Can anyone think of a magic key that would solve the Orthodox-Catholic split?

I see this line on the internet all the time, but little evidence of it "on the ground" outside of social media. And most of the animosity toward Rome is coming from Orthodox people who used to be Roman Catholic, like Jay Dyer, so you can't say they have an irrational hate-boner instilled in them from their youth. It's just a meme.

In my experience talking to (and reading, watching) Orthodox people at my parish, online, and elsewhere, the subject of Rome doesn't even come up much outside of specific topics of apologetics. And as I've said a dozen times here before I find Roman Catholics far more relatable than protestants these days, and empathize with them over the rather dire state of of Rome.

Personally, I always found bizarre Latin ideas like stigmata, the sacred heart, and stories surrounding Bernard of Clairvoux, Margaret Mary, and Teresa of Avila far more of an obstacle to Rome than their treatment of the Theotokos, Papal supremacy, or any of the stuff that usually spooks protestants. This just struck me as a more advanced form of the pentecostal nonsense I'd experienced in evangelicalism, while the sober-minded and restrained nature of Orthodox spiritual practices resonated with me.

...

That was before memes existed, and was from reading what each side had to say about each other.

Paying attention to apparitions. miracles, and such are optional even for Catholics: at most the hierarchy will say they are "worthy of belief," while some some are declared false, but none of them are doctrine that everyone must believe. Devotions to this or that start with local movements which are then rejected or tolearted as they grow. None are declared worthy of belief unless they are in accordance with established doctrine. A universal Church should have something for everyone--from the illiterate to the highly educated. What might seem tacky and silly to some may be meaningful and within their grasp to others.
 

nagareboshi

Woodpecker
The Catholic Church endorses a bunch of concepts that violate the principle of non-contradiction. Why, for example, are Eastern Catholics permitted to refrain from the Filioque, while Western Catholics are not?

The Filioque is very simple. There are three major claims in the Christian universe:

1) The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.
2) The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.
3) The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and not from the Son.

Don't you see that statements (1) and (2) are perfectly compatible, as (1) is a superset of (2). However, (3) is not compatible with (2).

BTW, if you believe (3), you are guilty of heresy, for your belief would contradict the direct words of the Bible:

And I [the Son] will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. (John 14)
I [John] baptized you with water; but He [the Son] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1)
And when He [the Son] had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20)
But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I [the Son] will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth (John 15)

The Holy Spirit is of the Father, sent through the Son; it may be said to proceed from both. The seniority of the Father is also implied in that He is mentioned first in the Filioque clause. It's really not that complicated. Anyone who believes he receives the Holy Spirit independently from the Son of God is professing a contradiction.
 

nagareboshi

Woodpecker
Personally, I always found bizarre Latin ideas like stigmata, the sacred heart, and stories surrounding Bernard of Clairvoux, Margaret Mary, and Teresa of Avila far more of an obstacle to Rome than their treatment of the Theotokos, Papal supremacy, or any of the stuff that usually spooks protestants. This just struck me as a more advanced form of the pentecostal nonsense I'd experienced in evangelicalism, while the sober-minded and restrained nature of Orthodox spiritual practices resonated with me.

I think that those "sacred heart" stories are part of the Frankish spirit. Just like people are fond of speaking of the sobriety and seriousness of the Russian soul (which has tremendous and exotic appeal to many, especially in the thoroughly Frankicized West), the Frankish soul has its own simplicity and its desire to love and be loved, sort of like troubadour ballads. At the time that these stories (like St. Francis) were becoming popular, the spirit of courtly romance and knightly adventure was in the air. I'm not really a fan of it, but it seems like matters of taste and personal preference here.

The real reason why Rome and Moscow won't reunite is because of irreconcilable philosophical differences: the scholasticism of Aquinas vs. the theology of Sts. Maximus, John Damascene, and Gregory Palamas. Unless one or the other completely overhauls their underpinning philosophy then I don't see it happening. It's not even remotely feasible. Only a "hard" reuniting (eg., multitudes leaving Rome and converting to Orthodoxy or vice versa) has any possibility. You'll never get Rome or Moscow to concede that they were wrong for 1000+ years and a millennium of saints were in prelest.

How come many people think that Aquinas and Palamas contradict one another? Aquinas was a mystic too. As far as I can tell, after the 19th century Palamas's philosophy has been regarded as fully Catholic now as well.
 
