A ‘lector’ in what church?

Bible and RosaryWhen I first heard about the investigation of the “D.C. Madam” and her infamous list of clients, I immediately had a sense of dread.

This is one of those stories that has great potential to hurt politicians and activists on both sides of the aisle, since sin is sin and tends to show up in all kinds of places. Nevertheless, we live in an era in which political issues linked to the Sexual Revolution cannot be avoided.

Thus, it is understandable that journalists consider conservatives who are part of the whole faith-based, family-values world to be the greater sinners when they fall. After all, moral conservatives are their base. There are some liberals, in this doctrinally conservative context, who are soft on sin or, more accurately, strong advocates of redefining sins. The bottom line: The conservative sinner, the hypocrite, gets the bigger headlines, because we expect their political stock to go into freefall.

So I am not sure what to think of an interesting hole in the Washington Post story by Shailagh Murray that features the headline “Senator’s Number on ‘Madam’ Phone List.” Here are some key paragraphs at the top of the story:

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) apologized last night after his telephone number appeared in the phone records of the woman dubbed the “D.C. Madam,” making him the first member of Congress to become ensnared in the high-profile case. …

“This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible,” Vitter, 46, said in a statement, which his spokesman, Joel DiGrado, confirmed to the Associated Press.

“Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling,” Vitter continued. “Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there — with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.”

Later on, the story provides more background on the senator and his political ties.

Vitter was the first senator to endorse former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani for president and serves as the campaign’s Southern regional chairman.

Vitter and his wife, Wendy, a former prosecutor, have four children. On his Senate Web site, Vitter says he is committed to “advancing mainstream conservative principles” and notes that he and his wife are lectors at their hometown church.

Now, it is pretty easy to hit the Web and find the name of that “local church” — St. Francis Xavier Church in Metairie, La. And it is not hard to find out that this means he is a “lector” — someone who reads Scripture from time to time in worship — in a Roman Catholic parish.

Now it is also not surprising to learn that a politician from Louisiana is active in a Catholic parish. However, I thought it was interesting that the Post used the rather liturgical term “lector” to refer to Vitter’s church involvement, but then declined to identify him as a Catholic.

Now here is my question: Is this omission good or bad?

People like me tend to say that Catholics usually have a rough time in public life, especially those who are supposed to be moral conservatives. So is it a sign of progress that the newspaper of record here inside the Beltway didn’t pin a scarlet “C” on the senator’s forehead? Would the newspaper have stressed the fact if, oh, he was a Southern Baptist? What think ye?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • Martha

    Hard to say – did the newspaper use the term “lector” because they wanted to rub it in that he wasn’t just another Joe Soap sitting in the pew but was actively involved in the parish – so that what he did was worse and he was even bigger of a hypocrite? Or were they just being discreet about exactly what denomination he belonged to?

    Or did they just not want to start up another row about Giuliani and Catholicism, seeing as how this man was/is involved in his campaign?

    Oh, well, it looks like there will be plenty of red faces all round without singling out any particular party, creed or description to pick on.

  • None given

    Anonymous comment deleted.

  • Blaine

    After reading the article, it is likely that the reporter couldn’t tell the difference between a Catholic and a Southern Baptist. The term “lector” was used most likely since the Senator used it in the interview. The focus was on his past sins and not on what he participates in at church.

    Your statement “People like me tend to say that Catholics usually have a rough time in public life, especially those who are supposed to be moral conservatives” caused me to reflect why this may be the case. I think the reason why they have a “rough time” is because they generally don’t represent and/or vote inline with the beliefs they claim to have, do not represent the stances of the Church, nor do their lives reflect a Christ-like life which the Church calls us to live. If they addressed those issues in their daily lives, then it would be quite difficult to give them a “rough time.” As it is, the media in many cases, but not all, is only pointing out the fact that they are superficial Christians whose faith goes no deeper than considering how it may positively effect their campaigns.

    Live the call.

  • http://forgodssakeshutup.blogspot.com/ Kaylor

    Perhaps they were simply trying to communicate that he is active in church and not just a member. If so then what else do they call him? A “guy who reads the Bible during church”? If they were trying to make a big deal about the fact that he was Catholic then it probably would have said “their hometown Catholic church.”

