SSPX: From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy - 25 Years of Pontificate

I am researching some areas for a long(ish) article that will address a number of issues faced by Catholics concerned by this crisis in the Church and who want to make good decisions.

Good decisions will only be those which don't contravene a teaching of the Church.

As such I came across this study submitted to all the Cardinals of the Church just prior to the end of the Pontificate of Blessed Pope John Paul II.

Source



FROM ECUMENISM TO SILENT APOSTASY – 25 YEARS OF PONTIFICATE

1. The 25th anniversary of the election of John-Paul II is an occasion to reflect upon the fundamental orientation that the Pope has given to his pontificate. In the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, he has wished to place his pontificate under the sign of unity: “The restoration of unity of all Christians was one of the principal purposes of the Second Vatican Council (cf. UR nº 1) and since my election I have formally committed myself to promote and execute its norms and its orientations, considering that as my primordial duty1.” For the Pope, this “restoration of the unity of Christians” is but one step towards a greater unity, that of the whole human family: “the unity of Christians is open to a unity ever more vast, that of all humanity2.”
2. As a result of this fundamental choice:
• John Paul II has deemed it a duty to “take into hand the conciliar magna carta, the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium”3, which defines the Church as “a sacrament, that is to say, at the same time a sign and means of intimate union with God as well as of the unity of the entire human race4”. This “taking into hand” had been done in order to “better bring about a vital communion in Christ of all those who believe and hope in him, but also in order to contribute to a greater and stronger unity of the whole human family5”;
• John Paul II has consecrated the essence of his pontificate to the fulfilment of this unity, by repeated interreligious meetings, public apologies and ecumenical gestures. This has also been the principal reason for his voyages: “they have allowed me to reach the particular Churches in every continent, continually focusing attention on the developing of ecumenical relations with the Christians of different confessions6”;
• John Paul II called ecumenism the characteristic trait of the Jubilee year7.
In all truthfulness, “one can say that all the activities of the local Churches and of the Apostolic See these last years have been inspired by ecumenism8”. Twenty-five years have passed, the Jubilee is over, it is now time to take stock.
3. For a long time, John Paul II has believed that his pontificate would be a new Advent9, allowing “the dawn of this new millennium to break upon a Church that has found again her full unity10.” Thus the “dream” of the Pope would come true: “that all the peoples of the world from different parts of the globe, would come together to unite themselves to the one God as one family11”. But the reality is completely different: “The time in which we live seems to be a time of falling away [where] many men and women seem confused12”. A “sort of practical agnosticism and religious indifferentism” reigns over Europe to such a degree that “European culture gives the impression of a ’silent apostasy’13.” Ecumenism is not unconnected to this situation. This analysis of John Paul’s way of thinking (Part I) will show us, not without a deep sadness, that the ecumenical practices come from a non-Catholic way of thinking (Part II) and have lead to a “silent apostasy” (Part III).

Part I
Analysis of Ecumenical Thought

The Unity of the Human Race and Inter-religious dialogue


Christ, united to every man

4. The basis of the Pope’s way of thinking is found in the statement that “Christ ’has united himself in a certain way to all men’ (Gaudium et Spes nº 22), even if these men are not aware of it14.” John Paul II explains, that the Redemption wrought by Christ is actually universal not only in the sense that it is superabundant for the entire human race, and that it is offered to each of its members in particular, but moreover that it is de facto applied to all men. If, then, from one point of view, “in Christ, religion is no longer a ’search for God by trial and error’ (Acts 17, 27), but a response of the faith to God who reveals Himself […], a response made possible by this unique Man […] in whom every man is made capable of responding to God”, from another viewpoint, the Pope adds, “in this Man, the whole creation responds to God15.” In fact, “each man is included in the mystery of the Redemption and Christ has united himself for ever with each individual through this mystery. […] Which is, man in all the fulness of the mystery of which he has become a sharer in Jesus Christ, the mystery of which each one of the four thousand million human beings living on our planet has become a sharer from the moment he is conceived16.” And this happens in such a way that “in the Holy Spirit, each person and all peoples have become, by the Cross and resurrection of Christ, the children of God, participators in the divine nature and the heirs of eternal life17.”

The Meeting at Assisi 

5. An immediate application of the universality of Redemption is the manner in which John Paul II considers the relations between the Church and other religions. If the order of unity previously described “is that which goes back to the creation and the redemption, and is thus, in a sense, “divine”, these differences and divergences, even religious ones, are rather a ’human consequence’18” which ought to be “left behind in the progress towards the realisation of the grandiose design of unity which was present at the creation19.” From this follows the inter-faith meetings such as Assisi, 27 October 1986, during which the Pope wanted to see “in a visible way the fundamental but hidden unity which the divine Word […] has established amongst all men and all women of this world20.” By these acts, the Pope wishes to proclaim to the Church that “Christ is the fulfilment of the yearning of all the world’s religions and, as such, he is their sole and definitive consummation.21

The Church of Christ and Ecumenism


The Unique Church of Christ

6. The divine unity remains intact, the historical divisions come from human elements; this double scheme is applied to the Church considered as a communion. John Paul II distinguishes, in fact, the Church of Christ, the divine reality, and the different churches, fruits of “human divisions”22. The limits of the Church of Christ are fairly loosely defined as they overflow the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church23. The Church of Christ is an interior reality24. The Church gathers together at least all Christians25, no matter what church they belong to: all are “disciples of Christ26”, “in a common membership with Christ27”; they “are one, because, in the Spirit, they are in communion with the Son, and in Him, in communion with the Father28”. The Church of Christ is thus the Communion of Saints, above all divisions: “The Church is the Communion of Saints.29” In fact, “the communion in which Christians believe and hope in is a profound reality, their union with the Father by Christ and in the Holy Ghost. Since the day of Pentecost, this union is given and received in the Church, the Communion of Saints30.”

The divisions in the Church

7. According to John Paul II, divisions in the Church which have occurred during the course of history never affected the Church of Christ, that is to say that the fundamental unity of Christians amongst themselves has been left inviolate: “By the grace of God, that which belongs to the structure of the Church of Christ has not yet been destroyed, nor the communion which endures with the other churches and ecclesial communities31.” These divisions are in reality of another order, they only concern the manifestation of the communion of saints, that which makes it visible: the traditional bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments and the hierarchical communion. In refusing one or other of these links, the separated churches affect only the visible communion with the Catholic Church, and even then only partially: this said communion is lesser or greater according to the number of ties that have been safeguarded. Thus one talks of the imperfect communion between the separated churches and the Catholic Church, whilst the communion of all in the unique Church of Christ remains intact32. The term “sister-churches” is often used33.
8. According to this conception, that which unites the different Christian churches is greater than that which separates them34: “The common spiritual dimension surpasses all the confessional barriers which separate us from one another35”. This spiritual dimension is the Church of Christ. If this Church only “subsists36” “in a unique subject37” in the Catholic Church, she keeps at least an “active presence” in the separated communities by reason of the “elements of sanctification and truth38” which are present in them. It is this alleged common spiritual dimension that John Paul II wished to ratify by the publication of a martyrology common to all churches: “The ecumenism of the saints, of the martyrs, is perhaps that which is the most convincing. The voice of the communion of saints is stronger than that of the troublemakers of division39.”

Neither absorption nor fusion, but reciprocal giving.

9. Hence, “the ultimate end of the ecumenical movement” is simply “the reestablishment of the full visible unity of all the baptized40.” A unity so conceived will no longer be realized by the “ecumenism of return”41: “We reject this method of searching for unity. […] The pastoral action of the Catholic Church, both Latin and Eastern, no longer tries to make the faithful convert from one Church to another42.” In fact this would be forgetting two things:
• These divisions, which Vatican II analyses as a breach of charity43, are attributable to both parties: “Evoking the division of Christians, the Decree on Ecumenism does not ignore ’the fault of men of both parties’, recognising that the responsibility cannot be attributed ’only to one party (Unitatis Redintegratio, n° 3)’44.”
• Ecumenism is also an “exchange of gifts45” between the churches: “The exchange of complementary gifts between the churches makes the communion fruitful46.”
This is the reason why the unity desired by John Paul II “is neither absorption nor fusion47.” Applying this principle to the relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox, the Pope develops this idea: “Today, the two sister-churches of the East and West understand that without a mutual understanding of the profound underlying reasons which characterise the understanding of each of them, without a reciprocal giving of the treasures of the genius they carry, the Church of Christ cannot manifest the full maturity which she had received from the beginning, in the Upper Room48.”

