That is nonsense. It leaves out millions of people who are orthodox in their faith at all levels. That is why you have to speak in broad sweeping statements. The life on the ground of real live Catholics gives the lie to your witness. You cannot even begin to acknowledge that they exist. Because of the way that you do things, you will never find real peace, however far you run.
Elijah, I never said this either.
In fact that is probably the most important point you make, which I agree with whole heartedly.
When I some time ago attempted to correct liturgical abuses at a local "novus ordo" mass, it was many other lay people who were in agreement and working harmoniously with me. It was the priest and bishop who refused to correct them who were primarily the problem.
The majority of the laity in this cases tended to accept whatever was given to them, even if they privately were uncomfortable with it (connected sometimes also to an overly authoritarian problem, refusing to question authority), or attend a different diocese/church if possible. But for myself this proved over time, many years time, to be an inconsistent solution. Thus I concluded when there are numerous nearby Orthodox Churches that do not deviate from the faith or contain liturgical abuses, there would be no reason not to place myself in communion with them. This came after many years of study and experience however, I did not conclude in my mind they were the true church immediately over night, even though my heart was moved toward that belief very quickly.
If anything can save the Roman communion it is the lay people. Even though some are confused, or given in too much to evil, many of the "church militant" do not. Their wouldn't be that many home schooling families around the country and "independent non-diocesan" latin catholic schools if this were not true. http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/catholic/article/view/1034www.napcis.org
"The National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools".
The lay people who remain comparatively orthodox in their practices and are not able to put their ideas into practice, much as during communist periods in eastern europe, they are in a sense underground in the catacombs.
It is without question that the bishops primarily, and lower ranking clergy under there thumb secondarily, are where the most profound problems lie at present within the latin church .
Those who are the most heretical will hopefully, as time takes its toll, no longer be with us, and have more traditional clerics replace them.
All of this being said may have a less severe, analogous situation within the Orthodox Church as well, but it would not be prudent for me at this time to make that comparison. Surely someone wiser and more qualified would be welcomed to do that another time, if if they haven't already. The OCA particularly comes to mind as having some vague resemblence.
This is however all speculation for the future.
There is equally an importance in the present life of parishes, the "here and now".
The Church as it is now, not a future corrected "pseudi-utopia" that never has been.
That is why I am Orthodox, I live for the present time, as much as I hope for my salvation in the future.
I am content with the average life of Orthodox parishes, where I was not content with average life of the latin rite catholic ones.
And as for byzantine catholic, i wanted consistency. Orthodoxy has the consistency and is not afraid to defend the truth.
The byzantine catholics tend to cower down to the latins and refused to criticize them too strongly, which only leads to their own decline, as St. Alexis Toth would testify to.