In preparing for this Octave of Church Unity, I'm drawing attention here to what I believe to be the fundamental, meta-level source of all the divisions between Christians: the issue of authority. I'm not ignoring, of course, the role of the world, our concupiscence, and the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places that seek without rest to divide Christ's Mystical Body no less than they did when they unleashed their twisted fury on His physical body during His passion. I write these words during those three hours [noon - 3 pm] today (Friday), the day of the week perpetually consecrated by His crucifixion and death. Father, forgive us, for we did not know what we were doing, when we divided Your Son's Mystical Body.
Questions for Protestants
1. Whose determination of the canon of Scripture is authoritative? (If your answer is "the Scriptures testify to their own canonicity", then, since persons disagree about the content of this testimony, whose determination of the content of this testimony is authoritative?)
2. Whose interpretation of Scripture is authoritative? (Again, if your answer is "Scripture interprets Scripture", then, since persons disagree about the content of Scripture's interpretation of Scripture, whose determination of the Scripture's interpretation of Scripture is authoritative?)
3. Whose determination of the identity and extension of the Body of Christ is authoritative? (If you deny that Christ founded a visible Church, then skip this question.)
4. Whose determination of which councils are authoritative is authoritative? (If you deny that any Church councils are authoritative, then skip this question.)
5. Whose determination of the nature and existence of schism is authoritative?
6. Whose determination of the nature and extension of Holy Orders (i.e. valid ordination) is authoritative?
7. Whose determination of orthodoxy and heresy is authoritative? (If your answer is "Scripture", then go to question #2.)
8. If your answer to any of questions 1-7 is "the Holy Spirit", or "Jesus" or "the Apostles", then whose determination of what the Apostles, the Holy Spirit, or Jesus have determined is authoritative?
9. Given your answers to the above questions, how does your position avoid individualism and the perpetual fragmentation that necessarily accompanies it? (If your answer appeals to the "fundamentals of the faith" or the "essentials of the faith", then whose determination of what are "the essentials of the faith" is authoritative?)
10. Does not even nature teach you that a visible body needs a visible head? If so, then does grace therefore destroy nature, or does grace build upon nature?
11. Why do you think that your present [Protestant] pastor has more authority than the successor of St. Peter? In other words, why do you "obey" and "submit" (Hebrew 13:17) to your Protestant pastor rather than the successor of St. Peter?
12. Whose determination of the nature of "sola scriptura" is authoritative?
"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)