Orthodoxy and Catholicism

Does anyone know of any goo books or web sites outlining the disagreements between the Orthodox and Catholic churches from a Catholic perspective? From an Orthodox perspective?

I’m not sure what “goo” books are? :smiley:

Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Protopresbyter Micheal Pomanzansky might help, it outlines orthodox doctrines and compares and constrasts them with Roman catholic and protestant beliefs.

One book that I really like that outlines our differences in ecclesiology is “Called to Communion” by Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger). I also like Vladimir Soloviev’s “The Russian Church and the Papacy”. And Adrian Fortescue’s " The Early Papacy" (he was a Byzantine scholar but a Roman Catholic priest).

Excellent book by James Likoudis here. I have this one.

Apparently a new revised expanded edition out there now (see here).

I think it is out of print but there are a few copies out there.

Also one of his articles here.

And a lesser expensive and smaller scoped book of his here.

And an EWTN interview with Mr. Likoudis here.

James Likoudis’ items on this subject are excellent.

Fr. Harrison has an article that may interest you here.

PS I just checked my Eastern Orthodox files.

Fr. Adrian Fortescue’s works (as josie L recommended) were tagged also as excellent.

Here are two more of them.

The book The Orthodox Eastern Church (from 1908) by Fr. Adrian Fortescue is in the public domain and is available here.

The Lesser Eastern Churches*** also by Fr. Adrian Fortescue likewise is in the public domain and is available here and here.

I can’t wait to read “The Orthodox Eastern Church” and “The Lesser Eastern Churches”, can’t wait!

The Fundamentals of the Catholic Faith by Joseph Ratzinger aka Pope Emeritus Benedict
Completes Idiot guide to Orthodoxy/ Complete Idiots guide to Roman Catholicism

Orthodoxy and Catholicism: What Are the Differences? by Father Theodore Pulcini (a very good side by side, short, chart for those that need it, and inexpensive)


A lot of books on this subject (like any similar subject comparing two traditions) are unhelpful because they don’t deal fairly with the other side. The Orthodox tend to be angry, the Catholics patronizing. Catholics think this makes them nicer:shrug:

Olivier Clement’s You Are Peter deals with the Papacy from an Orthodox perspective, but a very ecumenical one. In fact, I think the book is more admired by Catholics than by Protestants.

Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P., has written a number of books on the Eastern Churches, including Rome and the Eastern Churches, which is an excellent historical summary of the schism together with a theological evaluation. Fr. Nichols is, in my opinion, fair but forthright.

Fr. John Meyendorff has done excellent historical work from an Orthodox perspective–he is perhaps overly polemical at times but makes an excellent positive case for Orthodoxy. Vladimir Lossky is far more polemical, but is worth reading. If you want to read the Orthodox case against the Filioque, Lossky is your man.

Bishop Kallistos Ware, a convert from Anglicanism, is the best general author on Orthodoxy for people who aren’t already well acquainted with the tradition. He’s fairly ecumenical and in fact has been criticized for this by other Orthodox, though he can do a good anti-Western put-down on occasion.

David Bentley Hart, another ex-Anglican, is a very ecumenical Orthodox theologian who thinks that Lossky’s version of Orthodoxy is seriously flawed. His article “The Myth of Schism,” from a book called Ecumenism Today, is one of the best analyses of the situation I know, though it raises blood pressure among a lot of Orthodox (so like Clement, this is an Orthodox source typically liked better by Catholics!).

Finally, Deacon Adam DeVille has written a book on the subject that has gotten rave reviews, at least from Catholics. DeVille is an Eastern Catholic, and that seems a good note on which to end.


Endorsing the above, I’d also recommend John Anthony McGuckin’s The Orthodox Church and Andrew Louth’s, Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology as an excellent pair of introductory texts which cover history, theology, liturgy and spirituality.

I myself do not find either Fortescue or Likoudis particularly illuminating. Fortescue was indeed very learned, but he wrote about a century ago, and I don’t think there’s much you will find in him that you won’t find in later (and more ecumenical) authors such as Nichols or DeVille.


I’d like to read David Bentley Hart’s book, can you tell me which book you liked better though, Hart’s or Lossky’s, i.e., I’ve already encountered an Orthodox who was adamant that Hart’s treatment of Lossky was “full of errors” (paraphrasing)?

Well, I intend to read Nichols as well, but Fortesque is still a good read.

The piece I cited isn’t a book–it’s an article. I’ve only read it online. I’ve also only read an article-length piece by Lossky, though I have his Introduction to Orthodox Theology in Romanian. . . . :o

In the piece in question, Hart doesn’t go into much detail on Lossky. One of Hart’s faults is a tendency to sweeping, polemical dismissals of those with whom he disagrees. I really need to read his book The Beauty of the Infinite, which many people think is one of the finest works of theology in recent years. He may go into it more there–I have been told that he argues that St. Anselm is much closer to patristic theologies of the Atonement than most people believe, which is a separate issue but evinces a similar desire to minimize East-West differences.

From what I’ve read of them, I value them for different things. I am very drawn to the “neo-patristic” strand in modern Orthodox theology, but I take Hart’s point that it often exaggerates the “evils” of Western thought. On the whole, I prefer other theologians in that tradition (Schmemann, Florovsky, Meyendorff) to Lossky, but I haven’t read a lot of Lossky, as i said. And I find many of the same emphases in the French “nouvelle theologie” tradition in Catholicism.

Sorry not to be more helpful:o


And I should read more Fortescue–I’m probably prejudiced against him from his articles in the CE, which I find extremely condescending to the Orthodox (though to be fair, he was pretty generous for 1911–at least I think he’s the one who wrote the article that said that basically the only thing the Orthodox had to give up to be reunited was the insistence on not being reunited).

Lossky studied medieval theology/philosophy with Étienne Gilson (and I am sure that other so-called Paris theologians were not isolated from the theological scene in Paris at that time), so I would not be surprised if the resemblance were not purely accidental. Lossky in particular has interesting parallels with the nouvelle théologie, as they share in common the same criticism of Neo-Scholasticism’s treatment of nature and grace (especially concepts like a natural end as opposed to a supernatural end and pure nature). The difference is that Lossky saw Thomas as the originator of these problems, while the theologians of the nouvelle théologie saw him as the solution.

Dave Armstrong: Orthodoxy and Catholicism: A Comparison

For a discussion about the difference in the mindsets and approaches rather than purely doctrinal I like Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity by J. Bajis.

No, it was helpful, so I thank you, Edward. God bless!

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