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Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A (Ecum., Cont.)

Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition | Latin Mass/Catholic Trad. Q & A

Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass

Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A (Ecum., Cont.)

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Why Do Traditionalists Disapprove of Ecumenism? Doesn't This Go Against the Vatican Council?


Note: Primary Sources May Include: Amerio, Davies

Continued From Previous Page

It allows those who are "in very truth contending against God" to remain uncorrected. As Pope Leo XIII has said, "[H]e scatters and gathers not who gathers not with the Church and with Jesus Christ, and all who fight not jointly with him and with the Church are in very truth contending against God." (Pope Leo XII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

It makes us appear more willing to offend God than our neighbor (e.g. by "watering down" Catholic truths, by shrinking from speaking hard truths in order to avoid offense, by failing to anathematize error, etc.).

It gives "rights" to lies, which are contrary to truth: "Those men...are deceiving themselves whose love for revealed truth does not keep pace with their charity! Such Christianity as that believes as little as it may... Charity, they say, is the queen of virtues; it makes them take everything easily, even lies against truth; to give the same rights to error as to truth is, in their estimation, the highest point of Christian civilization grounded on love! They quite forget that the first object of charity, God who is substantial Truth, has no greater enemy than a lie; they cannot understand how it is that a Christian does not do a work of love by putting on the same footing the Object beloved and His mortal enemy!" (Liturgical Year)

It may allow others to continue to deny Christ, rather than bringing the true Christ to them: As St. Ambrose says, "Even the heretics appear to have Christ, for none of them denies the name of Christ; yet anyone who does not confess all that pertains to Christ does in fact deny Christ." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

Furthermore, the ecumenists' praised "searching for the truth" seems insulting to God who deposited the truth in the Church. If the Church acts as though she must go in search of the truth, is she not denying that God has already given it to her?

False ecumenism also tends to lead to the toleration of error, scandal, and to the setting aside of specifically Catholic rules, beliefs and practices [for example, Catholics may be expected to put aside specifically Catholic practices in order to "emphasize any elements we may have in common" and to avoid talking about things that are not held in common. Such actions tend to disguise the great differences between us and "give the impression that all beliefs are equally valid or similar"]. It leads to a danger of false compromise, and a danger of doctrinal corruption. It "fails to protect the faithful, exchanges authority for dialog, appears to water down the faith, leads to religious indifferentism, tends to cause harmful changes (e.g. protestantization of the liturgy), tends to deny objective truths, may lead to sacrilege, allows heresy to flourish unchecked, tends to validate heretics in their errors, implants errors in the minds of Catholics, implies that heresy can be overlooked, tends to reject the idea of proselytism, implies that the Church does not have the truth but must seek it from those outside, gives the idea that the deposit of faith is subject to negotiation, and tends to lead to a false concept of "universal salvation".

It is charged with "being more interested in fostering communion with those who reject the Church than amongst those who accept her" and being "more likely to corrupt the Catholic flock than to help others convert". It does not tend to bring others into the Church. It "overlooks serious differences, emphasizes cooperation over conversion, assists our enemies, causes confusion, gives a false optimism, ignores the fact that we have enemies (earthly and spiritual), and attempts the impossible reconciliation of error and truth". Further, it tends to "assume that dialog is always fruitful and never harmful." It may harm all parties, and may reduce the chances that the erring party will renounce their errors or make any necessary changes. Therefore, "one may argue that the whole concept is uncharitable - considering that there is no salvation outside the Church!" Furthermore, it tends to ignore the fact that Our Lord sent the apostles to preach the true faith to others, not to be taught a false faith by them!

On the other hand, of course, a "true ecumenism" is most appropriate. As Von Hildebrand has stated, "The term 'ecumenism', properly understood, has to do with the Church's universality, one of her essential marks. It belongs to the essential mission of the Church to strive to convert every human being." In practice, however, it is often a false ecumenism that prevails.

In sum, one may say that "To the extent that it ecumenism harms or endangers faith, it is bad. To the extent that it brings others to the faith, it is good - but this, of course, must not be to the detriment of Catholics (e.g. "watered down Sacraments or doctrine").

Note that a true ecumenism presents the full Catholic doctrine, unhesitatingly calls those outside the Church to convert, and explains that true unity is possible only in the true Church, the Catholic Church. For example, consider the following quotations:

"It is not enough to draw close to others, to talk to them, to assure them of our trust and to seek their good. One must also take steps to convert them. One must preach to get them to come back. One must try to incorporate them into the divine plan, that is one and unique." (Pope Paul VI, 1968 A.D.)

