What are your feelings on ecumenism?


#1

first let me apologize beforehand if i’ve posted this in the worng place :slight_smile: mods, feel free to move it if it’s neccessary :slight_smile:

my question is, how do you feel about ecumenism? should we embrace our seperated bretheren and peaceably try to explain away their errors of our beliefs? should we reach out to them and try to understand their beliefs better and focus on our likenesses rather than our differences? or should we act as though because we have the fullness of the Truth that we are better than them and let them come to that knowledge on their own?

this is a huge pet peeve of mine, i guess because i’m a convert from a primarily Baptist background. i live in an area that is primarily either Baptist or Jehovah Witness and we only have 1 Catholic parish in town. so we really are a minority there. but one thing i think is just awesome is that my priest, in between his Sunday Mass’s goes across the street and talks to the Baptist church for their “breakfast and fellowship time” i think that’s great in that he welcomes and embraces them as having truth in what they teach without sacrificing what he believes adn teaches his flock as well.

what are your thoughts?


#2

Seems like there was a time in our faith where some folks burned non-believers at the stake…hmmm…that didn’t work out, and I doubt the Fire Marshal would give you permit to that sort of thing anymore, anyway.

What else can we do…oh yeah…love…let’s try that. Let’s just love them the same way we love ourselves. I believe Our Lord had that idea so we probably ought to try it. People like to be loved. In fact they tend to move towards those people whom they believe really love them.

You either have a great priest in your midst…or the Baptist just have better doughnuts. I suspect the former. I wish more priests would get out and evangelize.


#3

Ecumenism seems, to me, like beating a dead horse.
Obviously the Catholic Church cannot alter the Truth to make it more palatable to those who separated themselves from it.
It can only mean protestants changing to become Catholic again.
Protestants will tell you that they want to return to the pure, early Church model, I think nobody finds ‘soft versions’ of anything, attractive.
Historically, it seems that saints who founded very spartan, harsh and Holy orders, revived the Church and brought more converts and more interest in the ‘source’ that could motivate them to such happy extremes. :slight_smile:


#4

[quote=StCsDavid]Seems like there was a time in our faith where some folks burned non-believers at the stake…hmmm…that didn’t work out, and I doubt the Fire Marshal would give you permit to that sort of thing anymore, anyway.

What else can we do…oh yeah…love…let’s try that. Let’s just love them the same way we love ourselves. I believe Our Lord had that idea so we probably ought to try it. People like to be loved. In fact they tend to move towards those people whom they believe really love them.

You either have a great priest in your midst…or the Baptist just have better doughnuts. I suspect the former. I wish more priests would get out and evangelize.
[/quote]

Love. Now there’s a novelty you don’t hear too much of these days. I’m going to have to agree…let’s try love.

Mike


#5

I live in a town of about 1200 that is midway between two towns that have Catholic Churches, both with very small parishes. In my high school of about 350, there are three or four Catholics, and only one or two of us are active in our faith.

My feelings on ecumenism? It is difficult, but necessary for living in such an area. Most of the people here are Baptist, Pentacostal, or non-denominational, with a few strong Methodist, Lutheran, and Presbyterian congregations. Many of the denominations here that aren’t considered mainline Protestantism are quite unwilling to approach any sort of ecumenical activity. The Methodist minister in town, who is one of our Scoutmasters and a good friend of mine, attempted to lead an interfaith prayer service among the 20+ churches in our town for a town festival. Many of the congregations were very unwilling to participate. There is a lot of anti-Catholicism, and a lot of opposition to organized religion in general on the part of many of the non-denominational preachers in the area. Rather than wage spiritual warfare against them (or burn them at the stake…fire regulations again…hahahaha kidding) it is necessary to build love and understanding in order to bring unity. After all, in John 17 we hear the words of our Lord: Ut omnes unum sint–that all might be one. (Ironically, this is the motto on my parish’s coat of arms) I don’t think Jesus would have prayed to have 20+ congregations in town arguing over such theological doubts as which KJV revision is the correct one (and it happens quite a bit). Church-hopping because of congregational differences, pastoral differences, and doctrinal differences are certainly not what the Lord had in mind when he spoke those words. I believe that we must try to restore the light of truth to our brethren, “that all might be one.”

Dominus Vobiscum
Veni Sancte Spiritus
-ACEGC


#6

First of all, I think it is important to reach out to our seperated bretheren. I think those of us who came from non-Catholic backgrounds and/or have non-Catholic spouses probably have been given a special calling from God in this area.

