Monolithic and Ecumenical

Those who would defend the Catholic Church seem not at all reluctant to crow that, while there are tens of thousands of Protestant denominations, there is but one Catholic Church. As just about anyone who has ever attempted to counter this argument soon learns, it would be easier to teach a duck to talk than to disabuse a Catholic apologist of these fantasies. It does no good to explain that, while indeed there are a number of so-called Protestant denominations, there are not nearly so many as the champions of Catholicism claim. To point out that many of the groups Catholicism identifies as Protestant are not even Christian is a waste of time. And it is useless to inform one's Catholic antagonist that the various Christian denominations may differ in religious practice and theological emphasis, but are in agreement concerning foundational doctrine

If it is difficult to deal with the urban legend of virtually uncountable Protestant denominations, it is next to impossible to crack the façade of monolithic Catholicism. It does no good to point out that what we know as the Catholic Church is actually a group of churches, practicing a variety religious rites.

The Catholic Church is actually a federation of 24 self-governing (sui juris) Churches in communion with each other under the leadership of the Pope. By far the largest Church is the Latin Church, popularly called the Roman Catholic Church. The other 23 Churches are in the collective called Eastern Catholic Churches…The 24 Catholic Churches use among them six rites. The Roman rite is used only by the Latin (Roman Catholic) Church, and is used by the vast majority of Catholics (98%). There are also several Eastern rites, which are used in parts of the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and by Catholic communities in other parts of the world that originate from there. There are also two other small Western rites, …the Ambrosian rite and the Mozarabic rite, which are used in a few places in Europe. In the Middle Ages there were many other Western rites, but almost all of them were replaced by the Latin rite by the Council of Trent. The Eastern rites originated with groups that left Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches to join the Roman Catholic church, but retained their own rites and traditions.Catholicism, KidsNet Encyclopedia

Though 98% of all Catholics worship according to the Latin Rite, we are assured that all rites are equal in status; that no one rite is superior to any other. Supposedly, they share common foundational beliefs.

All the rites of the Catholic Church also hold the same dogmas; they are unequivocally united in faith and moral teachings, for they are all part of one Holy Mother Church.  Yet their policies and practices often differ according to custom.  This is a good and healthy thing; it shows that the One Truth of God can be celebrated in many different ways by various cultures. Eastern Catholicism, Mystical Rose Catholic Page

Then there are the smaller Catholic groups that seem to be sheltering under the wings of Mother Church, yet are not in fully submitted to the Roman pope.

Within Western Christianity, the churches of the Anglican communion, the Old Catholics, the Liberal Catholic Church, the Aglipayans (Philippine Independent Church), the Polish National Catholic Church of America, and many Independent Catholic Churches, which emerged directly or indirectly from and have beliefs and practices largely similar to Latin Rite Catholicism, regard themselves as "Catholic" without full communion with the Bishop of Rome, whose claimed status and authority they reject. -- Catholicism, Wikipedia

As I mentioned above, some of the churches gathered under the umbrella of Protestantism cannot be considered Christian; their foundational doctrines and religious practices cannot be supported from the Scriptures. As it turns out, there are a number of religious bodies identifying themselves as Catholic that do not appear to have many doctrines in common with what Catholicism. Examples of these abound and include the Liberal Catholic Church, the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America, the Old Roman Catholic Church in North America, the Old Catholic Church – Matthew Succession and the Orthodox Catholic Church in North America.

Now, if the Catholic apologists who so delight in tossing out the thousands and thousands of Protestant churches charge were to apply the same criteria to Catholicism as was applied to Protestantism in developing the information defenders of Romanism so love to misuse, they would discover that Mother Church may be just as fractured as they claim Protestantism to be. The fact of the matter is, I am convinced, that not one Catholic apologist in a hundred has any idea where the numbers he gleefully points to originate. As it turns out, a Christian evangelist/apologist, Eric Svendsen, did the research and not only identifies the source, but presents and explains the data in that source. I encourage all to go to his New Testament Research Ministries web site to read his informative study. The URL is:

One might ask why the Vatican isn't working as hard to bring the "non-Catholic Catholic groups" under her control. Certainly, she is and has been working hard to enclose Muslims, Buddhists and others within her apostate embrace. Rome's efforts to sweet-talk pagans seem to be upsetting to hard-line traditional Catholics, such as those affiliated with the Religious Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI). Some years ago, a CMRI bishop wrote a pastoral letter in which he addressed what he clearly saw as inappropriate changes in the Catholic Church since Vatican II. In his letter, the bishop provided an example of how far some Catholic bishops are willing to go to further RCC ecumenical efforts.

If Pope Pius XI were alive today, what would he think of the widespread false ecumenism of our times? What would he think of the following prayer which was recommended in the modern so-called “Catholic” parishes of Germany for World Mission Sunday, 1989, sponsored by MISSIO?

Prayer Recommended for Vatican II Parishes in Germany for Mission Sunday

“Be praised, O Lord,
God of Israel.
You led through impassible lands.
You liberate from slavery and oppression.
You promise a new world.

“Be praised, O Lord,
God of Mohammed.
You are great and exalted.
You are incomprehensible and unapproachable.
You are great in Your Prophets.

“Be praised, O Lord,
God of Buddha.
You live in the depths of the world
You live in every person.
You are the fullness of silence.

“Be praised, O Lord,
God of Africa.
You are the life in the trees.
You are the fertility of father and mother.
You are the soul of the world.

“Be praised, O Lord,
God of Jesus Christ.
You spend Yourself in Love.
You surrender Yourself in goodness.
You triumph over death.”

-- Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI, in pastoral letter The Last Days and False Ecumenism, Copyright © 1995 - 2002 CMRI

In his letter, Bishop Pivarunas also asked a couple of quite provocative questions that, I suspect, would be ignored by Rome and more traditional Catholics:

What would Pope Pius XI think of John Paul II's 1986 invitation of all the religions of the world to come to Assisi to pray to their false gods? What would he think if he saw the statue of Buddha placed on the altar in the Church of St. Peter in Assisi and worshipped by Buddhist priests with burning incense? -- Ibid.

One might ask how the leadership of a segment of a church that ostentatiously labels itself as Christian could recommend such a prayer to its members. Likely it wasn't difficult at all, given the following teaching in the Catechism:

845. To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is 'the world reconciled.' She is that bark which 'in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.' According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood.[St. Augustine, Serm. 96, 7, 9: PL 38, 588; St. Ambrose, De virg. 18, 118: PL 16, 297B; cf. already 1 Pet 3:20-21 .]Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed., © 1994/1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc., 224

It is good that Paul, Peter, John and all the Apostles and other early leaders of the Christian Church are in their heavenly abode, for if they were still around to see what has become of the churches they planted in Christ's name, I do not doubt they would weep at the sight.

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