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Eusebius Erasmus

Kingfisher
Orthodox
The Filioque is very simple. There are three major claims in the Christian universe:

1) The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.
2) The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.
3) The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and not from the Son.

Don't you see that statements (1) and (2) are perfectly compatible, as (1) is a superset of (2). However, (3) is not compatible with (2).

BTW, if you believe (3), you are guilty of heresy, for your belief would contradict the direct words of the Bible:






The Holy Spirit is of the Father, sent through the Son; it may be said to proceed from both. The seniority of the Father is also implied in that He is mentioned first in the Filioque clause. It's really not that complicated. Anyone who believes he receives the Holy Spirit independently from the Son of God is professing a contradiction.
The Orthodox would agree with the plain Scriptural interpretation that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father, and temporally from the Son. However, Catholics do not subscribe to this: they believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from both the Father and the Son.

No person of the Trinity is independent from another: they are all one in essence and undivided. However, the Spirit of God doesn’t proceed eternally from the Son of God.
 

nagareboshi

Woodpecker
The Orthodox would agree with the plain Scriptural interpretation that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father, and temporally from the Son. However, Catholics do not subscribe to this: they believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from both the Father and the Son.

No person of the Trinity is independent from another: they are all one in essence and undivided. However, the Spirit of God doesn’t proceed eternally from the Son of God.

I did not know that Orthodox would actually agree with that interpretation. That is news to me. Regarding the Council of Florence,

The Holy Spirit is eternally from Father and Son; He has his nature and subsistence at once (simul) from the Father and the Son [filioque]. He proceeds eternally from both as from one principle and through one spiration.

Zooming in, I can see that this would be a great stumbling block as it says the procession of the Holy Spirit is identical in its relationship with the Father and the Son. I would further speculate (at the risk of great nitpicking) that the identity in procession doesn't necessarily contradict the seniority of the Father. For example, if a landlord delegates his son to deliver a package, the recipient (outside the house) receives the package as it is from the landlord and his son; even though within the house there is a seniority relationship. Likewise, since the Son exists eternally (begotten from the Father) you might argue that the Father is superior in his association with the Holy Spirit supra-eternally, but within the realm of eternity it's equivalent.

I would disagree that the Spirit proceeds from the Son purely temporally. It seems to me that as the Son exists in Eternity He also has the power to eternally deliver (with help from the Father) the Spirit. On the other hand, I understand now if Orthodox have gripes with this terminology, and I would probably ask our great philosophers to continue elaborating it for all who need it.
 

Mountaineer

Pelican
Gold Member
The amount of anti-Catholic rhetoric on the forum is staggering. It also seems that most of it comes from American posters who are now Orthodox, and who appear to me at least to be nothing more than Protestants but of an "Orthodox Denomination." The anti-Catholic Protestant spirit abides, in whatever guise it manifests
This is a far fetched statement since the Orthodox is historically the true Christian church. Catholics today have to answer to themselves if they agree with the Pope and Vatican II. If they don't, and I can't see why they would given all the heresies, they have to either become Orthodox (a member of a decentralized Church unburdened by bishop infallibility) or go down a less optimal path of Protestantism (which was started by a man who changed the teachings of suit his passions) or worse. I happily choose Orthodoxy. I highly recommend Michael's YT channel Brother Augustine to have a better understanding of Orthodox theology.


 
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KantPost

Sparrow
This is a far fetched statement since the Orthodox is historically the true Christian church. Catholics today have to answer to themselves if they agree with the Pope and Vatican II. If they don't, and I can't see why they would given all the heresies, they have to either become Orthodox (a member of a decentralized Church unburdened by bishop infallibility) or go down a less optimal path of Protestantism (which was started by a man who changed the teachings of suit his passions) or worse. I happily choose Orthodoxy. I highly recommend Michael's YT channel Brother Augustine to have a better understanding of Orthodox theology.


