I spend a great deal of time on this forum defending the Catholic faith from those who would attack or misrepresent the faith. Thankfully, most on this forum are not guilty of those attacks, but those who are, happen to be the loudest.
That being said, I would like to share with all here what I have learned by interaction with Eastern Orthodox Christians online.
1. While aphotic theology and a standing in awe of the utter transcendence of God is part of the patrimony of my Latin Catholic faith, the insistence upon that aspect of Christianity by the Eastern Orthodox has truely led to me to appreciate it even more in my own faith tradition.
2. The essence/energies distinction, while not explicitly formulated in the Latin tradition, is part of the Catholic faith. While I think that Gregory Palamas and some modern EO theologians go too far, (positing a theological and economic Trinity), I have learned to appreciate the Patristic formulation of this teaching and believe that it is part of my Catholic faith.
3. I think that a return to the ancient practice of chrismating and communing infants ain't such a bad idea.
4. The EO focus on Theosis had lead to me deeping my own understanding of divinization in the Latin Church.
5. We have MUCH more in common than we do not.
6. Intercommunion is not just around the corner, but we can both continue to pray that it happens.
All in all, I have to say that my experience here on oc.net has strengthend my Catholic faith, and enriched my experience. Unfortunately there are some here who love to attack and distort, but thankfully most do not.
It's not to distort. It's merely different angles - which is not relativism once one understands that a certain angle is right and the other is not.
For the Orthodox, RC experience of collegiately is the distorted one specially when it assumes a primacy with characteristics that, for us, are distorted.
Both RC and Orthodoxy agree that although primacy is part of the Church, the RC primate is very different from that of the 1st millenium church. Everybody aggrees that there was change. The Orthodox judges that change as rupture, and the RC as legitimate change.
RC has a thing to relativize words, which comes about very often when RC do not accept the universally understood meaning of words and is commonly expressed by "The Church's words are Her own and mean what She wants them to mean, not what you want". That is what is behind much of what Orthodoxy sees as rupture and legalism, since all communication theories are clear in saying that communication occurs with the transmitter-medium-receptor, triad. Truly, I believe that much of RC mistakes come from not wanting to even rephrase badly worded statements like the filioque and the grandiloquent titles of the popes, proper to the Byzantine atmosphere they were created, but not for our times.
The real issue is one of self-identity. The Orthodox think the RC are wrong in thinking they are what they think to be, much like RC think more or less the same regarding Orthodoxy. Modern culture considers this to be the ultimate offense, to deny someone the right to define oneself as the person prefers.
That is why "blurring" theories have come out like the branch theory, or the two-lungs theories. In fact, what they do is to circunvate those modern moral judgments on self-identity by saying:"You know what, our identities are the same, we're just focusing different things".
That's why I said on the other thread that a lot of contriction will be needed for reunion. Deep inside we know we are not the same, and we know that it's impossible both sides can be right at the same time.
Living in a RC country, I learned many things from the RC. It protected be from anti-intelectualism, anti-Western ideas, taugth me good philosophy and the value of high education. Also I had to study the question of primacy more deeply which helped me understand what Christ and the Fathers really meant by it, specially with the historical accounts of how it was performed in times of full liberty of the Church. But it also showed me how different the "infallible ruler of the world" is from "the head of the bishops" of the 1st millenium, how deeply the trust on an infallible man, even if infallible only in very specific contexts, can cut into ones heart and prevent them from fully trusting God, even when they think that's exactly what they are doing, which just makes it all the more dangerous for one's spiritual health.