  • Fred C.

    I think Blaine is right that the term “lector” was used without further reference simply because the writer chose the title from the information at hand. Or perhaps, the writer himself was a Catholic and chose not to play the game himself.

    If Vitter sinned then reconciled himself, then I still have more respect for him than the handful of other self-claimed Catholics that show up at church for good PR and then take policy positions actually inimical to the faith they claim to uphold. We are all sinners, and we are all given the opportunity to be forgiven.

  • tommy

    is this really what you’re concerned about? forget the hypocrisy being your issue here, it’s whether or not the paper has an agenda with protestants/catholics!?

    talk about misplaced priorities.

  • http://www.myspace.com/robocoastie Robocoastie

    You’re trying to imply that the article is another example of Catholic bashing. If so it fails because Lutherans also have and call them “lectors”. Technically even Baptists do, they just don’t use that term but when a non-clergy reads scripture they are in fact doing a “lectors” duty. Perhaps the author merely thought the readers were intelligent enough to not have to define it any further.

  • Aaron

    Overly-sensitive. The use of the term “lector” stated fact. It is unnecessary to tag “Catholic” or “Catholic church” to the word as it would be to always have to use “Pastor” and “Protestant” together in the same sentence.

    I think you miss the mark in understanding why journalists or the general public correctly consider the conservative sinner as the greater sinner. It is because of the hypocrisy, not because of who is part of their base are or an evaluation of their political future. For example, Vitter is a leading advocate for legally banning gay marriage and relies primarily on the overwhelming importance of family and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman to make his arguments. Most intelligent people realize that committing adultery and sleeping with a prostitute did far more damage to his marriage and the sanctity of his union than the love between two neighbors who happen to be the same sex. You must practice what you preach, otherwise your public words are useless.

    We may all agree that eating at Burger King is not a sin. However, if the next evangelist du jour claims otherwise and makes a compelling, or at least strident, argument to back up his beliefs then he deserves to be ridiculed when it is discovered that he enjoyed BK on a recent occasions. We don’t care that he ate burgers as much as we care that he believes eating burgers is wrong, that burger-eaters are sinners and yet he ate them anyway.

  • Marv

    Just a bit paranoid, are ye?

    Catholics have gone from scourge of the 19th Century, to tolerated in the early 20th Century, to a political force in the later 20th and early 21st Century. Now that you wield political might you want a free pass?

    Mitt Romney is getting the “JFK treatment” in this political cycle and the first Jehovah’s Witness to run for the Presidency will get the same fishbowl stare from other Christian denominations as they make their way through the process. Your masthead states categorically that the “press” doesn’t get religion; I’d go so far as to say that most religious people don’t “get” politics – at least not those outside of their own group.

    I know that people of faith would like to believe that there is a cabal of interests who would like to destroy religious worship in America and that all that stands in defense of religious liberty are blogs and bullet headed commentators. What is probably closer to the truth is that there are religious factions fighting for control of the Christian soul of this country and that battle has been going on since the nation’s birth. For the first 150 years that battle was clearly a Protestant victory. Now there are so many Christian groups that there are two full pages of churches in a modest city telephone book filled with *Christian* churches, all of them claiming to be the one, true, church.

    You aren’t fighting with secularists; your fighting with other Christians. You always have been, and always will. After all, just ask a Liberty University graduate (there are several in the Administration) what they think of ecumenicalism.

  • Phil

    I agree with Blaine. “Confession” was another giveaway.

    As to “hypocrisy,” grow up. If a thief tells you not to steal, does that mean he’s wrong? Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, remember?

  • Martha

    MarkD – millions of people who have never committed one – even one venial – sin? Really?

    Millions – not hundreds, not thousands, but millions – of people who have never (1) been unreasonably angry (2) desired to have what was not theirs (3) neglected to do what they knew they had to do because it was just too much trouble and inconvenience (4) treated another person as a sex object, that is, as a commodity not a person (5) overindulged their appetites even at the risk of health (6) have despised, scorned, or looked down upon others (7) have delighted in the misfortunes of others

    Really? Never, ever, ever at all? Wow. What planet do these paragons come from, if you don’t mind me asking?

