Are there any historical precedents for ecumenism?


#1

The hardest thing that I struggle with is ecumenism in the post-VII Church :frowning: . Is there any historical/traditional precendent for ecumenism/interfaith dialogue? It seems as though the Church adopted this liberal stance out of nowhere at the Second Vatican Council. If it truly did change the Church’s stance, then how can the council not be heretical? God never changes and likewise, neither does His Church. I may sound critical, but I actually would really like to hear that there was some sort of ecumenism in the past in order to calm my worries. I once heard that the Church invited Luther and the other heretical revolutionaries (better known as “reformers”) to the Council of Trent. Is this true? Also, where does the Church draw the line between ‘true’ and ‘false’ ecumenism? I have heard the terms thrown around, but no one ever really defines what they mean. Thanks! :thumbsup: :smiley:

Image laughingly removed by moderator :rotfl:


#2

[quote=JSmitty2005]I once heard that the Church invited Luther and the other heretical revolutionaries (better known as “reformers”) to the Council of Trent. Is this true?
[/quote]

No.

BTW, I would loose the Wishbone and gun-toating nun.


#3

Remember that there was NO SUCH THING as protestantism before the Sixteenth Century. **The Church’s posture to this can hardly be considered part of the Deposit of Faith. *Trent *was the *very first *attempt to deal with this situation. It failed (at least in this regard; otherwise it was the greatest Council ever, IMHO). A new approach to the whole protestant movement was **clearly **needed (can *anyone *disagree with that?). The Church tried a new approach with Vatican II. We cannot really say now if this approach was successful or not (it usually takes centuries to tell).

Also, where does the Church draw the line between ‘true’ and ‘false’ ecumenism?

“True” ecumenism is the effort to establish friendly relations with protestants with the hope of making the Catholic Church more appealing (as the old saying goes, you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar). This is an effort to bring about the unity that even Our Lord prayed for. “False” ecumenism is the attempt to distort or water-down the Faith to appeal to those who don’t accept Catholic doctrine.


#4

Ecumenism has a long history in the Church, going back more than a thousand years. The East and the West have been working on Ecumenism since about the 600s, with greater and lesser success.

Protestants are another matter entirely, and the approach towards them has been a matter of trial and error. The “Vatican II” approach has been to approach them similarily to the way we approach the Orthodox, but that has been questioned in recent years as it becomes apparent (again) that the things that seperate us from the Orthodox (ecclesiology, for the most part) are vastly different from what seperates us from other groups, non-Catholic and Protestant (orthodoxy vs. heresy).

It’s my opinion that you can’t treat heretics like simple schismatics, just as we’ve always known that you can’t treat schismatics like simple heretics. It’s a learning process, however, as all previous major heresies were nestled WITHIN the Church, not outside of it as Protestants are. They could be dealt with by Ecumenical Councils that cleared up what Catholics are to believe. Protestants, however, began by denying the very authority to settle the matter, which threw an unprecedented monkey-wrench into the dialogue.

Peace and God bless!


#5

How about in Acts 17. Paul discourses with the Epicurian and Stoic philosophers at the Areopagus.
st julie


#6

[quote=DavidFilmer]BTW, I would loose the Wishbone and gun-toating nun.
[/quote]

C’mon, that is such a cool picture! :smiley: But I do respect your request, however, I don’t know how to remove it. Sorry :frowning:


#7

[quote=JSmitty2005]Are there any historical precedents for ecumenism?
[/quote]

Origin of today’s ecumenism:
Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical Ut Unam Sint, refers to ecumenism as having its origin in the so-called churches of the reform: the reformed churches, the reformation churches — in a single word — from the Protestants.
Try:
Mortalium Aminos - Pius XI
Excerpt:
“They presuppose the erroneous view that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy, inasmuch as all give expression, under various forms, to that innate sense which leads to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.”) Good Catholics must expose and militate against these pernicious errors, errors that are rapidly destroying the Catholic Church.
Syllabus Of ERRORS - Pius IX
Excerpt:
The Following propositions are CONDEMNED:
15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. – Allocution “Maxima quidem,” June 9, 1862; Damnatio “Multiplices inter,” June 10, 1851.
16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. – Encyclical “Qui pluribus,” Nov. 9, 1846.

17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. – Encyclical “Quanto conficiamur,” Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

18. Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church. – Encyclical “Noscitis,” Dec. 8, 1849.