The Restoration of Visible Unity

10. “Just as in a family possible discords ought to give way to the restoration of unity, so also, in the greater family of the whole Christian community, the same should happen49.” This going beyond human dissensions by the restoration of visible unity is the methodology of the Pope. One must apply this methodology to the traditional three bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments and the hierarchical communion, seeing that these are what constitute the visibility of this unity.

Unity of the Sacraments

11. It is well known how Paul VI applied this in the sacraments: in the successive liturgical reforms based on the conciliar decrees, “the Church has been guided […] by the desire to do everything to help our separated brethren on the way to union, taking away any stone that could seem even the shadow of a stumbling block or cause of displeasure50.”
12. Once the obstacle of a Catholic liturgy that expressed dogma too clearly had been thus put aside, there remained the problems posed by the liturgies of the separated communities to be overcome. Reform then gave way to recognition: the Assyrian (Nestorian) anaphora of Addaï and Mari was declared valid by a document clearly approved by John Paul II, in spite of the fact that it does not contain the words of consecration51.

Unity in the Profession of Faith

13. In what concerns matters of faith, John Paul II considers that “polemics and intolerant controversies have often transformed what was, in fact, the result of two ways of investigating the same reality but from two different points of view, into incompatible statements. Today we must find a formula which, recognising this reality thoroughly, allows us to overcome the half-reading and to eliminate erroneous interpretations52.” This demands a certain latitude in respect to the dogmatic formulae used by the Church up until now. A certain historical relativism will be necessary in order to make the dogmatic formulae depend on their historical context: “The truths which the Church really intends to teach in her dogmatic formulae are obviously distinct from the changing concepts proper to any particular period; but it is not excluded that they might possibly have been formulated, even by the Magisterium, in terms which carry some traces of such concepts53.”
14. Two applications of these principles are often pointed out as examples. In the case of the Nestorian heresy, John Paul II considers that “the divisions which came about were in large measure due to misunderstandings54.” In fact, once one accepts the principle that “Primarily, it is probably right to ask whether the words used don’t actually say the same thing with regard to doctrinal formulations which differ from those normally used by the community to which one belongs55”, the practical application is obvious. From this follows the recognition of the Christological faith of the Eastern Assyrian Church without any requirement that they adhere to the formula of the Council of Ephesus that Mary is the Mother of God56. Even more characteristic is the common declaration made with the World Lutheran Federation. Its concern was not to state the faith and to stay clear of error, but only to find a formulation suitable to escape the anathemas of the Council of Trent: “This common declaration carries the conviction that the avoiding of condemnations and questions of momentary controversy does not signify that the divisions and condemnations should be treated lightly or that the past of each of our ecclesial traditions be disavowed. Nonetheless, this declaration carries the conviction that a new discernment of the history of our Churches has come about57.” Cardinal Kasper summarised it simply with the commentary: “Where we had at first sight a contradiction, we can now see a complementary position58.”

The hierarchical communion

15. As far as the Petrine mission is concerned, the desires of the pontiff are known: to find, in harmony with the pastors and theologians of different churches, “forms in which this mission could fulfil a service of love recognised by everyone59.” A necessitas Ecclesiae60 is introduced, considered today as the bringing about of the unity of Christians, to downplay that exercise of the Petrine ministry which could become an obstacle to ecumenism.
16. According to Cardinal Kasper, this is not enough. The obstacles present in the separated communities, for example the decreed invalidity of Anglican orders, must also be overcome61. The course that he proposes for this is a redefining of the concept of Apostolic succession, no longer “in the sense of a historical chain of the imposition of hands going back centuries to the Apostles – this vision would be a very individualistic and mechanical” but rather as “a collegial participation in a body which, as a whole, goes back to the Apostles through the sharing in the same apostolic faith and the same apostolic mission62.”

Part II

The Doctrinal Problems raised by Ecumenism
63
17. The ecumenical practice of this Pontificate is entirely based on the distinction between the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church. This division means one can say that if the visible communion has been injured by ecclesiastical divisions, the communion of saints, considered as the sharing of spiritual goods in a common union with Christ, has not been broken. But this affirmation does not correspond to the Catholic faith.

The Church of Christ is the Catholic Church

18. The Church of Christ cannot be separated from the Catholic Church as this ecumenical practice presupposes. By the very fact that the Church is considered as an interior reality, this “Church, Body of Christ”, really distinct from the Catholic Church, goes back to the protestant notion of a “Church invisible to us, visible only to the eyes of God64”. This notion is contrary to the invariable teaching of the Church. For example, Leo XIII, speaking of the Church, affirms: “It is because [the Church] is a body that she is visible to our eyes65.” Pius XI says the same thing: “Christ Our Lord has established His Church as a perfect societyexterior by nature and perceptible to the senses66.” Pius XII thus concludes: “It is to depart from the divine truth to imagine one Church which cannot be seen nor touched, which would be only ’spiritual’ (pneumaticum), into which the numerous Christian communities, even though separated by the faith, could nonetheless be reunited by an invisible bond67.”
19. The Catholic faith thus requires the affirmation of the identity of the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church. Pius XII thus identifies “the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ” with “this veritable Church of Jesus Christ – Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman68”. Before Pius XII, the Magisterium had affirmed: “There is no other Church but that which is built upon Peter alone, joined and built up in one body [i.e. ’visible’], built up in the unity of the faith and charity69.” Lastly, to call to mind the proclamation of Pius IX, “There is only one true and holy religion, founded and instituted by Christ, Our Lord. Mother and nursemaid of virtue, destroyer of vice, liberator of souls, guide to true happiness; she is called: Catholic, Apostolic, Roman70.” Following the constant and universal magisterium, the first preparatory schema of Vatican I was to put forward this condemnatory canon: “If anyone says that the Church, which has received the divine promises, is not an external and visible society [coetus] of the faithful, but only a spiritual society of the predestined or of the just known only to God, let him be anathema71.”
20. By consequence, the proposition of Cardinal Kasper: “The true nature of the Church – the Church insofar as it is the Body of Christ – is hidden and can only be grasped by the faith72” is certainly heretical. To add that “this nature, perceived by the faith alone, is realised under visible forms: in the proclaimed Word, by the administration of the sacraments, and the ministry of Christian service73” is insufficient to account for the visibility of the Church: “To become visible” – by simple acts alone – is not “to be visible”.
Belonging to the Church by a Triple Unity.
21. Seeing that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church, one cannot affirm, as the supporters of ecumenism do, that the triple union of faith, sacraments and hierarchical communion is only necessary to the visible communion of the Church. This assertion is understood in the sense that the absence of one of these bonds, though representing a rupture in the visible communion of the Church, does not signify a vital separation from the Church. On the contrary, one must affirm that these three bonds are constitutive of the unity of the Church, not in the sense that just one could unite to the Church, but that if just one of these three bonds is lacking in re vel saltem in voto74, one would be separated from the Church and would not benefit from her supernatural life. This is what the Catholic faith obliges to believe, as that which follows will show.

