Questions on Ecumenism

How, in your opinion has post-conciliar ecumenism affected the Catholic Church? Does it seem that, to please other religions, there is pressure on Catholics to deny the past teachings of the Church? Has our Catholic faith been watered down to hide the Truths that the Church has constantly defended and upheld over the centuries?

We used to strive for conversions to the Catholic faith, but it seems now the focus has changed to love, rather than conversion, for our separated brethren. If conversion is not the goal of ecumenism, then what is? Are we to co-exist happily with non-Catholic religions and respect each other’s practices and faith? Is that the end goal?

True ecumenism means bringing non-Catholics into the Catholic Church. Ecumenism can never mean coming to a “consensus” on what we believe with non-Catholic Christians or co-existing with them.

St. Pius X authorized a document to the Protestant sponsored international at Edinburgh in 1910 which states the following:

The elements of faith in which you all agree are numerous and are common to the various Christian bodies, and then can serve as a point of departure for your discussion… This is a work in which we in our day may well co-operate.

Pius XI said in his encyclical Mortalium Animos that authentic unity** “can be born of but one single authority, one sole rule of faith, and one identical Christian belief.”**

Thus it is clear that while we may engage in discussion with other Christian denominations about our common beliefs, we can never make ecumenism a point of consensus on faith and doctrine with non-Catholic Christians.

Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following regarding ecumenism:

822 Concern for achieving unity “involves the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike.”[287] But we must realize “that this holy objective - the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ - transcends human powers and gifts.” That is why we place all our hope “in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.”[288] (emphasis mine)

855 The Church’s mission stimulates efforts towards Christian unity.[357] Indeed, "divisions among Christians prevent the Church from realizing in practice the fullness of catholicity proper to her in those of her sons who, though joined to her by Baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all its aspects."[358] (emphasis mine)

The Church has always maintained that true unity among Christians can only exist in the Catholic Church. We may use our common beliefs as a starting point, but we can never use it as a reason not to seek conversions to the Catholic faith.

What has happened in the past 40 years is we have seen many in the hierarchy of the Church de-emphasize conversions. The prayer services at Assisi held by John Paul II are often criticized, but the real problem goes beyond these prayer services. We are being taught now that conversion to the Catholic faith isn’t necessary for salvation. We are being taught that there is truth in other non-Catholic Christian religions. While this is certainly true (nobody would deny Lutherans are correct about the Holy Trinity), it is being presented as just an “alternative” to the Catholic faith.

The faith isn’t being watered down. Remember, it is the same John Paul II who held the prayer services at Assisi that also approved the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states in paragraph 822 that the true unity of Christians can only come about in the Catholic Church.

The problem with current ecumenism is the same as every other problem in the Catholic Church. We have been deceived by many of the bishops into believing that conversions aren’t necessary. We have been deceived into believing one religion is as good as another and that we should just “get along” with non-Catholic Christians in particular and non-Catholics in general.

Certain bishops, priests, and theologians have been teaching a faith that is contrary to the Catholic faith for many years. However, they have been doing it in the name of the Catholic Church.

What we really need is to learn and practice true ecumenism. We need an end to religious indifferntism and be zealous for souls.

Fundamentalists and Evangelicals are zealous for souls. They have no problem getting conversions, most of whom are baptized Catholics.

We need the same zeal in the Catholic Church, but first we need to be taught true ecumenism and the need to win souls for Christ and bring them into the Church.

Remember, it is the same John Paul II who held the prayer services at Assisi that also approved the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states in paragraph 822 that the true unity of Christians can only come about in the Catholic Church.

Matthew 23
3 All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not.

It is the false irenicism condemned by the Second Vatican Council that has caused problems. John Paul II also lays out the specific goals of ecumenism here in Ut Unum Sint:

  1. Jesus himself, at the hour of his Passion, prayed “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). This unity, which the Lord has bestowed on his Church and in which he wishes to embrace all people, is not something added on, but stands at the very heart of Christ’s mission. Nor is it some secondary attribute of the community of his disciples. Rather, it belongs to the very essence of this community. God wills the Church, because he wills unity, and unity is an expression of the whole depth of his* agape*.

In effect, this unity bestowed by the Holy Spirit does not merely consist in the gathering of people as a collection of individuals. It is a unity constituted by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments and hierarchical communion.10 The faithful are one because, in the Spirit, they are in* communion* with the Son and, in him, share in his communion with the Father: “Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ" (1 Jn 1:3). For the Catholic Church, then, thecommunion of Christians is none other than the manifestation in them of the grace by which God makes them sharers in his own* communion*, which is his eternal life. Christ’s words “that they may be one” are thus his prayer to the Father that the Father’s plan may be fully accomplished, in such a way that everyone may clearly see “what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things” (Eph 3:9). **To believe in Christ means to desire unity; to desire unity means to desire the Church; to desire the Church means to desire the communion of grace which corresponds to the Father’s plan from all eternity. **Such is the meaning of Christ’s prayer: "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.