80. The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.- -Allocution “Jamdudum cernimus,” March 18, 1861
Our Apostolic MANDATE - St Pius X
Excerpt:
… they put forward the Gospel, but interpreted in their own way; and what is even more serious, they call to witness Christ, but a diminished and distorted Christ.
…What are we to think of this appeal to all the heterodox, and to all the unbelievers, to prove the excellence of their convictions in the social sphere in a sort of apologetic contest? Has not this contest lasted for nineteen centuries in conditions less dangerous for the faith of Catholics? And was it not all to the credit of the Catholic Church? What are we to think of this respect for all errors, and of this strange invitation made by a Catholic to all the dissidents to strengthen their convictions through study … Finally, what are we to think of a Catholic who, on entering his study group, leaves his Catholicism outside the door so as not to alarm his comrades…

Yes there are precedents…ALL of them condemning Ecumenism in all its shades of deception toward obscuring the truths of the Catholic Church of Christ.

Finally:
In the VATII document on ecumenism, supposedly the Church proclaimed ecumenism. Now, it’s a very curious thing that in proclaiming ecumenism, the Council did not clearly state what ecumenism is. They used some descriptive phrases, but they did not say what the thing is. Why is that? One of the primary documents of VATII goes on and on about ecumenism, yet fails completely to define WHAT it is. Can you come up with an honest reason for such a blatant omission?
Modern Ecumenism Defined:
**The destruction of Internal Unity in the false hope of External Unity. **First by Societal unity (United Nations Socialism), Then by NON-dogmatic religious unity (One World dogma-less religion).
The VERY FIRST dogma that must be decapitated is EENS. With this keystone of the arch of the Catholic Church of Christ pulled down, the remainder of the arch will collapse in short order, and so it is.
This leads to: All different denominations are of the one Christian Church. They all profess their faith in Jesus Christ, all form one universal church.
This is ecumenism. This is the ecclesiology of ecumenism.


#8

I believed this touches on the relationship between church and state. Heresy was against state law, beginning when Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire, until some local state governments were convinced to support the new Protestant churches.

Once convicted in Church court, an unrepentant heretic was turned over to local authorities for punishment. Since the local state governments did not have the resources for a prison system, they usually resorted to capital punishment - most commonly in the form of burning at the stake.

Support from “Catholic” local governments was removed in modern times with the spread of policies supporting the separation of church and state. While the separation of Church and state policies began with the American Revolution, the policies did not become universal until after Vatican I. The CC needed new policies and they were formalized in Vatican II.


#9

TNT: Care to supply your reference for Ecumenism meaning world socialism and one world religion?

Furthermore, have you read the Council of Florence, and the accounts of the discussions that went on there? Absolute, pure Ecumenism. Your definition is…faulty.

Peace and God bless!


#10

There is most definitely a precedent for Ecumenism. But we will have to go back to the time of the Old Testament to find it. I will quote from the book of Machabees, which gives almost an identical parallel to what is happening in our day. One of the principle actors in story was a man named “Antiochus the Illustrious”. The footnotes explain that he was a forerunner to the antichrist, going so far as to set up an “abomination of desolation”. Let’s read the story:

“In those days there went out of Israel wicked men, and they persuaded many, saying: Let us go, and make a covenant with the heathens that are round about us… And the word seemed good in their eyes. And they built a place of exercise [worship] in Jerusalem, according to the laws of the nations. And they departed from the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen… And the Kingdom was established before Antiochus, and he had a mind to reign over the land of Egypt, that he might reign over two kingdoms [the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world].

… after Antiochus had ravaged Egypt [the world] he went up against the Israel [the Church]. He went up against Jerusalem with a great multitude. And he proudly entered into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof, and the table of proposition, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the little mortars of gold, and the veil, and the crown, and the golden ornament that was before the temple: and broke them all in pieces. [he stripped the Churches] And he made a great slaughter of men], and spoke very proudly. And there was great mourning in Israel… the bridegroom took up lamentation: and the bridegroom that sat in the marriage bed mourned: and all the house of Jacob [the Church] was covered with confusion. And he (Antiochus) spoke to them peaceable words in deceit; and they believed him . And he fell upon the [Holy] city suddenly [1962-1965], and struck it with a great slaughter, and destroyed much people in Israel. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled away… and the city [Rome] was made the habitation of strangers. Her sanctuary was desolate like a wilderness, her festival days were turned into mourning, her sabbaths into reproaches, her honours were brought to nothing. Her dishonour was increased… ** And King Antiochus wrote to all his kingdom, that all the people should be one [Ecumenism]**: and everyone should leave his own law. And all nations consented according to the words of Antiochus [the antichrist]. And the king sent letters… that they should all follow the law of the nations of the earth, and should forbid holocausts [the Mass] to be made in the Temple of God. And he commanded the Holy places to be profaned…