"It is, of course, essential that doctrine be clearly presented in its entirety. Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false conciliatory approach which harms the purity of Catholic doctrine and obscures its assured genuine meaning." (Second Vatican Council)

"[T]he union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it." (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos")

"Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is 'the root and womb whence the Church of God springs,' not with the intention and the hope that 'the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth' will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government." (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos")

"Therefore, Our mouth is open to you... who are separated from the Catholic Church. We earnestly desire that each and every one of you should meditate upon the words, so full of gravity and love, addressed by Bessarion to your forefathers: 'What answer shall we give to God when He comes to ask why we have separated from our brethren: to Him who, to unite us and bring us into one fold, came down from heaven, was incarnate, and was crucified? What will our defense be in the eyes of posterity? Oh, my Venerable Fathers, we must not suffer this to be, we must not entertain this thought, we must not thus so ill provide for ourselves and for our brethren.' Weigh carefully in your minds and before God the nature of Our request. It is not for any human motive, but impelled by divine charity and a desire for the salvation of all, that We advise the reconciliation and union with the Church of Rome; and We mean a perfect and complete union, such as could not subsist in any way if nothing else was brought about but a certain kind of agreement in the tenets of belief and an intercourse of fraternal love. The true union between Christians is that which Jesus Christ, the Author of the Church, instituted and desired, and which consists in a unity of faith and a unity of government. Nor is there any reason for you to fear on that account that We or any of Our successors will ever diminish your rights, the privileges of your patriarchs, or the established ritual of any one of your churches [referring to the schismatics who have retained the ministerial priesthood]. It has been and always will be the intent and tradition of the Apostolic See, to make a large allowance, in all that is right and good, for the primitive traditions and special customs of every nation. On the contrary, if you re-establish union with Us, you will see how, by God's bounty, the glory and dignity of your churches will be remarkably increased. May God, then, in His goodness, hear the prayer that you yourselves address to Him: 'Make the schisms of the churches cease,' and 'Assemble those who are dispersed, bring back those who err, and unite them to Thy Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.' May you thus return to that one holy Faith which has been handed down both to Us and to you from time immemorial; which your forefathers preserved untainted, and which was enhanced by the rival splendor of the virtues, the great genius, and the sublime learning of St. Athanasius and St. Basil, St. Gregory of Nazianzum and St. John Chrysostom, the two saints who bore the name of Cyril, and so many other great men whose glory belongs as a common inheritance to the East and to the West... If in unhappy time many of your forefathers were separated from the Faith of Rome, consider now what priceless benefits a return of unity would bring to you." (Pope Leo XIII, "Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae", 1894 A.D.)

And, as the Holy Office has stated: 

"Therefore the whole and entire Catholic doctrine is to be presented and explained: by no means is it permitted to pass over in silence or to veil in ambiguous terms the Catholic truth regarding the nature and way of justification, the constitution of the Church, the primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, and the only true union by the return of the dissidents to the one true Church of Christ. It should be made clear to them that, in returning to the Church, they will lose nothing of that good which by the grace of God has hitherto been implanted in them, but that it will rather be supplemented and completed by their return. However, one should not speak of this in such a way that they will imagine that in returning to the Church they are bringing to it something substantial which it has hitherto lacked. It will be necessary to say these things clearly and openly, first because it is the truth that they themselves are seeking, and moreover because outside the truth no true union can ever be attained." (Instruction Of The Holy Office, On The Ecumenical Movement, 1949 A.D.)


"They shall also be on guard lest, on the false pretext that more attention should be paid to the points on which we agree than to those on which we differ, a dangerous indifferentism be encouraged, especially among persons whose training in theology is not deep and whose practice of their faith is not very strong. For care must be taken lest, in the so-called 'irenic' spirit of today, through comparative study and the vain desire for a progressively closer mutual approach among the various professions of faith, Catholic doctrine - either in its dogmas or in the truths which are connected with them - be so conformed or in a way adapted to the doctrines of dissident sects, that the purity of Catholic doctrine be impaired, or its genuine and certain meaning be obscured." (Instruction Of The Holy Office, On The Ecumenical Movement, 1949 A.D.)

Further, the entire premise of an ecumenism which fails to call those outside the Church to be part of her is flawed and cannot work. Consider, for example, the following:

It does not consider that our love for neighbor requires not the giving in to his errors, but his betterment - "No sooner has one forgotten that the eternal salvation of our neighbor has to be our main concern for him, than the real love of neighbor becomes impossible. No sooner does one cease to understand that love of neighbor does not seek fulfillment of all his wishes, than this love becomes a weakness and a way of giving in. No sooner does one forget the words of St. Augustine, 'Interficere errorem, diligere errantem' ('kill the error, love him who errs'), than one loses all understanding for real love of neighbor. Love of neighbor can only be rightly understand that we live in a situation in which we are bound to reject all moral mistakes and even many non-moral disvalues, in which we have to struggle against error and evil - struggle against them with all our might - but in which love of neighbor extends even to him who errs, who is evil, even to whim who is the enemy of God. We can understand love of neighbor rightly, and its holy power, only when we see it against the background of all those acts which reject what is wrong. To this we are called, indeed obliged." (Von Hildebrand)

We are under an obligation to show forth our faith and uproot errors - "Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: 'Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.' To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae, 1890 A.D.)

