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Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A (Ecum., Cont.) (2)

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

Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass

Latin Mass & Catholic Tradition: Q & A (Ecum., Cont.) (2)

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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

Leads to a breakdown in society - "If false religions are now considered 'valid', the moral standards of such false faiths will ultimately have a great impact on society." For example, consider that these false religions many tolerate contraception, euthanasia, abortion, divorce, etc.

It appears to be based on a false understanding of "peace". As Jesus says, "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." (Lk. 12:51-53) We see that Jesus has warned us that he did not come to establish peace on earth, but rather division. Ecumenism is often promoted as a way to bring about a "peace" - but Jesus said he came to bring division. True peace requires unity in the one true faith and faithful adherence to the truth, not the pushing aside of truths or toleration of errors in the name of "peace".

It has already led to many concessions to heretics (e.g. the Novus Ordo Mass, Communion in the hand, remaining nearly silent concerning our doctrines on purgatory, etc.), concessions which have not been reciprocated. As Davies states, "And why should Protestants reciprocate when the Church is apparently willing to make any and every concession necessary to curry favor with them? Those who grovel are seriously deluded if they imagine that this will convince those before whom they grovel that there is need for mutual concessions." Further, it is wrong to compromise in the name of peace rather than bring them over to the true peace that is available only in the Catholic Church. It quite is clear that "if we change, we become closer to them, they do not move closer to us."

Since Jesus gives us the grave warning that "whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him" (Jn. 3:36), it behooves us even more to help our brothers and sisters outside the Church to learn all the truths of the faith. In our society of soaring divorce rates, increased pornography, increased use of contraceptives, abortion, etc., the risk posed to souls outside the Church (and inside the Church given that many inside the Church don't adhere to the clear teachings) is great. Rather than "dialoging" with those who reject the truth and "finding the good" in false faiths, we should be boldly proclaiming the truths of the one true faith. It is clear that the eternal future of many souls may be at stake.

It is an attempt to reconcile the unreconciliable. As admitted by [the very liberal] Rahner, "Either recognize the irreconcilability of the different denominations, or be content with a verbal unity, or admit that the different denominations constitute a single faith." (Of course, the liberals would like it to be "admitted that they constitute a single faith", contrary to all reason and to the entire history of Church teachings).

Jesus never told us to "find the good" in false faiths or to act as if serious doctrinal differences were "no big deal".

It ignores the fact that "those outside the Church are wrong and should change, whereas those inside the Church are right and should not change."

Despite Jesus' clear warning that the world will hate us and that we will be persecuted, ecumenism often seeks a pollyannaish peace even with those who are professed enemies of the Church - and even calls the sheep to participate in these "peace" efforts to the point of engaging in religious activities with those who reject or despise the Church's divine teachings. In fact, the ecumenists avoid condemnations and tell us to "seek for good" in their belief systems. How can we forget that we are supposed to be persecuted and hated by the world?

It condemns efforts to present the Catholic Church as superior and considers attempts to persuade others to embrace the faith as a form of "oppression": "Dialog converting towards a higher and more universal truth does not suit the Catholic Church, because an heuristic process putting the Church on the road to truth does not suit it; what is appropriate for the Church is the act of charity, whereby a truth possessed by grace is communicated to others and they are thereby drawn to that truth, not to the Church as an end in itself. The superiority here is not that of the believer over the non-believer, but of truth over all other parties in the dialog. It should not be thought that the act of one man persuading another of the truth is tantamount to an act of oppression or an attack on the other's freedom. Logical contradiction and an 'either or' are part of the structure of reality, not a kind of violence." (Amerio)

It is impossible to have unity with those outside the Church as there are "as many 'Christianities' outside the Church as their are 'Christians'".

It fails to discount the effects of original sin - "The truths that have to do with God and the relations between God and men, completely surpass the sensible order and demand self-surrender and self-abnegation in order to be put into practice and to influence practical life. Now the human intellect, in gaining the knowledge of such truths is hampered both by the activity of the senses and the imagination, and by evil passions arising from original sin. Hence men easily persuade themselves in such matters that what they do not wish to believe is false or at least doubtful." (Pope Pius XII, "Humani Generis", 1950 A.D.)

It is impossible to "be of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing" (cf. Phil. 2:2) with 'Christians' who reject the Catholic Church since they worship 'another Christ' and live according to different doctrines.