And that they should… forget the law, and should change all the justifications of God. Then many of the people were gathered to them that had forsaken the law of the Lord: and they committed evils in the land: And they drove away the people of Israel [True Israel] into lurking holes, and into the secret places of fugitive [they went underground].” Then it happened: “On the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred and forty-fifth year, king Antiochus set up the abominable idol of desolation [the abomination of desolation] upon the altar of God, and they built altars throughout all the cities of Juda round about. And on the five and twentieth-day of the month, they sacrificed upon the altar of the idol against the altar of God. And many people of Israel determined with themselves that they would not eat unclean things; and they chose rather to die than to be defiled with unclean meats. And they would not break the holy law of God and they were put to death. And there was very great wrath upon the earth. (1st Mach, Chapter 1).

continue…


#11

continuation…

In the fourth book of Kings, we read of a similar occurrence which included, as the heading of the chapter calls it, the “mixture of religions”.

“For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against their Lord God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they worshiped strange gods [religions]. And they walked according to the way of the nations… And the children of Israel offended their God with things that were not right… And they burnt incense there upon altars after the manner of the nations… And they worshiped abominations concerning which the Lord had commanded them that they should not do this thing. And the Lord testified to them in Israel… Return from your wicked ways, and keep my precepts and ceremonies, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers… And they hearkened not, but hardened their necks like to the necks of their father, who would no obey the Lord their God. And they rejected his ordinances and the covenant that he made with their fathers, and the testimonies which he testified against them [at the council of Trent]: and they followed vanities, and acted vainly: and they followed the nations that were round about them, concerning which the Lord had commanded them that they should not do. And they forsook all the precepts of the Lord their God… And they served Baal. And the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from his sight, and there remained only the tribe of Juda. But neither did Juda itself keep the commandments of the Lord their God: but they walked in the errors of Israel, which they had wrought. And the Lord cast off all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them… Even from that time, when Israel [the Church] was rent from the house of David [from the Chair of Peter?], and made Jeroboam son of Nabat their king: for Jeroboam [false shepherd] separated Israel from the Lord, and made them commit a great sin. And the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam, which he had done, and they departed not from them, till the Lord removed Israel from his face… And every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the temple of the high places… And they that were of Sepharviam burnt their children in fire, to Adramelech and Anamelech the gods of Sepharviam.[child sacrifice = abortion]. And nevertheless they worshipped the Lord (along with those who worshipped the false Gods). And made to themselves, of the lowest people, Priests of the high places [the effeminate?], and they placed them in the temples of the high places. And when they worshipped the Lord, they served also their own gods according to the customs of the nations out of which they were brought to Samaria… they fear not the Lord, neither do they keep his ceremonies, and judgments, and law, and commandments, which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he surnamed Israel: With whom he made a covenant… And the ceremonies, and judgments, and law, and the commandments, which he wrote for you, you shall observe to do them always, and you shall not fear strange gods [religions]. And the covenant he made with you, you shall not forget [or change]… But fear the Lord your God, and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies. But they did not hearken. (4 Kings 17: 7 – 23, 29-41).


#12

[quote=Ghosty]TNT: Care to supply your reference for Ecumenism meaning world socialism and one world religion?

Furthermore, have you read the Council of Florence, and the accounts of the discussions that went on there? Absolute, pure Ecumenism. Your definition is…faulty.

Peace and God bless!
[/quote]

