I am pleased to report that I have been asked to deliver a paper at the upcoming Conference in Toronto dealing with the Vatican II document which, my doctoral research has shown, at last clearly articulates explicitly the implicit (unconsciously lived) principle of Church Unity in the Undivided Early Church which was lost in historical circumstances before Christians ever became conscious of it, leading to the first “Great Schism” between the Western Roman and Eastern Greek Churches (after the Syrian and Egyptian Churches had already been ravaged by Islam) and later leading to the Protestant Reformation which splintered the one Western Roman Church into the 40,000 Western Protestant/Evangelical denominations of today. The loss of this principle of the “fully equal dignity” of all of the very different ways of loving and serving God which were practiced by different orthodox (non-heretical) Christians in their very different culturally-based Christian “Sister Churches” (Syrian, Egyptian, Roman, Greek, and initially Jewish before the pagan Romans destroyed Jerusalem, built the pagan city of Aelia Capitolina on its ruins, and scattered the Jews from their homeland until 1948) resulted in the “unity in diversity” of the Early Church being replaced by the literally satanic (satan is Hebrew for “accuser”) “unity equals uniformity” principle wherein Christians automatically accuse other Christians of being wrong or inferior wherever they are different. After centuries of loss of contact between Christian East and West because the Islamic Empire growing between them cut off almost all contact by both land and sea, both sides forgot the Early Church’s unity of faith in a wide variety of faith expressions, both sides innocently enough came to assume that “those other Christians over there we are in union with, must do everything the same way we do,” but they were shocked and horrified to discover that those Christians “over there” did not “do everything the same way we do” after all, when Eastern and Western missionary fields overlapped in the 9th and 11th Centuries. Thus the brief 9th Century Schism and the 11th Century “Great Schism” which endures to this day happened in a context of extreme cultural prejudice (I have read the original documents surrounding the Schisms in my doctoral research, and they are dripping with it!) that automatically assumes any differences are wrong or inferior, such that these first schisms happened over things as trivial as whether ordained pastors should be bearded or clean-shaven (“bearded” was defended with trumped up Biblical “proof texts”!) and just what kind of bread to use for Holy Communion with Jesus. Such a highly prejudiced context where both sides were primed to be suspicious of any difference made the slight differences in language seem possibly heretical (does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father and the Son as in the Western Creed said, or through the Son as the East understood without adding words to the Creed? Forgotten was the 7th Century testimony of Saint Maximus the Confessor, who was from the East but lived a quarter century in the West and understood both “ways” of being Christian, that when the West said “and the Son” they meant it in more specific Eastern sense of “through the Son”). Even this difference that seemed like it might be significant (but wasn’t) was not the cause of the Great Schism, for the burning issue of 1054 was the triviality of what kind of bread to use for Holy Communion! The Protestant Reformation took this “unity equals uniformity” principle even further, to the point that Christians had to be almost completely like-minded before they could stand to be in the same Church with one another, resulting in the 40,000 Western Protestant denominations of today out of the one Western, Roman Church which had resulted when the First Millennium Undivided Universal/Catholic Communion of Orthodox (non-heretical) Christian Sister Churches of East and West, thanks to the same “unity equals uniformity” principle, was divided into a separated Western Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church in 1054.
However, my doctoral research has shown how the implicit principle of Church unity of the Early Church which was lost in historical circumstances before it was made explicit has finally, at last, been articulated, against the satanic “unity equals uniformity” principle which caused the Great Schism between Christian East and West and the inherent splintering-divisiveness of Western Protestantism/Evangelicalism, in a certain document of Vatican II which is the subject of the upcoming conference:
The Vatican II Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches: Orientalium Ecclesiarum — 50 Years Later
October 17 & 18, 2014, University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto
My presentation is entitled
Fully Equal Dignity:
Orientalium Ecclesiarum Articulated The Implicit Principle of Church Unity Lost in the First Millennium Before It Became Explicit
(1000 Years Too Late to Avoid the Schism, But Better Late Than Never To Repair it)
and it will be delivered at 2:30 PM Saturday, October 18 in the Senior Common Room in Brennan Hall at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto.
This website has a world-wide audience, but anyone who is close enough to make it is invited to attend!
I ask all prayer partners in this Christian Education ministry to pray for the success of this presentation, that it may be fruitful in the cause of Church reunification “so that the world may believe” when it sees our Christian “love for one another,” as Jesus prayed for us.
— Peter William John Baptiste SFO
Founder, Donum Veritatis – The Gift of Truth Ministries