"It is time we realised that Rome is only interested in extinguishing Orthodoxy.
Theological encounters and 'accords' on the basis of texts lead us up a blind alley,
for behind them there looms a firm resolve of the Vatican to swallow up the Orthodox Church."
The whole thing is in "Sourozh" the diocesan magazine of the UK Russian diocese:
Metr. Anthony of Sourozh, "A Letter to Patriarch Alexis of Moscow and All
Russia", SOUROZH, 69 (August 1997), 17-22.
No one disputes that at various times during the second millenium the Catholic Church has acted like the Borg and attempted to assimilate, and Latinize, the Eastern Church; but I do not believe that accusation can be fairly advanced for the Catholic Church since Vatican II. Metropolitan Anthony is simply wrong.
He had a definite anti-Catholic bias, and there is much inexcusable paranoia in the Orthodox Church today concerning Catholicism, but you are extremely
naive if you honestly believe that there are no influential factions present in the Catholic Church today that would like nothing better than to absorb Orthodoxy. Of course, the situation is much more complex than illustrated by Irish Hermit, as there are also many Catholics who have nothing but good intentions and good will when it comes to the Orthodox, and this is laudable. However, the Vatican bureaucracy is so vast, with so many different players involved, pushing for so many different points of view, that I don't know how you could make the statement that you have made and honestly believe that no one would take you to task for it.
I've noticed that Lossky is a favourite whipping boy for those who would simply like to dismiss the controversy involving the filioque as being unimportant. As far as I know, no Catholic apologist has as yet responded in a serious way to Lossky's very substantial claims concerning the procession of the Spirit. The best that Cardinal Congar could come up with, despite his considerable scholarly output concerning the Spirit, seems to have been something to the effect that "Lossky is clearly wrong about this." Surely his very eloquent writing on the filioque controversy deserves more of a response than this.
... Seraphim Rose...
He also had some very positive things to say about St. Augustine that not all Orthodox would agree with. In any event, he is not recognized as being a serious scholar, so I don't know why you include him here.
The Latin Church is rejected not just because it has allegedly departed from the apostolic faith on specific doctrinal matters (specifically, the Filioque and the assertion of the universal supremacy of the Papacy), but precisely because it is "Western."
By some Orthodox, yes, but certainly not by all.
Eastern theologians and apologists may differ on where the fundamental turn away from the faith occurred (Tertullian? Augustine? Aquinas? Trent?--the trend is to date the heretical turn earlier rather than later), but they all agree that Western Christianity is a perverted form of "Christian" faith whose only hope is to become Orthodox.
It depends what you mean by this. Really, this is quite over the top.
When the Orthodox speak of returning to the Fathers, they do not mean the Western Fathers, who, while they may be commemorated in the Orthodox calendar, exercise no doctrinal authority whatsoever--the Eastern Fathers always trump the Western Fathers.
This might be because Saint Augustine, with his vast
corpus of writings, has had such a profound influence on the West; one might even say to the exclusion of other Fathers. Some Orthodox are very concerned about some of the things that St. Augustine wrote. Many of us think that some of these things are quite problematic.
We may not entertain the possibility that the Western Fathers have intuited something true about the trinitarian processions, even if poorly and inadequately expressed.
Really? I was not aware of that.
In recent years Catholic theologians, in response to Eastern concerns and criticisms, have sought to move beyond scholastic formulations of the Filioque. They have insisted that the Filioque must not be understood as contradicting "the Monarchy of the Father nor the fact that he is the sole origin (arche, aitia) of the ekporeusis of the Spirit" (see the Vatican Clarification on the Filioque). A few Orthodox proposals have positively responded to this clarification (e.g., Zizioulas and Ware), but in doing so they have put their own Orthodox credentials at risk and are publicly dismissed as Latinizers and ecumenists. Nothing less than a full Photian repudiation of the Filioque will do!
That's right, because the Catholic Church, in its present form, is incapable
of admitting that it was ever wrong
. Instead, it comes up with all kinds of written acrobatics like this "clarification" that you site above, which is really just the opposite of a clarification.
Another good example of the Orthodox insistence that to become Orthodox means becoming Byzantine is the increasingly popular assertion of the Palamite distinction between the divine energies and essence as catholic dogma. Even though Gregory Palamas's interpretation of this distinction enjoys only limited support in the Church Fathers, even though it has never been dogmatically defined by ecumenical council, even though Orthodox bishops and theologians have not consistently asserted it as dogma during the past six hundred years, even though the Oriental Orthodox also have serious reservations about the Palamite distinction, even though the Catholic Church, while not affirming the Palamite distinction, clearly proclaims that the baptized are adopted as sons in the incarnate Son, regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and participate in the uncreated life of the Holy Trinity by grace and faith, still the Catholic Church is accused of departing from the catholic faith because it does not assert an ontological distinction in the Godhead between the divine being and energies. Once again it appears that the Orthodox Church will be satisfied with nothing less than the complete de-Westernization of the Catholic Church.
There's nothing "Byzantine" about Palamite doctrine at all. It is Orthodox. We have specially commemorated St. Gregory Palamas liturgically in Lent for hundreds of years; it is not a question of something becoming "increasingly popular." So you are quite wrong about this. Eventually we might be able to come to an agreement on this point, but at this time I don't know how. For now, we are divided on this issue.
Why would the Fathers write in support of St. Gregory Palamas, when the last Father died a couple of hundred years before St. Gregory was born? The Orthodox believe that St. Gregory unpacked, expanded, and clarified what some Fathers had already said and clarified Orthodox belief on the nature of God, not that he somehow added to Orthodox doctrine.
I do not raise any of this to be controversial.
In fact, I find myself agreeing with Orthodoxy on many matters and have often been criticized, by friend and foe, for persistently interpreting Catholic doctrine through an Eastern hermeneutical lens. But fair is fair. Conformity on all the doctrinal particulars never existed between the Eastern and Western Churches during the first millennium. Surely it is wrong for either side to insist upon such conformity today for the restoration of unity.
Not from the Orthodox point of view. For us, there are some things that are just plain wrong
. The whole scholastic way of thinking about God, for example. Sorry, but that is the way it is. You are not obliged to like it. And yes, I do believe that it is quite possible to be "Western" without incorporating a scholastic way of looking at God and the universe into one's consciousness.
Obviously, a kind of doctrinal "drift" occurred at times in the first millennium when the East and West were either unable or unwilling to understand each other, marked by frequent ruptures in communion. This marked the beginning of our estrangement, without it being on any official level. This estrangement begins quite early in the first millennium and continues on into the second, becoming more marked and radical as time goes on. I do not accept your implicit contention that we had unity in the first millennium even though we had doctrinal difference.