There was a very interesting thread on this topic some weeks ago made by a British convert to Orthodoxy posting under the name “SSTeacher”. I’m not sure what happened to that thread (or that poster…hope you’re out there somewhere and doing fine, Mick!), but unless the situation with regard to reunification of the Catholics and the Orthodox has changed dramatically in the past few weeks, I have no reason to expect to see reunification in my lifetime (and I’m rather young).
Now, this is just an average Catholic’s opinion, but from conversations with more than a few Orthodox friends of all stripes (not just Eastern Orthodox, but Oriental Orthodox of the Armenian, Ethiopian, and Eritrean churches as well), I’ve come away with the impression that at the “official” level, we are approaching things from diametrically opposite viewpoints, and until we learn to at least attempt to inhabit the others’ world for a while, we’re never going to get anywhere. To vastly over-simplify the many complexities that stand in the way of reunion (or for that matter, truly fruitful ecumenism), it seems to me that the Catholic Church places on the Orthodox as a pre-condition of reunion the acceptance of doctrine that is completely foreign to Orthodox tradition and not in accordance with the modes by which the faith is understood and expressed in the Christian East. This would essentially mean the destruction of the Orthodox faith, as the primacy given to the maintenance of tradition in that communion would be broken with the introduction of new, inorganic modes of worship completely alien to the cultures of those Churches.
The Orthodox, for their part, seem to place as a pre-condition for reunion with the Catholic Church the abandonment of what they see as Roman inventions in the areas of Marian dogmas (the IC) and church governance (papal infallibility, and, in a way, the filioque, as this was unilaterally inserted with no input from the East). This is ignoring the nuts and bolts of theological differences that I am not learned enough to comment on, but even these few examples show that what we would see in practice would be the end of the Catholic Church as we know it today.
As a convert to Catholicism, I came into the Church with no baggage regarding “errores Graecorum”, and I’d like to think that I still don’t have any (I have never heard any bad word about the EO or OO in my home parish). I am Latin because I am culturally part of that world (via Mexico and Portugal), not the East. For me, the introduction of eastern understandings and modes of worship, especially after ~1000 years of often hostile separation, would be no less alienating than the imposition of Latin understandings and modes would be (and have been :() in the East. However, since an honest appraisal of our relations with one another cannot ignore the ~1000 years of communion (though not always mutual appreciation or understanding) that we have shared, I must be honest and say that I personally do not have any doctrinal problem with anything that has thus far been explained to me by the Orthodox that I know, whether concerning their reasons for rejections of “Latin inventions”, or their own theological expositions.
Note the uneven ground we are on: The “Latins” reject the Orthodox for what their separated bretheren do not accept, while the Orthodox reject the “Latins” for what their separated bretheren do accept! How can we go forward in truth and charity at such an impasse? With prayer, willingness to listen, and good faith on all sides, maybe something will happen someday, if it be the will of God.