It fails to realize that - "unless forever has ended" - many persons outside the Church are under anathema. For example, consider this quotation from the Council of Trent: "These are the things which this sacred ecumenical Synod professes and teaches concerning the sacraments of penance and extreme unction, and it sets them forth to be believed and held by all the faithful of Christ. Moreover, the following canons, it says, must be inviolately observed, and it condemns and anathematizes forever those who assert the contrary." (Council of Trent, emphasis added)

It is unlikely that those outside the Church who boast of their "private judgement" and "personal interpretation" will ever, in a very significant number (barring a miracle or at least strong efforts on the part of good, orthodox Catholics) come to accept the truths of the Catholic faith and agree to put aside their "personal interpretation" for the official teaching authority of the Church, especially in today's 'highly ecumenical atmosphere'. 

It is impossible to have unity in religion based on reason alone. It is clearly necessary to have a divinely appointed teaching authority. As Pope Leo XIII has said, "[A] perfect harmony of opinion should prevail; in which intent we find Paul the Apostle exhorting the Corinthians with earnest zeal and solemn weight of words: Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you: but that you be perfectly in the same mind, and in the same judgment. The wisdom of this precept is readily apprehended. In truth, thought is the principle of action, and hence there cannot exist agreement of will, or similarity of action, if people all think differently one from the other. In the case of those who profess to take reason as their sole guide, there would hardly be found, if, indeed, there ever could be found, unity of doctrine. Indeed, the art of knowing things as they really are is exceedingly difficult; moreover, the mind of man is by nature feeble and drawn this way and that by a variety of opinions, and not seldom led astray by impressions coming from without; and, furthermore, the influence of the passions oftentimes takes away, or certainly at least diminishes, the capacity for grasping the truth." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

True unity is impossible without a full and complete unity in faith, sacraments, and government. We cannot achieve unity in even one of these points with most of those outside the Church, and therefore the entire modern 'ecumenical movement' seems based on an impossibility. 

It may be said that the true aim of many ecumenists today is not to bring others into the fold of Christ, but so to expand the definition of the fold so that all are naturally included in it. Even the Catholic identity of the Church is to be put aside to come to a "new view of Christ which is 'outside all denominations'."

The whole concept of union may be seen as utopian: "In a very important and dramatic speech in January 1978, Paul VI dissipated some illusions, moved by a realism that must have gone against his utopian tendencies: 'The difficulties in establishing a genuine union between the different [so-called 'Christian'] denominations are so great as to paralyze any human hope that it can be historically achieved. The breaks that have occurred have ossified, solidified, and become institutionalized to such an extent as to make it utopian to attempt to reconstruct a body [that is, to incorporate them into the Mystical Body of Christ, the Catholic Church] dependent upon Christ as head, and which is, in St. Paul's words, well structured... The problem of Christian unity seems insoluble, especially because it is a real unity that is sought. On cannot accept any and every illegitimate pluralistic interpretation of the sacred word 'unity.' This need for a genuine unity, when faced with the concrete historical conditions of the various [so-called 'Christian'] denominations, seems to disappoint any ecumenical hopes: history never goes backwards.' The Pope ends his anguished speech by abandoning himself to prayer, and by appealing against this historical despair on the basis of a theological hope. Paul VI had already said that it is easy to be an optimist if one knows nothing about the question, but for anyone who knows the doctrinal, historical and psychological problems involved, it is clear that 'much time will be needed, and a special almost miraculous intervention of the grace of God.' As on other occasions the Pope's forecasts move from historical argument to the idea of a miracle." (Amerio)

It fails to consider that Protestants are, in reality, "those who rebel against the only Church of Christ"

It clearly ignores the grave situation of those outside the Church and favors the erroneous idea that their false religions are vehicles of salvation. This is contrary to the constant teaching of the Church, which is well reflected in quotations such as...

"One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved..." (Lateran Council IV, 1215 A.D.)

"The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith." (Fourth Council of Constantinople)

"Outside the Church baptism can be put in you but it cannot avail you" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"All who wish to reach salvation outside the Church are mistaken as to the way and are engaged in a futile effort." (Pope Leo XIII)

"No one can be justified unless he faithfully and unhesitatingly accepts the Catholic doctrine on justification." (Council of Trent)

"If anyone is outside the Ark of Noe [that is, the Church] he will perish in the over-whelming flood." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"For unless one preserves the faith entire and uninjured, he will without doubt perish forever." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)

"Anyone who dares to secede from Peter's solid rock may understand that he has not part or lot in the divine mystery." (Pope St. Leo I the Great, Doctor of the Church, 445 A.D.)