Unity of the Faith

22. If everyone accepts the necessity of the faith75, the precise nature of this faith, which is necessary for salvation and which is thus constitutive of belonging to the Church, must be clearly formulated. The faith is not “an intimate feeling engendered by the need of the divine” denounced by Saint Pius X76, but rather what was described by the First Vatican Council: “a supernatural virtue by which, by the inspiration and the help of the grace of God, we believe that which He has revealed to us to be true: we believe it, not because of the intrinsic truth of the things seen by the natural light of our reason, but because of the very authority of God who has revealed these truths to us and who can neither deceive nor be deceived77.” For this reason whoever refuses even one truth of the faith known to be revealed loses completely the faith which is indispensable for salvation: “Anyone who refuses to assent absolutely to the truths divinely revealed, even if only in one point, renounces the faith entirely, because he refuses to submit himself to God as the Sovereign Truth, the very motive of faith78.”

Unity of Government

23. “In order to preserve this unity of faith and of doctrine forever intact in His Church, He [Christ] chose a man amongst all others, Peter…79”: so Pius IX introduces the necessity of unity with the chair of Peter, “a dogma of our divine religion which has always been preached, defended, affirmed with one heart and one unanimous voice by the Fathers and Councils of all time.” Following the Fathers, the same Pope continues: “it is from this [chair of Peter] from which come all the rights of divine union80; he who separates himself from it cannot hope to stay in the Church81, he who partakes of the Lamb outside of her does not have part with God82.” Whence the famous word of Saint Augustine addressed to the schismatics: “What is yours is this, your impiety in separating yourselves from us; for all the rest, though you thought and possessed the truth, in persevering in your separation […] you would still share the lack from which he who has not charity suffers83.”

Unity of the Sacraments

24. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved84.” By these words of Our Lord all recognise the necessity, apart from the unity of faith and its purpose, of a “community […] of means appropriate to that purpose85” in order to constitute the unity of the Church: the sacraments. Such is the “Catholic Church [which Christ instituted], purchased by His Blood, the unique dwelling of the living God, […] the unique Body animated and vivified by a unique Spirit, kept harmoniously together by the unity of the faith, hope and charity, by the bonds of the sacraments, of worship and of doctrine86.”

Conclusion

25. The necessity of this triple bond thus obliges us to believe that “whoever refuses to listen to the Church ought to be considered, according to the command of the Lord, ’as a pagan and a publican’ (Mt. 18, 17) and those who have separated themselves for reasons of faith or government cannot live in this same Body nor by consequence live by this same divine Spirit87.”

Outside the Church, no Salvation


Are non-Catholics members of the Church?

26. In consequence of what has been said, the following proposition bears careful analysis: “Those [born outside the Catholic Church and therefore not able to ’be accused of the sin of division’] who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in a certain communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect” to the extent that “justified by faith in Baptism, they are members of Christ’s body and have a right to be called Christian, and be duly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church” even though “the differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church – whether in doctrine, sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church – do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones88”. If this proposition is understood to speak of those who continue in these differences knowingly, it is contrary to the Catholic faith. The clause affirming “they cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation” is at least a rash statement: since, remaining openly in rebellion, there is nothing to show that they do not adhere to the separation of their predecessors, indeed all appearances point to the contrary. In this case it is not possible to presume their good faith89, as Pius IX states: “It is of faith that outside the Apostolic and Roman Church, no one can be saved. […] Nonetheless, it must also be recognised that those who are invincibly ignorant of the true religion are certainly not culpable before the Lord. But now, who truly will have the presumption to mark the boundaries of this ignorance?90

Are there elements of sanctification and truth in the separated communities?

27. The affirmation that “a number of elements of sanctification and truth91” are found outside of the Church is ambiguous. This proposition implies, in effect, that the sanctifying power of the means of salvation is materially present in the separated Communities. But this cannot be affirmed indiscriminately. Amongst these elements, those which do not require a specific disposition on the part of the subject – the baptism of a child for example – are effectively salvific in the sense that they produce grace efficaciously in the soul of the baptized, who thereby belongs to the Catholic Church fully until he reaches the age to be able to make a personal choice92. For the other elements, which require the dispositions on the part of the subject in order to be efficacious, one must say that they are salvific only to the extent in which the subject is already a member of the Church by his implicit desire. This is what the councils have affirmed: “She [the Church] professes that the unity of the body of the Church has such a power that the sacraments of the Church are only useful for the salvation of those who dwell in Her93.” But insofar as they are separated, these communities are opposed to this implicit desire which renders the sacraments fruitful. Thus one cannot say that these communities possess elements of sanctification and truth, except materially.
Does the Holy Ghost use the separated communities as a means of salvation? The so-called “sister-churches”.
28. One cannot say “the Spirit of Christ does not refuse to use them [the separated communities] as a means of salvation94.” For St. Augustine says: “There is but one Church, which alone is called Catholic; she is surrounded by a group of sects separated from her unity, but if they produce any good fruits, it is not they but she who produces in them95.” The only thing that these separated communities can effect by their own power is the separation of those souls from ecclesial unity, as again Saint Augustine declares: “It [baptism] does not belong to you. What is yours is your bad intentions and sacrilegious practices, and that you have had the impiety to separate yourselves from us96.” This assertion of the Council is heretical, then, in the degree to which it contradicts the affirmation that the Catholic Church is the unique possessor of the means of salvation. If, by according a “meaning and a value in the mystery of salvation97” to these separated communities, it recognises in them a quasi-legitimacy – which is what expressions like “sister-churches”98 seems to do – this assertion is opposed to Catholic doctrine because it denies the unicity of the Catholic Church.

Is that which unites us greater than that which separates us?

29. If the separated Communities are not formally speaking holders of the elements of sanctification and truth –as was shown above – the proposition that what unites the Catholics to dissidents is greater than what separates them is only true materially speaking, in the sense that all these elements are references which could serve as a basis for discussions which would bring them back to the fold. This assertion nonetheless cannot be formally true, and this is why St. Augustine says: “In many things they are with me, only in a few they are not with me; but because of these few points by which they have separated themselves from me, it doesn’t mean anything that they are with me with in all the rest99.”

Conclusion

30. Ecumenism is little other than the “Branch Theory”100 condemned by the Magisterium: “its basis […] is such that it completely overturns the divine constitution of the Church” and its prayer for unity, “profoundly stained and infected by heresy, cannot be tolerated under any circumstances101.”
Part III
The Pastoral Problems Posed by Ecumenism
31. Apart from the fact that it is based on heterodox principles, ecumenism is harmful for souls in the sense that it relativises the Catholic faith which is in fact indispensable for salvation, and it even keeps people away from the Catholic Church, the unique ark of salvation. The Catholic Church is no longer acting as the lighthouse of truth that enlightens hearts and dissipates error, but is now submerging humanity in a fog of religious indifferentism soon to become the darkness of a “silent apostasy102”.

Ecumenism begets relativism of the faith


It relativises the harmful breaks made by the heretics.

32. Ecumenical dialogue dissembles the sin against the faith which heresy commits – the formal reason for the rupture – in order to emphasise the sin against charity, imputed arbitrarily to the child of the Church as well as the heretic. It ends up finally denying the sin against the faith that constitutes heresy. So, concerning the monophysite heresy, John Paul II affirms the divisions which came about were in large measure due to misunderstandings103”, adding: “the doctrinal formulations [of the heretics] which separate them from the usual formulae[i.e. of the Church] […] in reality say the same thing104.” Such affirmations deny the Magisterium which has infallibly condemned these heresies.
It claims the faith of the Church can be perfected by the “riches” of the others.
33. Even if the Second Vatican Council specifies, in well moderated terms, the nature of the “enrichment” given by dialogue – “truer knowledge and more just appreciation of the teaching and religious life of both communions105” – the ecumenical practice of this Pontificate distorts this affirmation to make it look like an enrichment of the faith. It is as if the Church is simply abandoning a partial view in order to grasp the bigger picture: “Polemics and intolerant controversies have often transformed what was, in fact, the result of two ways of investigating the same reality but from two different points of view, into incompatible statements. Today we must find a formula which, recognising this reality thoroughly, allows us to overcome the half-reading and to eliminate erroneous interpretations106.” And so it is that “the exchange of gifts between the Churches, in their complementing each other, renders the communion fruitful107.” If these affirmations presuppose that the Church is not definitively and integrally the guardian of the treasure of the faith, they are not in conformity with the traditional doctrine of the Church. That is why the Magisterium warned against attributing a false value to the supposed riches of other churches: “In coming back to the Church, they lose nothing of the good which by the grace of God they possessed up till now, but rather (potius) by their return this good will be completed and led to perfection. Nonetheless, speaking of this in such a way as to imply that on coming back to the Church they are contributing to her an essential element that was missing until now must be avoided108.”