  • Jerry

    I think the left is more likely to separate public morality from private behavior than the right and I think that is the point that should be made rather than sliding a wee bit over the line to say that the left is more or less soft on sin. And both sides jump with glee on a sin of the other side. Thus a Republican sexual sinner makes the left really cheerful since that is a great hammer to bash the other side. And Bill Clinton’s sins motivated a whole generation of Republicans; maybe two considering the spillover to Hillary.

    There might also be a different hierarchy of sins. Some might consider dishonesty, theft and corrupion on the part of public officials more worthy of attention than sexual sins. Others will disagree even with that categorization.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Folks, my journalistic question is sincere. No paranoia here at the moment.

    Personally, I would have noted that he was a leader in a Catholic parish and named the parish.

    Also, I am well aware that “lector” is a term common in other settings, especially Anglican (having once been one). That only makes the usage a bit stranger and on the vague side.

  • Reed

    Phil, I know you don’t believe what you just wrote.

    Senator Vitter is the definition of hypocrisy. The man gets on his pulpit (figuratively and literally) and decries sins of the flesh, sins of gay marriage and whatever else conservative Christian lectors are decrying these days. Just check out the definition of hypocrite in the Easton’s Bible Dictionary – it’s almost like they have the senator’s picture in there. (Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary: Hypocrite – one who puts on a mask and feigns himself to be what he is not; a dissembler in religion.)

    As for the “thief” analogy, if the thief was a preacher (lector, deacon, whatever), then he is wrong unless he explains mitigating circumstances (such as stealing food from a grocery store for a starving family). What mitigating circumstances are involved with the DC Madam – proving to himself that he isn’t gay? Then again, does the DC Madam have exclusively women hookers?

    Senator Vitter just got caught with the DC Madam. Who’s to say that there isn’t a NO Madam, or even a Metrarie Madam?

    Marv – I say “Ecumenicals UNITE!” (signed Pat Robertson)

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    There may be future references to MarkD comments that were deleted as being way, way off the journalistic topic.

    Take the religious slap-shots elsewhere, folks.

  • Marv


    “Marv – I say “Ecumenicals UNITE!” (signed Pat Robertson)’

    Well, I think the opportunity for religious unity is under considerable strain at this juncture. I am a bit puzzled, considering the great strides that John Paul II made in reaching out to other religious communities, why Benedict hasn’t continued on with that initiative. I know that each Pope has his own vision for the Church, but the World is a much smaller place now than at any time. I think John Paul II acknowledged that reality and sought to open a dialog with as many groups as he could as Pope. Benedict seems uncomfortable in that role.

    The Church needs open and approachable leaders. I think that having an open dialog with the outside world can lessen the opportunities for misunderstanding and can improve the “getting religion” that the blog seeks to impart on the press.

  • danr

    I also didn’t see the big deal in leaving out the name of the specific church/faith practiced. If it’s oversight, oh well. If it’s indicative of even a mild trend towards not needlessly implicating a specific faith and/or church along with the indiscretions of one of its members, then that’s a positive. Obviously, one can simply Google if interested as tmatt did. Yes, perhaps the article might have indicated if he’d been Southern Baptist, but that’s speculating.

    And of course Vitter was being hypocritical, and no one (including Vitter) is justifying it with “His bedroom is his business” or “I didn’t have ‘sex’ with that woman…” But that wasn’t the point of this specific post or this website in general as I understand it. If one merely wants to cast stones and add to the anti-Vitter hypocricy rhetoric (conveniently lumped in with general anti-”conservative Christian” rhetoric ala Reed), there are innumerable other websites for that.

    In sad acknowledgment, people of faith do bring shame upon the Name they profess to believe in when they don’t practice the truth they profess – perhaps especially when they’re in the public eye. That more political and personal integrity is needed in government should go without saying. But who of us has practiced what we preach, whatever that may be? Is what separates “the rest of us” from Vitter true righteousness, or merely greater publicity and opportunity? He said it was “years ago”, how do we know otherwise? Who lacks skeletons in their own closets, and who doesn’t need the forgiveness Vitter said he asked for?

