Oh, for pity's sake.
On some sites, they have a 'sick to your stomach' smiley, and I have thought that it might be appropriate here also. In your first paragraph, you say that you believe they are Christians, and then comes your second paragraph, which wipes it all away.
Is this supposed to be serious, or what? Did you get this from a Jack Chick tract?
This sort of thing used to be called "flame bait" because it's to provoke strenuous argument, not insights, and it's really very difficult not to take it as offensive, so it chews up lots of board space and divides people, and pretty soon they're just yelling at each other. Most boards have a policy about that.
You know, I have considered becoming Orthodox for a long time before I actually tried to do it. I understand that people have their differences. Some of them are established and legitimate. I could see people sitting down and wanting to talk about them. However, to start off a thread with a title like "Pope is Antichrist yet again," is-- let's just not get into detail about what it is. I think I'm not allowed to use certain language on this board.
My point is, there is debate that you can take seriously, and then there's stuff that you can't. If I got on a bus and someone next to me said, "What do you think about the Pope's decision about such-and-such? I'm not sure I like it. Here's why," I might talk to that person. I don't know if I'd agree with them or not, but we could talk like grown-ups. However, if I sat next to a person, and he or she said, "The Pope is Antichrist!", I think I'd pull the 'Stop Requested' cord and try to get off that bus pretty darn quickly. I can transfer to another line, or just take a long walk.
I grew up Catholic, and while I have come to believe in the Orthodox stance on things, I might have already been Orthodox a few years ago-- except for the fact that I kept running into some unfortunate people who would say very offensive things about the Catholics. Not just disagreements, but really disgusting comments that didn't seem to be true and certainly weren't in a charitable Christian spirit. I know, there are probably some bad apples in any large groups of people, and there may be some on the Catholic side as well. Still, if people push me away, I don't go where I'm not wanted. I go to a lovely parish, and I want to become Orthodox, really I do. I am not kidding. But what am I to do if I'm at a church dinner one day, about to plow into my salad, and somebody pipes up, "You know, the Pope is Antichrist!" No matter what else is wrong with the Catholic Church, nobody
ever did that when I was growing up. Nobody.
As I see it, the issue of the papacy is whether the office is filled by a person who does so with a correct spirit and who has Christian compassion; for if it's bad that it simply exists, somebody on the Orthodox side had better be consistent and do some talking to Pope Shenouda III of the See of St. Mark. Notice, how the anti-Catholic people never do that? But there's not just one Pope in the world, you know... oh, forget it, sometimes you can't expect consistency.
I wonder that people never remember Christ's injunction that "the end is not
yet." I know there are some people on this board who are hardcore anti-Papists and who may not be satisfied unless the entire country of Italy is removed from the map and replaced by a 3D plastic kit. Somehow I don't think I'll see a story like that on the news anytime soon.
I love the people in my parish. I'd hate to stop going there. Things like this put a wrench in the works, though, and for no good reason at all.