Ch 1: Promoting Christian Unity in Diversity

Go To the Forward & Introduction to all Three Volumes of So That The World May Believe

Go To the Beginning of this Book So That The World May Believe Volume I: Rediscovering the Early Church’s Unity in Diversity

Chapter 1

Promoting Christian Unity in Diversity Through Seeking to Truly Understand Our Differences While Celebrating Our Vast Common Faith

 
“By this all men will know that you are [Christians], if you love one another” (John 13:35).  Jesus prayed to His Father “that all [Christians] may be one. . . so that the world may believe that You have sent me… May [Christians] be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as You have loved me.”
(John 17:21-23)

The 20th Century’s Most Prominent Evangelical Protestant Christian and Most Prominent Catholic Christian considered each other Brothers in Christ Jesus

 Mindful of the above prayer of Jesus, the 20th Century’s most prominent Evangelical Protestant Christian and most prominent Catholic Christian, Billy Graham and Pope John Paul II, considered themselves Christian brothers and were highly respectful of each other’s Christian ministry: John Paul II told Billy Graham, “we are brothers!” (previously, while still a Polish Cardinal Archbishop, John Paul had invited Billy to preach at his Cathedral), and Billy Graham spoke of Pope John Paul II as “the strong conscience of the entire Christian world.”

Jesus’ Prayer for Christian Unity Obligates All Christians to Seek Unity in Love with Each Other “So That the World May Believe” in Jesus When it Sees Our Love for “One Another” 

These great Christian leaders from divided Christian churches knew that the Church of Jesus Christ, the adopted Family of God, is not near so appealing to the world that needs to know Jesus when we Christians squabble amongst ourselves. So it behooves all of us as disciples of Jesus and adopted children of His Father (indwelt by His Holy Spirit) to actively seek the unity in love with each other that Jesus prayed for on our behalf, for the sake of the Christian mission to the world which needs to know Jesus.  Thus, we Christians are obligated to seek to truly understand our differences which have been sources of division and often of a sad profound lack of charity and love among the different separated branches of God’s adopted family the Church, and we must come to truly understand and appreciate the much more profound vast common faith we already share despite these differences which already unites us in the Body of Christ the Church, as Billy Graham and Pope John Paul II recognized.

It is my hope that this book will stimulate ecumenical discussion in the spirit which it models, of loving affection for other Christians who also love Jesus Christ the Eternal Son of God Incarnate but who do not agree with whatever “our” church’s position happens to be on Mary or the papacy or other lesser issues.  Genuine and fruitful ecumenical dialogue between currently divided Christian churches means first affirming our great common faith and establishing loving family affection on those grounds which make us true brothers and sisters in Christ despite our differences in lesser matters.  Then, on the basis of this established Christian Family love, we need to discuss our differences as well, sharing any concerns we have about them in non-accusatory ways, desiring to eventually come to mutually agreed-on solutions to current disputes, for the sake of our beloved Lord Jesus who we know desires us to “be one” and for the sake of the non-Christian world which can most easily come to desire to be also adopted into His Family the Church when it sees the beauty of our family love for each other in Christ (even while we are still formally divided).  We must never forget that the phenomenal success of the Undivided Early Church in spreading the message and love of Jesus happened because the pagans marveled at Christians, “see how they love each other.”  We must never forget that the rise of secularism and the marginalization of Christianity started after the Protestant Reformation when it was no  longer possible to say of Christians, “see how they love each other.”

No area of difference between Protestant Christians (of the 35,000 distinct Protestant/Evangelical denominations) and Catholic Christians (of the over 20 unified Western and Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church) is so emotionally charged as those differences in doctrine and practice relating to Mary the Mother of Jesus, so these differences in particular must be discussed frankly and patiently, in Christian love, with a willingness to see the other side’s perspective even if we are not convinced by it.  To aid this, any discussion of any difference between Protestant Christians and Catholic Christians (and Eastern Orthodox Christians), and any discussion of the Marian differences especially (dealt with in detail in Volume II), should start with a recognition of our vast common Christian faith, which the Protestant Reformers took from the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church when they left it in the 16th Century.  It is this below vast common faith which makes us brothers and sisters in Christ despite our lesser order differences:

The Common Creed of Christianity:

The Great Common Faith of Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christianity (and “Messianic Judaism”[1]) Which is the Basis for Christian Unity

 the One God, Creator of the Universe, who is Love, exists as a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; the Incarnation (enfleshment) of God the Son in Jesus Christ through Mary’s Virgin Birth, making Jesus fully God and fully man, able to make Atonement for the sins of all humanity, which He did by dying on the Cross and rising from the dead so that humanity can be forgiven and saved (and find human fulfillment) through Him; we acquire this forgiveness from sin and salvation unto eternal life through, drawn and empowered by God’s Grace, our turning away from sin (anti-love), accepting what Jesus has done for us and coming into loving, saving relationship with Him (and His Father and Holy Spirit) through belief and baptism, as He taught (Mark 16:16), which makes us members of the one Body of Christ the Church; Jesus’ literal Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven; Jesus’ future return in glory and judgement and the bodily resurrection of all the dead; the tenets of traditional Christian morality (described in the 10 Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, among other passages of Scripture) as how to be loving and so how to please the God who is Love; the inspiration and inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures which testify to all these things.  

This above “common creed” encapsulates the essential or fundamental Christian teaching of all the Ecumenical (worldwide) and other major Councils of the Undivided Early Christian Church, Councils which the Catholic Church in its Western and Eastern Rites3 and the Eastern Orthodox Churches consider to have established the irrevocable norms of Christian faith in the early centuries of Christianity, and it also encapsulates all the details of the early 20th Century “Fundamentals” tract series which began the Protestant Fundamentalist movement as well as the details usually included in the many conservative and Evangelical Protestant creedal “statements of faith” (the early 20th Century Protestant Fundamentalist and Evangelical movements were “doctrinally conservative,” orthodox responses to the huge “doctrinally liberal” or unorthodox trend within the earlier Protestant “mainline” churches).  Those Protestant “mainline” denominations and congregations which are going increasingly “doctrinally liberal” or unorthodox may or may not still preserve with certainty all of these ancient fundamental beliefs of orthodox Christianity (orthodoxy means “right teaching,” as opposed to unorthodox or heretical teaching).  The above common Christian beliefs are the wonderful, life-changing, saving truths of Christianity which “turned the world upside down” in barbaric times and transformed the ancient world with God’s Love, truths which still make Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/ Evangelical Protestant Christians brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and most certainly instruments of God’s salvation in the world. 

The “Doctrinally Liberal” Streams of the Protestant “Mainline” Denominations Which Do Not (Or Do Not with Certainty) Hold All of the above “Common Creed” Still Have Basis for Dialogue but Lack the Extremely Profound Basis of Unity of the above Churches

 I do not wish to simply write off the huge “doctrinally liberal” portion of historical or “mainline” Protestant Christianity, especially since many self-described “liberal” Christians are not actually unorthodox or heretical but simply not as certain about the Christian fundamentals as they should be.  Many “liberals” have genuine saving Christian faith in Jesus and personal loving relationship with Him; many are genuinely in touch with the above orthodox Christian Mysteries with their proven historic power to transform lives and societies for the better, despite the modern confusion of many others within their churches mostly thanks to certain unfortunate 16th to 18th Century ideas of the Protestant Reformation and Enlightenment eras.  Nevertheless, the lack of absolute certainty about all the above traditional, essential, fundamental tenets of spiritually powerful, historically world-changing, orthodox Christianity even at the highest denominational level means the “liberal” mainline Protestant churches lack the solid major foundation towards re-building Christian unity which the Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/ Evangelical Protestant churches possess, and thus my books and materials which promote the rebuilding of Christian unity in diversity as in the Undivided Early Church are addressed primarily to these churches which are currently formally separated but which are already most profoundly united in the above common saving Christian faith (whereas Protestant “liberals” have no consistency even amongst themselves, as to which bits of historic and powerful Christianity they will accept or reject).  It is my hope that as the Catholic, Orthodox, and doctrinally conservative Protestant/ Evangelical Christian churches which are confident about the above traditional Christian orthodoxy gradually unite in ever more beautiful loving expressions of Christian unity in diversity modeled after the Undivided Early Church (even while our formal divisions remain), that the “doctrinally liberal” Protestant churches which question, doubt, or outright deny fundamental aspects of traditional Christian faith will become ‘jealous’ and will consider once again embracing traditional Christian  orthodoxy with certainty in order to be part of this beautiful and enriching communion Jesus intended for His Body the Church (and I hope that the many more-or-less “nominal” or “in-name-only” members of all fundamentally orthodox Christian churches, members who have been unduly influenced by the greater culture’s secularist ideas and lifestyles, will similarly become motivated to really practice their church’s orthodox Christian faith).