It overlooks the fact that Christ Himself has established certain conditions for salvation - "As soon as the social question is being approached, it is the fashion in some quarters to first put aside the divinity of Jesus Christ, and then to mention only His unlimited clemency, His compassion for all human miseries, and His pressing exhortations to the love of our neighbor and to the brotherhood of men. True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. But for the realization of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His flock, that we must accept His doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors. Further, while Jesus was kind to sinners and to those who went astray, He did not respect their false ideas, however sincere they might have appeared. He loved them all, but He instructed them in order to convert them and save them. While He called to Himself in order to comfort them, those who toiled and suffered, it was not to preach to them the jealousy of a chimerical equality. While He lifted up the lowly, it was not to instill in them the sentiment of a dignity independent from, and rebellious against, the duty of obedience. While His heart overflowed with gentleness toward the souls of goodwill, He could also arm Himself with holy indignation against the profaners of the House of God, against the wretched men who scandalized the little ones, against the authorities who crush the people with the weight of heavy burdens without putting out a hand to lift them. He was as strong as he was gentle. He reproved, threatened, chastised; knowing and teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and that it is sometimes proper for a man to cut off an offending limb to save his body. Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth and of perfect happiness in heaven: the royal way of the Cross." (Pope St. Pius X, "Our Apostolic Mandate", 1910 A.D.)

It ignores the fact that the faithful have a duty to flee errors in matters of faith - "the duty that is incumbent on the faithful to flee also those errors which more or less approach heresy, and accordingly 'to keep also the constitutions and decrees by which such evil opinions are proscribed and forbidden by the Holy See,' is sometimes as little known as if it did not exist." (Pope Pius XII, "Humani Generis", 1950 A.D.)

It ignores the fact that there are many seducers - "so great is the number of seducers and of those whom they snatch away out of God's flock that such computation were simply beyond comprehension." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, c. 388 A.D.) Heresy is by no means new: "Heresy, Satan's denial of what God affirms by His Christ, this is the great struggle, or rather the only one, which sums up history." (Liturgical Year) As early as the fourth century, St. Ambrose said that, "There are not enough hours in the day for me to recite even the names of all the various sects of heretics." (St. Ambrose of Milan, 382 A.D.) 

It overlooks the wrongs done to God - "for it is praiseworthy to give away one's own, but not another's property. And much less should the things of God be neglected, for...'it is most wicked to overlook the wrongs done to God.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

It withholds necessary medicine from our neighbor and may cause his death - "Those who take notice of what is evil in their neighbors, and yet refrain their tongue in silence, withdraw, as it were, the aid of medicine from observed sores, and became the causers of death, in that they would not cure the venom which they could have cured. The tongue, therefore, should be discreetly curbed, not tied up fast." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

It leaves our neighbor in error - "Beseech, accuse, correct, rebuke and fear not: for ill-judged silence leaves in their error those who could be taught, and this is most harmful both to them and to you who should have dispelled the error." (Pope Pius VI, "Inscrutabile", 1775 A.D.)

It makes us complicit in his error - "An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed... He who does not oppose an evident crime is open to the suspicion of secret complicity." (Pope Felix III)

Leads to religious indifferentism and makes religion seem a matter of opinion - "Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion." (Cardinal Newman)

It fails to reckon what is evil - "Now pain or sorrow for that which is truly evil cannot be the greatest evil: for there is something worse, namely, either not to reckon as evil that which is really evil, or not to reject it." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

It gives their false religion and their religious leaders a "false respect". The past several decades have even seen the giving of honors to those who should be accounted as "thieves and robbers, who have not entered by the door" (cf. John 10:1). Even using titles they have wrongly arrogated to themselves or condoning their wearing of certain undeserved symbols gives them unwarranted respect and honor.

It gives the impression that false teachings should be tolerated rather than condemned, that unity is more important than truth.

It may make us "responsible for their blood - We may draw the conclusion from Acts 20:26-27 ("And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God") that, perhaps, St. Paul would have been responsible for the blood of the people if he had shrunk from proclaiming to them the entire plan of God. In contrast, the ecumenical movement recoils from strongly proclaiming that our faith is the one and only true faith and instead praises other faiths - even those who openly reject the truth. Ecumenists may meekly state that "we have the fullness of the faith" on one hand while they tell us to praise the so-called good other faiths have - even if these other faiths approve of abortion, birth control, divorce, euthanasia, and other evils. Therefore, do we not become "responsible for the blood" of those outside the Church because we shrank from proclaiming to them the entire plan of God?

It fails to consider that condemnation of error is a work of mercy - not only does it help those in error, but it also helps others not fall into error

It leaves them without a clear knowledge of the truth.

"It seems to place more emphasis on their feelings than on their salvation"

It corresponds with Masonic thought - "Catholics...must not forget that all roads lead to God. And they will have to accept that this courageous idea of freethinking, which we can really call a revolution, pouring forth from our Masonic lodges, has spread magnificently over the dome of St. Peter's." (Yves Marsaudon, Freemason)

"It gives the false idea that one should not only be merciful to persons, but also to error. One who knows that 2+3 does not equal seven does not tolerate an endless discussion from them about how 2+3 equals 7 and allow compromises, but holds fast to the truth and listens only enough to show them courtesy and to point out where they are wrong and to provide proof of their error. Look at how error was handled in the bible! That is a sure guide! No unrealistic optimism there!"

