Thank you for the replies everyone! I'll try to answer each one as best as I can.
I agree, why even debate? Just speak to the priest and then listen. If you think you cannot answer back whatever he has to say, then think about it and decide if it is an imoprtant issue or not. If you wish you can then figure out the answer later. If it is not important then just disregard it. You don't have to answer anything and everything the priest or anyone else will throw at you. Belonging to a Church doesn't mean you have to have the answer to everything.
Trust me, I intend to keep this as far from divisive exchange as possible. I believe that this will simply be a good opportunity for me to restate my own opinion for myself, expand my knowledge of the subject matter, and prove the seriousness of my intent to my pastor and my family. Just to reiterate, it does not need to be a "debate" per se, and in fact, I really hope I can avoid seeing it become one. I'll remember yours and Katherineofdixie's advice in the conversation, to make sure I don't get carried away.
As for putting it "off" for two years, better that than rush in and burnt out before the oil of chrismation dries. It happens all too often. It also sounds like it gave you time to deal with distractions that might muddle the decision.
You have evidently put the time to good use. The understanding you reached with your parents is commendable-it might head off problems later if and when you are received. Your parents can rest their own consciences that they did what was expected of them by their ecclesiastical community, and you can be sure of what you are leaving, and why.
You also seem to know the difference between 'netodoxy and Orthodoxy, seeing as you have enlisted real Orthodox (not that we are not real here, but electronics do not count for real human contact).
Do you plan on just meeting once, and giving him just one shot, or discussing the matter as long as it might profitable be discussed. It makes a difference as to what data you need to collect now.
When you say "Papal infallibility" are you including papal supremacy (as Pastor Aeternus does)?
You can PM me if you like. I'd second what Katherineofdixie said, but you already did that.
Thank you! Yes, I do intend to make it into a multi-visit dialogue. We may end up playing that by ear though, since I don't know how busy my priest will be in the coming months, nor am I completely sure of what my parents expect of me. Either way, at this point I don't expect everything to unfold over the course of a single meeting. I will continue to hear him as long as he has something he wants to tell me. He deserves that much, as does my family.
On papal infallibility vs. papal supremacy...hmm...the answer would be a yes and a no I suppose. I am definitely aware of Primus inter Pares
as the Orthodox idea on the primacy/supremacy of Rome, but that doesn't quite lend itself the same power as the Roman definition of papal power, and it certainly doesn't afford infallibility. I suppose infallibility is more the core issue, while supremacy itself is still important but not quite as bluntly polarized as infallibility. I hope that explains things well enough, I'm tripping over my words here.
I am now 18 years old and I first became interested in Orthodoxy when I was 16. Because I was still a minor and didn't have a driver's license yet, it was difficult for me to make any real efforts
So now comes the time for preparation: This is likely going to be a debate of some sort - a respectful one, but a debate nonetheless - so I need to start taking down notes on potential points and arguments to bring up in the conversation. The real deal breakers that have been pushing me away from Catholicism consist of Papal infallibility, and all of the nasty things it has spawned over the years; the filioque clause; and the Catholic church's changes away from traditionalism in recent years.
I would try to avoid a debate but here are some things for if you go through with it:
1) The Early Church Fathers didn't teach Papal Infallibility. So far for the "faith once delivered to the saints"
One source that does mention it (St. Irenaeus' Adversus Haereses 3.3 if I remember correctly) is not reliable since the original Greek is lost and it is only available in a Latin translation. They might have interpolated or mistranslated that part to justify papal power. Don't bring the part about Ireneaus up unless he refers to it, though. It might weaken your position.
2) He will likely quote from the Scriptures where it says that the Son sends the Spirit as proof of the filioque. This, however, refers to temporal mission of the Holy Spirit and not to the hypostatic procession. The verb used there (most often a variant of ienai - to send) is quite different than ekporeuomai, which is used for the hypostatic procession.
3) He might bring up the part in Revelation where a stream flows from the throne of the Father and the Lamb to justify the filioque. If this passage refers to the filioque it suggests that the Holy Spirit proceeds from to sources (two thrones in Revelations). This notion even the Roman Church anathematises. Besides, the Church Fathers always interpret that stream as the waters of Baptism.
4) "The Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father" John 15:26, remember it by heart.
5) The Council of Ephesus (431), Canon VII, condemned any alteration of the creed.
6) Not even the Latin Church Fathers, such as Sts. Ambrose and Augustine, interpreted Matth. 16:18 in the papal sense, let alone the Greek Fathers.
7) The Early Church used leavened bread for the Eucharist, not azymes. Azymes are't proper matter (to speak in Thomistic language) for the Eucharist. It is a Judaizing practice. You might not want to bring up this point, though.
8.) The "Spirit of the Son" in Galatians 4:6 doesn't refer to the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit, but to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is quite obvious if you read the context. I got this from Fr. Potapov.
9) Any quote from the Greek Church Fathers in favor of the filioque is either far-fetched or doesn't use the key word ekporeuetai, but some form of ienai or cheo. Again, these passages don't refer to the eternal procession but this isn't as clear in an English translation as it is in the Greek original
Ahah, these are perfect! Thank you!
I just wanted to address one thing:
"The Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father" John 15:26, remember it by heart.
I have seen this countered with John 10:30, which says "I and the Father are one." The logic here is that it is more "implied" that the Spirit must proceed from the Father and the Son, since, by Christ's own words, they are one. This connection seems somewhat dubious to me, but I don't really know how to make a counterpoint for it beyond that.
I don't mean to start a full-blown theological discussion here in this thread, but I would like to know the Orthodox answer to this point, for my own sake.
One source that does mention it (St. Irenaeus' Adversus Haereses 3.3 if I remember correctly) is not reliable since the original Greek is lost and it is only available in a Latin translation. They might have interpolated or mistranslated that part to justify papal power. Don't bring the part about Ireneaus up unless he refers to it, though. It might weaken your position.I have some problems with posting (computer maxed right now), but I've posted a lot on this passage here (and elsewhere). But a short answer that doesn't involve much is that the passage in question does not present Rome as the sun which extends the rays of Truth to the other Churches. Rather it was the crucible where Orthodox and heretic came from all the other Churches and in the heated exchange in the Capital of the World the fires of Orthodoxy brought there from all the Churches burned off the dross of heresy that congregated there as well, leaving the gold mined from the ore of all the Churches.
You might all mention that St. Irenaeus wrote to the Archbishop (Pope was not taken by Rome until centuries later, although just after St. Iranaeus the title was conferred on the Archbishop of Alexandria) Victor I, agreeing with the "rebuke" (as recorded by Eusebius) given Abp. Victor by "all the Churches" when he tried to dictate to the Church of Ephesus and All Asia.
Interesting explanation. I'll definitely be sure to refer back to this if he brings up this point.
Thank you all again for your answers. I also apologize if the formatting is a little weird on this post, I've still not quite gotten used to using this type of forum yet.