Monday, July 1, 2013

On ecumenism

The Second Vatican Council's Decree Unitatis Redintegratio set forth the Church's efforts to promote Christian unity. In 2004, the Vatican hosted a meeting to see what 40 years of ecumenical effort had wrought. While reporting much that was positive, it did note a few issues, among which was the need for "reflection on how to respond to the problem of aggressive proselytism," (more on that in a bit).

It was also noted that some Evangelical and Pentecostal groups (most notably in Latin America) tend to  dismiss Catholicism as a non-Christian religion. Bishop Brian Farrell, who heads up the ecumenical effort at the Vatican spoke about the Church's worldwide efforts since Vatican II in this 2012 interview:

Bishop Farrell is an articulate and Christly voice for the Church. He speaks eloquently about Blessed Pope John Paul II and his efforts at Christian unity with the Eastern Churches, as well as with our Jewish brethren. He also mentions Pope Benedict XVI's views on 'spiritual unity' with other Christians. Nowhere is there suggested an evolution to a stance that is not within the parameters of the Church's Apostolic Tradition and Magisterium. In his report, Bishop Farrell stated, "In a world that has changed much since the Second Vatican Council, a new realism permeates the Catholic approach to the restoration of unity. It is clearer than ever that ecumenism can only be promoted on a solid doctrinal basis, on serious dialogue between divided Christians." (Emphasis added)

Ecumenism does not mean that Catholics must abandon their Traditions or traditions, or that they should take on doctrines or practices that are not explicitly Catholic. Watering down the Catholic Faith through a false ecumenism was not the goal of Unitatis Redintegratio. One failed example can be found here, wherein a homosexual Episcopal bishop attempts to trash the Catholic Church for not embracing his personal sexual choices. Fr. Z disposes of the silliness in one short blog post.

Do note, however, that the Episcopal bishop comments on the statistic (true or not) that ex-Catholics comprise the third largest religious group in the USA. If Catholics are leaving the Faith in droves, could it partly be as a consequence of having the Faith watered down to the point that it differs little in substance from other denominations? The Wesleyans in Corning certainly find that many ex-Catholics are quite at home there. And there is also a contingent of Pentecostals working the sheep in our own parish (and have been for quite some time).

Aggressive proselytism. It is quite distressing, particularly when cloaked in a false ecumenism. Added to that is the monstrous lack of catechism on the part of many Catholics for two generations now. Ecumenism, Bishop Farrell states, "...can only be promoted on a solid doctrinal basis, on serious dialogue between divided Christians."

Think about it. Catholics in our parish are being encouraged to hear preaching from non-Catholics, are being encouraged to attend Pentecostal tent revivals in order to do what--promote ecumenism? To experience how the "other side lives"? To show how wonderfully understanding we are? To have a unique spiritual experience? Why?

According to the Church, ecumenical activities are to be promoted on a "solid doctrinal basis, on serious dialogue..."

Is that what is going on at All Saints Parish? A program of ecumenism based on solid doctrine and serious dialogue?

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