I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately (CAF has a tendency to make me do that ), and have been reading about some people’s Masses becoming too “evangelical” (clapping, liturgical dance, etc.) and some Protestants “pope-ing out” if they condone anything Catholic.
So my question is this: Can there EVER be unity? What do you think must happen in order for true unity between Catholics and Protestants? What would you do about it, if it were up to you?
I tell ya, if I could ever be a saint, I’d ask God to allow me to be the patron saint bringing Catholics and Protestants together. Such disunity, prejudices and distrust really ache my heart.
If you wish for unity, and as Christians, so you should, then you need to relax your definition of what being Catholic means, and protestants need to relax heir definition of protestantism. While you both imitate the exclusive bretheren, not only will the schism persist, but more scisms will form. We can see the seeds of this in evangelicals going queer-bashing, and in Rome’s outright condemnation of Anglican female orders.
People who cry for fundamentalism should check their fundamentals.
I wouldn’t ask for something like that, even in a lighthearted way.
So many people died for their faith during the Reformation that it is unlikely that the person to eventually repair the damage will be able to do it without a lot of personal sacrifice.That’s the problem, Unity isn’t really about political fixes. It is about conversion of heart. That applies as much to us as to them.
The Church, of Jesus Christ, is, always was, and always shall be - ONE and UNITED. There exists no “division” in the “Church” founded by Jesus Christ, division that is regarding what must be believed in order to be “Catholic”.
Those who “dissagree” say with anything required to be believed- well they are excommunicated “ipso-facto” and are no longer part of the Church. No formal decree of excommunication is needed.
So you can never see a “Catholic” claiming they do not believe in things such as “Transubstantiation” or the “Immaculate Conception”. If they say they don’t believe those things, they are not Catholic and excommunicated for not holding the Catholic belief.
This however “does not count” for those who are Catholic yet are ignorant of such things. An example is the Nicene Creed. We as Catholics must believe in every single line in that Credo- yet some do not fully understand some lines in it.
As far as the Liturgy goes… well here we go again to the way Mass was done before 1965 and how it is done today. Before 1965 Mass was the same EVERYWHERE, nobody did things “different” in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church because the priest was required to follow the Roman Missal to the T. The Missal even told him where to look- at certain times. Mass was everywhere in Latin- no matter what part of the world you were in. Music was also under strict control- no songs singing about ourselves and no heretical “Amazing Grace” allowed at Mass.
No, I can’t say that I miss anyone at my former fellowship (a tiny evangelical offshoot of about 30 people tops). Though I am VERY thankful for how many of them prayed for my marriage and one couple mentored my husband and me through some nasty times. Very thankful!
Perhaps my sadness at disunity, come to think of it, stems from family discord. My mother hates everything about the Catholic church, and even though other family members wouldn’t say anything, I’m fairly certain they’re thinking the same things my mother is. I’ve prayed that the Blessed Mother would show herself to my mom, and lead her back to a fullness of Jesus Christ.
Methinks I should encompass ALL my protestant family members and my protestant brethren around the world in that prayer, too.
Unfortunately there is a over generalization when referring to catholic and protestant. For example. We can make progress with Lutherans (such as the Joint declaration) where it would be impossible to do the same with say a baptist. They are different schools of thought and belief. The same can be said regarding Presbyterian, Anglican, Evangelical (of many many different flavors) Reformed, Pentecostals, Oneness Pentecostals, Church of Christ, etc etc.
Each has it’s own belief system which would be required to bend or dump completely if it were to meld with the others. For example Reformed believe in double predestination. This does not square with catholic theology and never will. They are incompatible. However it is also incompatible with the other above mentioned groups as well. And that’s just one issue.
Bottom line is God isn’t a democracy, though people think this is what the kingdom and ecumenism really is. There are as many issues as there are churches. Some other churches, the original break aways of the reformation for example, Anglican, Lutheran and so on are easier to end the schism with. But that isn’t really true of those who broke from those groups and created their own schisms.
You ask a very deep question that is intimately connected with the apocalypse. This is because the apocalypse ultimately concerns God’s Plan for the Redemption of the entire human race. And seeing as the Catholic Church is the very vehicle for this, and that the urgency needed in humanity to be redeemed is that they possess the fullness of truth and grace, so ecclesiological rifts, which usually harm both truth and grace, are deeply and intrinsically connected with the Plan. And we have seen in the last Millennium that because of sin in Christ’s Church, terrible rifts have rent asunder the totality of the disciples of Christ, first with a Great Schism, then later with an explosion of geometrically progressing Heresy. And this confounding and division has certainly been a primary factor in what is now the great loss of faith in the civilizations that used to be culturally Christian.
Hence, Jesus prayed in John 17, “Father I pray that they may be one, even as You and I are one, in order that the world may believe that you sent me.” But because they have NOT been one, the world has NOT been able to believe. So then the question remains, can they be restored? ("… that they may be brought to perfection as one?") And if so, can the world regain faith? I believe, in unison with the majority of the mystics that the answer is YES.
But it shall be painful. For no spiritual good comes without suffering. So then the same mystics prophesy of a minor chastisement that may be needed to restore unity.
I can lead you to some articles of mine, twosweetgirls, if you would like further elaboration.
I agree with what John Paul II said in Ut Unum Sint:
The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? The Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae attributes to human dignity the quest for truth, “especially in what concerns God and his Church”,33 and adherence to truth’s demands. A “being together” which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart.
This is a good point–sometimes our use of common parlance can obscure this fact. When we say we desire unity of all Christians, we are really saying we want all who call on Christ to embrace the unity He already bestows on His Church. (see Ut Unum Sint, paragraph 9).
Sorry, I did not mean you, I was referring to those who wish to keep their churches purer than pure, and forgetting Our Lord’s over-riding commandment: To love one another.
Carol, I didn’t mean to just “invite Protestants into the mix and expect us all to agree”.
My meaning was: Look at what those you see as outsiders see as objectionable, and see if it is possible to relax your insistance thereon. Look at how the Gentile Church was started. Originally, all had to be circumcized Jews, (in the modern sense of the word ‘Jew’).
All I meant was that it’s just so sad that there has to be such division.
Yes, and division is caused by mistaken fundamentalism.
having a lot of contact with evangelicals through RCIA and youth work, most deplore anything in their worship that smacks of what they call pentecostal, in which they include clapping, liturgical dance, as well as speaking in tongues and other more spectacular behaviors.
that being said, I have often wondered of the first step to restoring Christian unity is restoring unity among the dissenters. The reformers split almost immediately, giving the Protestant the two trends Lutheran and Calvinist, the reformed, and their antagonists, the Anabaptists (whom the others persecuted mercilessly). Similarly the Orthodox split along national, political and ethnic lines, and some restoration of unity is needed there as well. Perhaps when that starts to happen hopes for full unity may be on the way.