Honestly, I never visited CAF until this morning and I was about half way through their thread under discussion here when I felt compelled to make an observation here for the benefit of others like me who were never involved in past disputes on that board. Certain quotes were picked out of the thread earlier on this thread apparently as an example what is being discussed there. Read by an Orthodox reader here, like me, they are inflammatory and got my curiosity up. When the entire thread is read, even these statements FOR THE MOST PART are not as full of bile or vitriol as the casual reader here might surmise from the extracts.
Sadly, this is an all too common form of debate in American society in 2011 - be the topic politics and talk radio, sports and talk radio and religion and talk radio - all together with blogs and the internet for added 'fun.' As a young lawyer, I found it easy to take bits and pieces out of a witness statement that really were hurtful to the other side and make much out of them. I soon learned that unless those statements were really material and relevant to the 'big picture' the wind would be taken out of my sails either upon re-direct examination or by the Judge in his or her opinion. Same goes for any form of argument.
I remember an old litigator who took me aside years ago with some advice. It's good for the law and good, in my opinion in any debate: Present your arguments clearly and concisely and when they offend others be prepared to support your point of view and rebut theirs with passion and reason - to allow one of these forces to overpower the other is to begin to lose the argument and no one will be persuaded of your cause.
Now I can add some pithy anti-Roman comments here that someone there can pick out and present as 'typical examples' of Orthodox intolerance or 'ignorance' of Roman Catholicism. (For what it is worth, claiming that your debate opponent is 'ignorant' of your point of view is a typical ploy to get around substantive issues. It usually doesn't work in the real world and it shouldn't work in the internets either.....)
For example, I believe that unless the Church of Rome comes to terms with the role of the Papacy and the Sees of Peter in terms of the early to mid first millenial Church there will be no chance of reunion. Likewise, the dogmaticization of doctrines such as the Immaculate Conception and Papal Supremacy in the 19th century are more than mere 'political' differences of opinion with us. However - as to a broader, Patristic conception of the Apostolic and Catholic Faith of the Orthodox, the Romans share a larger commonality with us than any other of Christ's followers and we ought to strive to find a way to express our shared patrimony and accept some differences in the presentation of that patrimony as was done throughout the conciliar period and the fall of the Iconoclasts. We shared communion with the west for nearly 1,000 years in spite of our differences with Augustine and the concept of 'original sin' just to name one such example.
As you can see, by merely stating a series of opinions in a calm, measured manner someone who takes issue with the underlying sentiments expressed in the entire paragraph can pick and choose phrases and words out of context and make my statements seem far more uncharitable and boastful than they were ever intended to be. That goes, by the way for both Roman Catholic and/or Orthodox posters who opposes reconciliation on any terms other than 'unconditional surrender.'
All of us have suffered from the impact of such 'total war' for far too long. By carrying it on 'ad infinitum' all we do is empower the true enemies of Christ and His Church.