Respectfully, who are you to judge which church is more true? Your post just reeks of arrogance. Far wiser men than you or I can convincingly argue that the Catholic Church is more true. And others that the Orthodox is more true. This is not my point. It's the spirit of all this arguing and attacking the Catholic Church. It smacks of an obsessive but subtle dislike of Catholicism. You see it with the casual insults and attacks on our pope, which clearly has been overlooked if not sanctioned by some forum mods. It's so normalised on this forum to just mock and jeer our hierarchy. That's not to say we don't have deep problems in the church, but this incessant undermining and ankle biting should stop. I just don't see the same attitude from Catholics towards Orthodox here. There's a sort of purity mindset among the Orthodox here; it seems you think you're so much purer than Catholics, more holy than us, you have the genuine product, things look better in your churches, you're a member of the real authentic club, no off-label counterfeits for you guys. But all I see is lost non-Catholic Americans looking for another outlet for their Protestant spirit
 

Mountaineer

Pelican
Gold Member
It's not my mere judgement but simply a fact of history. By siding with the Synagogue of Satan Bergoglio has put himself and the whole papacy in a very bad position. This is where the papacy and papal infallibility has led the RCC, a constant loss of grace through the centuries. But the criticism of the RCC comes mainly from the theological flaws. Progressivism in the church resulting in things like Vatican II has gradually degraded the church doctrines. This is where the Orthodox are much stronger. Why it is so? Because the Orthodox church is decentralized and has no infallibility of Bishops. You can't be Catholic these days and not be compromised because for that you would have to automatically reject everything post Vatican II. This puts you in a difficult position because the pre-Vatican II RCC doesn't exist anymore really. What do you have? SSPX? That has it's own problems. Attend TLM but reject the Pope? We have to have a broad outlook of the whole history of Christian church. The root of the problem is the schism really. Since then things have gone downhill especially for the RCC. The Orthodox church has stayed true to the early doctrines and that's why it's stronger today. That's the point of the OC, it does not change.
 
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Sitting Bull

Woodpecker
I rarely contribute to Catholic-Orthodox controversies because I've seen so many points re-discussed a thousand times with little effect, but this morning while looking for nothing in particular I just found a YT video titled "Why I never became Eastern Orthodox". I didn't have the time to watch the video, but in the description I found what seemed very good (and not often mentioned) points to me, and especially fitting for this thread.

Point number one :
So in the case of the East West schism, there were a number of controversies that they were stuck on, but arguably, the most significant one was the disagreement over the authority of the bishop of Rome vs. that of the other patriarchs and bishops.
(...)
The Eastern Orthodox side was arguing that the bishop of Rome was a first among equals but only in an honorific way which meant that he had the same authority as the other patriarchs. So that was their position going into the controversy. OK, how true were they to their positions after the controversy had led to an actual division and schism? Well, the West still maintained the conviction that the bishop of Rome had a universal authority over the whole Church. But the East, did not continue to treat the Bishop of Rome as a first among equals. In fact, they excommunicated him which seems like a clear violation of their own claim that no autocephalous patriarch has authority over another. The honor of first among equals has since been designated to the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Point number two :

Jesus wanted his followers to be one as a sign of his divinity to the world. Between East and West, from what little I know of it’s history, I only have ever seen major attempts from the West to realize that unity. Through the councils of Lyon and Florence, the East’s bishops conceded Rome’s position on Papal Supremacy, the Filioque, and purgatory, but the unity that was struck fell apart when the Eastern delegates went home and succumbed to political pressure there.

The title and spirit of this thread about "a magic key that would solve the split" illustrates perfectly the dichotomy between those who talk a lot about Church unity while not having it, and those who actually have it, actually understand it, and strive (and sometimes succeed) to extend it. You see, for the Orthodox the solution to the split appears so remote and unlikely that they think they need "magic".
 
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It's not my mere judgement but simply a fact of history. By siding with the Synagogue of Satan Bergoglio has put himself and the whole papacy in a very bad position. This is where the papacy and papal infallibility has led the RCC, a constant loss of grace through the centuries. But the criticism of the RCC comes mainly from the theological flaws. Progressivism in the church resulting in things like Vatican II has gradually degraded the church doctrines. This is where the Orthodox are much stronger. Why it is so? Because the Orthodox church is decentralized and has no infallibility of Bishops. You can't be Catholic these days and not be compromised because for that you would have to automatically reject everything post Vatican II. This puts you in a difficult position because the pre-Vatican II RCC doesn't exist anymore really. What do you have? SSPX? That has it's own problems. Attend TLM but reject the Pope? We have to have a broad outlook of the whole history of Christian church. The root of the problem is the schism really. Since then things have gone downhill especially for the RCC. The Orthodox church has stayed true to the early doctrines and that's why it's stronger today. That's the point of the OC, it does not change.
Sometimes there can be rank incompetence within the Catholic Church.