"The Church is like the ark of Noah, outside of which nobody can be saved." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[E]nsure that the faithful are deeply and thoroughly convinced of the truth of the doctrine that the Catholic faith is necessary for attaining salvation." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Nostis et Nobiscum", 1849 A.D.)

"Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith; for unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire he will undoubtedly be lost forever." (Athanasian Creed)

"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302 A.D.)

"Do not let them imagine that the way of life and of salvation is still open to them, if they have refused to obey the bishops and the priests." (St. Cyprian of Carthage, 3rd century A.D.)

"We know that salvation belongs to the Church alone, and that no one can partake of Christ nor be saved outside the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"He who will not willingly and humbly enter the gate of the Church will certainly be damned and enter the gate of Hell whether he wants to or not." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"The holy universal Church proclaims that God cannot truly be worshiped save within herself and asserts that all they who are without her pale shall never be saved." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, 6th century A.D.)

"Indeed, as long as you remain outside the Church and severed from the fabric of unity and bond of charity, you would be punished with everlasting chastisement, even if you were burned alive for Christ's sake." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Hold most firmly and never doubt in the least that no person baptized outside the Catholic Church can become a participant of eternal life if, before the end of this life, he has not returned and has been incorporated in the Catholic Church." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe, 6th century A.D.)

"It is known that all men of Noah's time perished, except those who merited to be in the Ark, which was a figure of the Church. Likewise, they cannot now be saved who will have turned away from the Apostolic Faith and the Catholic Church." (St. Gaudentius)

"Whosoever shall have separated himself from the Catholic Church, no matter how praiseworthy such a person may fancy his life has been, yet for that one crime of having cut himself off from the unity of Christ he shall not have eternal life, but the wrath of God shall abide with him for ever." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.) 

"Let no one, then, be persuaded otherwise, nor let anyone deceive himself: outside this house, that is, outside the Church, no one is saved. For if anyone go outside, he is guilty of his own death." [Origen ("the greatest scholar of Christian antiquity" - although he would eventually be excommunicated and be regarded as a heretic), 3rd century A.D.]

"There is but one plain known road: when you wander from this, you are lost. You must be altogether within the House of God, within the walls of salvation, to be sound and safe from injury. If you wander and walk abroad ever so little, if you carelessly thrust hand or foot out of the Ship, you shall be thrust forth: the door is shut, the ocean roars, you are undone." (St. Edmund Campion)

"According to the words of Saint Augustine, who takes up an image dear to the ancient Fathers, the ship of the Church must not fear, because it is guided by Christ and by His Vicar. 'Although the ship is tossed about, it is still a ship. It alone carries the disciples and receives Christ. Yes, it is tossed on the sea, but, outside it, one would immediately perish.' Only in the Church is salvation. 'Outside it one perishes.'" (Pope John Paul I, 1978)

"[W]e have to be conscious of and absorb this fundamental and revealed truth, contained in the phrase consecrated by tradition: 'There is no salvation outside the Church'. From her alone there flows surely and fully the life-giving force destined in Christ and in His Spirit to renew the whole of humanity, and therefore directing every human being to become a part of the Mystical Body of Christ." (Pope John Paul II, 1981)

"Anyone who is outside this Church, which received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, is walking a path not to heaven but to hell. He is not approaching the home of eternal life; rather, he is hastening to the torment of eternal death. And this is the case not only if he remains a pagan without Baptism, but even if, after having been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he continue as a heretic." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe, 6th century A.D.)

"We must mention and condemn again that most pernicious error, which has been imbibed by certain Catholics, who are of the opinion that those people who live in error and have not the true faith, and are separated from the Catholic unity, may obtain life everlasting. Now this opinion is contrary to Catholic Faith, as is evident from the plain words of Our Lord (Mt. 18:17; Mk. 16:16; Lk. 10:16) as also from the words of St. Paul (e.g. Acts 20:28-30) and of St. Peter (2 Pt. 2:1). To entertain opinions contrary to this Catholic Faith is to be an impious wretch." (Bl. Pope Pius IX) 

"A man cannot have salvation, except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Catholic Church he can have everything except salvation. He can have honor, he can have Sacraments, he can sing alleluia, he can answer amen, he can possess the gospel, he can have and preach faith in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; but never except in the Catholic Church will he be able to find salvation." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 418 A.D.)