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    The article seemed quite fair. Anyone who knows anything about religion associates “confession” –and even “lector”– with the Catholic Church (but also High Church Anglican). So it is really irrelevant whether the writer mentioned Vitter’s actual Church affiliation or not. Maybe, because of the Anglican possibilities, his membership in the Catholic Church–if that is the case–should have been mentioned.
    But when a Catholic votes for and supports needed social programs because of the Catholic Tradition on behalf of the poor (reinforced by many papal statements) noone in the media mentions that. Only when the issue is sex oriented does religion become part of the story. There have been Catholic politicians who were big followers or admirers of Catholic Radical Activist–and maybe saint someday- Dorothy Day. But that rarely gets mentioned except in the Catholic Media.

  • Redoubt

    The mixing of politics and faith is just a bad idea.

    This is not to say that we shouldn’t pray for guidance in our lives and national affairs… actually, a little divine grace would suit Washington rather well. But in practice, faith gets thrown to the lions in the unholy area. To wit: Instead of raising politics, we see religion sullied and tarnished.

  • Jeffrey Weiss

    Terry, I’m with you: I would have named the church and affiliation someplace down in the story. Since Vitter himself made it a religion-related story with his comments about sin and God, it seems totally fair to say what religion he follows.

  • Reed

    In this article, Tmatt wrote “The bottom line: The conservative sinner, the hypocrite, gets the bigger headlines, because we expect their political stock to go into freefall.”

    Yes this is true, but why shouldn’t we? Why shouldn’t we expect and demand so much more from our leaders, be it spiritual, political or community?

    I don’t believe, however, that it has to be the conservative sinner. It just so happens that the rash of headline news (in this regard) involves more “conservative” sinners. Remember Ted Haggert, Mark Foley and the pedophile priests. Sorry Deacon John M. Bresnahan, but sex is an underlying theme (unless you include Pat Robertson’s publicized comment on the elimination of Chavez and the nonprotection from God of the Pennsylvania town that chose teaching evolution). Like it or not (and not necessarily to pick on conservative Christians (Danr, above), but these are the same folks that voice their opinions the loudest using as much available media as possible (Ted Haggert on 60 Minutes, Mark Foley on Good Morning America and Pat Robertson with his own media outlet). I’m sure that there have been a few liberals who have sinned along the way since Bill Clinton (like the Louisiana Congressman that just got nailed for embezzlement). And speaking of Clinton, talk about wanting political stock to freefall. I’m sure you remember that frenzy.

    Are there a lot of good politicians out there (both liberal and conservative), sure. But we wouldn’t even be in this blog if it weren’t for the shadier ones.

    Bottom line is that Tmatt began this article with “When I first heard about the investigation of the “D.C. Madam” and her infamous list of clients, I immediately had a sense of dread.”. He had every reason. Who’s next?

  • Jeff Sharlet

    Another reason to id Vitter as Catholic is to educate the public about the nature of the rough social-conservative bloc in Congress. Many people, even educated, practicing Christians, assume that’s a solidly evangelical bunch. Vitter is part of this grouping, as are many other Catholics. Identifying him as Catholic would prevent readers from filing this story away next to Haggard, Swaggart, etc.

  • Mike

    Perhaps “lector” was used to imply that the Senator is a cannibal.

  • Paul

    Aaron (at 4:14pm) best expressed (IMO) why the press and public generally consider the “sins” of “Conservatives” as hypocritical. As far as your question regarding the omission of Vitter’s denomination and parish, the question is really silly. Neither of those two facts has any relevance to the story. The two facts that he: 1) advocates for legislation to “protect the sanctity of marriage” and 2) advertises himself on his website as a lector in his church (i.e., even “holier” than the other congregants) are the important facts which show the degree of the hypocrisy in this case. BTW, if he paid money for sex, he is a criminal, not just a “sinner.”

  • gavin

    Here, here, Paul! Sen. Vitter did more than commit a sin; he committed a crime. While justice officials call the madam to the bench to plead her innocence, where is the public outcry for Vitter’s incarceration? It is the height of hypocrisy to believe that we can legislate morality, then fail to convict powerful public officials who commit crimes? Personally, I think neither Vitter nor his madam belong in court; let God and their consciences punish them and get our government out of our bedrooms. But, the law is the law! The failings of a social conservative like Vitter, or for that matter Newt Gingrich, Marvin Couch, the Rev. Ted Haggart, serves to undermine the moral highground that the conservative movement has claimed over the last 30 years and shown it for the hypocrisy that it really represents.