Catholic, Orthodox, and Conservative/Evangelical Protestant Christians Understand Their Different Secondary Doctrines in the Light of these Vast Common Fundamental Beliefs of Traditional Christian Orthodoxy

 Satan, the enemy of Jesus Christ and His Body the Church, has sown much confusion and many misconceptions between the various Christian churches united in this common saving faith, particularly many misconceptions regarding each other’s beliefs about Mary, in order to keep the churches divided and thus less effective against his own Kingdom of Darkness.  Satan has managed to successfully get orthodox Catholic, Orthodox, and conservative Protestant/Evangelical Christians to accuse each other of heresies or serious errors in their secondary doctrines and practices which compromise the above Christian fundamentals usually without even trying to understand how other Christians understand their different secondary doctrines and practices as being consistent with the essential Christian doctrines or even flowing from them (many Protestant and Catholic Christians even accuse their fellow Protestants or fellow Catholics of having wrong or lesser worship and devotional customs wherever they differ).  Since the Hebrew word for accuser is in fact satan, and the Greek word for accuser is in fact diabolos (devil in English), this means that when Christians accuse each other of being wrong for being different we are doing the Devil’s work, and we Christians are showing the world Satan, the Accuser, instead of showing the world Jesus.

This should motivate all Christians to humble ourselves before God and seek His forgiveness for how we have all allowed Satan to use us as his instruments in wounding the Body of Christ the Church so that it does not look near so beautiful and appealing to the world that needs to know Jesus.  The non-Christian world needs to be transformed by God’s love which we have failed to display to them because we have failed even to love each other as fellow Christians united in the above saving faith.

To help us counteract the evil of accusations and divisions which Satan has sown within the Body of Christ the Church, it must be clearly understood by all sides that the above is our common Christian faith and that the “other side” understands their differences in the light of this above common faith.  Both Protestant and Catholic (and Orthodox) Christians understand Mary the Mother of Jesus in a way that they have been careful to make sure leaves this above common fundamental, essential, orthodox Christian faith intact. 

Catholic Christians need to understand that Protestant Christians have the very limited Marian beliefs they do specifically because they wished to preserve the above essentials of Christian faith, and, thanks to some 16th Century misunderstandings about Marian doctrine and abuses of Marian practice within the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church (the only Rite they knew), the Protestant Reformers felt the best way to do that was to abandon Catholic Marian teaching almost entirely (while maintaining the above fundamentals of the Catholic Christian faith).  Protestant Christians need to understand that the Catholic Marian teachings and practices were developed mostly within the Undivided Early Christian Church specifically to help protect against early heretical attacks on the essential Christian truth of the Incarnation (enfleshment) of God the Son in Jesus Christ through Mary’s Virgin Birth, and that all further Catholic development of Marian doctrine (and approved Marian practice) has also been done with the above essential, fundamental Christian beliefs very much in mind and has been careful not to compromise them (as Protestants fear they do only because they do not truly understand them).  Indeed, it can be said that Protestant Christianity’s huge problem today with doctrinally liberal “mainline” churches (the oldest and largest Protestant churches!) which question, doubt, or even outright deny some of the Christian essentials of faith (and morality) is related to Protestantism’s rejection of Catholic Mariology which was developed in the Undivided Early Church specifically to help defend the essential Christian fundamentals from such heretical denial!  (see Volume II: Who  is Mary in the Church?)

So Catholic Christians and (doctrinally conservative, not doctrinally liberal) Protestant Christians (and Eastern Orthodox Christians) need to be firmly aware that their churches all share the same above saving Christian faith which makes them brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, despite their differing opinions on theological questions regarding Mary the mother of Jesus, despite their different answers to theological questions on just what the Incarnation through her means for Mary (and their different answers to other questions regarding Church authority and such).  Thus, for the sake of showing the world how Christians love each other “so that the world may believe,” we must contend with each other in loving fashion regarding our different answers to these questions, seeking to truly understand how our different understandings (and different practices based on them) are related to our common faith, so that we are not tempted to unlovingly criticize each other and so hamper the witness of the Body of Christ in the world.

