grant Absolution is if he feels said penitent is not...well...penitential/repentant, but that was not the issue here).
One sees polls which shows many Catholics don't even believe in the Real Presence in the Eucharist.
My understanding is that this sort of stuff does not go on in the Eastern Orthodox. They did not have a Protestant Reformation brought on as a backlash to corruption issues, nor do they have the legalistic or modernist/liberal/progressive bent that seems to be pulling the Catholic Church apart at some levels. Whereas Catholic leaders seem hesitant to excommunicate (or at least laicize) individuals who advocate positions contrary to Catholic teaching, the Eastern Orthodox will not tolerate heterodoxy/heresy, regardless of your ecclesiastical rank, nor would they tolerate liturgical abuse.
A part of me wants to meet with an Orthodox Priest to hear their version of the Great Schism and how they deal with the issue of the Petrine issues. But if the Catholic Church is right and Eastern Orthodoxy is wrong, then I maybe buying myself a ticket to Hell because rejection/schism/apostasy from the Catholic Church are mortal sins.
It confuses me because the Eastern Orthodox seem to have the same claim on history as Catholics do and, if one looks at things as they currently are, there seems to be a mess in the Catholic Church (regardless of one's opinion on Archbishop Lefebvre and the SSPX, his book "An Open Letter to Confused Catholics" points out some serious issues within modern Catholicism).
EDIT: The Eastern Orthodox also seem less obsessed with Hell and Sin than Catholics are.