It fails to realize that people will not feel drawn to make significant lifestyle changes without a compelling reason. They really must know that it is a matter of life and death.

The reluctance to issue anathemas leaves people unclear as to what is right and wrong. It also "disarms the shepherd".

It fails to realize that the Church herself - which is unable to change - is "the principal obstacle to union" - "As has been explained by the Archbishop of Poznan in an importunate speech during the LXXVI sitting of the council...[he] made the point that it is untrue to say that Protestants do not know the Catholic Church; they do know it, and they consider it to be the principle obstacle to union." (Amerio)

It fails to realize that in this quest for unity, we are looking in the wrong place - The Church already has unity, it is those outside who do not have unity. Ecumenists point to Jesus' prayer for unity, but this prayer was already answered with the establishment of the Catholic Church and the gift of the of the Holy Spirit. Clearly, "The unity prayed for by our Lord already exits - in the Catholic Church alone. And, further, to bring others in and obscure Catholic teachings does not increase, but rather decreases this unity."

It is uncharitable - "How "nice" is it really to leave them in error? To leave them unaware that their false faith may lead to their eternal damnation? To not encourage them to believe in the live-saving Eucharist and the Sacrament of Penance?"

It gives the impression that there are no absolute truths or that the Church does not already possess these truths, but must seek them.

It fails to realize that dialog may pervert - As Amerio says, "[A]s well as a dialog that converts there is a dialog that perverts, by which one party is detached from the truth and led into error. Or will it be pretended that truth is always efficacious and that error never is?"

It fails to let them know the danger they are, objectively speaking, in. Note: Click here for more information

It tends to encourage Catholics to communicate in a false religion - and "the very communicating in evil is an evil!"

It tends to exchange important religious efforts for temporal humanitarian efforts.

It fails to follow the example set for us by Christ and Apostles. Why are we being more "open" than they were? Should it not suffice for us to be as "open" and "friendly" as Jesus and the apostles were? 

It endangers Catholics who are presented with their "poisonous doctrines".

It overlooks the real differences between us and them - serious doctrinal differences and not merely "varying manifestations of the same reality." For example, they may deny the hierarchical nature of Church, papal supremacy, papal infallibility, the Immaculate Conception, Christ's true Flesh and Blood in the Holy Eucharist (the Real Presence), the Mass as a Sacrifice, the Sacraments, the right of the Church to offer indulgences, they may reject and distort parts of the Bible ["But he who, to support heresy and the teaching of the wicked, distorts the Sacred Scriptures from their genuine and true meaning, is guilty of the greatest injury to the Word of God; and against this crime we are warned by these words of the Price of the Apostles: There are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their destruction." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)], they may deny the priesthood, believe in personal interpretation, may be 'certain of their salvation', etc. They also hold many other false doctrines that must abandoned (along with gravely sinful actions - e.g. birth control, abortion, euthanasia, etc.). Truly, the differences between faiths are more than a matter of mere labeling of denominations or a mere difference of expression of doctrine, but serious matters concerning doctrines themselves which cannot be ignored.

It is unrealistic - "Are they suddenly going to change because we are 'acting nicely' to them? They do not believe there are fixed doctrines that they must believe, they interpret everything subjectively, they do not believe in a visible structure of the Church, they do not believe obedience is due to any prelates, they don't believe in the Real Presence, they don't believe in papal supremacy - and now, just because you 'pat him on the back and call him a Christian' he will now give up all his false concepts, change his entire life, and become a Catholic?"

It gives support to a false "One World Church" - "And now, overwhelmed with the deepest sadness, We ask Ourselves, Venerable Brethren, what has become of the Catholicism of the Sillon? Alas! This organization which formerly afforded such promising expectations, this limpid and impetuous stream, has been harnessed in its course by the modern enemies of the Church, and is now no more than a miserable affluent of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy; neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions; and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of those who toil and suffer." (Pope St. Pius X, "Our Apostolic Mandate", 1910 A.D.)

It may lead Catholics to believe that the faith has changed or that false teachings have now been approved. Note especially that changes to external elements in the Church (e.g. changes in the New Rite of Mass) may give the appearance the Church has changed her position regarding her doctrine. Although these external changes may appeal to those outside the Church, they cause confusion among the faithful, and even prevent the faithful from standing together "with one mind" (for example, consider that the ecumenical New Mass has resulted in the adoption of a Protestant mentality regarding the Holy Eucharist by the majority of Catholics and that those who hold to the true teachings are often ostracized).

It becomes harder to "stand fast with our loins girded in truth" (cf. Eph. 6:14) and "hold the faith as a shield" (cf. Eph. 6:16.) when the faith is presented in ways arguably concerned more with ecumenism than with truth (for example, consider the new Rite of Mass) and when the ecumenical movement encourages us to "dialog" with and "find the good" in false faiths rather than to simply proclaim and defend the truth.