I don’t think there is any one answer as to what we Catholics should do because each non-Catholic is non-Catholic for a different reason. Most people follow the religious tradition they were born into. Those that actively chose to go a different way might do it because they are following a family member or spouse, because they like the community, because the teaching/practices correspond to their beliefs, or for other reasons. Some people have very deep convictions while others are more ‘shallow’.

In most cases, the first step in reaching out to someone who is non-Catholic is just to be a decent person. I think that it is important to find common ground but it’s also important to understand where we disagree. I suspect most of us, Catholic and non-Catholic, are surprised to learn which are the beliefs we share and which are different. Many of us are surprised to learn what OWN beliefs are supposed to be.

But those of us that hang out on an apologetics forum need to keep in mind that we are the exceptions rather than the rule for Christians. Very few people, including apologists, make choices based which are intellectually driven. They are are usually relationship driven.


#7

**The Catholic Church is by far the largest, the most widespread, and the most ancient of Christian communions in the world, and is moreover the mighty trunk from which the other communions claiming to be Christian have broken off at one time or another.

If, then, we limit the application of the term Christendom to this, its most authentic expression, the unity of Christendom is not a lost ideal to be recovered, but a stupendous reality which has always been in stable possession. For not only has this Catholic Church ever taught that unity is an essential note of the true Church of Christ, but throughout her long history she has been, to the amazement of the world, distinguished by the most conspicuous unity of faith and government, and this notwithstanding that she has at all times embraced within her fold nationalities of the most different temperaments, and has had to contend with incessant oscillations of mental speculation and political power.

Still, in another and broader sense of the term, which is also the more usual and is followed in the present article, Christendom includes not merely the Catholic Church, but, together with it, the many other religious communions which have either directly or indirectly, separated from it, and yet, although in conflict both with it and among themselves as to various points of doctrine and practice agree with it in this: that they look up to our Lord Jesus Christ as the Founder of their Faith, and claim to make His teaching the rule of their lives**


#8

[quote=I Leatherman]Ecumenism seems, to me, like beating a dead horse. Obviously the Catholic Church cannot alter the Truth to make it more palatable to those who separated themselves from it. It can only mean protestants changing to become Catholic again. Protestants will tell you that they want to return to the pure, early Church model, I think nobody finds ‘soft versions’ of anything, attractive. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Why is it that so many see ecumenism as accepting each others Faith? It actually is accepting each other as persons, potentially learning more about each others beliefs. but not making the others beliefs ones own If there are some common beliefs well and good, but the goal is not to convert one another but to be united in those things held in common. If someone decides to convert that is their decision, but it is not the primary goal of ecumenism. It is not that total unity that Christ would like to see, but it is a small step in the right direction.


#9

Pope John XXIII stated and Pope John Paul II emphatically restated: “That which seperates us as followers of Christ is far less than that which unites us.”

I applaud your priest for going over to the other church. The simple sharing of doughnuts can be a powerful witness to the truth stated above.

peace

-Jim


#10

I think those of us who came from non-Catholic backgrounds and/or have non-Catholic spouses probably have been given a special calling from God in this area.

yes yes!!! i absolutely agree :slight_smile: i find it hard sometimes not to gush everything i’m feeling about what i’ve learned about Catholicism to my hubby who is still a non-Catholic. but like my priest said, you can’t beat someone over the head with the Truth. they have to seek it themselves and the best we can do is be the best witness to that Truth we can be.

Why is it that so many see ecumenism as accepting each others Faith?

that’s what i’d like to know. while yes we as Catholics should wish that all convert to our Faith, we should still respect the differences of others and acknowledge like it says in the CCC that there is truth in other faiths and yet we are all still one Body.

I applaud your priest for going over to the other church. The simple sharing of doughnuts can be a powerful witness to the truth stated above

absolutely :slight_smile: i feel terribly blessed to have such a priest. he is so respectful of others while holding onto his own beliefs :slight_smile:


#11

JP II said that Christ wanted ll Christians to unite - so we should embrace the common goal, which Jesus already defined, as love of Christ, and acknowledge the differences while working together (he said it better than me). He felt very strongly that the religions should work together, certainly not fight.

His position is explained very well in his biography Witness to Hope. Love is truly the way and that is because it is what Christ wants of us all.


#12

Hello Kimber,

I was reading a post from a recent Catholic convert on another thread. He had been delving deep into his new religion of Catholocism. He was discouraged to find that the Catholic Church holds people anathematized if they do not believe in Real Presence. It was pointed out that most Catholic encyclicals, dogmas and cannons have spiritual death anathemas enforcing them. It was also pointed out that papal bindings of anathema are only held binding on Catholics and not Protestants.

