This comment was left by Anastasia Theodoridis recently in the combox:
ISTM the more we Orthodox learn both of Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, the more we become convinced that they are not at all the same. They often sound the same. But behind the words is a very, very different way of life, a different spirit, and a different way of doing things that is different intentionally and for a theological reason, rather than because of any historical accident or circumstance. (Those kinds of differences also exist, yes.)
Just for one example, the filioque is a *major* issue, making for a whole different Holy Trinity. And you do not mean the same thing by it that we do without it; if you did you could simply delete the word and end the whole controversy, but that does not and will not happen. It is important to Catholics to keep the filioque.
For another example, the papal claims of supramacy and infallibility are no minor matter. They alter the faith very significantly, from the Orthodox POV. Not only are they, for us, in themselves major changes of the faith, but they have also come, from an Orthodox POV, to color almost every other Catholic doctrine to make the Catholic way of stating it sound strange to our ears.
If we take the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as I have done, and read very attentively and begin underlining parts that are put incorrectly in ways that may seem small but have huge implications, we end up underlining a huge percentage of the book. Another huge percentage of it we put question marks beside because the language is too vague (syncretistic) and/or too contradictory (again, syncretistic)to be able to know for sure whether it agrees with Orthodoxy or not.
Sorry, but the idea that we share the same faith is wishful thinking. I, too, wish it were so and pray it may one day be so. For now, we have a lot of hard work to do, and a lot of honest discussion is required.
What a bleak outlook.
Am I to take it from that that we are really two different religions? That would be the conclusion, if we really believe that the “filioque” clause actually teaches “a whole different Trinity”. [I should point out that we can, in fact, delete the filioque in the sense of omit it on occasion, but we cannot delete it in the sense of obliterate it, as it is a part of our liturgy and tradition!]
And parts of the Catechism that are “put incorrectly”? Surely you mean “differently from the way Orthodoxy would put it”, but surely not “heretically”? Do not the Orthodox themselves have different ways of putting things within the one tradition? Or is there only ever one way of saying what is true? Of course, Western theology will sound “strange” to Eastern ears–the opposite is also true. Latin and Greek are different languages. Are they to be different religions too?
Is there really a “different spirit” behind Orthodoxy and Catholicism? That is, does one of us have the Holy Spirit, and the other “a different spirit” in the sense of St Paul’s “different gospel” or “another Jesus” (2 Cor 11:4)?
Tell me it isn’t so!