  • http://mrc.org Tim Graham

    Terry, as a Catholic, I sort of just assumed that “lector” heavily implied Catholic(plus the Louisiana connection, as you mentioned.) I would agree that I would pass on the same information that you did. I would agree with Mr. Sharlet that people should know that social conservatives are not all evangelicals, as news reports often imply. I wouldn’t see an agenda in the information’s exclusion. I would guess the reporter didn’t think it was important other than implying active membership/leadership in a religious community, hence the hypocrisy.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    OK, folks. Back to the discussion of the media coverage of this issue.

    The crime angle is valid. Otherwise, please take the straw-people bashing elsewhere. Deal with the content of the post.

  • Eric W

    Of course everyone knows what a “lector” is.

    Just ask James Bond.

  • Jerry

    But when a Catholic votes for and supports needed social programs because of the Catholic Tradition on behalf of the poor (reinforced by many papal statements) noone in the media mentions that.

    This is true, of course. Positive news does not “sell newspapers”. And I think this focus on the negative warps our view of the world. A very dear friend of mine asked a number of us to try to pay more attention to positive stories. Surprisingly, there are more than I would have thought but not as many as I would like to see. I’m sure some would disagree with some of her news story choices, but I’ve found such sites as http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org a welcome antidote to the dark side offering of the MSM.

  • Arthur

    When I was growing up in the 1950s my liberal/progressive parents banned any form of prejudice in our household, except that they retained an abiding distrust of the Catholic Church. I have puzzled over that over the years and the best I cn come up with is their resentment over what they perceived as the Catholic Church attempting to dictate public policy. Recent comments apparently approved by the Pope that Catholicism is “the only true church” are the sorts of comments that reinforce that impression that Catholicism is insular and unwilling to accept or respect other religious views. Vitter put himself in the crosshairs by beating the drum for “family values” while apparently taking a somewhat flexible view of his marriage vows. Some individuals, myself included, believe that if a man’s own wife can’t trust him, that I would be a fool to think that a voter he doesn’t even know could ever hope to. Is that fair? Maybe not, but particularly since Vitter has a history of such extramarital adventuring, it may not be unjust. Even though he is a Lector.

  • Dennis Colby

    “Recent comments apparently approved by the Pope that Catholicism is “the only true church” are the sorts of comments that reinforce that impression that Catholicism is insular and unwilling to accept or respect other religious views.”

    Boy, the next thing you know, Jesus is going to start saying that nobody comes to the Father except through him. . .

  • Brian Walden

    Recent comments apparently approved by the Pope that Catholicism is “the only true church” are the sorts of comments that reinforce that impression that Catholicism is insular and unwilling to accept or respect other religious views.

    About those comments, the Catholic Church has always believed that (except for the insularity and unwillingness to accept other religious views, I don’t know where that was in the document). The document released yesterday was absolutely vanilla from a Catholic perspective and yet the media acted like the Church made it to purposely offend Orthodox and Protestants (and gave it the most sensational spin possible). I’d like to see this web site cover the way the MSM handled the CDF’s document.

  • http://www.bloggerradio.com DA

    Funny stuff. Interesting how your post singles out WaPo, and immediately instigates an attack on the journalist and the journalist’s report, based solely upon the use of a single word in the report. There is a fine line between Organized Religion, and Organized Crime, just like there is a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

  • John

    I think we are making a big assumption by supposing that Washington Post reporter Shailagh Murray would (despite her Irish-sounding name) know a Catholic from an Evangelical Protestant from a hole in the wall, or that she would be inquisitive enough to actually find out what church Congressman Vitter attended or what the relevance of the terms “lector” or “confession” might be. If she were a political reporter, those details would seem meaningful only to folks in the flyover states. To her, the important detail is that Vitter represented conservative Christians.

    Alternatively, if she were a practicing Irish Catholic, Vitter’s religion might have been obvious enough to not wast column space on, or she might have been embarrassed enough to just not mention that he was a Catholic.