This is one of the reasons G.K. Chesterton converted to Catholicism.

He said (paraphrasing) that the Catholic Church must be from God because that's the only reason its managed to survive.

Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination on earth (even if it's in decline in the West).

The Pope (the Bishop of Rome) is a symbol of unity for Catholics.

Leaders in the Orthodox Churches will privately say that they are jealous of the unity within Catholicism.

The Pope is only infallible concerning matters of 'faith and morals'.

St. Peter (the first Pope) was a hot head who sometimes exercised poor judgement.

It's irrelevant whether we like / dislike Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio).

Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) will eventually be be replaced by another man as nobody lives forever.

The problem with Vatican 2 was the implementation (which seems to have been badly handled).

There is a fifth column or 'anti-Church' working inside the Catholic Church.

The 'anti-Church' distort Church teachings by using expressions like 'The Spirit of Vatican 2'.

Malachi Martin was a very controversial figure but he wrote two books which I would I would recommend.

1) The Jesuits and 2) The Keys of this Blood.

These two books will explain what happened to the Catholic Church.
 

iop890

Crow
Gold Member
Leaders in the Orthodox Churches will privately say that they are jealous of the unity within Catholicism.

What unity?

You can have 'Eastern Catholic' Churches with completely contradictory theologies in communion with one another as long as they acknowledge the pope.

Where's the disunity in Orthodoxy? A couple Patriarchs having a political dispute with no theology involved? Orthodoxy is united in belief, which is what's important.
 
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What unity?

You can have 'Eastern Catholic' Churches with completely contradictory theologies in communion with one another as long as they acknowledge the pope.

Where's the disunity in Orthodoxy? A couple Patriarchs having a political dispute with no theology involved? Orthodoxy is united in belief, which is what's important.
Cite the differences in theologies ? Having different feast days and liturgical colors is not having a difference in dogma. The Maronite rite celebrates mass in the Antiochian liturgy and is communion with Rome since 7th century.
 
How is Orthodoxy any less united than Catholicism?

You have completely contradictory theologies in communion with one another in the 'Eastern Catholic' Churchs just so long as they acknowledge the pope.

Orthodoxy is united in theology, which is what's important.

The man who owns this excellent forum is an Orthodox Christian so I don't want to be uncharitable.

This is the position of the Catholic Church concerning other religions:

Most religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism etc.) contain 'elements of truth'.

There are obvious exceptions such as the Church of Satan.

A non-Christian can be 'saved' if he/she obeys the natural and supernatural law to the best of his/her ability.

A good example would be an indigenous person in the Amazon region who has never heard of Christ.

This is the position of the Catholic Church concerning Orthodox Christians:

Orthodox Christians ARE Christians and they belong to Churches (they just aren't in full communion with Rome).

Orthodox Christians can be 'saved' and they can go to Heaven.

This is the position of the Catholic Church concerning Protestant Christians:

Protestants ARE Christians, however, their Churches aren't recognised as such.

Protestants belong to 'Christian Communities' that aren't in communion with Rome.

Protestant Christians can be 'saved' and they can go to Heaven.

If there are any Catholics out there please correct me if I am wrong on any points?

In closing, I don't get worked up about these issues.

We are all going to leave this world and then we'll find out who was right and who was wrong.
 

iop890

Crow
Gold Member
Cite the differences in theologies ? Having different feast days and liturgical colors is not having a difference in dogma. The Maronite rite celebrates mass in the Antiochian liturgy and is communion with Rome since 7th century.
Palamism vs Thomism(Essence/Energies distinction vs ADS, created vs uncreated grace, beatific vision vs theosis, epektasis vs lack thereof).

Veneration of post schism Orthodox saints, including St. Gregory Palamas, St. Mark of Ephesus, and St. Photios. Then there's Nestorius being venerated in the Syro-Malabar Rite but I'm not sure if that's actually allowed or just not properly cracked down on.

I don't know much about the Maronites, I'm talking about the formerly Eastern Orthodox(and non-Chalcedonian, and Nestorian) Churches that entered into communion with Rome.

