Can ecumenism result in losing Catholics to other faiths?

The bible says not to marry people of other faiths (though this was in the OT and said to the Jews). Does this mean we should not mingle too much with people of other faiths in case they end up convincing/converting us that our faith is not the correct one?

‘Ecumenism’ and ‘inter-faith dialogue’ are two distinct and quite different things.

Ecumenism centers on dialogue between Christians. From a Catholic perspective, its goal is to bring non-Catholic Christians into contact with the fullness of the truth (as understood by the Church). Therefore, it isn’t a discussion with adherents to “other faiths.”

Inter-faith dialogue, on the other hand, takes place with those who do not believe in Christ (e.g., Muslims, Jews, etc).

I think I would assert that, if you’re looking at the Scriptural prohibitions and trying to apply them yourself to today’s situation vis-a-vis ecumenism (that is, not by looking at what the Church already says about mixed marriages and disparity of cult), then you wouldn’t be looking at non-Catholic Christians… right? So, that would mean that you couldn’t claim that ecumenism leads to drawing people to other faiths… right? :hmmm:

No, it should be the other way round. If you are mature and confident in your belief, nothing should be able to shake you but instead you would rise like an eagle, be a light and shines for all to see, that when they see you, they will give glory to God who loves you.

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

Not necessarily. If one’s Faith is weak and a non Catholic is trying to get them from Catholicism, then yes, but there were cases when not so. A Muslim servant converted to Catholicism by seeing the way the young St Alphonsus Liguori lived.

If you don’t mingle with non-Catholics, or non-Christians, how would you ever be able to evangelize?

Of course, there’s a gargantuan potential for presumption here, and since pride is a vice that utterly blinds us, I’m not so sure erring on the side of caution is a bad idea.

Having the guts to tell someone they need Jesus Christ and His Church may not be what the OP means by “mingling too much” with others. If he means being around others full stop, you’re quite right, and that inclination would be disordered.

I read the OP to mean the latter. And my comment was geared toward that.

I think some of the others have stated it well…that it depends on how strong your faith is. Probably best to ask a priest on that one. In general, I think it is probably dangerous to be around those of other faiths (when daily duty does not require it, or it’s family) since they don’t live the Catholic faith. Even if they have some similarities to us in faith and morals, they are not living the same mission as us. They do need to see good Catholic examples, but even more so they need our prayers and sacrifice. God will put us in their company if He feels they’d benefit from good 'ole Catholic evangelization. :wink:

My point is this:

Is there a contradiction between Gods word (ie the bible) where it says not to intermarry with people of other faiths …and the churches promotion of ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue?

Ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue is not infallible doctrine that we must follow. So should we just follow what the bible says and stay clear of spending too much time with people of other faiths. I’m not saying avoid them altogether, but avoid getting too cosy with them to the point where some of us with weaker faith might get corrupted by them?

So is ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue a fools errand? And therefore should we take the bibles advice instead.

I don’t see how you get from “the Bible it says not to intermarry with people of other faiths” to “the Bible says, stay clear of spending too much time with people of other faiths” There are many people I am friends with who I’d never consider marrying, for many reasons, and belief differences are some of them…

It’s also really ironic how the whole idea that people should just “take the Bible’s advice” is actually NOT a Catholic belief, it is a Protestant one.

So, perhaps you yourself need to stay clear of Protestants as your comments already show their influence, but I would be cautious of generalizing from your experience to all Catholics.

As Peter taught (emphasis mine)

2 Pet 1:5 “For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall;** 11 so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

In that hierarchy of 8 attributes Peter lists, that we are to add to our faith in ever increasing amounts, notice education is 2nd on Peter’s list. Taking that important point in particular, Catholics then are not just to know our faith, we are to add knowledge to the faith knowledge in ever increasing amounts (meaning never stop learning) or the Catholic will fall.

So the questions are:

[LIST=1]
*]How many Catholics can say they add knowledge of their faith in ever increasing amounts? If Catholics don’t do what Peter taught, how many got picked off or just drifted away from the faith?
*]If a Catholic doesn’t know their faith, then they don’t possess it. Can one pass on to anyone, something they don’t possess themselves?
*]If a Catholic, ignorant in their faith, meets up with a non Catholic who has taken even a modicum of interest in their own faith, who then becomes the teacher and who ends up being taught in that exchange?
[/LIST]
IMV ecumenism, hasn’t worked out as expected. That’s just my observation.