This Book Intends to Aid Christian Unity by Helping All Christians to Truly Understand Each Other’s Different Perspectives on Mary and the Papacy, in Terms of the Common Christian Fundamentals

 To aid this mutual understanding, I present this Three-Volume book to the reader primarily for the purpose of helping all Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant – and even “Messianic Jewish”4) to understand our vast common faith and to understand each other’s different perspectives on Mary and the papacy in relation to our vast common faith.  I believe I am well qualified to so “translate” between Christians, because my personal Christian experience has encompassed all the major branches of Christianity.  I was raised in a large doctrinally conservative “mainline” Protestant denomination and later became an Evangelical Protestant (when my “doctrinally conservative” denomination became “doctrinally liberal,” losing its grip on traditional, orthodox Christian faith and morality).  Later on I came into the Catholic Church, initially through the huge Western, Roman Rite of the Catholic Church for a decade, after which I restored the Ukrainian line of my family’s cultural heritage in the smaller Eastern, Byzantine Ukrainian Rite5 of the same Catholic Church (this gives me a genuinely “Eastern Orthodox” perspective since the Eastern Orthodox Churches are virtually identical to the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church like mine but simply no longer within the ancient Universal [Greek katholikos, or Catholic] Communion of orthodox Rites or “Sister Churches,” Eastern and Western, headed by the pope6).  Without joining it, for a year or so I attended Saturday Messianic Jewish worship services with such regularity that some assumed incorrectly that it was my main faith community and expressed concern when I began to attend less frequently.  Please note that my fundamental Christian faith, articulated in the above common creed, never changed as I became a faithful member of each church (and the Messianic Jewish Community I worshiped with also maintained the same faith)!  The Jesus I knew and loved as an Evangelical Protestant was the very same Jesus I know and love as an Eastern Rite Catholic.  And please note that the need for such “translation” regarding Mary in particular cannot be underestimated, as there are many gross misunderstandings about Mary between Christians which are quite literally related to a “language barrier,” whereby Catholic and Protestant Christians mean different things by the same words, which contributes to the misunderstandings between them.   

 Volume II: Who is Mary in the Church? deals primarily with explaining the sophisticated Catholic beliefs about Mary in terms of the common Christian fundamentals, so in order to be thorough I have added Volume II Appendix I: Deciphering the “Language Barrier” Which Causes Unnecessary Misunderstandings Between Protestant and Catholic Christians Concerning the Marian Doctrines and “The Communion of Saints.”  In addition to taking  the time-consuming but ecumenically necessary effort to sort out some of our differences in use of language which greatly exaggerate the appearance of differences between us, this appendix also explains many of the general Catholic (and Orthodox) practices relating to Mary and the other Saints (including the religious use of icons and relics) in terms of the Bible and common Christian beliefs – practices which are also often grossly misunderstood and criticized by Protestant/Evangelical Christians but which are not dealt with in the main body of Volume II.  As a “bonus,” Volume II Appendix I even details my surprising discovery, once working through the “language barrier” and educating my Protestant misconceptions, that I had even been taught the doctrine the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church calls purgatory at my Evangelical church and at my Evangelical Bible College – Evangelicals simply had a different perspective on this firmly Biblically-grounded doctrine and called it by another name.

