My first question as I read his explanation was what about Truth? I am not at all saying that Orthodox Christians do not have the Truth; I believe that they do. I know that there are a few Orthodox ladies who read my blog, and I'm not at all interested in offending you. In fact, Mimi, I've been thinking about how St. Michael's feast day for you does not coincide with his feast day for me, and I pray that our Churches can get it together and come to an agreement on these basic things.
One thing that the RC Church rejects (should reject) is the cult of personality whereby we hop from church to church trying to find one that suits us. We don't like the music here or the homilies there. What really matters is the Eucharist. It is a matter of faith that a priest, properly ordained, who recites the appropriate Eucharistic prayers is able, through the power of God, to transform bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, even if he himself doesn't believe it, and even if he himself is a despicable child molester.
I'm not saying that the music or the homilies or the private life of the priest don't matter at all. Oh, they do. But we need to recognize these issues and problems as separate and distinct from doctrinal issues and issues of Truth. Rod recognizes the Truth of the Eucharist, which is why he went Orthodox instead of, say, Lutheran. But Rod addresses this thorn of following Truth (as opposed to that warm fuzzy feeling) this way:
I had to admit that I had never seriously considered the case for Orthodoxy. Now I had to do that. And it was difficult poring through the arguments about papal primacy. I'll spare you the details, but I will say that I came to seriously doubt Rome's claims. Reading the accounts of the First Vatican Council, and how they arrived at the dogma of papal infallibility, was a shock to me: I realized that I simply couldn't believe the doctrine. And if that falls, it all falls. Of course I immediately set upon myself, doubting my thinking because doubting my motives. You're just trying to talk yourself into something, I thought. And truth to tell, there was a lot of that, I'm sure.
He set about to prove that Orthodoxy was true, not to prove that the doctrine of papal infallibility was true. Well, these thoughts are not mutually exclusive! Orthodoxy is Truth, so proving that doesn't prove in the least that the Pope is wrong. It is only through being unable to prove that papal infallibility is true, that we can recognize that it is false. Does that make sense? If an employer thinks an employee is stealing, he can quickly doubt every word, every action and see deceit where none is. If an employer seeks to prove that an employee is not stealing, not by turning a blind eye to questionable behavior, but by truly investigating him with the intent to explain why money and items are missing, an employee's dishonesty may make that attempt impossible.
You can not prove as true things which are false, but you can "prove" (inspire doubt) as false things which are true.
Rod then follows this line of reasoning about papal infallibility with how the Orthodox Church gives him that warm fuzzy feeling. This reduces his whole motive for converting to how the Church makes him feel, not what is Truth, which is the same thing as hopping around looking for a priest who delivers a homily that says what you want it to say.
Perhaps the most telling passage, though, for me is this one:
A few weeks back, I mentioned to Julie on the way to St. Seraphim's one morning, "I'm now part of a small church that nobody's heard of, with zero cultural influence in America, and in a tiny parish that's materially poor. I think that's just where I need to be."
He is meaning to say that he is humbled by the tiny stature of his new-found religion as opposed to the pride he felt at belonging to the RC Church. Unfortunately, where he professes humility, I see someone who revels in being elite. The Few, the Proud...the Orthodox? God did not intend to save only the Jews...even the dogs eat scraps from the master's table. Truth is not meant to be restricted to only special groups.
I suppose my perspective is different than Rod's. The Orthodox Church is not the faith of my fathers. As much Truth as may be found there, I would not leave the Truth revealed through the Roman Catholic Church. But neither Rod nor his wife are cradle Catholics. They converted to Roman Catholicism and converting to Orthodoxy, as difficult as that may have been for them, is not a rejection of their parents' and grandparents' religion.
It just saddens me that, once again, a high-profile Catholic is publicly rejecting the Church. It's a nasty business. The problems with the Church are neither unique to this denomination nor unique to this era of history. Walking away from the Church is never the answer. Then we just end up with the Nativity of Christ being celebrated on two different days of the year.