It seems to ignore biblical passages such as: "He who winks at a fault causes trouble, but he who frankly reproves promotes peace" (Prov. 10:10), "Walk with wise men and you will become wise, but the companion of fools will fare badly" (Prov. 13:20), "Through your precepts I gain insight; therefore I hate all false ways" (Ps. 119:104), "Severe punishment is in store for the man who goes astray; he who hates reproof will die" (Prov. 15:10), "[T]he flattering mouth works ruin." (Prov. 26:28), etc. as well as the various biblical admonitions given above. Remember that "Scripture clearly - and infallibly - instructs us to avoid heretics, and, to remain obedient, we must do this." Should anyone attempt to circumvent Holy Scripture, he will offend God. Even the Church has no authority to overturn Sacred Scripture.

It seems forgetful of the fact that God is a "jealous God" (cf. Ex. 20:5, Ex. 34:14, Deut. 4:24, Deut. 5:9, Deut. 6:15, Josh. 24:19, Nahum 1:2).

It gives the false idea that we are "in the same Federation of the Faithful" even though they have corrupt doctrine - "For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful?" (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928 A.D.)

Ignores the fact that sometimes separation is good - "Separation can be pleasant...because it removes something contrary to a thing's perfection... Separation from things hurtful and corruptive is desired, in so far as they destroy the unity which is due. Wherefore the desire for such like separation is not the first cause of sorrow, whereas the craving for unity is." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church", emphasis added) And, as Scripture says (emphasis added), "Do not be yoked with those who are different, with unbelievers. For what partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What accord has Christ with Beliar? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said: 'I will live with them and move among them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Therefore, come forth from them and be separate,' says the Lord, 'and touch nothing unclean; then I will receive you and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.'" (2 Cor. 6:14-18)

Ignores the fact that a false union only brings destruction - "But some through enthusiasm for an imprudent 'eirenism' seem to consider as an obstacle to the restoration of fraternal union, things founded on the laws and principles given by Christ and likewise on institutions founded by Him, or which are the defense and support of the integrity of the faith, and the removal of which would bring about the union of all, but only to their destruction." (Pope Pius XII, "Humani Generis", 1950 A.D.)

It ignores the fact that true unity doesn't arise simply because people who believe differently "tolerate each other" or "get along". Can one possibly conceive of Jesus - Truth itself - allowing all his followers to believe differently - some believing truth and some believing dangerous error (even error that may lead them to hell) - and praising their "unity" simply because they managed to get along with each other?

It tends to act as if those outside the Church are "not basing their eternal salvation on errors and lies", that their errors are no longer "dangerous" and their creeds no longer "deadly". It seems to forget that Satan has been called "the author of every error".

Should a Protestant convert in our age, they may feel it was a wasted effort, considering that the Catholic Church has recently adopted so many of the Protestant-inspired practices (e.g. consider the changes in the Mass)

It gives the false idea that charity lies in the toleration of false ideas - "But Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be; nor in theoretical or practical indifference toward the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being." (Pope St. Pius X, "Our Apostolic Mandate", 1910 A.D.)

Ignores the fact that truth must be "exclusive and intolerant of error."

Ignores the fact that there is a clear danger that Catholics may be "swept away" during the dialoging process. Remember that those outside the church may offer a "seductive philosophy" (cf. Col 2:8) which appeals to our fallen nature. For example, consider that in the Catholic Church, one must meet the Sunday obligation under penalty of mortal sin, one must be obedient, refrain from contraception, detraction, occasions of sin, etc. and hope that one will be saved. In a false 'Christianity', the person may have no obligations, owe no obedience, and have no restraints whatsoever on their "freedom" - and all this with a "guarantee" of salvation.

It fails to convey the serious message that they cannot accept Christ and not the Church - "not without sorrow we can hear people--whom we wish to believe are well-intentioned but who are certainly misguided in their attitude - continually claiming to love Christ but without the Church, to listen to Christ but not the Church, to belong to Christ but outside the Church. The absurdity of this dichotomy is clearly evident in this phrase of the Gospel: 'Anyone who rejects you rejects me.' And how can one wish to love Christ without loving the Church, if the finest witness to Christ is that of St. Paul: 'Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her' (Eph 5:25)?" (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

Ignores the fact that "truths are to be announced and taught with authority." ("Dialog is not biblical, preaching is!") Dialog also tends to give the false impression that truths are somehow subject to argument or dispute or that they are merely personal opinions.

Ignores the fact that the doctrines of heretics draw persons into hell: "I suppose the gates of hell ['and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it' (Mt. 16:18)] to mean vice and sin, or at least the doctrines of heretics by which men are ensnared and drawn into hell." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

It causes us to apparently "water down" our doctrines and practices (or at least not to speak of them - e.g. purgatory) in order to avoid offending those who reject truth. "Since when are we called to avoid giving offense to those who offend God?"

It calls us to be more "politically correct" religiously and, contrary to Scripture, calls us to be more worldly.

It tends to give the impression that we may be willing to compromise on matters of faith.

It substitutes a horizontal view (our neighbor) for the more appropriate vertical focus (God).

It tends to substitute "tolerance" for fidelity.