It was not that the convert did not believe in real presence and other Church teachings, but that now, as a Catholic, he had all these spiritual death punishments hanging over his head which the Church teaches he did not have as a Protestant. Of course with automatic excommunication for leaving the Catholic Church and going back to his Protestant religion, he could not do this either.

It seems that it is far safer to remain a Protestant, now, securely within the bosom of the Catholic Church through Protestant baptism and yet outside the threat of papal bindings which remove, Catholics only, from the bosom of the Catholic Church.

It seems that the Catholic Church was in such a hurry to fix the old “no salvation outside the Church” that they forgot that the whole of past Church teaching have their foundation on this concept. There was no need to bind Protestants to papal bindings in the past because Protestants were outside of salvation to begin with. So now we have a delema where faithful to the Church Catholics, remaining in the Church for milleniums of generations, are at a huge spiritual life disadvantage over the Protestants due to an ecumenical quick fix.

It does not seem fair to me. I tell Protestants, thinking of converting, are you sure you want to do this? Let me explain a few things.

Some say Pope John Paul II abolished spiritual death anathema’s from the CCC in 1984. We are discussing this at Did JP2 abolish anathema spiritual death Church punishments?

CANON I.-If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.****AnathemaIn passing this sentence, the pontiff is vested in amice, stole, and a violet cope, wearing his mitre, and assisted by twelve priests clad in their surplices and holding lighted candles. He takes his seat in front of the altar or in some other suitable place, amid pronounces the formula of anathema which ends with these words: “Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N-- himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment.”

He who dares to despise our decision, let him be stricken with anathema maranatha, i.e. may he be damned at the coming of the Lord, may he have his place with Judas Iscariot, he and his companions.

Quoted from New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. newadvent.org/cathen/01455e.htm


#13

By and large, I think ecumenism is a waste of time. The chief organs of the ecumenical movement are the National and World Councils of Churches. The member denominations of the WCC are far more decadent today than they were in the late 60’s when the Catholic church began it’s ecumenical “dialogues” with them. So I don’t see how ecumenism has helped those bodies move one whit closer to Catholic truth. They now ordain women, support homosexuality and often, fornication, and are mostly pro-abortion. This was not the case in the 1960’s when the Catholic church first got involved in the Ecumenical movement. The ecumenical churches are, again, far worse NOW than they were BACK THEN. The ecumenical movement is a huge waste of time. The church should get back to aggressive evangelism. Love, Jaypeeto2


#14

Building on the common truths to resolve error is good. Pandering to the protestants to appease them in the Liturgy and teachings is not good, for them or Catholics.


#15

[quote=mhansen]Love. Now there’s a novelty you don’t hear too much of these days. I’m going to have to agree…let’s try love.

Mike
[/quote]

Mike,

Yes, love is a wonderful thing. In fact it basically sums up Jesus’s two commandments to us. Love God…Love Neighbor.

But it is only enough in the correct context. I think it’s too basic to simply say “let’s try love” alone. Look at the 1960’s. I think that was a* love alon*e failed experiment.

Let’s try Gods idea of love instead. but when we do, we have to introduce God. When we introduce God, we have to introduce truth. It’s here that things gets sticky.

–Mike


#16

[quote=Mijoy2]Mike,

Yes, love is a wonderful thing. In fact it basically sums up Jesus’s two commandments to us. Love God…Love Neighbor.

But it is only enough in the correct context. I think it’s too basic to simply say “let’s try love” alone. Look at the 1960’s. I think that was a* love alon*e failed experiment.

Let’s try Gods idea of love instead. but when we do, we have to introduce God. When we introduce God, we have to introduce truth. It’s here that things gets sticky.

–Mike
[/quote]

Truth with Love

not

Truth without Love
or
Love without Truth


#17

[quote=Mijoy2]Mike,

Yes, love is a wonderful thing. In fact it basically sums up Jesus’s two commandments to us. Love God…Love Neighbor.

But it is only enough in the correct context. I think it’s too basic to simply say “let’s try love” alone. Look at the 1960’s. I think that was a* love alon*e failed experiment.

Let’s try Gods idea of love instead. but when we do, we have to introduce God. When we introduce God, we have to introduce truth. It’s here that things gets sticky.

–Mike
[/quote]

Hello Mike,

The two great commandments to love are the summation of the law. Love is defined by God as obeying God. Where Churches fail to get along is in Church teachings leading us to love God and neighbor according to the commands of God.

INT 1JO 5:3****This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.INT JOH 14:15**“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”**
**NAB 2JO 1:5 **

But now, my Lady, I would make this request of you (not as if I were writing you some new commandment; rather, it is a commandment we have had from the start): let us love one another. This love involves our walking according to the commandments, and as you have heard from the beginning, the commandment is the way in which you should walk.NAB ROM 13 Love Fulfills the Law.

