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Orthodoxy and Catholicism: A Comparison: by Dave Armstrong


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Orthodox Christianity possesses the seven sacraments, valid ordination, the Real Presence, a reverential understanding of Sacred Tradition, apostolic succession, a profound piety, a great history of contemplative and monastic spirituality, a robust veneration of Mary and the saints, and many other truly Christian attributes. Catholics (including myself) widely admire, in particular, the sense of the sacred and the beauty and grandeur of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.

In pointing out the differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, no disrespect is intended towards my Eastern brethren in Christ; this is simply a "comparison and contrast" for the purpose of educating inquirers who are interested in both Christian communions. My Catholic bias will be evident and should not come as a surprise to anyone. Nevertheless, I devoutly hope that I succeed in avoiding the shortcomings of triumphalism or lack of charity. And I certainly do not wish to misrepresent Orthodox views in any fashion.

Catholics must believe that Orthodoxy is a part of the universal Church (commensurate with the Second Vatican Council and many recent papal encyclicals on ecumenism in general or Orthodoxy in particular). That fact alone precludes the justification of any condescension, animosity, or hostility, which is especially sinful amongst Christians (Galatians 6:10).

Table of Contents

[Chapter One is hyper-linked and can be read online; there may be some variation from the book version]


I The Basic Differences Summarized (p. 4)
II A Response to Orthodox Critiques of Catholic Ecclesiological Preeminence (p. 9)
III Theological Opinions on the Papacy Prior to 1054 in Both Eastern and Western Christianity (p. 42)
IV Reflections on the Sack of Constantinople in 1204 and Lesser-Known Byzantine Atrocities (p. 77)
V The Tendency Towards Caesaropapism in the Byzantine Empire and Eastern Orthodoxy (p. 87)
VI Development of Doctrine in Orthodoxy and Catholicism: Different in Essence? (p. 110)
VII Do St. Anselm, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Other Catholic Thinkers Adopt an Unbiblical "Rationalism" Leading to a "Remote" or "Impersonal" God? (p. 116)
VIII Orthodoxy, Apologetics, and Ecumenism (p. 138)
IX Is Orthodoxy Immune From Dissent, Modernism, and Scandal? (p. 145)
X Orthodox Compromise on Divorce (p. 151)
XI Orthodox Sanctioning of Contraception (p. 173)

Appendix One St. Leo the Great on the Office of the Papacy (p. 182)
Appendix Two Orthodox Anti-Catholicism (p. 196)
Appendix Three The Filioque and the Eastern Church Fathers (p. 207)