I have to disagree. The Catholic Church does NOT have confusion in its doctrine. WHat it HAS, and has had for a while now, is a tendency to not demand adherence to that doctrine by people lower down on the ladder. This is atarting to change, as Pope Benedict appears serious in his determination to right the ship.
Orthodoxy does have, on the surface, an appearance of greater fidelity to its own traditions today. At least in the West. But a good deal of this stems from its insular, national-church nature. Orthodoxy rarely even tries to engage the secularizers in the West; it cheerfully leaves that to the Catholics, with the results I've already alluded to (That's okay with me. I wish we let *you* guys handle all that so we could have been able to circle our own wagons!). ;-) But Orthodoxy, in these circumstances, maintains fidelity by a laxity in outreach. It is fidelity by default.
Let's face it. The Orthodox have never made any attempt to evangelize the New World or any parts of the Old World outside of eastern Siberia. They are too insular for that. This insularity makes them highly susceptible to xenophobic tendencies. A particularly irksome example: to this day, they refuse to recognize the Gregorian calendar for liturgical use (and some Orthodox coutries only recognized it for civil use in the 20th Century!), even though it is now thirteen days off relative to the equinoxes. This borders on simple childishness. It's benefits are denied because a *pope* made the adjustments.
They are highly nationalistic, and, until VERY recently, had memberships, even in the US and similar places, based *heavily* on ethnicity. They jostle each other regularly for pride of place and prominence within their circle, ceding a barely elevated pride of place to the Patriarch of Constantinople, but the method employed here usually results in frozen positions on new issues for lack of consensus. Since they can't agree on anything much that's new to the discussion, they simply ignore it all, and live in the past.
Another factor in Orthodoxy's outward display of fidelity to the essentials is that the overwhelming majority of Orthodox live in parts of the world where secularized notions are not in great circulation. They don't need to fight them. To be fair, in many parts of the world where Orthodoxy is the prevalent Christian faith, they're too busy just staying afloat against the Moslems, or only recently freed from the yoke of communism. But all this means is that they have had to maintain a very conservative stance for survival against non-Christians; they have never had to engage in survival against heretical Christians and the inevitable secularism those Christians tend to dissolve into over time.
It is therefore only natural that the Orthodox maintain a high level of consistency in the essentials. They simply don't engage anyone in the larger world where heterodoxy tends to take root. They don't really evangelize, so they don't have to compete in the maelstrom of Christian ideas in the West. They have no one who can speak for them universally, so they live in the past, or, better, time is frozen for them at the the end of Nicaea II in 787. If no controversies exist for them from 787 that call for an ecumenical council to resolve, what do we glean from that? Either they think the Church is in a state of relative perfection, and no council has been required for 1200 years (after 7 were needed in 450 years), or they have lived in a state of insulation and denial. I suspect the latter, comingled with the hunch that no council *can* be convened, because there is a tacit admission there that the Church is headless - there is no Peter - and cannot convene one. There's "one" departure from the Faith, but I'll content myself to just gloss it for now. It's easy to keep the faith when you can pretend nothing happens in the rest of the Christian world outside of your sphere.
In spite of the foregoing, I have much respect for the Orthodox, and regard them as my brothers and sisters in almost all of the essentials of the Faith. I admire their tenacity in the face of hostile, anti-Christian forces that have surrounded them to this day in most of their homelands. I even have grea respect for them just for maintaining the entire core of the Faith (save primacy issues) even in the isolationist circumstances and instances of internal bickering I have cited. Isolated or not, they have still largely succeeded in handing down that which was received from the apostles, and I commend them for it.
But your comments on "Catholic" positions brought me to this post. I do not wish to be overly argumentative, and I pray daily for our reconciliation as the two lungs of the Church, but I will not engage in false ecumenism. Catholicism has problems, too; I'd be the first to admit them. But it is NOT true that Catholicism is undergoing a splintering in the doctrines of the Faith. Nothing has been abolished or altered in any official document. Individuals, usually lower down in the hierarchy, have spoken in the spirit of the age and the tenor of those who surround them in the West. At least the spirit of the age is confronted by them, if only ultimately in acceptance of it. But they are WRONG, and they are, when contradicting the Ecumenical Councils and the Magisterium when it deals in faith and morals, at least material heretics.
The main fault of Catholicism has been a terrible reluctance on the part of recent popes to properly control this heretical dissent. When, as I strongly suspect, THIS pope starts a long overdue crackdown on the heretical leeches parasitically attempting to suck the lifeblood from the Church in the West, can BOTH of us, East and West, Orthodox and Catholic, PLEASE heal the scandal of division that makes a mockery of the clear desire of Christ in John 17:20-21? "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
The bishop enforces Doctrine or doesn't that is the state of the Catholic church.
Orthodoxy does not water down the religion to evangelize. Yet it is growing and many protestants and protestant clergy are converting as well.
Further the Orthodox church came to America through the purchase of Alaska. ROCOR is the old missionary Russian church. The notion that the Orthodox church did not evangelize is silly. It simply didn't go the Atlantic route.
The old Calendar lines up for instance Easter with when the jews celebrate passover. Not the convenince of human sales seasons. There are also Catholics who use the old Calendar. Ridiculing it's use is childish.
Nationalistic but multi-ethnic. The Orthodox church is integrated into several nations traditions. So is the Catholic church for that matter. Italy. Ireland. Brazil.
The Russian orthodox Church, the largest Orthodox church operates on the territory of government enforced athiest, the Orthodox church has fought FAR HARDER against secular society. While the pope rested in the Vatican bishops were being executed for their faith in Russia. Having been to Russia and seen the church there you're comments that the Orthodox church has had it easy and not needed to change are ridiculous.