It relativises the adhesion to certain dogmas of the faith

34. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has certainly reorganised the supposed “hierarchy of the truths in Catholic Doctrine109”: this hierarchy “means that certain dogmas are based on other more fundamental ones which clarify them. But since all these dogmas have been revealed, each must be believed with the same divine faith110.” Yet the ecumenical practice of John Paul II is independent of this authentic interpretation. For example, in his address to the Evangelical “church”, he underlines “what is important”: “You know that for several decades, my life has been marked by the experience of the challenges which atheism and lack of belief issue to Christianity. I have all the more clearly what is important before my eyes: our common profession of Jesus Christ. […] Jesus Christ is our salvation, for everyone. […] By the power of the Holy Spirit, we become His brethren, truly and essentially children of God. […] Thanks to the rethinking of the Confession of Augsburg and of numerous meetings, we have newly become aware of the fact that we believe and that we profess this together111.” Leo XIII had nothing but condemnation for this sort of ecumenical practice, which finds its apotheosis in the Declaration on Justification: “They believe that it is opportune, in order to win the hearts of those who have strayed, to relativise certain points of doctrine as being of less importance, or to modify the sense to such an extent that it is no longer understood in the sense that the Church has always taught. There is no need of many words to show how much this concept is to be rejected112.”

It allows a “continuing reform” of dogmatic formulae.

35. The freedom that the ecumenical practice gives itself concerning dogmatic formulae has already been shown. It only remains to show the importance of this procedure in the ecumenical process: “The deepening of the communion in a constant reform, brought about in the light of Apostolic Tradition, is without doubt one of the most important and distinctive characteristics of ecumenism. […] The decree on ecumenism (UR nº6) mentions the process of formulating doctrine as one of the elements of continuing reform113.” Such a procedure was condemned by Pius XII : “In theology some want to reduce to a minimum the meaning of dogmas; and to free dogma itself from terminology long established in the Church and from philosophical concepts held by Catholic teachers. […] It is evident […] from what We have already said, that such efforts not only lead to dogmatic relativism, but that they actually contain it. […] Everyone knows that the terminology employed in the Schools and even that used by the Teaching Authority of the Church itself is capable of being perfected and polished; […] It is also manifest that the Church cannot be bound to any particular system of philosophy which exists for a short space of time. Nevertheless, the things that have been established by common consent of Catholic teachers over the course of centuries to bring about some understanding of dogma are certainly not based on any such weak foundation. […] Hence it is not astonishing that some of these concepts have not only been used by the Ecumenical Councils, but even sanctioned by them, so that it is wrong to depart from them114.”

It refuses to teach unambiguously the complete Catholic Faith.

36. The ecumenical axiom that states “The way and method in which the Catholic faith is expressed should never become an obstacle to dialogue with our brethren115” results in solemnly signed common declarations that are equivocal and ambivalent. In the Common Declaration on Justification for example, the infusion of sanctifying grace in the soul of the just is not clearly expressed anywhere116; the only sentence that makes some allusion to it is so awkward that it could leave the opposite to be believed: “Justifying grace never becomes a possession of the person which this latter could claim before God117.” Such formulations no longer respect the duty to teach the Catholic faith completely and without ambiguity as something “to be believed”: “Catholic Doctrine must be proposed integrally and in its entirety; one must not pass over in silence or hide in ambiguous terms that which the Catholic truth teaches on the true nature and the stages of justification, on the constitution of the Church, on the primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, on the true union by the return of separated Christians to the unique true Church of Christ118.”

It puts on an equal level authentic and putative “saints”.

37. In publishing a common martyrology of the different Christian confessions, John Paul II puts on an equal level the authentic saints and other supposed “saints”. This forgets the words of St. Augustine: “If someone who is separated from the Church is persecuted by an enemy of Christ […] and this enemy of Christ says to him who is separated from the Church of Christ: ’offer up incense to idols, adore my gods’ and kills him because he refuses, he would shed his blood, but not receive the crown119.” If the Church piously hopes that the separated brother dies for Christ with perfect charity, she cannot affirm it. Justifiably so, she presumes that the ’obex’, the obstacle of visible separation, was an obstacle to the act of perfect charity which is the essence of martyrdom. She thus cannot canonise him nor inscribe him in the martyrology120.

It provokes a loss of the faith

38. Relativist, evolutionist and ambiguous, this ecumenism directly induces the loss of the faith. Its first victim is the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Unity of Christians, Cardinal Kasper himself, when he affirms, for example, on the subject of justification that “Our personal worth does not depend on our works, whether they are good or bad: even before acting, we are accepted and we have received the “yes” of God121”; again concerning the Mass and the priesthood he says, “it is not the priest who performs the transubstantiation: the priest prays to the Father in order that He become present by the operation of the Holy Spirit. […] The necessity of the ordained ministry is a sign that suggests and gives a taste of the gratuity of the Eucharistic sacrament122.”

Ecumenism drives souls away from the Church
39. Not only does ecumenism destroy the Catholic faith, it also drives heretics, schismatics and infidels away from the Church.

It no longer demands the conversion of heretics and schismatics

40. The ecumenical movement no longer seeks their conversion and their return to the “unique fold of Christ, outside of which are those who are not united to the Holy See of Peter123.” This is clearly stated: “We reject [uniatism] as a method of finding unity. […]The pastoral action of the Catholic Church, both Latin and Eastern, no longer tries to make the faithful convert from one Church to another124.” From this follows the suppression of the ceremony of abjuration in the case of a heretic returning to the Catholic Church. Cardinal Kasper goes very far in his like this: “Ecumenism is not done by renouncing our own faith tradition. No Church can practise this renouncement125.” He adds as well: “We can describe the ’ethos’ proper to ecumenism in the following fashion: the renouncement of every form of proselytism whether open or camouflaged126.” This is radically opposed to the constant practice of the Popes throughout the centuries, who have always worked for the return of dissidents to the unique Church127.

It begets egalitarianism between the Christian confessions

41. The ecumenical policy engenders egalitarianism between Catholics and other Christians, for example, when John Paul II rejoices in the fact that “the expression ’separated brethren’ tends to be substituted by terms more apt to evoke the profundity of the communion linked to the baptismal character. […] The consciousness of a common belonging to Christ deepens. […] The ’universal brotherhood’ of Christians has become a strong ecumenical conviction128.” And, moreover, the Catholic Church Herself is put practically on an equal footing with the separated Communities: we have already mentioned the expression “sister-churches”; John Paul II rejoices also at what “theDirectory for the application of the principles and the norms concerning ecumenism calls the communities to which these Christians of ’the Churches and the ecclesial communities who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church’ belong. […] Relegating to oblivion the excommunications of the past, these communities, once rivals, today are helping each other129.” To rejoice because of this is to forget that “to attribute the quality of a Church to the schism of Photius and that of the Anglicans […] favours religious indifferentism […] and prevents the conversion of non-Catholics to the true and unique Church130.”