When I was trying to discern between Orthodoxy and Catholicism I figured if I became Catholic I'd probably end up going Byzantine Rite, as the eastern theology made a lot more sense to me. Then I started to realize the contradictions in having entirely eastern theology, and venerating post-schism Orthodox saints while being in communion with Rome and trying to rationalize how the two systems are actually the same/compatible.

Oh and there's also Melkites not even agreeing about how many ecumenical councils there have been but again I'm not sure what's going on there.

Unity is always the argument that gets brought up in favor of Catholicism but I just don't see how it's more unified than Orthodoxy.

@darknavigator That's not really related to my post, but yeah that's the post-V2 teaching. The pre-V2 teaching was pretty different.

As far as I know the Orthodox don't take a hard position on the salvation of non-Orthodox. From St. Theophan the Recluse:

"You ask, will the heterodox be saved... Why do you worry about them? They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being. He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such a concern. Study yourself and your own sins... I will tell you one thing, however: should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever."
 
Palamism vs Thomism(Essence/Energies distinction vs ADS, created vs uncreated grace, beatific vision vs theosis, epektasis vs lack thereof).

Veneration of post schism Orthodox saints, including St. Gregory Palamas, St. Mark of Ephesus, and St. Photios. Then there's Nestorius being venerated in the Syro-Malabar Rite but I'm not sure if that's actually allowed or just not properly cracked down on.

I don't know much about the Maronites, I'm talking about the formerly Eastern Orthodox(and non-Chalcedonian, and Nestorian) Churches that entered into communion with Rome.

When I was trying to discern between Orthodoxy and Catholicism I figured if I became Catholic I'd probably end up going Byzantine Rite, as the eastern theology made a lot more sense to me. Then I started to realize the contradictions in having entirely eastern theology, and venerating post-schism Orthodox saints while being in communion with Rome and trying to rationalize how the two systems are actually the same/compatible.

Oh and there's also Melkites not even agreeing about how many ecumenical councils there have been but again I'm not sure what's going on there.

Unity is always the argument that gets brought up in favor of Catholicism but I just don't see how it's more unified than Orthodoxy.

@darknavigator That's not really related to my post, but yeah that's the post-V2 teaching. The pre-V2 teaching was pretty different.

As far as I know the Orthodox don't take a hard position on the salvation of non-Orthodox. From St. Theophan the Recluse:
The Catholic ('Universal') Church has spread all over the world (from Iraq to Ireland and Italy to Indonesia).

Two of the most Catholic countries on earth are in Europe (Poland) and in Asia (the Philippines).

The Catholic Church is truly UNIVERSAL and UNITED in belief with the Pope as Christ's representative on earth.

A Pope is a sinner just like all of us and he can make mistakes (just like St. Peter).

The Pope is only infallible when it comes to matters of faith and morals - he has the last say.

The early Christians would appeal to the Bishop of Rome to resolve intractable problems.

There was nothing wrong with Vatican 2 - it was the implementation that was flawed / distorted.

A good example of this is the use of Latin in the Mass.

Vatican 2 permitted the Mass to be said in the vernacular.

The laity were told / believed that Latin wasn't going to be used anymore as it was "banned" by the Church.

Latin wasn't banned and a Mass isn't invalid because it was said in Latin.

The Mass can be said in Latin OR in the vernacular (which the early Christians used).

The Catholic Church haven't changed their position on their core doctrines / dogma.

They are still opposed to premarital sex, contraception, divorce, abortion etc. despite being subjected to huge pressure.

The Catholic Church hasn't even changed it's position on clerical celibacy which is only a discipline, not a dogma.
 

Marmion

Pigeon
It's not my mere judgement but simply a fact of history. By siding with the Synagogue of Satan
Tell me about it!

Bergoglio has put himself
Himself? Hardly... (See: Bergoglio’s Got Nothing to Lose)
and the whole papacy in a very bad position.
Bingo. Ah, but you see?
That’s the point. This has been their plan all along.