By the time I finished writing Who is Mary in the Church? (the first of these three volumes written) I realized that in explaining how those two Marian doctrines which have in the last two centuries been declared irreformable Catholic dogma by popes are consistent with and supportive of the common essential Christian doctrines, I had already dealt with what had previously been my own single biggest objection to the papacy when I was an Evangelical Protestant Christian – the fear that the papacy has already in its Marian dogmas, and thus might again, compromise the Christian fundamentals.  So it made sense to follow up my answering of major Protestant objections to the papacy by explaining more of the positive reasons Catholic Christians have for accepting the papacy, presented in the same spirit of genuine loving ecumenical dialogue which characterized Who is Mary in the Church?  For this purpose I wrote Volume III: The Papacy and Christian Unity in Diversity – The Pope Was the Historic Guarantor of Christian Unity and Orthodoxy in the First Christian Millennium of the Undivided Early Church: The Ancient Eastern Orthodox Tradition from the Beginning Recognized the Papacy and Was Through it Part of the Undivided Early Church’s Universal (Catholic) Communion of Different Orthodox Eastern and Western Christian Sister Churches Collectively Known as the Catholic Church, Celebrating Christianity Differently while Unified in Orthodox Christian Faith Against Many Early Christian Heretics.  This third Volume also embellishes the later sections on Church Authority which I added to the end of Who is Mary in the Church? in Chapters 6 and 7, which emphasize the powerful connection of the early Ecumenical Councils to basic Christian orthodoxy (as a function of the Church speaking as indeed the Living Body of Christ) but did not deal with the early papacy specifically in this much detail.  I hope that Volume III makes So That the World May Believe all the more effective as a work of Ecumenism, smoothing the relations between Catholic Christians and both Orthodox and Protestant Christians, by emphasizing the common history of Catholic and Orthodox Christians and by showing the strong connections between the common Christian fundamentals and the Catholic beliefs about not only Mary but about the papacy, which together are surely the two biggest areas of contention between Protestant and Catholic Christians, in one book (Eastern Orthodox Christians already are much closer to the Catholic positions about both Mary and the papacy, their disputes with Catholic Christians over these issues are much more minor and subtle, as will be shown).  “Messianic Jews” come from a Protestant Christian background (the movement was founded by Protestant Christians of Jewish ethnicity who wished to practice their Christian faith in Israel’s Messiah without abandoning their Jewish heritage), so they have inherited the Protestant prejudice against Mary and the papacy, yet ironically their strong Jewish tradition which emphasizes the Old Testament should make them very open to understanding Mary as the Queen (or Queen Mother) of the New Israel of the Church, since in Biblical Israel the Queen was always the Mother of the Reigning King in David’s line and the Bible explicitly identifies Jesus as the promised everlasting Messianic King who will “sit on the throne of His father David,” making Jesus the Davidic King and therefore making Mary His mother the Queen of the Kingdom, as Catholic Christians identify her (see Volume II Chapter 5).  Messianic Jews’ Old Testament Jewish tradition should also make them open to seeing that  just as the Old Testament Davidic Kings gave keys that “open and shut” to the government minister they chose to function as the “Prime Minister” who managed the daily affairs of the Kingdom on behalf of the Davidic King, so Jesus the Promised Messianic Davidic King gave keys that similarly “bind and loose” to Peter, indicating that Peter (and his successors the popes) were given the task of, as Head Pastor, managing the daily affairs of portion of Christ’s Kingdom which is already on Earth, the Church, on Jesus the King’s behalf, as Catholics understand (see Volume III Chapter 4).

Even if Protestant/Evangelical and other Christians including Messianic Jews continue to disagree with Catholic Christians about these Marian and papal Catholic doctrines and practices, truly understanding them and their foundation in the fundamentals we are already agreed on should make them lose their offensive character to Protestant minds, so that they take on the much more appropriate character of the many differences between Protestant denominations which many Protestant/Evangelical Christians already “agree to disagree” on without letting such differences mar their Christian love for each other.  Thus I hope Who is Mary in the Church? together with The Papacy and Christian Unity in Diversity in this three-volume book will promote all the more of the Christian love for one another which Jesus prayed for “so that the world may believe,” by removing misunderstandings and misconceptions between today’s divided Christians even while they remain formally divided.

© 2005, 2009 Peter William John Baptiste SFO

Go To Chapter 2:  Guidelines for Fruitful Dialogue Which Builds upon Ecumenical Milestones the Holy Spirit Has Already Accomplished Towards Uniting us

Go To the Beginning of this Book So That The World May Believe Volume I: Rediscovering the Early Church’s Unity in Diversity

Go To the Forward & Introduction to all Three Volumes of So That The World May Believe


1See below for more on this significant and important movement of Jewish Christianity, Jews who accept Jesus as Israel’s promised Messiah, which combines the Jewish and Protestant Christian traditions, including all the common Christian fundamentals, in an attempt to restore the lost Jewish cultural expression of Christianity which was practiced by all the first Christians, who were Jews.  Within the Catholic Church there is a similar Association of Hebrew Catholics.

3Also called Western and Eastern Sister Churches within the Universal (Greek katholikos, or Catholic) Christian Communion of Eastern and Western Sister Churches collectively known as the Catholic Church.  This Christian Communion gathers around the pope as its visible center of unity.  The Western, Roman Catholic Church, is currently by far the largest Rite or Sister Church in the Catholic Communion, though this was not always the case.