It prevents Catholics from taking the necessary precautions to protect their faith. For example, consider Pope Leo XIII's advice regarding Freemasonry: -"In a matter of such importance and where the seduction is so easy in these times, it is urgent that the Christian watch himself from the beginning. He should fear the least danger, avoid every occasion, and take the greatest precautions. Use all the prudence of the serpent, while keeping in your heart the simplicity of the dove, according to the evangelical counsel" (Pope Leo XIII, "Custodi Di Quella", 1892 A.D.) Scripture is clear that false prophets will deceive many. We know that we should expect persecution and that our faith may be in danger. Clearly, we should be watchful to protect ourselves. In contrast, the ecumenical movement teaches us to "dialog" and engage in religious activities with those who reject the truth. We are also instructed to "find the good" in their distorted creeds. Obviously, "dialoging" with professed enemies of the Church poses a great spiritual danger for the faithful.

It ignores the fact that dialog cannot continue forever - "at some point, dialog must come to an end. Once you have preached and answered objections, there is not more left to say. You cannot change your teachings. You have to let them make their own personal choice of what to do."

Ignores the fact that we are a Church Militant - "Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: 'Have confidence; I have overcome the world.' Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace. The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

Ignores the fact that Jesus says "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." (Lk. 10:16) Does not the ecumenists' very actions seem to state that "It's okay not to receive those whom He sent"?

It ignores the fact that "unity" can be a bad thing - one can be in "unity" with the devil. 

Jesus didn't seek any kind of unity - he sought a particular kind of unity which necessarily excluded those who could not accept his teachings. Had he only sought an easy, natural unity, he never would have been crucified. "Unity is of great value, but only unity in truth. This is also the only true unity. Fidelity do Divine Revelation, which is fidelity towards God, is infinitely more important than all unity." (Von Hildebrand)

It overlooks the fact that unity must be grounded in truth - "To deplore disunity as such, instead of deploring heresies, instead of condemning these and calling them by their name, implies first of all that one would keep unity even at the cost of truth. But, of course, true unity presupposes unity in truth. Error, falsehood, can never be the basis for true unity. That holy, supernatural unity of which our Lord speaks in the priestly prayer ut unum sint - that all may be one - can come to pass only in the profession of divine truth, in the membership of the Mystical Body of Christ [that is, the Catholic Church]. It is a unity which includes some but, by the same token, excludes others. As Father Werenfried van Straaten reminds us, 'Jesus' prayer 'that all may be one'... may not be separated from His other words: 'I say unto you that whoever does not enter by the door of the sheepfold is a thief and a rubber...I am the door!'... Even on the natural level, unity that is not grounded in truth is either a very silly or a very dangerous thing." (Von Hildebrand)

Jesus never sent all persons out indiscriminately to preach his message or to "dialog"- rather he sent out only certain select disciples which he had personally chosen and taught to preach to others. Remember further that all persons do not have the innate ability to discuss their faith with others. Some may do more harm than good.

It ignores the fact that Jesus never said the flock could "stay where they were", but said they must be gathered into His one fold, that is the Catholic Church.

The items often "omitted" from Catholic teaching because they offend Protestants nurture falsehood - "[F]alsehood is as easily nurtured by omissions as by positive misstatements." (Liturgical Year)

It tends to emphasize what we agree on rather than where we disagree. However, what is important is precisely what we disagree on, not where we agree.

It ignores the fact that Scripture repeatedly warns us about false teachers. Now we are not warned of any dangers, but are instead told to "dialog" with them and "find the good" in their false beliefs.

It causes the removal of all safeguards for the faithful.

Heresy should not receive toleration, but hatred! Heresy is an offense against God! Note: One must "hate the heresy but love the heretic."

It is a grave offense not to work for the elimination of heresy, especially in our day: "[I]t is a grave offence not to work for the extermination of heresy when this monstrous infection requires action" (Council of Vienne)

"Truth and error cannot be reconciled - error must change to side of truth"

It appears to be a "pretended search for truth" - how can one search for something he already possesses? Can one imagine Jesus allowing his teachings to be looked upon as equal with teachings of false religions, or for it to be thought that he was looking to them to find truth that he did not already possess? The idea of such things is clearly absurd.

It may scandalize those outside the Church who can't reconcile the Church's ecumenical behavior with Gospel precepts (e.g. not associating with heretics, failing to condemn error, etc.).

It effectively calls into question the past history of the Church - as if she was mistaken in her actions for all these many centuries in combating heresy and uprooting error. 

It is wrong to "seek the good" in the beliefs of those who promote dangerous doctrines which may cause the loss of souls. "Would one praise a poisoned glass of water because it contains some 'good' water?"

It would be wrong to believe that all persons in all religions were genuinely seeking the truth, regardless of where it lies. Many (most?) are simply holding to their existing beliefs, or what they are most comfortable with, or what they would most like to be true, wrong or not. Many are proud, many simply reject the idea that they must submit to an authority - that they must offer obedience, and many prefer comfortable half-truths to less comfortable full truths. Should such persons be treated so tenderly, as if they were 'innocent victims' of their false religion?

It would be wrong to do what others would like us to do if it is contrary to their best interests. 

