Thank you, father, for your thoughtful reply.
One particular Church's formulations and explanations of doctrine and dogma (i.e. the Roman) is born of their own tradition of faith, may not be the same in another particular Church born of her own tradition of the true faith.
You used the phrase "an eternal and revealed truth." So I did not think you were merely speaking of formulations arising from particular traditions in the Christian church. I am sure you agree that eternal and revealed truths do not vary according to locality, and that, for instance, Arianism would not be a legitimate variation in Christian tradition that orthodox Christians could share communion with. If we believe something to be an eternal and revealed truth, and therefore a universal truth, what are we therefore to make of a body that contradicts this eternal and revealed truth with their own dogma, which they hold to not only as a local tradition but demand of everyone in communion with them?
Examples are the Immaculate Conception or the Filioque.
Perhaps you might be surprised to learn that I, as an Eastern Orthodox, am quite able to see how these doctrines are compatible, when understood a certain way, with Orthodoxy. I think something akin to the immaculate conception was believed by Eastern fathers. As for the filioque, it can be Orthodox, based on Saint Maximus' interpretation. I am not an anti-ecumenical zealot or Byzantine chauvinist. So yes, I am open to the understanding that different, equally valid Christian traditions can produce varying formulations that fundamentally agree.
But the discussion here is about Papal supremacy, a doctrine that, in its universality and force, does not permit of regional interpretation. You claim it is "an eternal and revealed truth that Christ alone is the head of His Church." This obviously is in contradiction to what Rome teaches as an eternal and revealed truth, namely, that the Pope of Rome is the vicar of Christ on earth, possessing supreme universal jurisdiction over every church, including yours.
As for the statement: "This seems contradictory to me. If you were not subservient, there would be no need for your bishops to "quietly" grant ecclesiastic divorces and permission to remarry. Doing such things "quietly" indicates yare still afraid of the Boss." I suspect that you do not understand the Middle Eastern ethos and thought pattern. Exasperating as it is to the western mind, basically one never directly says "no." To do so is seen as exceedingly impolite and even insulting. (I know, I've lived in Saudi Arabia the Gulf States) Instead one says "Oh, is that right?" or "We'll see" but never a direct response. Frankly, it probably comes from living under the Ottomans where a direct yes or no could lead to the loss of one's head. Ambiguity of response, allows both parties to be satisfied. Besides, why pick fights over words. lol Westerners want direct answers but, frankly and as exasperating as it is, the middle eastern mind sees direct answers as inpolite and insulting.
That's an interesting point you make about middle eastern mindset. Having little experience with this culture myself, I'll take your word for it. Nonetheless, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch does not hesitate to state its policy on divorce and remarriage. The procedures are not hidden from the faithful or anyone from the outside who inquires. Why should the Melkite Catholics, who are supposed identical to their Orthodox brothers in all things apart from the communion with Rome, not take the same position?
And I can think of one case where Melkite bishops publicly disagreed with each other on a matter, contrary to the general trend you note about middle eastern culture. When Bishop Elias Zoghby opined at Vatican II that divorce and remarriage might be allowable under certain circumstances, he was publicly contradicted by Patriarch Maximos IV who reiterated his firm adhesion to the Latin stance. So the Patriarch was not afraid to publicly disagree with his synod brother in public; moreover, he did not merely refuse to contradict the Latin dogma, but forcefully reiterated it. Does this mean that Patriarch Maximos IV, in giving a direct answer in disagreement with Bishop Zoghby, was insulting him?
Now, I understand that the stance of a single patriarch does not necessarily speak for the entire church. Perhaps Patriarch Maximos' position was unique to himself among the Melkites, in which case, I'm sure there must be evidence, apart from personal anecdotes, that the Melkite church has actually adopted a position different from the Latin one on the question.
One other thing- you state that the non-contradicting attitude "probably comes from living under the Ottomans where a direct yes or no could lead to the loss of one's head." This seems to me, again, to hint at subservience, as if the Roman church, like the Ottoman authorities, possesses authority over the Melkites, to remove their heads (figuratively). But if the Melkite church is equal to Rome, what need for this deference?
Outside the patriarchal territory and in recent years, we now do commemorate the pope as well as the patriarch (but in the Divine Liturgy only, and only once). And, then again take careful note of the official formulation: "Among the first, O Lord, remember His Holiness FRANCIS, Bishop of Rome; our holy patriarch JOSEPH...." "Primus inter pares" and nuanced again.
Whether you regard your Patriarch and the Pope as equals, this commemoration clearly indicates that you believe the Pope has jurisdiction over you.
I refocus you on even the documents of Vatican II that speaks of the "equality" of the individual Churches comprising the Catholic Church, it does not speak of "subservience."
Thank you, father, for this refocus. I have followed your advice and turned to the document titled the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, or "Lumen Gentium", which was approved by Vatican II with only 5 dissenting votes. It states the following:
"But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head. This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff. For our Lord placed Simon alone as the rock and the bearer of the keys of the Church, and made him shepherd of the whole flock; it is evident, however, that the power of binding and loosing, which was given to Peter, was granted also to the college of apostles, joined with their head."
But perhaps the English translation of this document, published on the Vatican website, is faulty and the words translated as "full, supreme, and universal power" do not actually say that at all.