IMO the Pope's role
is the only real difference dividing what's sacramentally the same church. But both sides' hardliners are right that it's a doozy. The only way to union is for RCs to become WRO or Orthodox to become Greek Catholics. Ain't gonna happen, right?
If there is no Orthodoxy in the base, there won't be at the top... this down-up structure for the institutional aspect of the Church is another difference from the RC which is clearly up-down.
I think I agree. I can't prove this is related to that big issue but in nearly 20 years of following this stuff ISTM the big difference is between a down-home parochial (in the good sense, not the bad one of 'narrow') grassroots traditionalism (which you also sometimes see in RC ethnic groups) versus the feel of a big, cold institution. Like your sweet little mom-and-pop shop vs Wal-Mart. I get a whiff of the latter even from Greek Catholic churches. So I think I understand why an Orthodox fears that while Greek Catholicism, 'Orthodoxy with the Vatican glued on top' (as convert Brendan Ross, who passed through Greek Catholicism, called this notion of union), seems to work on paper, and I like Greek Catholics very much, in practice it would turn Orthodoxy into ethnic quasi-Novus Ordo
like the Greek Catholics are now. (Union = one side ceases to be, really.)
(The idealised, liturgically Orthodox Greek Catholicism that Rome actually teaches doesn't much exist and its likewise rare cousin, 'Orthodoxy in communion with Rome', is dishonest, denying RC teachings like a personally conservative version of the AmChurch liberals.)
Which leads to the huge difference between Orthodox worship and modern RC worship (which the ecumenical trendies either don't talk about or praise - !!):
In theory, the RCC maintains traditions of chant, incense, statues/icons, God-oriented worship, lex orandi lex credendi. Most RC services I've attended are little different from the mainline Protestant services I've attended.
Except liturgical mainline Protestants - Anglicans and Lutherans - often have better taste and don't hate traditional practice - chant, incense, statues/icons, God-oriented worship, lex orandi lex credendi
- like Irish-American RCs often do (read Thomas Day). The trouble with them of course, or why I'm not an Episcopalian for example, is they're Protestants: even if one of them happens to agree with us on the creeds and sacraments and worships as we do, they belong to denominations with fallible, changeable doctrine by vote (the Lutherans don't think bishops are necessary; the Anglicans and Lutheran liberals have women bishops and soon gay weddings).
That said, my favourite kind of American Orthodoxy is probably pierogi, rust-belt OCA and ACROD because it feels so Catholic but with the difference I described. (The Polish National Catholic Church is like that too but it never made theological sense, has always had theological radicals like universalists running it and now its worship is essentially a Novus Ordo
What I would expect from a *true* union would be:
From the Orthodox...
Stop selling out on contraception and go back to universal Christian teaching before 1930; it's not just an RC thing.
On that note, give RC moral theology a chance such as the distinction between mortal and venial sin (a help for the scrupulous, sort of the OCD of spirituality) and guides based on the Ten Commandments to examine your conscience to go to confession (such as in the nice 1800s-early-1900s westernised Slav Orthodox manuals based on Greek Catholic ones).
Translate traditional liturgical rites and use them instead of foreign-language rites.
They already do. Do you mean use modern Greek and Russian instead of mediæval Greek and Slavonic?
I do not think Catholics are realistic enough about the state of dialogues between the two Churches. The general impressions I get from many Catholics (half my family is Catholic) is along the lines of: "Orthodoxy is just another lung... it's all political... we'll be reunited soon..."
I like the Fr Bunge/Evagrius Ponticus quotation