It humiliates the Church and makes the dissidents haughty

42. The ecumenical practice of apologising drives away infidels from the Catholic Church, because of the false image that she gives of herself. Whereas it is possible to bear before God the fault of those who have preceded us131, nonetheless the practice of apologising such as we know it gives the impression that it is the Catholic Church as such who is the sinner, seeing that it is she who asks pardon. The first to believe this is Cardinal Kasper: “The Second Vatican Council recognised that the Catholic Church had been responsible for the division of Christians and underlined that the re-establishing of unity presupposed the conversion of everyone to the Lord132”. The passages quoted to justify this thus don’t mean a thing: the ecclesial note of holiness, so powerful in attracting straying souls to the unique fold, has been tarnished. These apologies are thus gravely imprudent, because they humiliate the Catholic Church and make the dissidents haughty. Concerning which the Holy Office warns: “They [the bishops] in teaching the history of the Reform and the Reformers, will carefully avoid, and continually, not to exaggerate the defects of Catholics and to hide the faults of the Reformers, or so to stress some elements, mostly accidental, that what is essential, the defection from the Catholic faith, is no longer seen or perceived133.”

Conclusion

43. Considered from a pastoral point of view, one must say that the ecumenism of the last decades leads Catholics to a silent apostasy and that it dissuades non-Catholics from entering into the unique ark of salvation. One must condemn “the impiety of those who close to men the gates of the Kingdom of heaven134”. Under the guise of searching for unity, this ecumenism disperses the flock; it does not carry the mark of Christ, but that of the divider par excellence, the devil.

General Conclusion
44. As attractive as it may first seem, as spectacular as its ceremonies might appear on television, as numerous as the gathered crowds might be, the reality remains: ecumenism has made of the Holy City, the Church, a city in ruins. Following a utopian ideal – the unity of the human race – this Pope has not realised how much this ecumenism which he has pursued is truly and sadly revolutionary: it turns the order willed by God upside down.
45. Ecumenism is revolutionary, and it affirms itself to be revolutionary. One is struck by the succession of texts that remind one of this: “The deepening of communion in a constant reform […] is without a doubt one of the most important and distinctive traits of ecumenism135.” “Taking up the idea which John XXIII had expressed at the opening of the Council, the Decree on ecumenism represents the formulation of doctrine as one of the elements ofcontinuing reform136.” At times these affirmations assume a cloak of ecclesiastical unction in order to become “conversion”. When this is done, however, it makes very little difference. Whether it’s disguised or not, what existed before is rejected: “’Convert’. There is no ecumenical reconciliation without conversion and renewal. Not the conversion from one confession to another. […] Everyone must convert. Primarily we must not ask “what is wrong with anyone else”, but rather “what is wrong with us; where should we begin to put our own house in order?137” Typical of its revolutionary characteristic, this ecumenism makes an appeal to the people: “In ecumenical activity, the faithful of the Catholic Church […] will consider, with loyalty and attention, all that needs to be renewed in the Catholic family itself138.” Truly in this intoxication of aggiornamento, the head seems to want to be overrun by the members: “The ecumenical movement is a somewhat complex process, and it would be an error to wait, from the Catholic side, for everything to be done by Rome. […] The openings, the challenges must also come from local Churches, and much must come about on a local level before the universal Church makes them her own139.”
46. In these sorrowful circumstances, how can we not hear the cry of the Angel at Fatima: “Penance, Penance, Penance”? In this utopian dream, what is needed is a radical return to good sense. A return to the wise experience of the Church, summarised by Pope Pius XI: “The union of Christians cannot be attained other than by favouring the return of dissidents to the only true Church of Christ, which they have had the misfortune of leaving140.” Such is the true and charitable pastoral action for those who err, such ought to be the prayer of the Church: “We desire that the common prayer of the whole Mystical Body [that is to say, the whole Catholic Church] rise towards God in order that all the wandering sheep rejoin the unique fold of Jesus Christ141.”
47. In expectation of this happy hour when reason returns, we for our part hold onto the wise advice and the solid wisdom of our founder: “We wish to be in perfect unity with the Holy Father, but in the unity of the Catholic faith, because it is only this unity that can unite us, not some sort of ecumenical union, some liberal ecumenism; because I believe that the crisis in the Church is best defined by a liberal ecumenical spirit. I say liberal ecumenism, because there does exist a certain ecumenism that, if it is well defined, could be acceptable. But liberal ecumenism, such as it is practised by the present Church and especially since the Second Vatican Council, includes veritable heresies142.” Adding to this our prayers to heaven, we implore Christ for His Body which is the Catholic Church, saying: “Salvum me fac, Domine, quoniam defecit sanctus, quoniam diminutæ sunt veritates a filiis hominum. Vana locuti sunt unusquisque ad proximum suum : labia dolosa in corde et corde locuti sunt. Disperdat Dominus universa labia dolosa et linguam magniloquam”143.