St. Pius X provides valuable advice for seeking conversions:

[LEFT]13. But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity. “For the Lord is not in the earthquake” (III Kings xix., II) - it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity. True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: “Accuse, beseech, rebuke,” but he took care to add: “with all patience” (II. Tim.iv., 2). Jesus has certainly left us examples of this. “Come to me,” we find Him saying, “come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you” (Matth. xi., 28). And by those that labor and are burdened he meant only those who are slaves of sin and error. What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master! What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery! Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: “I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax” (Is. xlii., I, s.). This charity, “patient and kind” (I. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. “We are reviled,” thus did St. Paul protest, “and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat” (I. Cor., iv., 12, s.). They perhaps seem to be worse than they really are. Their associations with others, prejudice, the counsel, advice and example of others, and finally an ill advised shame have dragged them to the side of the impious; but their wills are not so depraved as they themselves would seek to make people believe. Who will prevent us from hoping that the flame of Christian charity may dispel the darkness from their minds and bring to them light and the peace of God? It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]vatican.va/holy_father/pi…upremi_en.html[/LEFT]

St. Pius X provides valuable advice for seeking conversions:

[LEFT]13. But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity. “For the Lord is not in the earthquake” (III Kings xix., II) - it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity. True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: “Accuse, beseech, rebuke,” but he took care to add: “with all patience” (II. Tim.iv., 2). Jesus has certainly left us examples of this. “Come to me,” we find Him saying, “come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you” (Matth. xi., 28). And by those that labor and are burdened he meant only those who are slaves of sin and error. What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master! What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery! Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: “I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax” (Is. xlii., I, s.). This charity, “patient and kind” (I. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. “We are reviled,” thus did St. Paul protest, “and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat” (I. Cor., iv., 12, s.). They perhaps seem to be worse than they really are. Their associations with others, prejudice, the counsel, advice and example of others, and finally an ill advised shame have dragged them to the side of the impious; but their wills are not so depraved as they themselves would seek to make people believe. Who will prevent us from hoping that the flame of Christian charity may dispel the darkness from their minds and bring to them light and the peace of God? It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]vatican.va/holy_father/pi…upremi_en.html[/LEFT]

Wait, I may have to further restrict that:
http://www.seattleu.edu/lemlib/web_archives/Kasper/Kasperweb.jpg

[LEFT]“campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.”[/LEFT]

St. Pius X provides valuable advice for seeking conversions:

[LEFT]13. But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity. “For the Lord is not in the earthquake” (III Kings xix., II) - it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity. True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: “Accuse, beseech, rebuke,” but he took care to add: “with all patience” (II. Tim.iv., 2). Jesus has certainly left us examples of this. “Come to me,” we find Him saying, “come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you” (Matth. xi., 28). And by those that labor and are burdened he meant only those who are slaves of sin and error. What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master! What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery! Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: “I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax” (Is. xlii., I, s.). This charity, “patient and kind” (I. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. “We are reviled,” thus did St. Paul protest, “and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat” (I. Cor., iv., 12, s.). They perhaps seem to be worse than they really are. Their associations with others, prejudice, the counsel, advice and example of others, and finally an ill advised shame have dragged them to the side of the impious; but their wills are not so depraved as they themselves would seek to make people believe. Who will prevent us from hoping that the flame of Christian charity may dispel the darkness from their minds and bring to them light and the peace of God? It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]vatican.va/holy_father/pi…upremi_en.html[/LEFT]

St. Pius X provides valuable advice for seeking conversions:

[LEFT]13. But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity. “For the Lord is not in the earthquake” (III Kings xix., II) - it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity. True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: “Accuse, beseech, rebuke,” but he took care to add: “with all patience” (II. Tim.iv., 2). Jesus has certainly left us examples of this. “Come to me,” we find Him saying, “come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you” (Matth. xi., 28). And by those that labor and are burdened he meant only those who are slaves of sin and error. What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master! What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery! Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: “I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax” (Is. xlii., I, s.). This charity, “patient and kind” (I. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. “We are reviled,” thus did St. Paul protest, “and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat” (I. Cor., iv., 12, s.). They perhaps seem to be worse than they really are. Their associations with others, prejudice, the counsel, advice and example of others, and finally an ill advised shame have dragged them to the side of the impious; but their wills are not so depraved as they themselves would seek to make people believe. Who will prevent us from hoping that the flame of Christian charity may dispel the darkness from their minds and bring to them light and the peace of God? It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]vatican.va/holy_father/pi…upremi_en.html[/LEFT]