Contrary to Scripture, ecumenists reject harsh and accusatory statements. For example, consider that St. Paul says that those who teach different doctrines are "conceited, understanding nothing, and [have] a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes. From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions, and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds, who are deprived of the truth, supposing religion to be a means of gain" (1 Tm. 6:4-5). In contrast, ecumenists say that we should "dialog" with those who teach false doctrines and that we should "find the good" in their beliefs since they contain "elements of truth" - even if they are admitted enemies of the Church. Ecumenists clearly look down on harsh, accusatory statements like those St. Paul makes in Scripture against teachers of false doctrines.

It employs "flattering speech" and "seeks praise from human beings", in direct contradiction with St. Paul's behavior (cf. 1 Thes. 2:1-16). We see that St. Paul did not appear with flattering speech or seek praise from human beings. He also makes harsh statements about those who persecuted them, including a reference to their incurring the wrath of God. Even Christ himself called St. Peter "Satan" when he tried to stand in his way (cf. Mt. 16:23). Modern ecumenists, by contrast, employ flattering speech, may seek praise from those outside the Church, and avoid (like the plague) harsh statements about those opposed to the Church - and may even offer them flattery or at least a degree of understanding or sympathy, despite the fact that many of them hold dangerous doctrines, such as permissibility of divorce, birth control, abortion, euthanasia, etc.

May employ a false "medicine of mercy". In contrast to the ecumenists, we see that St. Paul did not employ a "medicine of mercy" when he handed Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan (1 Tm. 1:18-20). We also do not see a "medicine of mercy" being offered to those who lied to St. Peter and were struck dead (see Acts 5:1-11). In fact, where would the Church be today if St. Peter and St. Paul and others for the last 2,000 or so years employed the ecumenists' "medicine of mercy" (i.e. ignoring or tolerating error - or gentle rejections of it)? Remember, the Church has never been lacking in enemies since Jesus founded it upon Peter and only diligent condemnations and great effort have preserved its doctrines intact all these years - years that have seen the coming and going of entire civilizations.

It may cause one of the greatest weapons of all - prayer - to be put aside - "If we act as if they are okay where they are, we may not be praying for their conversion or encouraging such prayer." And clearly, only God has the ability to change their hearts. Our efforts are vain by comparison.

With false ecumenism, no measures are taken to protect the flock. Contrary to the entire tradition of the Church, are we now to believe we have no enemies? That there are no perils for our souls? That there is no longer evil in the world? That we have no more reason to fight? That errors are no longer dangerous? That the toleration of heretics is no longer injurious? "The toleration of heretics is more injurious than the devastation of the provinces by the barbarians." (Pope St. Gelasius I, 5th century A.D.)

False ecumenism seems to fail entirely to consider that heresies afflict Christ: " afflicted beyond measure by the diverse heresies multiplying around Him" (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

False ecumenism fails to realize that "unity should be communicated, not sought." It is our duty to communicate this unity, it is their duty to accept it.

False ecumenism doesn't encourage conversion - it actually discourages it (e.g. why must I convert if I am not in danger?).

It ignores the fact that Jesus - Truth itself - wants one fold, under one shepherd - not many folds under many shepherds "agreeing to coexist peacefully", some in truth and some in error.

It us uncharitable to avoid pointing out that they are in 'quicksand' - especially when help is readily available for them!

For priests, it may be considered a betrayal of their ministry: "If it be necessary - and it is everyone's duty - to fight error and repel vice, the soul of the priest must be ever open to compassion. Error must be fought with all our might, but the brother who errs must be loved intensely and brought to salvation. How much good have the saints not done, how many admirable deeds have they not performed by their kindness even in circumstances and in environments penetrated by lies and degraded by vice? Of a truth, he who to please men would gloss over their evil inclinations or be indulgent about their incorrect ways of thinking or acting, thereby prejudicing Christian teaching and integrity of morals, would be betraying his ministry." (Pope Pius XII, "Menti Nostrae", 1950 A.D.)

It seems contrary to the actions of a good shepherd: "The task of the good shepherd in the Gospel parable is, on this view, no longer to lead back those who have strayed, but just to leave the door of the sheepfold open for any sheep who may choose to wander in. This is hardly the sort of fold we expect from a good shepherd." (Amerio) Further, consider how false ecumenism which tolerates endless errors entirely contradicts Pope Pius IX's directive "So, in accordance with your pastoral care, work assiduously to protect and preserve this faith. Never cease to instruct all men in it, to encourage the wavering, to convince dissenters, to strengthen the weak in faith by never tolerating and letting pass anything which could in the slightest degree defile the purity of this faith. With the same great strength of mind, foster in all men their unity with the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation; also foster their obedience towards this See of Peter on which rests the entire structure of our most holy religion." (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)

It fails to consider that dialog brings various dangers - "[E]ngaging Catholics in dialog could weaken our overall position - since they might do it poorly and teach erroneously about what we believe and interject their own opinions into it." Further, many Catholics are poorly catechized and a large number hold erroneous, even heretical, views (e.g. it is widely reported that about 70% of Catholics no longer believe in the Real Presence, a large number also do not even believe in the Resurrection). Not only are many Catholics generally ill-prepared to answer arguments, they may also give a bad impression of Catholics. Remember further that "not all people are capable of dialoging with everyone why might happen to cross their path - most aren't. All people have different capabilities." Calling all lay Catholics to "dialog" with those outside the Church may actually drive both parties further from the Church.