  1. John Paul II, Allocution to the Secretariat for the unity of Christians, 18 November 1978. La Documentation Catholique (DC) nº 1753, 3 December 1978, p. 1017.
  2. John Paul II, Angelus Message of 17 January 1982. DC nº 1823, 7 February 1982, p. 144.
  3. John Paul II, First Message to the World, 17 October 1978. DC nº 1751, 5 November 1978, pp. 902-903.
  4. Ecumenical Council Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, nº 1.
  5. John Paul II, First Message to the World, 17 October 1978. DC nº 1751, 5 November 1978, p. 903.
  6. John Paul II, Tertio millenio adveniente, nº 24. Cf. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 42 : “The ecumenical celebrations are amongst the most important events of my apostolic voyages in the different parts of the world.”
  7. John Paul II, Sermon for the opening of the Holy Door of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, 18 January 2000, DC nº 2219, 6 February 2000, p. 106: “The Week of Prayer for the Unity of Christians begins today in Rome with a celebration which sees us united. I wanted it to coincide with the opening of the Holy Door of this Basilica, consecrated to the Apostle of the Gentiles, to emphasise the ecumenical dimension that is to characterise this Jubilee Year of 2000.”
  8. John Paul II, Tertio millennio adveniente, nº 34.
  9. John Paul II, Redemptor hominis, nº 1.
  10. John Paul II, Sermon given on in the presence of Dimitrios I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople on 29 November 1979 at Istanbul. DC nº 1776, 16 December 1979, p. 1056.
  11. John Paul II, Message for the 15th International Prayer Meeting for Peace. DC nº 2255, 7 October 2001, p. 818.
  12. John Paul II, Ecclesia in Europa, nº 7, DC nº 2296, 20 July 2003, pp. 670-671.
  13. John Paul II, Ecclesia in Europa, nº 7 & 9, DC nº 2296, 20 July 2003, pp. 671-672.
  14. John Paul II, Discourse to the Cardinals and to the Curia of 22 December 1986, The state of the Church in the world and the spirit of Assisi. DC nº 1933, 1 February 1987, p. 134.
  15. John Paul II, Tertio millennio adveniente, nº 6.
  16. John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis nº 13.
  17. John Paul II, Message to the Peoples of Asia, 21 February 1981. DC nº 1804, 15 March 1981, p. 281.
  18. John Paul II, Discourse to the Cardinals and to the Curia of 22 December 1986, The state of the Church in the world and the spirit of Assisi. DC nº 1933, 1 February 1987, p. 134.
  19. John Paul II, ibid.
  20. John Paul II, ibid, p. 133.
  21. John Paul II, Tertio millennio adveniente, nº 6.
  22. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 42 : “The very expression ’separated brethren’ tends to be replaced today by expressions which more readily evoke the deep communion – linked to the baptismal character – which the Spirit fosters in spite of historical and canonical divisions.”
  23. Ecumenical Council Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 3 : “Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the unique Catholic Church. [...] All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to Christ, belong by right to the one Church of Christ.” For this reason the document Lumen Gentium (nº 8) says that the Church of Christ “subsists in” the Catholic Church, and not that she “is” the Church of Christ. See the commentary of Cardinal Ratzinger, Ecclesiology of the Conciliar Constitution Lumen Gentium, conference of 27 February 2000. DC nº 2223, 2 April 2000, pp. 310-311: “By this expression, the Council differentiates from the formula of Pius XII who in his Encyclical Mystici Corporis stated that the Catholic Church “is” (est, in Latin) the unique mystical body of Christ. [...] The difference between ’subsists’ and ’is’ shows the drama of ecclesial division. Even though the Church is one and subsists in a unique subject, ecclesiastical realities exist outside of this subject: true local Churches and various ecclesial Communities.”
  24. This affirmation is a direct consequence of the manner in which Lumen Gentium (nº 7, 8) presents the Church. Up until this point, the Magisterium speaks of the Church using the analogy of Saint Paul, the Church being the body of Christ; body, thus visible: “She is a body and thus the Church is visible to our eyes.” (Leo XIII, Satis cognitum, DzH 3300) Yet the Council refuses to make this allusion: it deals separately with the Church as the Body of Christ (LG nº 7) and the visibility of the Catholic Church (LG nº8). Thus it gives the impression that the Church, Body of Christ [Church of Christ] is not of itself something visible. Certainly, LG nº 8 affirms the necessary union of the Church of Christ and of the organic Church: “The society structured with hierarchical organs [Catholic Church] and the Mystical Body of Christ [Church of Christ], are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly [Catholic Church] and the spiritual community [Church of Christ], nor the earthly Church [Catholic Church] and the Church enriched with heavenly gifts [Church of Christ]; rather they form one complex reality”. But this affirmation is not sufficient: the union of two distinct things – the Church of Christ and the organic Church – is not an affirmation of the unity proper to the Church. This unity on the contrary is denied when it says that the Church of Christ “subsists in the Catholic Church”: the relation between the container and the contents is not that of identity, especially when it is affirmed that the Church of Christ makes itself actively present elsewhere than in the Catholic Church which is perfectly contained therein. In consequence of this affirmation and from the development of LG nº 15, John Paul II often states that the baptized, in spite of their ecclesial membership, are and remain united to Christ, incorporated in Him. This theory affirming that the Church is interior is so widespread that cardinals, even as disparate as J. Ratzinger and W. Kasper, take it as a given: “’The Church awakes in souls’: this sentence of Guardini has been nurtured for a long time. In fact, it shows that the Church is ultimately recognized and lived as something interior, i.e. it does not exist as some sort of institution confronting us, but rather something living within us. If, previously, the Church has been considered primarily as a structure and an organization, we now finally have the realisation that we ourselves are the Church. She was much more than an organization: She was the organ of the Holy Ghost, something vital, in the depths of our conscience. This new awareness of the Church finds its linguistic expression in the concept of the ’Mystical Body of Christ’ ” (J. Ratzinger, Ecclesiology of Vatican II, conference given the 15 September 2001 on the occasion of the opening of the Pastoral Congress of the Diocese of Aversa); “The True nature of the Church – the Church as the Body of Christ – is hidden, and can only be perceived by faith. But this nature, perceived uniquely by faith, becomes realised under visible forms.” (W. Kasper, The Ecumenical Commitment of the Catholic Church, conference given 23 March 2003 to the general assembly of the Federated Protestants of France, Œcuménisme informations nº 325, May 2002 and nº326, June 2002).
  25. “To say the least”, because Karol Wojtyla goes further in fact, as at the occasion of the retreat that he preached at the Vatican when he was Cardinal: “O God of infinite majesty! The Trappist or the Carthusian confess this God by a whole life of silence. The Bedouin wandering in the desert turns towards him when the hour of prayer approaches. And the Buddhist monk absorbed in contemplation, purifies his spirit in turning it towards Nirvana: but is it only towards Nirvana ? [...] The Church of the Living God, in fact, unites in herself these peoples who in some manner participate in this admirable and fundamental transcendence of the human spirit” (Karol Wojtyla, Le signe de contradiction, Ed. Fayard 1979, pp. 31-32).
  26. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 42.
  27. John Paul II, ibid.
  28. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 9.
  29. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter concerning certain aspects of the Church understood as communion, nº 6; DC nº 2055, 2 August 1992, pp. 730.
  30. Cf. Directory for the application of the principles and norms concerning Ecumenism (approved by John Paul II on 25 March 1993, nº13), DC nº 2075, 4 July 1993, p. 611.
  31. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 11.
  32. Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 3: “For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church – whether in doctrine, sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church – do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles.” After speaking of this visible communion which is partially broken, the decree adds, in order to show the permanence of invisible communion: “But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body, and have a right to be called Christian, and so are duly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church. [...] The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the communion of salvation.”
  33. Cf. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 56, 57 and 60; Allocution in the Basilica of Saint Nicolas in Bari, 26 February 1984. DC nº 1872, 15 April 1984, p. 414; Common Christological Declaration between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Assyrian Church, DC nº 2106, 18 December 1994, p. 1070; Sermon given in the presence of Dimitrios I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, 29 November 1979 in Istanbul. DC nº 1776, 16 December 1979, p. 1056: “I invite you to pray with fervour for the full communion of our Churches. [...] Beg the Lord that we, pastors of Sister-Churches, might be the best instruments in this historic hour, to govern these Churches, that is to serve them as the Lord wishes, and thus to serve the unique Church which is His Body.”
  34. Cf. John Paul II, Tertio millennio adveniente, nº16.
  35. John Paul II, Discourse to the delegation of the Lutheran World Federation, 9 December 1999, DC nº 2219, 6 February 2000, p. 109.
  36. Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium nº 8; Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 4; Declaration Dignitatis humanae, nº 1.
  37. Cardinal Ratzinger, Ecclesiology of the Conciliar Constitution Lumen Gentium, conference given 27 February 2000. DC nº 2223, 2 April 2000, p. 311.
  38. Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 3; John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 11.
  39. John Paul II, Tertio millennio adveniente, nº 37.
  40. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 77.
