Though my past appears to differ in a lot of details from your own, I too used to be Roman Catholic and can understand a lot of your basic "issues" with Catholicism. They sound similar to the problems I inevitably ran into once I began reading the Church Fathers and started taking them on their own terms, rather than forcing them into this or that ideological mould. This went hand in hand with also seeing the obvious historical problems of Roman Catholicism in and of itself, which I came to include no amount of "development of doctrine" hocus pocus could overcome (at least not with me staying honest and having a good conscience about it all.)
As for the current scandals in Roman Catholicism (which go beyond the misdeeds of clergy and Bishops, or even the Pope, but also touch the practical life of Roman Catholics in parishes - such as the demolition of the liturgy which occured in the late 60's/early 70's), while they are extreme, I would say this should only be a wake up call for you. If they spur you onward to look deeper and begin seeking for authentic Christianity, that's good...and by the grace of God, you will find a place in the Orthodox Catholic Church. But if you're looking for somewhere absolutely free from scandals, sinful clergy, all to human (and political) issues being confused with the Gospel, etc. etc... well, then I'm sorry to disappoint you, you won't find an absence of such things anywhere, including (unfortunately) in the Orthodox Church as well. I know that sounds like a downer, but I think you should be well aware of this before even bothering to set foot into an Orthodox Church. You'll find sinners there too, you'll find sinners everywhere. Orthodoxy is the genuine spiritual hospital - you can find what you need in there. But you'll also find lots of sick people in the hospital too... which round aboutly, kind of makes sense. Just don't approach the Church expecting to find only a gallery of Saints, otherwise this unrealistic expectation will set you up for a hard fall.
There are numerous examples of the Roman Church's errors and straying from Tradition. Catholics are starting to pray to Jesus "through Mary." Such a concept is foreign to Tradition along with the Co-Redemptrix theology which started gaining ground in the 1950's and will soon, IMO, be declared a dogma of the Catholic Church. On a side-note, I'm also having trouble with believing the Assumption, can anyone "prove" this doctrine in Orthodox, rather than Catholic terms?
Well, the fundamental problem behind the "Immaculate Conception" or the "Co-Redemptrix" doctrines, etc. is really the root problem of Roman Catholicism itself (or I should say, one of the root problems), a core problem that caused the Latin Church to sever itself both officially and organically from the Orthodox Church - the treatment of theology as a strain of philosophy, rather than the careful articulation of Prophetic revelation. Many Roman Catholics are confused (and thus deceived) by the fact that the Church Fathers often employed terms borrowed from worldly philosphers and thinkers. While this is certainly the case, they were using such terminology in a modified way, and for a purpose - to express the reality revealed to the Holy Apostles, and which they too (and all of the Saints) really and truly experience. It's the same reality, an unchanging truth, because obvious God doesn't change, and our salvation has been acomplished once and for all.
OTOH, Roman Catholicism essentially winds up teaching that there are "other truths", not known consciously to the Holy Apostles or even necessarily experienced by them or expounded by them, which human cleverness (supposedly "guided by grace") can arrive at. Thus, the Christian revelation becomes a set of premises, which can be subjected to syllogistic reasonins ala. Aristotle (who essentially replaced the Fathers as the means the Latins used for understanding the revelation of Christ). And that is why, new "logical conclusions" re being arrived at from the so called "facts of revelation" which are understood in a very legalistic fashion. Hence, why in the 19th century the Roman Catholic Church could decide definitively (over 1800 years after the fact, after the alleged "insitution of the Papacy") that the Pope was "infallible", and not see anything ridiculous in this.
The whole concept of indulgences is extremely sketchy (it only starts to appear in the Medieval Church, the best explaination I've heard for this one is from the arguement of the ability of Peter the loose and bind, but this is from the same Church that says that revelation ended with the last Apostle.
"Indulgences" negate the value of asceticism/penances and require a completly superficial/legalistic understanding of penances. Apart from this legalistic understanding, "indulgences" make no sense whatsoever.
Ascetic practices, particularly when given as penances by a Priest who hears confessions to a repentent person, are medicinal - if they chastise, it is for the same reason God chastises us (and this is what St.Paul teaches) - because He loves us, and He wants us to be made better. Often, the best medicines taste bad.
OTOH, the Roman Catholic Church has reduced penance to the "legal satisfaction" of a displeased God. Besides the basic problem of this view in and of itself, it also opens the door to the extravagant idea that a properly authorized individual can apply the "legal satsifactions of others" (in this case, allegedly, of Saints) on behalf of penitents, so as to lessen or get them out of penance. And why? Because in this legalistic understanding, unless penances are completed, a person will be left "unpaid" and have to go to "Purgatory" to pay the rest off. All of this...the understanding of penance, the indulgences, and the purgatory, are absurdities. They have nothing to do with the Apostolic doctrine, and Orthodoxy rejects all of these as innovations.
Another thing that irks me about Catholicism is the excessive legalism which seems to supercede all, more important things (for example, you won't go to hell for missing Mass, only if it you do it regularly and so disrespect God, right?).
You spend time with someone you love - even if you're not in the mood, you make time for them. If you don't pray, if you don't go to the Divine Liturgy...well, what's that say about what's in your heart? Your priorities? There is no understanding though, that I'm aware of that this is a quote "mortal sin". IN the end, these are matters of the heart...we have to learn to be honest with ourselves. That is a struggle which lasts a lifetime.
Just to state something, liturgically I'm very western, rather than eastern. I come from an Anglo-Irish ethnic background, and similarly an Anglican and Catholic religious background. Should I continue to go to the Catholic mass, I've stopped as of late because I feel like such as hypocrite going. I also need to go to Confession, as I haven't been in a while, similarly, should I go to Confession in a Catholic Church? What should I do in these kind of instances? (PS. I'll still pray the Rosary, of course, a Western tradition going back to St. Dominic in the 8th Century).
Rather than complicate things with my amateur opinions, I'd recommend you find an Orthodox parish near by (preferably one where English is used for much of the Liturgy, or all of it even) and start attending. Visit a few Churches even. Just attend, take it all in. And when you feel comfortable (or perhaps you may be like me, a little shy, and feel the need to "push" yourself to do this), talk to a Priest there. Or several Priests. Just say you're "interested" in Orthodoxy - you don't have to be dead set convinced just to talk to them.
In the mean time, here is a good website with lots of valuable articles - they'll give you a take on history, religion, and western civilization that you're probably not familiar with. The wriitings of two of the featured authors on there (the late Fr.John Romanides and Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos) are particularly good."The Romans" website - www.romanity.org
Btw., I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to send you a private message relating to this.