**He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not murder; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and any other commandment **there may be are all summed up in this, saying (namely) “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love never wrongs the neighbor, hence love is the fulfillment of the law.

**INT JOH 14:23 **

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."
NAB JOH 15:22

“If I had not come to them and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; now, however, their sin cannot be excused. To hate me is to hate my Father. Had I not performed such works among them as no one has ever done before, they would not be guilty of sin; but as it is, they have seen, and they go on hating me and my Father.”

NAB DEU 5:9

“. . . you shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishments for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation but bestowing mercy, down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

NAB EXO 20:5

“. . . you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments.”


#18

thank you everyone for your responses :slight_smile: i guess ecumenism is dear to my heart being a convert to Catholicism.

steven, i have to say your post really made me stop and think a bit :slight_smile: not sure if that’s good or bad but it put a different light on the subject and i admit i need to study a bit more on some history to understanding anathema’s and such.

are you saying that where now the Church says we should see truth in others whether they’re Catholic or not, that this is in contradiction with the anathema’s of the past? i don’t mean that question hostiley at all, i’m actually really curious since you always here people say “the Church never changes”.


#19

[quote=kimber1]thank you everyone for your responses :slight_smile: i guess ecumenism is dear to my heart being a convert to Catholicism.

steven, i have to say your post really made me stop and think a bit :slight_smile: not sure if that’s good or bad but it put a different light on the subject and i admit i need to study a bit more on some history to understanding anathema’s and such.

are you saying that where now the Church says we should see truth in others whether they’re Catholic or not, that this is in contradiction with the anathema’s of the past? i don’t mean that question hostiley at all, i’m actually really curious since you always here people say “the Church never changes”.
[/quote]

Hello kimber1,

There is a huge difference between a Protestant church leader and a Catholic Church leader. Both can preach from the scriptures, only one (Catholic leaders) can call upon Jesus to bind a man to sin in heaven (which causes eternal death if not loost again).

The power to call upon Jesus to bind and loost people to sin in heaven is what gives the Pope his authority over all Christ’s followers as Christ willed it to be. If someone rejects Christ’s authority in Apostolic Successors, this means nothing, because their rejection of Apostolic Successors does not change the fact that Successors can still call upon Jesus to bind schismatics souls to sin. On the other hand, if Apostolic Successors reject their authority over schismatics, by loosting them from all papal bindings, now the schismatics are free from the authority that Jesus intend St. Peter to have over all His followers. Now the Church does teach that Protestants are within the bosom of the Catholic Church for salvation yet outside papal binding authority from Christ. This is not how the Church taught things in Luther’s day.

The Church changes but does not want to be seen as changing. If Pope John Paul II abolished most Church anathamas in 1984, would this not be a far more important thing to be teaching Christians than physical capital punishment or war? Are not Church spiritual death sentences far deadlier than state physical death sentences? The thing is that the Church has now changed to being pacifists from being out their burning heritics at the stake, anathematizing and leading papal wars. Pope John Paul II knew that it would hamper his political stand against state capital punishment if he came right out and showed us that he was only now in 1984 discontinuing Church anathema spiritual death capital punishments.

Regardless of what the Church shows you or does not show you, keep your eye on how Apostolic Successors are using the Christ given keys to the kingdom.

**NAB MAT 16:13 **

Jesus replied, "Blest are you, Simon son of John! No mere man has revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. I for my part declare to you, you are ‘Rock,’ and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it. I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
NAB REV 1:16

A sharp, two-edged sword came out of his mouth, … …was dead but now I live-- forever and ever. I hold the keys of death and the nether world."
**NAB ISA 11:4 **The Rule of Immanuel
[indent]He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. [/indent]**NAB JOH 20:20 **

“Recieve the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.” NAB MAT 5:22

What I say to you is: everyone who grows angry with his brother shall be liable to judgement; any man who uses abusive language toward his brother shall be** answerable to the Sanhedrin,** and if he holds him in contempt he risks the fires of Gehenna. **NAB MAT 18:17 **

“If he ignores them, refer it to the church . If he ignores even the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. I assure you, whatever you declare bound on earth shall be held bound in heaven, and whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be held loosed in heaven.”


#20

heh, steven, i see you like to make me think :stuck_out_tongue: no fair.

so i’m assuming from your post you’re not a huge fan then of Vatican II? or that you feel Pope John Paul II’s lean toward ecueminism was too extreme?

it’s okay if you say yes, you’re entitlted to your opinion and i respect that. :slight_smile: i guess your post though brings up another question.

what is true ecumenism and how do we achieve it?


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