  41. The term “ecumenism of return” is to be understood as it was used by Pius XI in his encyclical Mortalium Animos: “To encourage the return of the dissidents to the one true Church of Christ, since they have in the past had the misfortune to separate themselves from her. The return to the unique true Church, we say, clearly visible to all.”
  42. Declaration of the International Mixed Commission for the theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Church, 23 June 1993, also called the “Balamand Declaration”, nº 2 and 22. DC nº 2077, 1 August 1993, pg. 713. This quotation only concerns “uniatism”, but Cardinal Kasper gives a more systematic formulation “The old concept of ecumenism of return has been replaced today by that of a common journey, which directs Christians towards an ecclesial communion comprising a unity in reconciled diversity”. (W. Kasper, The Common Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification : a reason for hope. DC nº 2220, 20 February 2000, p. 167).
  43. Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 3: “In subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared [...] for which, often enough, men on both sides were to blame.” Hence the nature of conversion demanded by this document, nº 7: “There can be no ecumenism worthy of the name without a change of heart. For it is from the renewal of the inner life of our minds, from self-denial and an unstinted love that desires of unity arise and develop in a mature way.” Cf. Cardinal Kasper, Conference to the Ecumenical Conference of Churches of Berlin. DC nº 2298, 21 September 2003: ” ’Convert’. There is no ecumenical reconciliation without conversion and renewal. There is no conversion from one confession to another. This could happen in particular cases, but only for reasons of conscience – which merits respect and consideration. But there is no need for others to convert, as conversion begins with oneself. Everyone must convert. We must not ask first ’what is wrong with others?’, but rather ’what is wrong with us; where should we begin to put our own house in order?’ ”
  44. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 11; cf. n° 34.
  45. Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, nº 13; cf. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 28.
  46. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 57.
  47. John Paul II, Allocution in the Basilica of Saint Nicolas, 26 February 1984, given in the presence of Konstantinidis, the Metropolitan of Myra, (patriarchate of Constantinople). DC nº 1872, 15 April 1984, p. 414.
  48. Ibid.
  49. John Paul II, Angelus of 17 January 1982. DC nº 1823, 7 February 1982, p. 144.
  50. A. Bugnini, Modification to the Solemn Prayers of Good Friday. DC nº 1445, 4 march 1965, col. 603. Cf. G. Celier, La dimension œcuménique de la réforme liturgique, Editions Fideliter, 1987, p. 34.
  51. Cf. L’Osservatore Romano, Italian edition, 26 October 2001. Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of East, Note and orientations of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, DC n° 2265, 3 March 2002, p. 214.
  52. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 38.
  53. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 38, quoting the Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. DC nº 1636, 15 July 1973, p. 267.
  54. Common Christological Declaration between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of East, DC n° 2106, 18 December 1994, p. 1609.
  55. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 38.
  56. DC nº 2106, 18 December 1994, p. 1069. Cf. DzH, nº 251d and 252.
  57. Common Declaration of the World Lutheran Federation and the Catholic Church, nº 7 (cf. Nº 5, 13, 40-42). DC nº 2168, 19 October 1997, pp. 875.
  58. W. Kasper, The Common Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification: a reason for hope. DC nº 2220, 20 February 2000, p. 172.
  59. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 95.
  60. The Primacy of the Successor of Peter in the Mystery of the Church, reflections of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. DC nº 2193, 6 December 1998, p. 1018.
  61. Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Apostolicae curae, 13 September 1896.
  62. W. Kasper, May They All be One? But How? A Vision of Christian Unity for the Next Generation, The Tablet, 24 May 2003.
  63. Limiting ourselves to the refutation of ecumenism, we will not study the teaching of John Paul II concerning the redemption accomplished de facto in each person and each nation. We will simply say that such a proposition is completely alien to the Catholic faith and ultimately leads to its absolute destruction (for example, what becomes of the necessity of baptism?)
  64. Calvin, Institutiones, l. 4, c. 4.
  65. Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum, DzH nº 3300 ff.
  66. Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium animos, AAS 20 (1928), pg. 8, Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, vol 1, nº 861.
  67. Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, AAS 35 (1943), pp. 199-200, Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, vol 2, nº 1015.
  68. Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, Ibid., p. 199, Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, vol 2, nº 1014.
  69. Letter of the Holy Office to the Bishops of England, 16 September 1864, DzH nº 2888.
  70. Pius IX, Allocution to the Consistory, 18 July 1861, Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, vol 1, nº 230.
  71. First preparatory schema of Vatican I concerning the Church, canon 4.
  72. W. Kasper, The Participation of the Catholic Church in Ecumenism, conference given to the General Assembly of French Protestants, 23 March 2002. Oecuménisme informations nº 325 (May 2002) and 326 (June 2002)
  73. W. Kasper, ibid.
  74. This triple bond must, let us repeat, be possessed either in fact or at least “by a certain desire or unconscious wish” (Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, AAS 35 (1943), p. 243, DzH 3821). But the Church is not judge of this desire. In juridical matters – which is the case here – the Church cannot judge the interior realities of the conscience of anyone, but only that which is evident: “the Church does not judge the state of mind and the intention, as they are interior; she must instead judge them insofar as they are apparent” (Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter Apostolicae curae, 13 September 1896, concerning the nullity of Anglican ordinations, ASS 29 (1896), p. 201. DzH 3318). Therefore, even if, in her pastoral care, as a good mother, she is inclined to hope for an “at least unconscious desire” of belonging to her when she finds souls that are in danger of death (Dom. M. Prümmer, O.P., Manuale theologiae moralis, T. 1, nº 514, 3), nonetheless, juridically, the Church does not presume this belonging in normal situations. For this reason she demands, ad cautelam, their abjuration of schism or heresy when they return to the Catholic Church (CIC 1917, can. 2314, §2). For even more serious reasons she doesn’t presume the good faith of dissidents considered as a constituted body, in a community visibly separated from the Catholic Church, as ecumenism envisages. What we have said of the three elements necessary in order to belong to the Catholic Church presupposes the aforementioned. Leaving it out would be slipping into uncertainty and irreality.
  75. Hebrews 11, 6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
  76. Saint Pius X, Pascendi dominici gregis: “The faith, principle and basis of all religion, resides in a certain internal feeling engendered by the need for the divine. [...] such is the faith for modernists, and with faith so understood, the beginning of all religion” (Acta S. Pii X (1907), p. 52. DzH 3477 does not quote it in its entirety). This brief description should be compared to the thought of Karol Wojtyla (The Sign of Contradiction, Ed. Fayard 1979, pgs. 31-32): “O God of infinite majesty! The Trappist or the Carthusian confess this God by a whole life of silence. The Bedouin wandering in the desert turns towards him when the hour of prayer approaches. And the Buddhist monk absorbed in contemplation, purifies his spirit in turning it towards Nirvana: but is it only towards Nirvana ? [...]The Church of the Living God, in fact, unites in herself these peoples who in some manner participate in this admirable and fundamental transcendence of the human spirit, because she knows that no one can appease the most profound aspirations of this spirit but He alone, the God of infinite majesty.”
  77. Vatican I, Session 3, c. 3, DzH nº 3008.
  78. Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis cognitum, 29 June 1896, ASS 28 (1895-1896), p. 722. Pontifical Teachings, Solemnes, The Church, volume 1, nº 573.
  79. Pius IX, Encyclical Amantissimus, 8 April 1862, Pontifical Teachings, Solemnes, The Church, volume 1, nº 233, 234-237.
  80. Cf. Saint Ambrose, Epistle 11 ad imperatores.
  81. Cf. Saint Cyprian, De Unitate Ecclesiæ.
  82. Cf. Saint Jerome, Epistle 51 ad Damasum.
  83. Saint Augustine, De baptismo contra donatistas, lib. 1, ch. 14, §22.
  84. Mk. 16, 16.
  85. Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis cognitum, ASS 28 (1895-1896), pg. 724, Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, volume 1, nº 578.
  86. Pius IX, Encyclical Amantissimus, 8 April 1862, Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, volume 1, nº 233.
  87. Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, 29 June 1943, ASS 35 (1943), pg. 203. DzH 3802.
  88. Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 3, of which we quote the complete passage: “The children who are born into these communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church – whether in doctrine, sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church – do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body and have a right to be called Christian, and so are duly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church”.
  89. See above, note 73.
  90. Pius IX, Allocution Singulari Quadam, 9 December 1954, Dz 1647 (old numbering; absent in DzH)
  91. Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, nº 8.
  92. Benedict XIV, Brief Singulari nobis, 9 February 1749, DzH nº 2566-2568.
  93. Council of Florence, Bull Cantate Domino for the Jacobites, DzH 1351.
  94. Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 3.
  95. St. Augustine, De baptismo contra donatistas, lib 1, ch. 10, nº 14.
  96. St. Augustine, De baptismo contra donatistas, lib. 1, ch. 14, nº 22.
  97. Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 3.
