i think your on to something with augustinian vs uncreated grace - the uncreated grace notion is very obscure in the west.....but even these philosophical perceptions (thomism and logical categories vs eastern mysteries) would present as issues to be dialogued were not the papacy the primary obstacle.......the papacy represents man's inordinate dependence on human systems.....the idea that things would magically be resolved once under papal control is faulted, even 'magical' thinking in my opinion.......................joe
While I agree that St.Gregory Palamas' refined teachings on this subject are ultimatly the Orthodox "say-so" on the topic, I feel the need to emphasize that sometimes too much is made of how it practically
differs from general western attitudes, even after the schism. This situation is aggrivated by the fact that I'm convinced most people who speak of it, generally do not understand it (anthropomorphizing "energies" to the point they imagine them as being autonomous, physical phenomenon), and more conspicuously, do not understand sufficiently the western ideas they are criticizing.
I offer my unqualified agreement though, that "Papism" in it's grander claims is a dead end, and a futile attempt at securing air-tight, rationalistic certitude. It's such an approach in general, which I think round aboutly contributed (at least in part) to the growth of radical skepticism and agnosticism in the west (where as such things, rather conspicuously, did not develop in a native fashion in the Christian East.)
Proclaiming the senior heirarch an infallible, unjudgable, universal juristiction bearing "vicar of Christ" does not, when push comes to shove, offer the superior level of certainty or authenticity which Roman Catholics (imho) mistakenly attribute to it.
What good was such a style of papal teaching, say, during the great western schism - a situation where you had people who would eventually be canonized by the RCC as saints, supporting different claimants to the Papal Throne? What about the possibility brought up by the RC doctor and saint Robert Bellarmine, of a Pope apostacizing or siimlarly defecting from the Catholic Church?
While Roman Catholics teach that strictly speaking the Pope is only "infallible" when excercising the fullness of his teaching authority (hence so called "ex cathedra" decrees/definitions), I've noticed there is no universal consensus on how many times that has actually occured. Also, what about the possibility of a Pope not acting in his supreme capacity (but still being Pope and directing ecclessiastical affairs) but still ordering something which was objectively immoral, or contrary to the "Divine Law"? While Roman Catholics are not supposed to be able to judge the Pope (to the point of apparently putting him on trial and possibly having him deposed), would not their own moral teaching render them incapable of following such abuses of authority?
In other words, even taken on it's own terms, the RC system in many cases still implicitly recognizes (though seemingly in a contradictory/confused manner) that the Popes are not in fact autonomous, that they do function under rules - but those rules require the interpretation of someone other than the currently reigning Pope, if he were to be resisted in any fashion.
While there have been varying polemics (some well argued, some less so) against the aggrandizment of the Papacy by Orthodox writers, the ultimate
argument (imho) is not one over the practical organization of Church affairs and the relations beween Bishops. While Orthodoxy on the whole has in practical terms opted for an extremely concilliar approach to such pan-Orthodox government, such emphasis on episcopal equality has not always
been the norm. For example, in pre-revolutionary Russia, individual diocese were very much envisioned as being parcels of a larger, Russian Orthodox Church, overseen at first by the Patriarchate in Moscow, then latter by the Holy Synod (and now in the 20th century, starting with St.Tikhon, back to the Patriarchate of Moscow.) For centuries, the Coptic Orthodox Church (while still a part of the canonical, undivided Church - that is to say, prior to the fall out of the Council of Chalcedon...though the situation I'm about to lay out is still fairly true to the present day amongst the non-Chalcedonian Copts) was very
centrally organized as well, around the Pope of Alexandria. Obviously, the same situation developed early on in much (though not all; that took time) of the west as well - a heavily centralized government of Bishops, under the Pope of Rome.
So, while Orthodoxy has always struggled to underline the sacerdotal equality of all Bishops, and the full realization of the Church of Christ in their midst (as per St.Ignatius of Antioch), Her practical problem with "Papism" is not the practical administration of the Church being heavily organized around a central figure.
Her real beef
(and rightly so) has to do with the accountability of such persons - underlining the fact that they exist within the Church
and not above Her, and that no one is above such judgements. Above all, that such figures are not subject to their own private confession, but the ultimate criteria for respecting their traditional/canonical priveleges, hinges upon the purity of their confession. In other words, it's not that Orthodoxy doubts that St.Peter was called "the first" (and that such firstness can exist in the Church of Christ within the college of Bishops) - but that this "firstness" rested upon, his confession of the faith.
Catholicism - Simon bar Jonah is the "rock" and "foundation"; ultimatly man centered.
Orthodoxy - Simon bar Jonah aka "St.Kepha/Petros"'s faith
is the foundation of the Church.