[quote=Contarini]That is my understanding of the orthodox Catholic view of ecumenism. Any comments?
A very informative article: Vatican II & Ecumenism: What did the Council Really Say? (By Pete Vere, JCL) (entire artticle available at posted link; excerpted below)
The Spirit of Ecumenical Dialogue
"… They believe ecumenical dialogue waters down the Church’s doctrine and must necessarily lead to the heresy of religious indifferentism (the idea that differences in religion are essentially unimportant). A few even argue that ecumenism itself is heresy. They think ecumenism must necessarily entail a watering down of the Catholic Church’s traditional teaching that she alone is the Church founded by Christ — that she alone is the Ark of Salvation under the New Covenant…"
In making such charges, these individuals fail to take into account the Church’s perennial Tradition. Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation on reconciliation and penance, both addresses and clarifies where the Church stands concerning ecumenical dialogue. In fact, the Holy Father goes beyond mere ecumenical dialogue to include all dialogue in which the Church presently engages with the purpose of bringing about true reconciliation among people.
"…First of all, Pope John Paul addresses the concern that ecumenical dialogue is being used to propagate religious indifferentism. He reiterates that dialogue “can never begin from an attitude of indifference to the truth.” He reminds Christians never to approach ecumenical dialogue with an indifference towards the truth.
In this way the Holy Father authoritatively closes the door to the possible false usage, or abuse, of ecumenical dialogue. He then reiterates the Second Vatican Council’s Catholic principles governing the Church’s involvement in ecumenical dialogue. He explains that all dialogue in which the Church is engaged, including that with our separated brethren, “must begin from a presentation of truth…”
COUNCIL OF TRENT
If we accept the Council of Trent as an authentic expression of Catholic Tradition (as Catholics are obliged to do), then such objections fail to take into account Catholic Tradition. For in the documents of Trent’s thirteenth session, we read:
The sacred and holy, general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost … grants, as far as regards the holy Synod itself, to all and each one throughout the whole of Germany, whether ecclesiastics or seculars, of whatsoever degree, estate, condition, quality they be, who may wish to repair to this ecumenical and general Council, the public faith and full security, which they call a safe-conduct … so as that they may and shall have it in their power in all liberty to confer, make proposals, and treat on those things which are to be treated of in the said Synod; to come freely and safely to the said ecumenical Council, and there remain and abide, and propose therein, as well in writing as by word of mouth, as many articles as to them shall seem good, and to confer and dispute, without any abuse or contumely, with the Fathers, or with those who may have been selected by the said holy Synod; as also to withdraw whensoever they shall think fit.
We should make several important observations here.
First, the Council of Trent both invited and offered safe passage to Protestants who wished to come and participate at this ecumenical council.
Second, Trent invited Protestants of all social and ecclesiastical rank to share their theological views, propose topics for debate, and generally participate in the daily affairs of this ecumenical council.
Third, Trent allowed Protestants to withdraw at any time.
Finally, Trent invited Protestants to be more than simply observers.
Clearly, at Trent the Church issued an invitation to ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Protestants. And since Lutheranism enveloped most of the German nation around the time of the council, this invitation was much broader than the invitation extended to a handful of Protestant theologians at Vatican II. Trent even permitted the Protestants attending the Council a greater level of participation than was allowed to the Protestant theologians observing Vatican II…"