  98. Cf. J. Ratzinger, Ecclesiology of the Conciliar Constitution Lumen Gentium. DC nº 2223, 2 April 2000, p. 301. “Even though the Church be only one and subsist in a unique subject, there are ecclesial realities which exist outside of this subject: true local Churches and the diverse ecclesial Communities.” That means, in effect, that “one finds therein the elements essential for a Church: the preaching of the Word of God and baptism, the active presence of the Holy Ghost, faith, hope and charity, the forms of sanctity even to martyrdom. One can speak of a different configuration of these constitutive ecclesial elements, or Church of another sort or another type” (W. Kasper, The Participation of the Catholic Church in Ecumenism, conference of 23 March 2002 during the general assembly of the Protestant Federation of France. Œcuménisme informations nº 325 of May 2002 and nº 326 of June 2002).
  99. St. Augustine, in Psalmo 54, §19, quoted by Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum ASS 28 (1896), p. 724, Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, volume 1, n° 578.
  100. Letter of the Holy Office to the Bishops of England, 16 September 1864, This theory “professes expressly that three Christian communities, the Roman Catholic, the Schismatic Greek and Anglican, though separated and divided amongst themselves, can each lay claim to the name of Catholic. [...] This theory asks all the members to recite prayers, and the priests to offer sacrifices for its intention, that is, that these three Christian communions who, as it is suggested, constitute together the whole Catholic Church, may reunite to form one unique body.” DzH 2885 & 2886.
  101. Ibid., DzH nº 2886-2887.
  102. John Paul II, Ecclesia in Europa, nº 9, DC nº 2296, 20 July 2003, pp. 668 ff.
  103. Common Christological Declaration between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of East, DC n° 2106, 18 December 1994, p. 1609.
  104. Ibid.
  105. Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 4.
  106. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 38.
  107. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 57. Cf. Cardinal Kasper, The Common Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification: a reason for hope. DC nº 2220, 20 February 2000, p. 167: “It is clearly evident that the end of dialogue does not consist in changing the other party, but to recognise one’s own failings and to learn from the other. [...] Where we had firstly seen a contradiction, we must see a complementary position.”
  108. Congregation of the Holy Office, Instruction De Motione Œcumenica of 20 December 1949, AAS 42 (1950), p. 1454. DC nº 1064, 12 March 1950, col. 332.
  109. Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 11.
  110. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae, 24 June 1973. DC nº 1636, 15 July 1973, pp. 667.
  111. John Paul II, Meeting with the Evangelic Church Council, 17 November 1980, DC n° 1798, 21 December 1980, p. 1147.
  112. Leo XIII, Encyclical Testem benevolentiae, 22 January 1899. ASS 31 (1899), p. 471. ed. Fr. La bonne presse, vol, 5, p. 313. Cf. Pius XI, Mortalium animos, AAS 28 (1920), p. 12. DzH nº 3683 When matters of faith are concerned, it is in not at all licit to distinguish so that some points are fundamental and others are not, the first being accepted by all, and the others being left to the free assent of believers; the supernatural virtue of faith has for its formal cause the authority of God revealing, which does not allow such a distinction.”
  113. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 17 & 18.
  114. Pius XII, Encyclical Humani generis, 12 August 1950, AAS 42 (1950), pp. 566-567. DzH 3881-83.
  115. Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 11; John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 36.
  116. Council of Trent, Decree on Justification, c. 7, DzH 1528: “Justification itself is not only the remission of sins, but at the same time the sanctification and renovation of the interior man by the voluntary reception of grace and its gifts.”
  117. Common Declaration on Justification by the World Lutheran Federation and the Catholic Church, nº 27. DC nº 2168, 19 October 1997, pp. 875 ff.
  118. Congregation of the Holy Office, Decree of 20 December 1949. DC nº 1064, 12 March 1950, col. 330 ff.
  119. Saint Augustine, Sermon to the people of Caesarea. Preached in the presence of Emeritus, a Donatist bishop, nº 6.
  120. Pope Benedict XIV, in his admirable De servorum Dei beatificatione et beatorum canonizatione, explains: a heretic, in the invincible ignorance of the true Faith, killed for a dogma of the Catholic Church, cannot be considered a martyr even in these circumstances. In effect, he may be a martyr coram Deo, but not coram Ecclesia, because the Church judges only on the outside and the public profession of heresy obliges her to conjecture internal heresy. (Cf. De servorum, c. 20) The objection concerning Saint Hippolitus, martyr and anti-pope (217-325), is no exception. In fact, if the martyrology mentions him on the 30th of October, the dies natalis of pope Saint Pontian, it is because Hippolitus was reconciled to Pontian in the mines of Sardinia, before both suffered martyrdom in 236.
  121. W. Kasper, The Common Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, a reason for hope. DC nº 2220, 20 February 2000, pp. 171-172.
  122. W. Kasper, 30 Jours dans l’Eglise et dans le Monde, nº 5 / 2003, p. 22.
  123. Pius IX, Encyclical Neminem vestrum, 2 February 1854. Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, volume 1, nº 219.
  124. Declaration of the International Mixed Commission for the theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Church, 23 June 1993, also called the “Balamand Declaration”, nº 2 and 22. DC nº 2077, 1 August 1993, p. 711.
  125. W. Kasper, The Common Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, a reason for hope. DC nº 2220, 20 February 2000, pg. 167. Cf. W. Kasper, Conference to Ecumenical Church Assembly of Berlin, DC nº2298, 21 September 2003, p. 817: “We cannot throw overboard that which has carried and held us till present, that which our predecessors have lived, often in difficult circumstances, and we cannot expect the same from our brothers and sisters of Protestantism and Orthodoxy. Neither they nor we can become unfaithful.”
  126. W. Kasper, The Ecumenical participation of the Catholic Church, conference given 23 March 2002 during the General Assembly of the Protestant Federation of France. Œcuménisme informations, nº 325 (May 2002) et nº 326 (June 2002).
  127. Cf. For example Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Iam vos omnes, 13 September 1868, ASS 4 (1868), p. 131. DzH 2997-2999, inviting the Protestants and other non-Catholics to take advantage of the First Vatican Council in order to come back to the Catholic Church; Leo XIII does the same on the occasion of his Episcopal Jubilee with the Letter Praeclara gratulationis, 20 June 1894, ASS 26 (1894), pp. 707 ff. The most well known text is certainly that of Pius XI in the Encyclical Mortalium animos, 6 January 1928, AAS 20 (1928), p. 14, Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, volume 1, nº 872: “The union of Christians cannot be attained other than by favouring the return of dissidents to the only true Church of Christ, which they have had the misfortune of leaving.” This practice “of return” is not something proper to the 19th century, but rather the great care of the Popes. In fact, this practice “of return” has been constant in the Church. For example, in 1595, Pope Clement VIII said to the metropolitan bishops of Kiev (instruction Magnus Dominus, 23 December 1595): “Thanks to the illumination of the Holy Ghost who enlightened their hearts, they have begun to seriously consider the fact that they were no longer members of the Body of Christ which is the Church, as they were no longer linked with Her visible head, the Sovereign Pontiff of Rome. For this reason they have decided to return to the Roman Church who is their mother, the mother of all the faithful.”
  128. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 42.
  129. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 42.
  130. Congregation of the Holy Office, Letter of 16 September 1864, ASS 2, 660 ff.
  131. Lamentations 5, 7: “Our fathers have sinned, and are not: and we have borne their iniquities.”
  132. W. Kasper, The Common Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification : a reason for hope. DC nº 2220, 20 February 2000, p. 168.
  133. Congregation of the Holy Office, Instruction De Motione Œcumenica of 20 December 1949, AAS 42 (1950), p. 1454. DC nº 1064, 12 March 1950, col. 332.
  134. First preparatory schema of Vatican I on the Church, published in the Pontifical Teachings of Solesmes, The Church, volume 2, p. 8*: “We reprove the impiety of those who close the entry into the Kingdom of Heaven to men, by assuring them under false pretexts that it is dishonourable or in no way necessary to salvation to abandon the religion – even false – in which one is born, raised and educated; those also who complain that the Church projects herself as the only true religion, to proscribe and condemn all the religions and sects separated from her communion, as if there could be any possible community between light and darkness, or an agreement between Christ and Belial.”
  135. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 17.
  136. John Paul II, Ut unum sint, nº 18.
  137. W. Kasper, Speech to the Ecumenical Conference of Churches of Berlin. DC nº 2298, 21 September 2003, p. 820.
  138. Vatican II, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, nº 4; cf. all of nº 6.
  139. W. Kasper, The Common Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, a reason for hope. DC nº 2220, 20 February 2000, p. 167.
  140. Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium animos, 6 January 1928, AAS 20 (1928), p.14, Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, volume 1, nº 872
  141. Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, AAS 35 (1943), p. 243, Pontifical Teachings, Solesmes, The Church, volume 1, nº 1105.
  142. Archbishop Lefebvre, Conference of 14 April 1978.
  143. Psalm 11, 3-4: “They have spoken vain things every one to his neighbour: with deceitful lips, and with a double heart have they spoken. May the Lord destroy all deceitful lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things.” Concerning this last verse which we quote, one could usefully read the commentary of St. John Chrysostom (In Ps. 11, nº 1): “He does not speak against them, but in their interest; he does not ask God to destroy them, but to put an end to their iniquities. He does not say in fact: ‘May God exterminate them’ but ‘May he destroy all deceitful lips’. Thus, again, it is not their nature that he wishes to see annihilated, but what they say.”

Comments

Popular Posts