Monday, October 7, 2013

One Catholic Church


Synod of Eastern Catholic Churches
in full communion with the Pope
(Armenian, Chaldean, Coptic, Maronite, Melkite and Syrian)
-A Catholic Minority heavily persecuted in the Middle East

I’m not here to give an answer to a rant made by an anti-catholic protestant connoisseurs (who accused the Church as disunited organization same like with the Protestant, a clear product of intellectual dishonesty on Barrett's Encyclopedia who cited single page and putting the term ‘denomination’ on spotlight while conveniently placing out of the frame the definition employs by this encyclopedia on the terms it used and how it came up with the entries.) 

“As a statistical unit in this Encyclopedia, a 'denomination' always refers to one single country. Thus the Roman Catholic Church, although a single organization, is described here as consisting of 236 denominations in the world's 238 countries.” (Barrett, et al, World Christian Encyclopedia, volume 1, page 27, in the "Glossary" under definition for "Denomination" [later updated to 242]

Catholic Apologist Mr.Philvaz and Dr. Dave Armstrong (Catholic convert from Protestantism) have more to say on this (here and here). Accordingly, Dr. Armstrong said: I have this book, so I have seen this with my own eyes.


When we say ONE CATHOLIC CHURCH, all these (242 so called Catholic ‘denomination’) is not ‘denomination’; to the point that they have its own distinguish Doctrine (creed) and professing a unique Faith subject completely in itself and differ from the other churches within the Catholic Church.  Rather, it is an individual churches that spreads around the world which uses a diverse liturgical practices called Rite – [an ecclesiastical tradition about how the sacraments are to be celebrated]. These individual churches are all in full communion with the bishop of ROME – a focal point of unity. They are all under his jurisdiction and authority, submissive in ONE DOCTRINE thus professing only ONE FAITH.

3. These individual Churches, whether of the East or the West, although they differ somewhat among themselves in rite (to use the current phrase), that is, in liturgy, ecclesiastical discipline, and spiritual heritage, are, nevertheless, each as much as the others, entrusted to the pastoral government of the Roman Pontiff, the divinely appointed successor of St. Peter in primacy over the universal Church. They are consequently of equal dignity, so that none of them is superior to the others as regards rite and they enjoy the same rights and are under the same obligations, also in respect of preaching the Gospel to the whole world (cf. Mark 16, 15) under the guidance of the Roman Pontiff. [ DECREE ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCHES  OF THE EASTERN RITE ORIENTALIUM ECCLESIARUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON NOVEMBER 21, 1964]

"Let us be very careful not to conceive of the universal Church as the simple sum, or ... the more or less anomolous federation of essentially different particular churches. In the mind of the Lord the Church is universal by vocation and mission, but when she puts down her roots in a variety of cultural, social, and human terrains, she takes on different external expressions and appearances in each part of the world." [EVANGELII NUNTIANDI APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION OF HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI]

As the Church started proclaiming the Gospel, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [Mt. 28:19], the young Church encountered different cultures, (purified it) and dwells within, this gives the Church a different varieties of liturgical celebration which is unique in each particular group - an own identity in expressing ONE FAITH under ONE CREED1.

1200 From the first community of Jerusalem until the parousia, it is the same Paschal mystery that the Churches of God, faithful to the apostolic faith, celebrate in every place. The mystery celebrated in the liturgy is one, but the forms of its celebration are diverse. [CCC. LITURGICAL DIVERSITY AND THE UNITY OF THE MYSTERY]

Rome( referring to the Latin Rite)
click image to enlarge

ONE Body, ONE Head [Colossians 1:18], [Ephesians 5:23]:

23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.


5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. [Romans 12:5]

25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. [1Corinthians 12:12-26]

Unity and the Papal Office: The Pope

Pope Benedict XVI and the Eastern Catholic Patriarchate

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. [Matthew 16:18-19]

This primacy gives the Papal seat (Peter and his successor (the Pope)) a unique role in maintaining the unity of God’s flock, in safeguarding the Deposit of faith revealed by Christ himself. 882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." [CCC] In John 21:15-17, one can see the special task conferred only to one person, only to Peter – to tend and to feed his Master’s sheep.

“I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” [Lk 22:32]

(Note: For comprehensive details on Peter’s Primacy see Scott Hanh on the Papacy)

The 33,000+ Denomination of Protestantism

For Anti-Catholic Protestant bashers, the ‘Universal Church’ is a composite of different denominations (eg. Calvinism and Lutheranism churches are both part of this one universal church)

These bar them a question; For instance, on the issue of Salvation Calvinist says God extends grace and gives salvation ONLY TO THE CHOSEN (Predestination) while Lutheran stresses that Salvation CAN BE OBTAIN BY ANYONE thru faith alone. How they will reconcile this Doctrinal difference between these two great factions of Protestantism? Remember Paul said to Timothy:  

so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth. [1Timothy 3:15]

Which from these two holds the Truth

            No division in the body [1Corinthians 12:25] 

Which way? Each has its own direction. Well, the obvious lack of unanimity in their interpretation of the New Testament testimony makes the realization of unity (among them) seem a mirage.

So what else is their alternative in place of the unity role provides by the Pope?

[1] Creed is a statement of truths (the profession of Faith) that MUST be accepted and assented to by those who wish to belong to a given group. The Creed also separates the believer from non-believer.  (Nicene Creed)

Photo credit goes to the following:
L’Osservatore Romano
Photo: Bishops at a Mass opening of the synod of bishops from the Middle Eastern at the Vatican, 10 Oct 2010/Tony Gentile)

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