I've been lurking for a long time, and this thread finally made me want to register.
I was born and raised Catholic, and I've been wavering between Catholicism and Orthodoxy for the past year. I might not have been participating in these threads, but the back and forth between the members of this forum, particularly between Fr. Ambrose and Mary, have been helpful to me and make me think. I sometimes turn what I read into discussion topics between me and the Orthodox priest I've been meeting with, and I always learn so much more.
Fr. Ambrose, I do not doubt your experiences in the Catholic Church. Many of the things you say sound like things my grandfather learned to be facts as a boy, and I know that he struggled greatly with remaining Catholic after the opinions of predominant Catholic scholars changed. My grandfather was then told for the first time that all of his supposed "facts" were simply highly regarded scholarly opinions. This was never much of a problem for me, because as a post-Vatican II child, I was taught up front that just because something is the opinion of scholars, saints, even Popes, that doesn't make it dogma.
In my experience, when it comes to theological ideas not set in stone as dogma, Catholics tend to take the opinions of modern scholars and the current Pope. It's their ideas that we hear the most. When it comes to ideas that are currently out of favor, Catholic posters are naturally going to ask for evidence from Councils, which can't be changed, and the Catechism. It doesn't matter how well regarded a saint is if you're presenting an idea that most modern Catholics reject.
Could some of the contention be from Fr. Ambrose showing evidence that people at various points in history were taught and acted on currently out of favor things that were never actual dogma, and Catholic posters are focusing on doctrine and ideas currently prevalent in the Catholic Church?
Hopefully I haven't crossed any lines. I know you don't know me, but I've learned so much from each one of you.