"This holy Council first of all turns its attention to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself on scripture and tradition, it teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it." (Second Vatican Council)

"The Bride of Christ cannot be defiled. She is inviolate and chaste. She knows but one home, and with a chaste modesty she guards the sanctity of one bedchamber. It is she that keeps us for God, she that seals for the kingdom the sons whom she bore. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress is separated from the promises of the Church; nor will he that forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is an alien, a worldling, and an enemy. He cannot have God for his Father who does not have the Church for his mother. If anyone outside the ark of Noah was able to escape, then perhaps someone outside the pale of the Church may escape" (St. Cyprian of Carthage, c. 251 A.D.)

"Hold most firmly and never doubt in the least that the Sacrament of Baptism is able to exist not only within the Catholic Church but also among heretics who are baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; but outside the Catholic Church it cannot be of any profit; nay, just as within the Church salvation is conferred through the Sacrament of Baptism upon those who believe rightly, so too, outside the Church, if they do not return to the Church, ruin is heaped up for those who were baptized by the same Baptism. For it is the unity as such of ecclesiastical society that avails unto salvation, so that a man is not saved by Baptism to whom it was not given in that place where it is needful that it be given." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe, 6th century A.D.)

"Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles (Sgs. 6:8) proclaims: 'One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,' and she represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the head of Christ is God (1 Cor. 11:3). In her then is one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:5). There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302 A.D.)

"The third mark of the Church is that she is Catholic; that is, universal. And justly is she called Catholic, because, as St. Augustine says, she is diffused by the splendor of one faith from the rising to the setting sun. Unlike states of human institutions of the sects of heretics, she is not confined to any one country or class of men, but embraces within the amplitude of her love all mankind, whether barbarians or Scythians, slaves or freemen, male or female... Moreover to this Church, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets belong all the faithful who have existed from Adam to the present day, or who shall exist, in the profession of the true faith, to the end of time... She is also called universal, because all who desire eternal salvation must cling to and embrace her, like those who entered the ark to escape perishing in the flood." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"[The Holy Roman Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." (Council of Florence, c. 1441 A.D.) [Denzinger 714]

"Furthermore We teach and declare that the Roman Church, by the disposition of the Lord, holds the sovereignty of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction on the part of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate; and with respect to this the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both as separate individuals and all together, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church [which is] spread over the whole world, so that the Church of Christ, protected not only by the Roman Pontiff, but by the unity of communion as well as of the profession of the same faith is one flock under the one highest shepherd. This is the doctrine of Catholic truth from which no one can deviate and keep his faith and salvation." (Vatican Council I, 1870 A.D.)

"Among these heresies belongs that foul contrivance of the sophists of this age who do not admit any difference among the different professions of faith and who think that the portal of eternal salvation opens for all from any religion. They, therefore, label with the stigma of levity and stupidity those who, having abandoned the religion which they learned, embrace another of any kind, even Catholicism. This is certainly a monstrous impiety which assigns the same praise and the mark of the just and upright man to truth and to error, to virtue and to vice, to goodness and to turpitude. Indeed this deadly idea concerning the lack of difference among religions is refuted even by the light of natural reason. We are assured of this because the various religions do not often agree among themselves. If one is true, the other must be false; there can be no society of darkness with light. Against these experienced sophists the people must be taught that the profession of the Catholic faith is uniquely true, as the apostle proclaims: one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Jerome used to say it this way: he who eats the [Eucharist] outside this house will perish as did those during the flood who were not with Noah in the ark." (Pope Pius VIII, "Traditi Humilitati", 1829 A.D.)

"Now, if we look at what was done, Jesus Christ did not arrange and organize such a Church as would embrace several communities similar in kind, but distinct, and not bound together by those bonds that make the Church indivisible and unique after that manner clearly in which we profess in the symbol of faith, 'l believe in one Church.' ... Now, Jesus Christ when He was speaking of such a mystical edifice, spoke only of one Church which He called His own: 'I will build my Church' (Matt. 16:18). Whatever other church is under consideration than this one, since it was not founded by Jesus Christ, cannot be the true Church of Christ... And so the Church is bound to spread among all men the salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ, and all the blessings that proceed therefrom, and to propagate them through the ages. Therefore, according to the will of its Author the Church must be alone in all lands in the perpetuity of time... The Church of Christ, therefore, is one and perpetual; whoever go apart (from it) wander away from the will and prescription of Christ the Lord and, leaving the way of salvation, digress to destruction." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1898 A.D.)