Scripture warns us of the dangers in the last days where people "always trying to learn but never able to reach a knowledge of the truth" (2 Tm. 3:7) and that people will "oppose the truth - people of depraved mind, unqualified in the faith" (2 Tm. 3:8) and that "wicked people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived" (2 Tm. 3:13). The ecumenists, however, want us to "dialog" even with professed enemies of the Church and do not appear to have a great concern about whether the faithful will be able to hold onto their beliefs when "dialoging" with wicked, deceitful people who have gone from bad to worse.

While Scripture tells prelates to "proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand" (cf. 2 Tm. 4:2) and warns that the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and will stop listening to truth (cf. 2 Tm. 4:3-4), ecumenists tell us to simply "dialog" with those who reject truth. Rather than issuing reprimands as Scripture instructs and "proclaim[ing] the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient", ecumenists simply want us to "dialog" with the world, avoid condemnations and reprimands, "find the good" in false faiths, and "come to the truth together" (as if it we did not already possess it). Frankly, their behavior may leave one wondering if they have ever picked up a Bible!

In another of St. Paul's non-ecumenical statements (2 Tm. 4:14-15), we see that he tells the faithful to be on guard against an individual who resists his preaching and tells them that the Lord will repay this person for the harm he caused. The ecumenists, by contrast, would have us "dialog" with resistant persons or "find the good" in their belief systems. We may even be encouraged to engage in religious activities with them, and we would certainly be admonished not to issue harsh statements like the "Lord will repay them" for the harm they do. 

The ecumenical movement skirts the petition we make to the Lord to "lead us not into temptation" by encouraging us to jump right into situations where the faithful could be tempted to learn about false, but seductive, doctrines, and thereby fall away from the true faith. In fact, we are, in a sense, inclined to view false faiths favorably since the ecumenists direct us to "look for the good" in these false faiths.

It fails to consider that rather than quietly tolerating the errors of others, there is much to be gained by laying such errors bare: "And since, in order that the deceits of the enemy may be avoided, it is necessary first of all that they be laid bare; since much is to be gained by denouncing these fallacies for the sake of the unwary" (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.) As the Council of Trent states, "is not enough to declare the truth, if errors be not laid bare and repudiated".

Heresies should not be quietly tolerated and allowed to grow - "For although you have said that there must be heresies to test the faithful, still they must be destroyed at their very birth by your intercession and help, so they do not grow or wax strong like wolves." (Pope Leo X, "Exsurge Domine", 1520 A.D.) As St. Jerome has stated regarding the heretic Arius, "Arius was but one spark in Alexandria, but as that spark was not at once put out, the whole earth was laid waste by its flame." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church", quoting St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

Ecumenism has actually brought us further from certain groups (e.g. schismatics whose beliefs are closest to ours - i.e. the Orthodox) and closer to later heretics (Protestants). Therefore, we now appear further away from those who were formerly closest to us.

It tends to forget that "there is only one true and absolute religion - Catholicism." All other religions were created by men and contain falsehoods. And, "unless those outside the true religion convert, there will always be separation between us and them, as there must be."

It fails to emphasize that there are absolute truths that absolutely must be believed for salvation - and that one must be Catholic for salvation (click here).

It tends to place the true religion on the same level as false religions. Such an action has always been considered sinful and can only lead to God's displeasure.

It threatens the Church's ability to "guard the integrity of the faith" (e.g. since specifically Catholic practices are changed to please those outside the Church, since anathemas are avoided, since error is not forcefully condemned, etc.): "The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavor than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

It seems to be more zealous for unity than for God's glory: "If the fear of some disturbance is stronger than our zeal for God's glory and prevents us from speaking the truth, how shall we dare in the presence of the Christian people to celebrate the holy martyrs, whose glory lies in the very fact that they carried out in their lives the words: 'Even unto death fight for justice'?" (St. Cyril of Alexandria)

Heresy must be avoided and errors must be shunned. As Canon Law has said, "It is not enough to avoid heresy, but one must also carefully shun all errors which more or less approach it; hence all must observe the constitutions and decrees by which the Holy See has proscribed and forbidden dangerous opinions of that sort." (1917 Code of Canon Law, Can. 1324) In fact, heresy is like a contagious disease that we must keep a distance from. It is certainly not charitable to allow a contagious person to infect others simply to avoid hurting his feelings.

It tolerates too much forbearance: "Some there are, indeed, who maintain that it is not opportune boldly to attack evil-doing in its might and when in the ascendant, lest, as they say, opposition should exasperate minds already hostile. These make it a matter of guesswork as to whether they are for the Church or against her, since on the one hand they give themselves out as professing the Catholic faith, and yet wish that the Church should allow certain opinions, at variance with her teaching, to be spread abroad with impunity. They moan over the loss of faith and the perversion of morals, yet trouble themselves not to bring any remedy; nay, not seldom, even add to the intensity of the mischief through too much forbearance or harmful dissembling." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

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