For several years, I was involved in “ecumenism” … at the request of my pastor … and the non-catholics wanted NOTHING to do with it. [He had to report to his bishop.]

The ONLY way to get the non-Catholics [Protestants] to participate was to water down the Catholic part. [The few that participated did it as a personal favor to the Catholic pastor because they knew he had to report to his bishop.]

Jews REFUSED TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT AND EVEN FOUND OTHER PLACES TO WORSHIP TO AVOID HAVING ANYTHING TO DO WITH US.

Muslims ADAMANTLY REFUSED. *

[Why would any Christians want to “participate” in Sharia?]

[Why would Christian *women want to have ANYTHING to do with Sharia?]

I also have friends that are Mormons and friends that are Hindu and friends that are Buddhist and friends that are of other sects and denominations.

And many friends who left the Catholic Church because they just didn’t know anything about Catholicism. Priest friends have complained to me that they were forbidden to teach. They could preach but not teach.

On a number of occasions, I have been in a public place and have had non-Catholic friends throw a dig in my direction … an insult against Catholicism. I just smile and wave.

I think the traditional definition of ecumenism was the unity of all Christians in the Catholic Church. In recent times (50 years) the definition is more a unity among the Christian churches. If the goal of the inter-faith dialogue is to learn about religious cultures, their religious beliefs, etc., and the focus is not on conversion, then yes, it’s a fools errand. “Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. (CCC 846)”

God bless**

You mean they couldn’t make logical arguments in defense of the Catholic faith? In other words, they weren’t allowed to use Catholic apologetics?

That sounds daft. We all learn and develop our faith in different ways. I’ve found Catholic apologetics a big help to me.

want to have ANYTHING to do with Sharia?]

I also have friends that are Mormons and friends that are Hindu and friends that are Buddhist and friends that are of other sects and denominations. :thumbsup:

And many friends who left the Catholic Church because they just didn’t know anything about Catholicism. Priest friends have complained to me that they were forbidden to teach. They could preach but not teach.

However, many like myself are coming home at last. (See My Testimony)

Which is still true today. A priest is bound to preach in his homilies. That’s what they are for.

It takes a special dispensation from his bishop to allow teaching homilies and I know of parishes that have come under attack from local anti-Catholic efforts to proselytize their congregations that have actually obtained such permission and used it effectively to counter the assault. One I heard of ended up with the Catholic Church growing and becoming stronger and the a-Cs abandoning the community in a few months.

It is important to make good use of apologetics resources (Like CA and CAF for example) and make one’s pastor aware when such situations occur so the parish can respond. One thing to remember is that even without the teaching homilies a pastor can still open study groups outside of Mass to meet the challenges as well as include apologetics articles in the weekly bulletin.

Ecumenism is not the problem because it is defined as "the* aim of unity among all Christian churches throughout the world"* which is well and good but it has nothing at all to do with proselytism. Moreover, there really are very few situations where ecumenical efforts are needed. In my own community, our parish has an ecumenical role in disaster relief, a free clinic, a couple of goodwill type stores, and feeding homeless children in the local schools, but beyond that nothing like communal services.

On a number of occasions, I have been in a public place and have had non-Catholic friends throw a dig in my direction … an insult against Catholicism. I just smile and wave.

See my explanation above Harry.:slight_smile:

Agreed. Ecumenism from the Catholic standpoint is for the unity of Christianity. In practical reality this often happens when we find common ground to come together in prayers and even liturgical worship.

There are not many such situations and both parties have to agree on what will happen so as not to touch on each other sensitivities especially as it should not be a place for proselytizing. Thus an ecumenical activity has to be set up first before it can happen.

Many Catholics have the wrong understanding on this in that when we do not pray the Hail Mary or celebrate the Eucharist, we are being suppressed. Similarly Protestants would not want an ecumenical function if they feel there is an element of proselytization.

We normally have our Bishop to approve our participation in an ecumenical function though some Catholics may not be aware of this. IOW, it is more between the churches concerned and thus the more highlighted events would be between the heads of the churches respectively.

Stronger together for what, and how? “A kingdom divided amongst itself cannot stand” Mark 3:24. The Catholic Church does not have the same mission as other denominations, otherwise they would all be in one church. Thus a united “church”, as it might be called, with divided missions and beliefs cannot stand as Christ says in this scripture quote. That is why the true Church has always had four marks, ONE, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.

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.