Thank you so much for your honest sharing. Your message brought me unspeakable relief and comfort to know that I was not the only one who is struggling with these issues. Indeed, I could relate to every single word which you uttered.
Umm,,,It might be better for me, at this moment at least, to settle down in Eastern Orthodoxy... maybe...However, I have been sadden by the strong anti-western, anti-latin, anti-Catholic mentality among Orthodox Christians in Greece in general and former-Evangelical Orthodox converts in North America. Honestly, I am not sure if I will be able to survive in this kind of atmosphere. Do we have to be anti-Western in order to be faithful Eastern Orthodox? Here in Greece, it seems to be that if you want to be a faithful Orthodox, then, it is almost impossible for you to say something positive about Roman-Catholicism (unless you are a liberal Orthodox...but I am a traditionalist like FSSP.). It is a taboo thing to say, for example, "Well, in terms of the teachings of life and human sexuality (abortion, contraception, divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, euthanasia etc..), I think classical Catholicism offers the most consistent, most powerful dogmas which I have ever known." You are not supposed to express these things. If you dare to do it, then, you are going to be labeled as "liberal ecumenist." (←which,, I am not!)
When I heard from eastern Christians in the middle east, that, recently, former-Evangelical Orthodox converts in North America have fueled the anti-Catholic sentiments and enmities through internet apologetics, my heart was broken. That's because, I myself had had an (unconscious) anti-Catholic enmity when I was a devout Protestant. I wept over the tragedies between Protestants and Catholics over 500 years after discovering the errors of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. The following day, I went to Byzantine Catholic Church and said to the priest that there is something I want to confess (repent). I just wanted to say sorry to God for my year-long unwarranted anti-Catholicism. The priest told me gently, that since absolution is part of the Mystery (sacraments), and that I have not been (re)baptized in the Catholic Church (I was informed that my Presbyterian baptism was invalid), he cannot do it for me right now. And he kindly guided me to recite Psalm 50 in front of the icon and confessed it in front of Him. Since that day, the Lord has poured a special kind of love for Rome in my heart. My heart cries when I see the corruption and liberalism in Rome. Even if I will settle down in Eastern Orthodoxy eventually(*meaning, even if I come to the conclusion that Eastern Orthodox dogmas are more faithful and true to Apostolic Church of the Ante-Nicene Fathers), I would continue to look at Rome like I see my own beloved family. But my question is...does Eastern Orthodoxy allow it? Can I be a Rome-loving, traditionalist Eastern Orthodox?
p.s. Irish_Ruthenian, do you have a website or something? I'd like to ask you some theological questions such as Filioque clause, Monarchy of the Father in Trinity, John Zizioulas etc...
I very much appreciate what you have just said regarding the Roman Catholic Church. I am struggling also with a serious tendency towards deep anger and resentment towards that body, especially fueled by the rantings of what you would call "Traditionalist Roman Catholics" who seem to take a deep delight (as also do the Traddydox) in seeing people condemned to hell because they aren't Roman Catholic. At first I wasn't sure where this animus was coming from as I went deeper and deeper towards Orthodoxy, but I have come to realize that the Roman Catholic triumphalism, first expressed by Pope Boniface in Unam Sanctum in the 13th century, and clung to desperately by the Traddie Caths, has gotten under my skin. I need to work and pray to rid myself of this.
As for your post regarding the good things of the Catholic faith....yes, you must admit that in the Roman Catholic Church, the Catechism is quite clear in regards to certain issues in this day which need clarity. (the sexual issues in particular). And yes, there are those Traddydox who also are every bit as much hateful as the TraddyCaths, so Orthodoxy is not pure as the wind driven snow on this. Somehow in the quest for truth, both sides seem to have forgotten LOVE. I do not wish to be among them
My question really is this: where is the Church, for in the Church we are promised the fullness of God's blessings. My spiritual father, who is Melkite, said something to me that keeps ringing in my mind. The Bible says that the Church is the Body of Christ. Where do we find the Body of Christ here on earth? The Eucharist. So every parish and every sui juris church that has valid apostolic succession and therefore the Eucharist, is part of the Body of Christ for it has and administers the Body of Christ, and thus, is part of the Church.
I have to say that I like that answer for two reasons: it is properly ecumenical without saying that any one body is totally right, and it seems to advance this idea from the Bible: love covers a multitude of sins. I also think that FOR ME (perhaps not for you but for me) I have a deep tendency towards trying to curry God's favor by being a perfect person. I have to remember that God will not love me on iota more than the Cross no matter how perfectly I hold to doctrine.
For now, I know that I am in a UCC parish where I was led by a direct answer to prayer, therefore, unless I get an equally strong indication to go to Orthodoxy, I am staying where I am. Having prayed about this and having received no push whatsoever to convert to Orthodoxy, I choose to be obedient to Christ rather than my own desires. And, as the current sad issue between the Russian and Constantinopolitan patriarchates has shown us, Orthodoxy may have good doctrine, but they are lacking in charity.
I doubt my ramblings are of much help here, and as for a website, yes, I do have one, but I am the wrong person to ask in regards to deep theological questions. There are many others here who are far FAR more qualified to discuss with you the issues you have brought up. I defer.
PS. One of the things which is really fueling my angst in this are certain dogmatic approaches to God which seem to come more from the Roman Courtroom than the Father of the Prodigal. Western theology (RC and Protestant) is very very strong on God as angry, judgmental, condemning, and ready to toss almost everyone into hell forever. I find myself asking "Is this really my Father?" I have read and also experienced through blogs and videos, the Eastern view of God as loving Father whose will is to save all mankind (1 Tim. 2:4) rather than to condemn all mankind. I spent the majority of my life with a cold and distant earthly father whom I could never please. I don't need a heavenly Father like that in the next life. I'm pretty sure that is what is turning me off towards any expressions of Western theology a la Anselm of Canterbury, Augustine, or St. Leonard of Port Maurice, all of whom had a deeply pessimistic anthropology and view of God's dealings with us.
OH! Just thought of something that might be helpful. Go here and listen to Fr. John Strickland's wonderful podcasts (I assume you understand English) Start with Page 9 and work forward.https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/paradiseutopia