Legitimate ecumenism with Protestant denominations possible?


I have a good friend whose favorite saying is, “Everybody’s Catholic, they just don’t know it.” I think there is some truth to it.
But for legitimate ecumenism to occur, the RCC might not have to alter its doctrine so much as it needs to be more inclusive and welcoming of those of other faiths. After all, like Bishop Sheen said, “there are not a hundred people in the world who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they think it is.”
My two cents.

Edited to ask the question, How many of you (Catholics) have listened to someone run down the RCC and you know they have no idea of what they are talking about because the only information they have, comes from those who have a reason to cast half truths and completely false understanding.


God can make anything possible


The Baptists claim apostolic progression. There was Peter and the apostles. When the first division in the church came, it was over infant baptism. There they say, they broke away and became ANAPEDABAPTISTS. Anyway, that’s what they think.
I don’t know here. God’s view will be different than man’s view. I know wonderful in love w GOD, missionary Protestants. Evangelizing places in Myanmar. Exemplary life, serving God. God is not going to care about apostolic roots. Oneway of looking at it, the other denominations started w Catholicism and changed. Hence, they’re grafted on an apostolic ladder.
May God show in our Spirits, how He looks at this.
In Jesus name


Please define what you mean by ecumenism.


The first line in the Decree of Ecumenism is, “The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only.”

Unity appears to be the clear goal, and I don’t think that means compromise on the part of Catholics.


By its very definition, ecumenism cannot mean doctrinal compromise, since the Catholic Church professes that it teaches the fullness of the truth. (And as a result, ecumenical initiatives are very difficult.)


Ecumenism is seeking corporate reconciliation with separated groups, rather than just as individuals. If it was impossible for those without apostolic succession, we wouldn’t have the Anglican Ordinariate (a corporate reunion with some Anglican bodies).


I guess I don’t really understand the term “corporate reconciliation”. What it sound like to be is coming to terms on procedural matters in order to reunite at an organizational level. If so, that’s sounds great but I fear even small doctrinal compromises may adversely affect the Church.
I see changes at my parish that really test my faith in the hierarchy. Most recently it’s the introduction of the Alpha program, which falls into the ecumenical category but with compromise on the part of the Church. It’s a program that’s intended to bring people into the Church, but the core program is entirely Protestant. I was told that they’ll add the Catholic part of it after the 10 week Protestant course. I have a lot of trouble reconciling that.


Why would it imply doctrinal compromises?

I haven’t participated in a Catholic Alpha program, but I find that hard to believe. My understanding is that there’s a distinct Catholic program for Alpha.

Do you have any examples that demonstrate how Alpha ‘compromises’ Catholic teaching? :thinking:


There can be no compromise when it comes to the truth. From the papal encyclical on ecumenism, 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.



When citing Vatican II document on Ecumenism, keep in mind the context. The bishops at Vatican II assumed the validity of the Natural Law, and the whole of the common Christian Tradition. They referred to ecclesial communities that mostly shared those, which AT THAT TIME included most Protestants.

This did not mean they advised hostility towards various cults that existed then. But the Church’s relationship with cults would be one of respect, not ecumenism.

Since Vatican II many mainline Protestant groups that were orthodox then, have moved far beyond the Natural Law and the common Christian Tradition. Vatican II should guide us to respond to the current situation, not pretend those groups are still appropriate for “ecumenism”. In other words, we would try to be “respectful” with the Mormons and Episcopalians now, but “ecumenical” with, perhaps, LCMS and Anglican Continuum.

We should not respond to religious organizations as they were during Vatican II, but as they are now.


Ecumenism with Protestants is possible, but I haven’t seen an incredible amount of it lately.

Good examples of ecumenism: When Catholics and Protestants come together to pray outside of abortions mills. – When Catholics and Protestants come together to study the scriptures and discuss.

False ecumenism: When Catholics must hide elements to their faith so as to not offend (for instance, keeping out the Blessed Mother [this happens]).


It’s simply not Catholic teaching. From what I’ve read, they take an evangelical protestant approach, even though it’s supposed to be non-denominational. They imply Sola Scriptura, an individualistic Christianity (Jesus and me), and they leave out 5 of the sacraments. They teach that the Eucharist is symbolic and during the weekend retreat they offer their version of the holy communion for everyone. Consider that last part for a moment.
I think the biggest problem with it is that people just beginning to learn about Christianity will get the impression that being Catholic is just optional, a veneer of sorts, flavoring on the ice cream. Yes, I realize that there is a Catholic follow up for the program for those who want to take it, but that in itself is suggesting the Catholic faith is just an optional add on.


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