1. How an ecumenical council would be called. 2. If it were called how it would be ratified in a definitive way without the signature of the Bishop of Rome.The fact that individual Orthodox Christians feel they have an answer to these questions is about as impressive as a Protestant who feels he has the correct interpretation of John 6. That is to say it is not an authoritative opinion. The only point I need to know is that there are a variety of views on this question within Orthodoxy and they have not had a council since 787 A.D. Does anything more need to be said? I don’t see how someone leaving Protestantism because of a lack of Divine authority would then go to a church that is so fundamentally emasculated. The Catholic Church is under no such fog of confusion when it comes to defining doctrine and holding ecumenical councils. Another reason I rejected Orthodox claims is what I recognize as a Protestant smelling circular reasoning in regard to identifying the church. The church is composed of those who believe the true doctrine, and true doctrine is that which is believed by the whole church. Hmmm, sounds very similar to the “bootstrap” theory of Protestant church identification I just left. Orthodox believers will have complaints with what I just said above. Keep in mind that your intricate explainations fall utterly flat for a Protestant tired of the subjectivity and self rule of sola Scriptura. I want simplicity, and I know that Christ must have made it simple. Here is simplicity: How do we find the true doctrine? The churches in communion with the holder of the keys to the kingdom (the Bishop of Rome) have the true doctrine. See how there is no circularity? Here again you Orthodox will complain, but there you go again, sounding so Protestant by trying to convince me of your interpretation! "But the Pope said X!... that can't be right!" This attitude sounds like the self serving authority of Protestantism I am fleeing from. I have discussed the Filioque issue with Orthodox people and it was shocking how Protestant they sounded, trying to convince me how the Orthodox view makes more sense from Scripture, etc. That’s not the point! The point is WHO DECIDES what the true doctrine is. Is it the church or me and you? When Bishops disagree about the Filioque, who do I follow? Orthodoxy has the same answer Protestants do... "follow us." Well that's not good enough. So in the end, Catholicism just makes sense to my mind. How best can unity be kept in the church? The answer is obvious to me: one, single, visible beacon of unity. Outside of communion with that beacon is something else than the one true church. How can multiple heads function if there is no ultimate uniting force? This is the point that a child can understand but is often lost on the “wise” and highly educated. Just the idea of multiple “autocephalus” “heads” is an oxymoron. A body has one head. Only a hydra has multiple heads. “Christ is the head” you retort. Yeah, but on earth as in heaven there needs to be a single head. Ask a child which system works better and they will tell you what you already know in your heart. Other reasons I rejected Orthodoxy that I would categorize as “intuition” are:
1.There have been times in church history where the Pope was alone in his holding to the true faith. This fits with Christ supernaturally protecting the purity of the church’s doctrine. During these times, the patriarchates that now comprise “Eastern Orthodoxy” were (by their own admission) an utter heretical mess. Again, smells like Protestantism. 2.Orthodoxy is still comprised of regional churches which strongly identify with the nations they are in. 3.Numerically, Catholicism is way bigger. This means something to me. It seems to me to be something we should expect 2000 years after Pentecost. 4.The Catholic understanding of the Filioque fits better with a proper understanding of the family as a picture of the Trinitarian relationship. From man comes woman, from man and woman comes child. Again, makes sense. 5.Orthodoxy is more likely to side with mystical experience than intellectual. I don’t trust mystical experience unless it is firmly rooted in the intellectual. I see Catholics as doing both, while Orthodoxy seems to distrust the intellect. 6.Orthodoxy does not have a well defined, universal dogma on some very important issues like contraception and divorce. This is a clue to me that they have stagnated theologically. Christians need firm guidance from the church on these issues. 7.I see more variety in the modes of service of laity and Catholic monks and nuns than Orthodox. (this touches on my #4) 8.Catholicism has objectively produced better art. To me this is a sign of better theology, and a sign of God’s blessing. 9. I get the feeling that Orthodoxy is a "step behind" Protestantism. My money is on Protestantism disolving within half a millenia. Orthodoxy has more momentum from having all 7 sacraments and from true succession, but if the Orthodox churches remain in schism from Peter, they will eventually dissolve. I want to leave my descendants a legacy of a christendom that is true and lasting.I don't expect to amaze anyone with my critique of Orthodoxy here. These have just been the reasons I personally found totally compelling in favor of Rome. I hope the Orthodox can give up the autonomy soon and just come back into full communion with the key-bearer. Imagine the witness to the world that would be! *The Early Papacy To the Synod of Chalcedon in 451, by Adrian Fortescue and Studies on the Early Papacy, by Dom John Chapman were very eye opening for a Protestant unfamiliar with the early church.