I don’t think that’s entirely fair, but I’ll grant that there have been some negative effects.
In my own life I’ve been involved in quite a lot of Catholic-Evangelical ecumenism over the years. (Not ecumenism with liberal Protestants so much.) But in recent years I’ve come to see that Evangelical Protestantism can, in its own ways, be just as dangerous as liberal Protestantism is.
It is not easy to say which is more dangerous for the Catholic faith: an open attack or a sincere and friendly alternative offered by people of goodwill. I speak as a former anglo-catholic who studied and worshipped in tge same places as Newman.
To the first part of your post, all I can say is: Amen!
Yes, works are inseparably intertwined with faith, totally agree.
As to the part with faith alone allowing for an actually mediocre faith (I mean faith without real consequences to one’s behaviour) - Sola Fide is just a slogan, maybe poorly framed to fit with the other Solas. Together with Sola Scriptura, it is the most ambiguous one. That surely is a problem.
You see, it actually expresses a more complex theological idea. That is why back then Cardinal Ratzinger somewhat agreed with it. The issue I see is that Protestantism has steered away from complex theology and more into spiritualism and pietism. These ideas surely are nice, but much of the confusion we see today comes from people who were simply too poorly catechized in what they actually believe and are more concerned with good feels.
I think with enough clarification, Sola Fide may be compatible with the Catholic teaching. And that those two are maybe not conflicting but rather complementary views.
It depends, the former is direct and the latter is indirect. If you ask me, the latter appeals to the non-scholarly. For instance, telling others that the church you go to have modern worship music or a solid bible study, people will be more open to exploring other churches. The former appeals to the scholarly. If others debate and manage to find a flaw in your reasoning, then it will encourage you to go find out about the other person’s church.
A video by bluecollarcatholic, mentioned this, in the joint declaration on the doctrine of justification between catholics and lutheran have came to an understanding on this:
"We confess together that sinners are justified by faith in the saving action of God in Christ. By the action of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, they are granted the gift of salvation, which lays the basis for the whole Christian life. They place their trust in God’s gracious promise by justifying faith, which includes hope in God and love for him. Such a faith is active in love and thus the Christian cannot and should not remain without works. But whatever in the justified precedes or follows the free gift of faith is neither the basis of justification nor merits it " --> Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (1997)
So, the huge disagreement would be the operational definition, rather than the result of it. Personally, I just find the protestant view of sola fide to be confusing, but many I known have came to accept this as part of their christian life.
I was raised in a feel good pentecostal church, so I have to admit that there are many who attend based on emotional assent. My mother had a church group leader who left the church during the recession after being retrenched from his job and cannot understand why God caused him to be retrenched. And usually, these leaders are meant to minister to 10-20 members. This wasn’t all, my family started to veer away from the faith altogether and stopped going to the pentecostal church. For this reason, it set me on a journey to discover the catholic faith, as I wanted to find a genuine faith as illustrated in early christianity in Acts 2, where each day, they devoted themselves to apostle teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer (Acts 2.42).
Unfortunately Trent addressed the issues by doubling down on many of them. There is no doubt that many of the most egregious abuses such as simony and the educational system for the clergy were addressed. The doctrinal errors however were largely codified during the Council of Trent. I would also point out that by the time the Council of Trent occurred, the Lutheran Church was already established with the declaration of the Augsburg Confession 16 years before Trent began. The Augsburg Confession was rejected by the Catholic Church in the Confutation, which even Emperor Charles believed was childish and poorly written.
The Evangelical Catholic Church who also wrote, collected, and canonized the books of the NT which we call scripture, and actually bases our doctrine on what the apostles handed down in scripture begs to differ. The difference is we can back it up with something more than, “Because I said so.”
Breaking away from the Church wasn’t necessary to begin with. But it happened.
But that was 500 years ago, and in more recent history the blessed, slow-moving Church has seen and stated that Protestants are Christians, too.
As a cradle Catholic who attended CCD, we were taught that Protestants are our cousins in Christ, and this was in the 60s. That’s it. Everything else was learning about Christ’s life, then understanding and receiving the Sacramento, then serving our communities.
It was non-Catholic Christian’s who started getting in my face with regard to Church teaching, when I was a teenager. At first I listened and wasn’t overly concerned. But when the rudeness escalated I was like excuse me…
Especially when I saw how some people my age and older who knocked the Church but called themselves Christians lived their lives. And this was all before I got out of high school.
I believe that some form of reformation was necessary, but not the idea of Protestantism. There is a lack of an over-arching authority in the protestant structure. Coming from an anglican background, which has some degree of hierarchial system, there are vast differences in beliefs towards church doctrines and liturgy amongst anglicans.
Charity/Love is something that is not well understood during my years as a protestant, Jesus gave the command to love your neighbour as yourself. Some of the peers I know focused solely on the faith aspect, they believed that through their faith, they are justified and have little to no reason to care for others. So their idea is that catholics are justified by works only (pelagianism) and it challenges their initial notion. Instead of trying to get to know Catholics, they choose the easy way out by hating the Catholics and assuming they aren’t followers of Christ. So, I can definitely empathise with your story.
One of the Church-bashing Protestants I knew who felt free to rudely confront me regularly, got really annoyed when I tried to clumsily convey (as a teen) that I wasn’t offended that their family hated Catholics. This person got super annoyed at this, and said it wasn’t true.
After having rousing discussions online, I came to the conclusion that it is better to say some dislike CatholiCISM. I love many Protestants, but ProtestantISM confuses me…
That said, the person who I asked to pray for a situation and got the fastest “yes” I know is a Protestant. Who like us all is not a perfect person, but wow was I impressed!
Some who hate ecumenism are extreme Protestants - since (as a mere Protest Movement) Protestantism has only survived because
it has been hostile to Rome; and
Rome has been hostile to Protestantism.
Hence, when St John XXIII said “let’s be kind to those Protestant so-and so’s !” Protestantism found itself standing only on one leg and has been ever since; hence is now tottering.
Thus a fanatical Scottish pastor called the Reverend Stone (he died a few years ago) constantly bought supplies of plaster busts of John XXIII, which he enjoyed destroying by hurling them down from a height. He say clearly that John XXIII and ecumenism are lethal enemies of Protestantism - since when a Protestant no longer believes that the Roman Catholic Church is the Romish Anti-Christ, the Scarlet Woman, the Whore of Babylon (etc etc) he or she no longer has a valid excuse for not being a Catholic !