Just coming out of the closet here, is it bad that I honestly do not care anymore that Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics separated and regard each of us as still being brothers in communion with each other even if it is not formally recognized by either Churches? I mean, seeing how badly Evangelical Protestantism is, which is what I came from, I realize that Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is much more pure and similar to each other than these Protestant Churches are.
Unfortunately, yes, this is a problem, because it amounts to an ecclesiological heresy to believe so. Those who do not share the same faith cannot be in communion.
I mean, yeah as an Orthodox Christian I recognize that Rome adopted some heresies I cannot come to accept; such as Papal Infallibility or turning God into an abusive father, but I also think that the East has adopted many heresies I find trouble believing in, such as our teachings on divorce or the fact that many of us have turned externals into dogma and argue among them with each other all of the time, like how we arrange our icons or what calendar we use.
What is wrong with the Orthodox teaching on divorce? Even the Latin Church was happy to allow for divorce at one point, as we can clearly see when a pope in the 10th Century granted a Byzantine emperor a fourth marriage after he made an appeal because the clergy in Constantinople refused to do so (I cannot for the life of me remember who, however, I will have to go look that up).
In my opinion, I think that both Churches compliment each other in terms of where the other falls short of. I love how Orthodox theology is so deep, philosophical and mystical; yet, I hate how impractical it is at times. I mean, half the time we can barely understand what it means or draw important conclusions on how to live or apply abstract theological truths.
I don't think Orthodox theology is abstract at all. If one looks at the theology of many of the Eastern fathers, like Palamas or Maximus the Confessor, we see that they in fact view that the only thing that matters is personal existence, regarding things like natures and essences as mere abstractions. This is why, for example, we can only confess that Christ has two natures only in contemplation, because the reality is that we experience is one person, the Word incarnate, not two abstract natures. Achieving true experience of God through actions like the liturgy, prayer, fasting reading the Scriptures, and having a holy way of life is doubtlessly more important than studying abstract theology.
Whereas even though Roman Catholic theology is too legalistic, mediocre and simple, it is at least practical and I can actually apply it to myself than reading a mystical philosophy text in the east that I would need to be a philosophy professor to fully understand. I am currently deciding if I should even bother recommending Protestants or non-Christians to an Orthodox parish which is usually far away from where they live when I can just recommend them to the local RC Church if it is too impractical.
The application of Catholic theology is only practical in the hands of a good teacher. There is nothing practical about picking up Summa Theologica
, for example and trying to derive how to live a Christian life from the work. One needs a good guide, no matter if one is reading Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory Palamas or Thomas Aquinas. I think that you are oversimplifying things here into an East-West dichotomy that does not exist in reality.
I would also wonder if the RC could do or have ever done this, where instead of recommending them to a far-away RC Parish you recommend them to the local Orthodox Church. I just think instead of arguing over events that happened a thousand years ago we should use our efforts to combat Evangelicalism and the number of Protestant heresies arising out of America.
Our purpose, is for the deification of man, not combating Protestant heresies. We can combat those heresies by being holy, God-fearing people as our Lord commanded, which will compel others to follow in our way of life.