- How does the current Pope view the Orthodox Church?
I have no up-to-date knowledge of the Pope's view, but every time I read an article on this issue, it always mentions new meetings between our two Churches, so progress toward total unification is coming very soon. This is something Pope Benedict would like to see happen, but we have to let the Holy Spirit work among our Church's.
- I'd like to understand how the Church now sees the "perfect" relationship and "perfect communion" as opposed to how they used to see it?
- What are the differences?
Let me preface my remarks by saying that there is a lot that the Orthodox Church has in common with the Catholic Church. They, along with us, have all seven sacraments.
The brief summary of differences, which is obviously not infallible, is:
- Agreeing on Papal authority, our icon of unity that ensures no chaos on issues of faith and morals
- resolving any differences over the term Filioque, which some say has already been resolved, and
- caring for the cultural differences and pastoral needs in the Orthodox Church.
We already have a good start on this third point because of how close Orthodox culture and practices are to Eastern Rite Catholic culture and practices.
My colleague John has said in the past that what initially caused the separation between us was [in my words]: men on both sides acting like children.
Within recent years we have come to almost total unity and pray that we will be able to achieve the same results with our separated Protestant brethren, who unlike our Orthodox brethren, don't have a valid priesthood.
I've pulled some postings from our knowledge base that directly and indirectly address your question as well.
I hope this helps,