This discussion borders on the absurd. While I might not adopt the tone and methods of argument that Fr. A uses from time to time, the reality of history speaks volumes in support of the underlying assertions of his position if you take the time to ferret them out of Father's passion. If a zealous Roman Catholic attempts to justify all which occurred to and within the Roman Church over her history through the actions of her leaders and outside forces only by using the lens of a 21st century point of view they are destined to fail. The same can be said of equally zealous Orthodox.
The history and the doctrinal developments of the Roman Catholic faith from the time immediately prior to the Great Schism and continuing though the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment is, for better or worse, hopelessly intertwined with events both under the control of the Church and beyond her control.(I am skipping around historically, but it is tough to summarize one thousand or so years....so forgive the flow of my narrative.)
The abuses which led to Luther and the Reformation (among them the use of indulgences, simony and other sins - for lack of a better word -), the relationship of the institution of the Papacy with the secular powers of the Italian peninsula and the French Monarchy and the attempts by those secular powers to co-opt the power of the Church over the illiterate peasants of the time for the advancement of their own temporal ambitions can not be denied. (i.e. the Medici, the Borgias, the French Anti-popes)
Burning heretics as part of Church imposed earthly sanctions likewise can not be denied, for example Jan Hus. Nor can the burning of protectors of the faith in order to preserve a temporal advantage, for example St. Joan of Arc, be denied. (Certainly the theoretical musings of Aquinas and other scholastics were used to justify both types of actions, not to mention the forced conversions of native peoples by the Spaniards in the New World or the Jews and Moors of Iberia.) Again, reality compelled the development of a supportive narrative.
Nor can one deny the reality of the manipulation of the masses of Europe in the calls for Crusade, the greed of the Franks as well as later Crusader Knights and Lords in their use of those masses, and the resultant abuses to Christians in the eastern part of the Christian world is a matter of historical record. Any course of the history of Western civilization that a college undergraduate would have been required to take until recent years would have taught most readers here who were not alive in 1965 to understand that context. Runciman and others have written at length from a non-Orthodox perspective on that period and the gradual erosion and collapse of Byzantium.
Much of the issues that Fr. A. points out were the focus of the Reformation and later the Counter-Reformation and were not really openly addressed until the post Vatican 2 era. Is that so hard to accept when reviewed in their real context without the fiery passion in the presentation? Can anyone imagine a Pope apologizing for the actions of the Crusaders prior to the end of the 20th century? I think not.
Certainly, Orthodoxy had her own problems over the same period of time, not the least of which was her survival as the Church confronted the Muslims on many fronts from Byzantium to Moscow. Since the Orthodox patriarchs never possessed the temporal powers of the Patriarch of Rome (again the fall of the western empire and the resultant power vacuum in the west from the fifth century through the rise of the Franks were a prime cause of the temporal role of the Papacy and 'theology' had to develop to account for that reality) the patriarchal sees were less of a temporal prize to the scheming Royals of the various houses of the Orthodox monarchical world. To not view them as scheming however, is to paint a picture through the thickest of rose colored apologist lenses. So what?
Rather than name-calling and continually going back and forth, I would challenge any of the outspoken Roman Catholic critics of Fr. A. to present a credible alternative history regarding the world of the period and how the Roman Church was both influenced and compromised by those realities she faced. The fact that she did prevail says more about the power of the Holy Spirit than the power of any man claiming the mantle of Christ's Vicar on Earth. Likewise, I would ask my fellow Orthodox to calm down a bit and let this settle out.
One thing that both Roman Catholics and Orthodox 'pride' themselves upon is their lack of 'fundamentalism' in their respective approaches to the development of the faith and the expressions of that faith in the real world. A bit of critical analysis is required in order to 'see the forest for the trees.'
Enough is enough. Sorry for rambling on so much....