I recently watched an excellent video from Fr. Joshia Trenham called "An Orthodox Perspective on Roman Catholicism". He's priest at Saint Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, California and founder of Patristic Nectar Publications.
I was edified by this video in multiple ways.
First, most of my perspective on Roman Catholicism is shaped by growing up as a Lutheran, so I appreciated getting an analysis from an Orthodox point of view.
Second, Fr Josiah brought up a reason I have cited before for why I didn't look more closely at Rome - chaos in the worship service. He talked about a friend of his who is a traditional Catholic in southern California who has to drive by multiple parishes on a Sunday morning just to worship in a traditional Catholic manner. I wrote about this in my post, "Why Not Rome?"
Third, Fr Josiah goes out of his way to be complimentary of Roman Catholicism and faithful Roman Catholics where he can. He certainly thinks that Orthodox have a lot to learn from Catholics in terms of cultivating an American Orthodox Church that isn't so rooted overseas but is invested in America. He also said many praiseworthy things about the Catholic leaders in the pro-life movement in America.
Fourth, he talked about a better date for the Great Schism than 1054, namely when the schism seemed real to rank and file Orthodox Christians. I think I agree with Fr Josiah.
Fifth, I didn't know about John Paul II and his great love for Orthodox and personal ties to Orthodoxy. That was very fascinating and he confirmed what I had heard that as far as modern day Rome is concerned the Orthodox and Catholics are already one, Orthodox just don't know it yet.
Sixth, I was pleasantly surprised to hear him talk about what was lost in the Great Schism in terms of western saints and the legitimate western rite liturgies that were lost to the Church. Today Western Rite Orthodoxy exists in America and you can worship in an Orthodox manner in an order of service that would feel very familiar to a Roman Catholic or Lutheran or Anglican.
Seventh, his comments about how the Immaculate Conception actually steals from Mary's greatness because she is not the same as the rest of us was really thought provoking. There's a lot more to be said there about how Orthodoxy doesn't share western assumptions about Original Sin and human nature.
Finally, I was REALLY interested to hear about the king of Portugal talking about the Fatima revelations. Apparently one of the women who received the Fatima prophecy told the king that the Fatima revelation about the consecration of Russia did not mean, as she understood it, Russia would become Catholic. Rather she believed the Mother of God told her that Russia would return to its Orthodox Faith. That was maybe the most shocking or surprising thing I learned in the video.
Those are just a few of the highlights from this talk for me. I'd be interested to hear from you about what stood out to you in this talk. I'd be even more interested to hear from any Roman Catholic readers. Did you think Fr. Josiah was fair? Was it accurate? Is there anything you'd correct if you could talk to Fr. Josiah? Leave a comment!