Florence was the attempt to reconcile the East Orthodox Church with the Roman Catholic Church
Excerpt:
Afterwards, when the plague came and continued unabated, under the inspiration of grace and with the approval of the same holy council, we transferred the council to this city of Florence. Here the most gracious and merciful God showed his wonders. For, the most disastrous schism, which had endured in God’s church for almost five hundred years to the immense harm of the whole of Christianity, and for the elimination of which very many of our predecessors as Roman pontiffs and many kings and princes and other Christians in past times had laboured very hard, at last, after public and private discussions in both places and many other labours, was removed and the most holy union of the Greeks and the Latins was happily achieved, as is described more fully in the decree about this which was drawn up and solemnly promulgated.
NewAdvent Commentary :
Excerpt:
Nevertheless the reunion of the Churches was not yet an accomplished fact. The Greek representatives insisted that their aforesaid declarations were only their personal opinions; and as they stated that it was still necessary to obtain the assent of the Greek Church in synod assembled, … The Latin members remained to promote the reunion with the other Eastern Churches–the Armenians (1439), the Jacobites of Syria (1442), the Mesopotamians, between the Tigris and the Euphrates (1444), the Chaldeans or Nestorians, and the Maronites of Cyprus (1445).[ALL of which were abject failures] This last was the concluding public act of the Council of Florence, the proceedings of which from 1443 onwards took place in the Lateran palace at Rome.
The question now was to secure its adoption in the East. For this purpose Isidore of Kiev was sent to Russia as papal legate and cardinal, but the Muscovite princes, jealous of their religious interdependence, refused to abide by the decrees of the Council of Florence. Isidore was thrown into prison, but afterwards escaped and took refuge in Italy. Nor was any better headway made in the Greek Empire. The emperor remained faithful, but some of the Greek deputies, intimidated by the discontent prevailing amongst their own people, deserted their position and soon fell back into the surrounding mass of schism. The new emperor, Constantine, brother of John Palaeologus, vainly endeavoured to overcome the opposition of the Byzantine clergy and people. Isidore of Kiev was sent to Constantinople to bring about the desired acceptance of the Florentine “Decretum Unionis” (Laetentur Coeli), but, before he could succeed in his mission, the city fell (1453) before the advancing hordes of Mohammed II.

Now, this was a reconciliation regarding certain doctrines or dogmas from which the EO had refused to accept from the RCC.
Among others:
Original Sin
The Filioque
Purgatory
The Patriarchs or their reps. accepted the definitions coming out of the Council. Thus the glad tone of the above quote.
When the EO leadership returned to the East, guess what happened?
The members, including the laity told them in essence to drop dead and take their decrees with them.
This should be a lessen to all that conversion is PRIMARILY one-to-one, NOT mass conversion by way of convincing the talking heads of a group…which is being attempted yet again today.
Florence was a set of agreed decrees that in no way obscured the Teachings of the RCC for the sake of getting along. If anything, they were more clearly and firmly established.
Nevertheless, the reconciling attempt failed and today we have an even more distrustful relationship with the EO than ever.
IF you want to declare Florence as a “pure ecumenism” go right ahead. But, you must also declare that same “pure ecumenism” as an utter failure of ecumenism such as it was. A lesson for our time.
560 years later, we have the great eastern schism remaining in all its shame and as hardcore as it’s ever been.


#13

[quote=Ghosty]have you read the Council of Florence, and the accounts of the discussions that went on there? Absolute, pure Ecumenism.
[/quote]

And discussions, thank God, ended well:

****Council of Florence (1438-1445) (****From the Bull “Cantate Domino”, February 4, 1441) It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.


#14

TNT: I’ve actually discussed the failure of Florence in many threads here, espescially in the Eastern Christian forums. The failure had nothing to do with Ecumenism, but linguistics.

By all means keep grinding that axe. Just be sure you still have a blade left to cut with when your done. In other words, try to ensure that it comes to a point.

barsapp: Yup, and that’s been the Church teaching before and since. Ecumenism has absolutely no affect on that.

Peace and God bless!


#15

[quote=Ghosty]TNT: I’ve actually discussed the failure of Florence in many threads here, espescially in the Eastern Christian forums. The failure had nothing to do with Ecumenism
[/quote]

What exactly is ecumenism?


#16

[quote=Ghosty]TNT: Care to supply your reference for Ecumenism meaning world socialism and one world religion?

Peace and God bless!
[/quote]