Why do you think that the enemies of the Church, within and without, have sought always to diminish Papal authority? They the institution of the Papacy, which claims a spiritual authority that supersedes temporal power, is at the root of the Catholic Church's spiritual influence over human society... Bergoglio himself sees this. All of the post-Vatican II antipopes that the Papacy has been at the source of the conflict between Church and world, and that by dismantling it, they are furthering the aims of Freemasonry and (((Organized Naturalism))). Under the guise of appearing to hold Papal authority, the ultimate goal to sacrifice the Papacy and forever put an end to the Church's unique ability to assert it's truths as above and beyond the temporal powers, clearing the way for the Antichrist.
This is where the papacy and papal infallibility has led the RCC, a constant loss of grace through the centuries.
Nonsense. If anything, the graces were overflowing and the Catholic Church was absolutely flourishing right up till Vatican II.

You underestimate the extent to which the Church's victory, however short lived, has transformed the world. The principal thrust of human history since the the middle ages has been driven by the Catholic religion, both for it and against it. The modern world is in some respects more Christian than the world of the past, owing to the victories that you dismiss as meaningless, even as in other ways it less Christian. You might say that the power of the anti-Christ grows in direct proportion to the power of Christianity, in order to combat it.

For example, the concepts of human rights and ethical government are without doubt products of the Catholic Church, and are good things in and of themselves, but today the forces of anti-Christ attempt to co-opt these concepts and turn them into weapons that can be used to attack the Church... with abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and transgenderism being championed as "human rights" that the Church, which originated the very concept of rights, is tyranically trying to supress.

But this is nothing new. This imitation of the true Church by the usurper has recurred throughout the history of the Christian world... Gnosticism, Islam, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, the Enlightenment, Communism, Liberalism... some are more Christian than others, but they are all post-Gospel ideologies that splinter off from the Church and then attempt to usurp it by impersonating it and co-opting it's mission. Each presents itself as the true means of salvation for mankind, while painting the Catholic Church as the usurper which must be overthrown. By this means they progressively undermine the influence of the Church and erode the Christian faith.
But the criticism of the RCC comes mainly from the theological flaws.
“the criticism”? “The theological flaws”? Whose criticism? What theological flaws are you referring to exactly?
Progressivism in the church resulting in things like Vatican II has gradually degraded the church doctrines.
“Progressivism”, yes. The actual terms for what you’re referring to are Modernism and the Vatican II Nouvelle Theologie (“New Theology”)—the seedbed of which is Russian Orthodox “ressourciement! Both of which are violent, attacks on the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and integral Catholic theology, which are radically different—and hostile to— Catholicism. The self-described modernist founder of St Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris which was the epicenter from which Florovsky, Meyendorff, Lossky, Schmemann spread Eastern Orthodox neo-Palamism in the West and participated in the schema of the Novus Ordo, Bulgakov, “The imprint of our time is stamped vividly on our theological creativity. Since new is the synonym of creativity, we are scolded for our modernism by people...But our modernism is and desires to be a living tradition...”

But doctrines which were most “degraded” as a result of Vatican II are the very same ones that Eastern Orthodox reject the most
This is where the Orthodox are much stronger.
I don’t know, when one examines the whole history of Orthodoxy from the time they went into schism from the year of Our Lord 1054 up until now, “strength” is hardly a word that comes to mind.
Why it is so? Because the Orthodox church is decentralized and has no infallibility of Bishops.
...and no infallibility.
You can't can be Catholic these days and not be compromised because for that you would have to automatically reject everything post Vatican II.
Yes... corrected it. That is what you meant to say I think.

This puts you in a difficult position
Yes. A difficult position but one which God, in His divine providence, has seen fit to place us.
because the pre-Vatican II RCC doesn't exist
anymore really.
The pre-Vatican II RCC *really* does exist and will continue to exist until the end of time. But I understand what you’re saying. Nevertheless, as St. Athanasius put
“Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray. Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.”
What do you have? SSPX? That has it's own problems. Attend TLM but reject the Pope? We have to have a broad outlook of the whole history of Christian church.
I’m glad you asked! Here: Now What? How to be a Real Catholic Today

The root of the problem is the schism really.
What is “the problem” in your view (specifically)? I’m not sure whether we are referring to the same thing.
Since then things have gone downhill especially for the RCC.
Things have been going downhill for Eastern Orthodoxy since the 14th or 15th centuries at least, objectively speaking.
The Orthodox church has stayed true to the early doctrines and that's why it's stronger today.
“Stronger” what?

That's the point of the OC, it does not change.
...
 
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