The Orthodox priest, as I read your quote, states that, basically, Catholics have decrees and Orthodox have tradition.
That’s fine for him… until you disagree on an important part of tradition! Then what do you do as an Orthodox?
Catholics have tradition (as St. Paul uses the term, apparently to mean teachings that were orally taught but not written down at that time) AND the magisterium to interpret them. Dogmatic declarations only come about as needed to straighten out important arguments (usually between tradition and new theological hypothesizing).
St. Joseph is a pretty good example of this. Traditionally, he has been depicted as an older man, perhaps previously married and with children from that marriage. Since he already had been married and had children, the logic goes, he would’ve been willing to marry a young girl with a vow of perpetual virginity. This tradition would explain both why the Gospels refer to Jesus’ brothers and sisters and why/how Mary would’ve stayed a virgin.
However, the “brothers and sisters” could also have been cousins, as Aramaic doesn’t make a distinction. A friend of mine even hypothesized that they could’ve been adopted (he came across an old sketch of “Charity” personified as a woman nursing many children of various races, apparently meaning to imply she had adopted these non-blood-relation children, and applied this idea to Mary). I think it was the movie “Jesus of Nazareth” that seemed to imply that the other members of the household were, in fact, apprentices to Joseph who he asks (as he is dying) to take care of Mary and the young Jesus.
There are also other ways to explain why Mary and Joseph would not have had sexual relations after she had carried the God-Man in her womb (think of the Ark, resting place of God’s presence; touching it, even accidentally, was a death sentence from God).
In short, popular tradition proposed a more detailed explanation of St. Joseph’s life than we have from Scripture. We just don’t know, and, frankly, it doesn’t matter to any doctrine whether or not St. Joseph was previously married or not. So, the Church has allowed the traditional speculations to remain, but they are not required belief.
The Catholic Church is generally more willing to say, “We don’t know,” than the Orthodox Church.
In the Orthodox basilica at Nazareth, there is a silver star that they claim marks the EXACT spot of Jesus’ birth. Why be so insistent on it? Unlike Christ’s tomb or the location of the Ascension, who would’ve marked such a spot? As a Catholic, I CAN believe that that is the exact spot… but I’m not required to. Two feet to the left or right doesn’t really worry me and I certainly wouldn’t consider it critical enough to make dogmatic statements about it.