Wow. Thank you for humoring my inquiry. I actually do feel much less sore about it now. I honestly respect and honor your honesty in it as well. I'm not inclined to tell you that you are mistaken or wrong about any of this. So what I'm about to say below is just my own take on some of these matters. But I will only respond to the first few paragraphs as the rest were very personal to you of which I have little to say.
A_Morley wrote:Well, I thank you for your interest in my spiritual development. My reasons for deciding to not become Eastern Orthodox were thus: I believe nearly all of the claims made by the Orthodox Church aside from two rather major issues. I have no problems with the West's conception of the Filioque. That, I think, is a major issue. Secondly, I could not reject the notion that the Church of England and thus Anglicanism as a whole was not part of the Church Catholic. Nobody was specifically asking me to do so, but it seemed heavily implied.
When I sat down and prayerfully considered what I actually believed about Jesus Christ and His Church, I realized that I was still a convinced and committed Anglican, albeit a rather addle-brained, dangerously antiquarian one. I still fundamentally believe the contention of the Oxford Movement that there are three branches or the Church Catholic, being the Byzantine, the Roman, and the Anglican.
I do not believe that my expression of the Catholic faith is in schism or in error, so why should I go seeking after a new one?
Here's my thoughts, and remember they are MY thoughts and not to be mistaken for Orthodox dogma or even popular Orthodox belief. I do however come to my thoughts on this via well established Orthodox dogmas and beliefs. Hopefully they're good thoughts.
Let me start with the filioque
First of all, as to the Filioque. Is it a church dividing issue?
I don't fully know. But from what I've gathered I'm open to the idea that within the theological framework of the western church it isn't heresy. The Filioque is however a heresy within Orthodox theological framework, which is perhaps why such men as Saint Photius so strongly rejected it. Not to mention the manner in which it was placed into the Creed itself. It goes to the importance of making sure that whenever there is primacy being exercised there ought to be consensus as well.
I personally find it very helpful that the Popes in recent decades have offered to settle it by not mandating it's use for the it's eastern rites and have made the same offer to the Orthodox, if full communion was ever to be realized again. Meaning that they did not desire to force us to accept the Filioque within our own reciting of the creed. While it doesn't offer a complete solution to the whole problem caused by it, it's a start. But in the end we all should remember just how out of touch the east and west was by the time of the Great Schism. In nearly every way, we now have a broader understanding of each other now than then. In fact, when the bull of excommunication was placed on the alter in Constantinople, the Latins charged us with omitting the Filioque from the Creed when in fact, it's plainly obvious to us today that it was they who added it to theirs. The original did not have it!
Now what about the Great Schism and the Orthodox Church's relation to the Anglican Church? You gave me your honest thoughts on the matter. Schisms plainly happened and we are obviously not in full communion with each other. What started out with ex communications between a couple of hot tempered hierarchs turned into an estranged brotherhood following the sack of Constantinople. What I don't know is how deep those schism go and how culpable the faithful are for those schisms in each of the respective churches. I'm not sure this is a question we will ever fully know on this side of heaven. But what we can do and should do is take those common elements of faith we do share and see how much more of orthodoxy we can embrace together. Can the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican churches fully embrace the Truth? Is there a bases for there to be such hope?
At the Council of Florence, which happened long after the Great Schism of 1054, the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches dealt with each other like churches. There are good reasons to interrupt shared communion between churches sometimes, even though it's never an ideal situation, Those interruptions have happened many times in the history of the church, even long before the Great Schism. If we can come to a place, where once again, we can treat each other like churches to solve problems. Then there's hope I think. Of course we must consider what a church is for this purpose. The situation with the various Anglican churches is very complicated to say the least!
But anyway, you've lived in So Cal recently haven't you? Have you seen the state of the local RCC parishes? What about the lions share of Episcopal and Anglican churches? I have witnessed some Anglo Catholic parishes do a better job at mass than the Roman Catholic churches they have tried to emulate. I don't know what it is, but the RCC I hope for isn't the RCC I see around here. The traditional minded Anglicans at least have more in common with our worship style and ideal, even though they fail to give the Theotokos enough praise.