In recent weeks, I have come to believe I am nearing the end of my search for the Church. I had spent over a year comparing Catholicism and Orthodoxy, attempting to determine which one was the true Church. The evidence in favor of Roman primacy has led me to accept the Catholic view. However, in visiting this forum, it seems that the Catholic view itself is not so clear.
First, I am thinking specifically of ecumenical councils. My understanding of the Catholic position is that a council is binding if it is ratified by the pope. The Orthodox position is more vague, but it rejects the idea of papal ratification, determining that a council is binding if it is accepted by the faithful.
This brings me to the Traditionalist attitude about Vatican II. I refer specifically to those Traditionalists who do not believe the Council was binding. If they truly are traditionalists, as they say, then they must be holding to the authentic, traditional Catholic teaching. And yet, my understanding is that Vatican II was ratified by the pope. Therefore, if the Traditionalists are right, then papal ratification is *not *the basis for determining that a Council is binding.
Second, I am thinking of what determines if an individual is in the Church. My understanding is that the Catholic position is that one is in the Church if is in communion with and in obedience to the pope. My understanding of the Orthodox position is that one is in the Church if one holds to the correct teachings. The dissenting Traditionalists, however, appear to hold to the latter position.
On these two issues, then, it appears that the Traditionalists are in agreement with the Orthodox. On what basis, then, do they remain separate from the Orthodox Church? Also, if an inquirer, like myself, was trying to find the true Church, how would he or she know that the Traditionalists, rather than the Orthodox, were part of the true Church?
Thanks and God bless!