  • kbutler

    tmatt: sorry if this is a bit off-topic, but you did open up the issue in paragraphs 2 and 3 of your post:

    The reason that people focus on the “hypocrite” has nothing do with an expectation of political capital. The reason the people focus on the hypocrite is that in order to be a hypocrite you must bear false witness – make statements that are known to be untrue.

    While sometimes it’s a bit fuzzy (saying you believe one thing and doing another), Vitter’s case goes beyond this. It has been reported that Vitter’s number was found in records from 2001. During his 2002 campaign, this same issue was presented in the media. At the time Vitter chose to deny the allegations and attack the journalist, calling it a “smear campaign”. This goes beyond hypocrisy and drops right into a flat out lie.

    It is easy to forgive an official who has human weakness. It is more difficult to feel comfortable with an individual who has been shown bearing false witness continuing to serve. Religious morality (a difficult to pin down concept at best) is not a requisite of service in America, honesty is. It is also difficult to reward someone who has used their religious beliefs for political purpose (a sin in my eyes) and then betrayed them.

    As for Vitter committing a crime, that has not been determined yet. The “Madam” has declared that illegal sex was not sold, and nobody has come forward and stated that they had intercourse with him for money. The American principle of innocence until found guilty should apply. For today, he’s just a liar and a hypocrite – but isn’t that enough?

  • kbutler

    I also take issue with the implication that “liberals” are soft on sin. I propose that liberals simply follow the directive “judge not lest you be judged”. Throughout the entire Bible, this theme is reinforced. It is not for mankind to judge mankind, it is for God. The role of the church is to bring people into the divine presence of Christ – period. Once a heart is opened to Christ, the Lord will work to bring a positive change.

    There is no place in this equation for the judgmental political rhetoric that inflames the passions of the “faithful” against those who are less pious. By some views the “evangelical/Christian conservative” movement crosses the line and assumes to speak for God – and no man (except perhaps the Pope, debatably) has the right to claim for their own purpose the mantle of Christ.

    So I propose that liberals have chosen to walk in harmony with Christ and their fellow man, while the conservatives abuse the relationship with Christ and use (often faux) piety to attack their fellow man.

    Obviously, there are people who feel differently – but that’s my opinion.

  • Marv

    “I think we are making a big assumption by supposing that Washington Post reporter Shailagh Murray would (despite her Irish-sounding name) know a Catholic from an Evangelical Protestant from a hole in the wall, or that she would be inquisitive enough to actually find out what church Congressman Vitter attended or what the relevance of the terms “lector” or “confession” might be.”

    Point one: Not everyone that is Irish or has an Irish-sounding surname is Catholic. Just ask the folks of Northern Ireland.

    Point two: Mr. Vitter is a U.S. Senator. Despite his admitted transgression, he is given the title of the last highest office he has held. The proper way to refer to Mr. Vetter is “Senator Vitter”. Don’t be a Senator Imhoff. He has not yet felt the wrath of his constituents, so he will continue to hold that title even after he is turned out of office at some point in the future.

    As to the question whether anyone outside of the Catholic faith would or should know everything about the rituals of the Church or titles held by the laity is a an excuse to bash “the media”. Does a person’s lack of knowledge of Judaism make them an anti-semite? Of course not. The fact that this reporter did not know what a lector is or what that function provided in the context of the Church does not mean that she or the Washington Post is hostile toward religion. Other factors may point to a general hostility, but this one clearly doesn’t. Talk about straw-men….

    This entire article is engaging in reading tea leaves rather than attempting to discuss issues with people who hold differing views from your own. There is no greater way to breed misunderstanding and mistrust than deliberately cementing yourself in this type of communication approach with the rest of the non-Catholic world.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Since the Vatican’s clearing up of how “subsists” should be taken has been mentioned in many comments here, I would like to make a request of the media. Please investigate how the Orthodox regard themselves or how their leaders define their Church. As I understand it the Orthodox regard themselves in exactly the same way Rome regards the Catholic Church. In fact, on another site I saw a comment from a Russian Orthodox leading bishop that everything the pope said was true–as long as it is applied solely to Orthodox Churches

    That is why- like Catholics–the Orthodox do not invite others to share in Holy Communion in their churches. Also, most Orthodox priests will not even take part in an “ecumenical” wedding ceremony in other churches (nor invite the participation of clergy of other churches in weddings in their churches.)