4“Messianic Judaism” is a recent movement begun by conservative, fundamentally orthodox Protestant Christians of Jewish ethnicity, wherein Jews can accept Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew/Aramaic) as their Promised Messiah, understood according to the norms of orthodox Christianity above, without giving up their Jewish cultural identity (as none of the Gentile Romans, Greeks, Syrians, and so on had to give up their distinct cultural identities when they became Christians through the Gospel ministry of the original Jewish Christians – their different Gentile (non-Jewish) cultures just had to be adjusted where they did not conform to Gospel values, see Acts 15:1-30).  This movement is paralleled in the Catholic Church by the Association of Hebrew Catholics (AHC), for Catholic Christians of Jewish ethnicity, and there is talk of re-establishing a “Hebrew” or “Jewish” Rite of the Catholic Church.  The Undivided Early Christian Church called itself the Catholic Church because it was a Universal (Greek katholikos or Catholic) Communion of different culturally-based Rites or Sister Churches which mutually enriched each other (and together articulated the fundamental beliefs of orthodox Christianity) in the Early Ecumenical (worldwide) Councils of the leaders of all these different but united culturally-based Christian Churches.  The overseers or bishops of the five ancient cities which were the centers of the first five nations or cultures to be renewed in Jesus – Jerusalem (Jewish culture); Antioch (Syrian culture); Alexandria (Egyptian culture); Rome (Roman culture); and Constantinople (or Byzantium, Greek culture) – were declared Patriarchs of the Universal (Catholic) Christian Church by the same Ecumenical Councils which clearly articulated and declared the above fundamental doctrines of Christianity, as a way of acknowledging that each Sister Church’s different worship and devotional customs were legitimate cultural expressions of orthodox Christianity.  To see how the entire Bible leads up specifically to the establishment of the Christian Church as it actually existed in this period of the Undivided Early Catholic (Universal) Christian Church, and what can be done to help re-establish this ancient Christian unity in diversity (and what has already been done towards this in the 21st Ecumenical Council [Vatican Council II, 1962-5]), see my book The Bible’s “Big Picture”: Using “Family Theology” to Understand the Single Overarching Story Told Throughout the Scriptures, Which Makes the Bible Our Family History as Christians.

 5Byzantium, later renamed Constantinople (called Istanbul after its Muslim conquest), was the center of the ancient Greek-speaking Greek culture and the Eastern half of the Roman Empire.  When Rome, center of the Latin-speaking Roman culture and the Western half of the Roman Empire, fell to barbarian invaders in 476 AD, the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire lasted another thousand years until the Muslim conquest of Byzantium/Constantinople in 1453.  Byzantine (or Greek) Christian missionaries spread the Gospel of Jesus to the cultures of Eastern Europe including Ukraine, which formally became Christian in 988 AD.  The Ukrainian culture as transformed by Jesus was distinct from the Byzantine Greek culture as transformed by Jesus, though it still borrowed heavily from the distinctly Byzantine Greek expressions of Christianity practiced by the Greek missionaries who brought the Gospel to Ukraine.  Both the Greek Church of Byzantium/Constantinople and its distinct “daughter Church” in Ukraine were still part of the unbroken Christian communion of the Undivided Early Catholic (Universal) Church.  My Church within today’s ongoing Catholic (Universal) Communion of Eastern and Western “Sister” Churches collectively known simply as the Catholic Church is thus known as the Byzantine Ukrainian Catholic Church or the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, either term identifying my Church as the Ukrainian “daughter” Church or Rite of the ancient Byzantine/Greek Church or Rite of the one Universal or Catholic Church of Jesus Christ which recognizes the pope as its Head Pastor.

6Though only one quarter of all Catholic Christians were Roman Catholics in the Undivided Early Church, which called itself the Catholic Church because it was a Catholic (Universal) Communion of orthodox Christian Rites or Sister Churches (Eastern and Western), due to accident of history today the majority of Catholic Christians belong to the Western, Roman Catholic Sister Church within the ongoing Catholic Communion of over 20 orthodox Christian Rites or Sister Churches (known collectively as the Catholic Church).  See Volume I Chapter 7 for a brief overview of the historical factors (many related to Muslim conquest of the East) which severely reduced the numbers of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church (and which created today’s Eastern Orthodox Churches as Churches separated from the previous Catholic Communion of East and West), making most Catholic Christians today Roman Catholics, a fact which has hidden the true universality  (catholicity) of the Catholic Church even from Roman Catholic Christians who are often unaware that the Catholic Church is much more than just their Western Roman Catholic Sister Church (though there are tens of millions of non-Roman, Eastern Catholics, this number is small next to the billion-member Roman Rite of the Catholic Church – under 5% of Catholics are not Roman).  This Chapter will also briefly discuss how the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, Vatican Council II (1962-5), which was the very first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church ever to formally reflect upon (with the Holy Spirit’s guidance) and dogmatically describe the ancient nature and structure of the Church of Christ, has laid the foundation for the eventual healing of the divisions which plague Christianity so that Christians may one day fully recapture their First Millennium unity in diversity among different but united orthodox Christian Sister Churches in one Universal or Catholic Christian Communion, as in the Undivided Early Church.