Wait, I may have to further restrict that:
http://www.seattleu.edu/lemlib/web_archives/Kasper/Kasperweb.jpg

[LEFT]“campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.”[/LEFT]

Wait, I may have to further restrict that:
http://www.seattleu.edu/lemlib/web_archives/Kasper/Kasperweb.jpg

[LEFT]“campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.”[/LEFT]

Wait, I may have to further restrict that:
http://www.seattleu.edu/lemlib/web_archives/Kasper/Kasperweb.jpg

[LEFT]“campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.”[/LEFT]

Wait, I may have to further restrict that:
http://www.seattleu.edu/lemlib/web_archives/Kasper/Kasperweb.jpg

[LEFT]“campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.”[/LEFT]

He’s wrong. As Pope Benedict said:

“By their mere existence, the twelve – called from different backgrounds – have become a summons to all Israel to conversion and to allow themselves to be reunited in a new covenant, full and perfect accomplishment of the old.”

Wait, I may have to further restrict that:
http://www.seattleu.edu/lemlib/web_archives/Kasper/Kasperweb.jpg

[LEFT]“campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable in the Catholic Church.”[/LEFT]

So why then is ecumenism such a failure? It hasn’t been implemented as intended, that is, to achieve conversions and unity with the one holy catholic and apostolic church. It has been a pacifier to other religions, an olive branch that extends love but is hollow inside. Empty and devoid of the truths that we are to spread in order to gain souls for the kingdom of heaven.

Based on the above responses, I think it’s safe to say that ecumenism has been a failure. It hasn’t been implemented to achieve conversions or unity with the one holy catholic and apostolic church. It has been a pacifier to other religions, an olive branch that extends love but is hollow inside. Empty and devoid of the truths that we are to spread in order to gain souls for the kingdom of heaven.

St. Pius X provides valuable advice for seeking conversions:

[LEFT]13. But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity. “For the Lord is not in the earthquake” (III Kings xix., II) - it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity. True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: “Accuse, beseech, rebuke,” but he took care to add: “with all patience” (II. Tim.iv., 2). Jesus has certainly left us examples of this. “Come to me,” we find Him saying, “come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you” (Matth. xi., 28). And by those that labor and are burdened he meant only those who are slaves of sin and error. What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master! What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery! Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: “I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax” (Is. xlii., I, s.). This charity, “patient and kind” (I. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. “We are reviled,” thus did St. Paul protest, “and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat” (I. Cor., iv., 12, s.). They perhaps seem to be worse than they really are. Their associations with others, prejudice, the counsel, advice and example of others, and finally an ill advised shame have dragged them to the side of the impious; but their wills are not so depraved as they themselves would seek to make people believe. Who will prevent us from hoping that the flame of Christian charity may dispel the darkness from their minds and bring to them light and the peace of God? It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]vatican.va/holy_father/pi…upremi_en.html[/LEFT]

St. Pius X provides valuable advice for seeking conversions:

[LEFT]13. But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity. “For the Lord is not in the earthquake” (III Kings xix., II) - it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal. On the contrary, harm is done more often than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity. True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: “Accuse, beseech, rebuke,” but he took care to add: “with all patience” (II. Tim.iv., 2). Jesus has certainly left us examples of this. “Come to me,” we find Him saying, “come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you” (Matth. xi., 28). And by those that labor and are burdened he meant only those who are slaves of sin and error. What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master! What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery! Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: “I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax” (Is. xlii., I, s.). This charity, “patient and kind” (I. Cor. xiii., 4.), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us. “We are reviled,” thus did St. Paul protest, “and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat” (I. Cor., iv., 12, s.). They perhaps seem to be worse than they really are. Their associations with others, prejudice, the counsel, advice and example of others, and finally an ill advised shame have dragged them to the side of the impious; but their wills are not so depraved as they themselves would seek to make people believe. Who will prevent us from hoping that the flame of Christian charity may dispel the darkness from their minds and bring to them light and the peace of God? It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]vatican.va/holy_father/pi…upremi_en.html[/LEFT]

He’s wrong. As Pope Benedict said:

**“By their mere existence, the twelve – called from different backgrounds – have become a summons to all Israel to conversion and to allow themselves to be reunited in a new covenant, full and perfect accomplishment of the old.” **

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