The UN :
by its very nature and declared aims, the UN seeks to embody the Modern State and to act as the supreme organ of the Universal Republic, the long-held dream of revolutionaries past and present.
Paul VI :
1965 UN:
“Our message desires, above all, to be a solemn, moral ratification of this high Institution [United Nations]. This message is born from our historical experience. It is as a ‘specialist in humanity’ that we bring to this Organization the approval of our predecessors, the whole Catholic Episcopate and our own, convinced as we are that this Organization represents the obligatory pathway for modern civilization and world peace.” 22. Messaggio di Paolo VI all’ Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite, in La visita di Paolo VI alle Nazioni Unite (Vatican: Libreria Editrice, 1966), p. 59.
Pius IX:
Quibus quantisque, Blessed Pope Pius IX qualifies the seizure of the papal territories by the troops of Garibaldi and **Victor Emanuel ll as “the violent usurpation of this power [the temporal power of the Popes] which, by a singular disposition of Divine Providence, was given to the Roman Pontiff .
And again:
“Thanks to this condemnable writing, we can see, like one whose mask has been removed, the designs of the author and of all those who want to despoil the Holy See of her temporal sovereignty. What they want, the aim of their plots, is the destruction of our Most Holy Religion to its foundation.” 27. Pius IX, Allocution Multis gravibusque, December 17, 1860, in Recueil des allocutions, p. 429. .
To the Contrary - Paul VI
"He [the Pope] has no temporal power whatsoever, nor any ambition to compete with you. In fact, we have nothing to ask, no question to raise. At most, we ask only to express this desire, to make this request: that is, to be permitted to serve you in those matters within our competence, disinterestedly, with humility and love.” 24.
Messaggio di Paolo VI all’ Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite
, in La visita di Paolo VI alle Nazioni Unite (Vatican: Libreria Editrice, 1966), p. 58.
And again-for the goals of the UN:
**Liberty: **"What you proclaim here are the fundamental rights and duties of man, his dignity, his liberty and, before all else, religious liberty. We consider you the interpreters of the highest part of what there is in human wisdom, we would almost say, **its [the UN’s] sacred character." 31. Idem, p. 67.
Equality: "The logic of our desire, which addresses, one could say, the structure of your Organization, leads us to add yet other directives. They are the following: let no one, as a member of your union, be be superior to the others: no one above anyone else. It is the rule of equality. 30.
Ibid
., p. 63.
Fraternity: "Your vocation is to bring about fraternity not only among some peoples, but all peoples. Is this a difficult undertaking? Undoubtedly. But that is the mission, such is your very noble mission. Who cannot see the need ***to gradually establish a world authority *that can act efficaciously in the juridical and political spheres?
“Again, we repeat our desire: go forward! We will say more: Do so in such a way as to reunite those who have fallen away from you, study a means to bring to your pact of fraternity . . . those who still are not participating in it.” 29.
Ibid
., p. 62.
John Paul II does the same.


#17

[quote=Ghosty]TNT: I’ve actually discussed the failure of Florence in many threads here, espescially in the Eastern Christian forums. The failure had nothing to do with Ecumenism, but linguistics.

Peace and God bless!
[/quote]

Of course…LINGUISTICS…
The RCC insisted on a minimum of dogmatic solid LINGUISTICS. And, the EO membership told them to drop dead.
It ended up going noplace, which is what you get from hardcore heretics +/- ecumenism.


#18

[quote=USMC]What exactly is ecumenism?
[/quote]

I gave its entire essence, nature and results.
Let’s let GHOSTY have go at it. Perhaps a solid definition can be located in some Vatican document.

BTW:
Here’s one from the dictionary:
1. A movement promoting unity among Christian churches or denominations.
**2. **A movement promoting worldwide unity among religions through greater cooperation and improved understanding
**Noun****1.**ecumenism - (Christianity) the doctrine of the ecumenical movement that promotes cooperation and better understanding among different religious denominations: aimed at universal Christian unity.

Point: NO Conversion mentioned. No traditional evangelization either.
Notice that slithery word “UNITY”. NEVER UNITY OF FAITH…Just generic unspecified UNITY.


#19

[quote=TNT]I gave its entire essence, nature and results.
Let’s let GHOSTY have go at it. Perhaps a solid definition can be located in some Vatican document.

BTW:
Here’s one from the dictionary:
1. A movement promoting unity among Christian churches or denominations.
**2. **A movement promoting worldwide unity among religions through greater cooperation and improved understanding
**Noun****1.**ecumenism - (Christianity) the doctrine of the ecumenical movement that promotes cooperation and better understanding among different religious denominations: aimed at universal Christian unity.

Point: NO Conversion mentioned. No traditional evangelization either.
Notice that slithery word “UNITY”. NEVER UNITY OF FAITH…Just generic unspecified UNITY.
[/quote]

I think I may have found a good definition of ecumenism given by the magesterium. See if this sounds right.

Ecumenism: “[T]the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions… under the pretext of freedom and human dignity…” (Pope St. Pius X, Our Apostolic Mandate).

Sounds pretty accurate to me.


#20

[quote=USMC]I think I may have found a good definition of ecumenism given by the magesterium. See if this sounds right.

Ecumenism: “[T]the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions… under the pretext of freedom and human dignity…” (Pope St. Pius X, Our Apostolic Mandate).

Sounds pretty accurate to me.
[/quote]

Sounds pretty accurate to me too! All I’ve ever seen ecumenism do is promote indifferentism and doctrinal relativism.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.