"But this supremacy of man, which openly rejects Christ, or at least ignores Him, is entirely founded upon selfishness, knowing neither charity nor self-devotion. Man may indeed be king, through Jesus Christ: but only on condition that he first of all obey God, and diligently seek his rule of life in God's law. By the law of Christ we mean not only the natural precepts of morality and the Ancient Law, all of which Jesus Christ has perfected and crowned by His declaration, explanation and sanction; but also the rest of His doctrine and His own peculiar institutions. Of these the chief is His Church. Indeed whatsoever things Christ has instituted are most fully contained in His Church. Moreover, He willed to perpetuate the office assigned to Him by His Father by means of the ministry of the Church so gloriously founded by Himself. On the one hand He confided to her all the means of men's salvation, on the other He most solemnly commanded men to be subject to her and to obey her diligently, and to follow her even as Himself: 'He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me' (Luke x, 16). Wherefore the law of Christ must be sought in the Church. Christ is man's 'Way'; the Church also is his 'Way' - Christ of Himself and by His very nature, the Church by His commission and the communication of His power. Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

"Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that 'there is one God, one faith, one baptism' may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that 'those who are not with Christ are against Him,' and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore 'without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.' Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: 'He who is for the See of Peter is for me.' A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: 'The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?'' (Pope Gregory XVI, "Mirari Vos", 1832 A.D.)

"You know how zealously Our predecessors taught that very article of faith which these dare to deny, namely the necessity of the Catholic faith and of unity for salvation. The words of that celebrated disciple of the apostles, martyred St. Ignatius, in his letter to the Philadelphians are relevant to this matter: 'Be not deceived, my brother; if anyone follows a schismatic, he will not attain the inheritance of the kingdom of God.' Moreover, St. Augustine and the other African bishops who met in the Council of Cirta in the year 412 explained the same thing at greater length: 'Whoever has separated himself from the Catholic Church, no matter how laudably he lives, will not have eternal life, but has earned the anger of God because of this one crime: that he abandoned his union with Christ.' Omitting other appropriate passages which are almost numberless in the writings of the Fathers, We shall praise St. Gregory the Great who expressly testifies that this indeed is the teaching of the Catholic Church. He says: 'The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.' Official acts of the Church proclaim the same dogma. Thus, in the decree on faith which Innocent III published with the synod of Lateran IV, these things are written: 'There is one universal Church of all the faithful outside of which no one is saved.' Finally the same dogma is also expressly mentioned in the profession of faith proposed by the Apostolic See... Strive to eradicate these slithering errors with all your strength. Inspire the keep the Catholic faith and unity as the only way of salvation with an ever more ardent zeal, and, thus, to avoid every danger of forsaking it." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Summo Iugiter Studio", 1832 A.D.)

"If then it be certain that anything is revealed by God, and this is not believed, then nothing whatever is believed by divine Faith: for what the Apostle St. James judges to be the effect of a moral delinquency, the same is to be said of an erroneous opinion in the matter of faith. 'Whosoever shall offend in one point, is become guilty of all' (Ep. James ii., 10). Nay, it applies with greater force to an erroneous opinion. For it can be said with less truth that every law is violated by one who commits a single sin, since it may be that he only virtually despises the majesty of God the Legislator. But he who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honor God as the supreme truth and the formal motive of faith. 'In many things they are with me, in a few things not with me; but in those few things in which they are not with me the many things in which they are will not profit them' (S. Augustinus in Psal. liv., n. 19). And this indeed most deservedly; for they, who take from Christian doctrine what they please, lean on their own judgments, not on faith; and not 'bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ' (2 Cor. x., 5), they more truly obey themselves than God. 'You, who believe what you like, believe yourselves rather than the gospel' (S. Augustinus, lib. xvii., Contra Faustum Manichaeum, cap. 3)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

Note: Jesus tells us that we cannot remain on the vine if we do not remain in Him. The ecumenical movement seems to expand the definition of the vine so that all fit on it somewhere, even if they openly reject the Vine itself. However, it is clear that those who do not remain on the true Vine will be "thrown out and burned" (cf. Jn. 15:6). It is further clear that the Body of Christ cannot be disunified among the tens of thousands of differing sects which each preach a different Jesus since "there may be no division in the body" (1 Cor. 12:25). Scripture tells us those who have gone out from us were not of our number and that every lie is alien to the truth (cf.1 Jn. 2:21). The ecumenical movement tells us that those who have separated from us are really somehow still part of us and that we should "look for good" in their false doctrines because they contain "elements of truth". The following quotations help illustrate that the falsity of the ecumenists' claims that those outside the Church who call themselves 'Christian' are somehow still part of the Church:

"For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head." (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928 A.D.)

"Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. 'For in one spirit' says the Apostle, 'were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.' As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered - so the Lord commands - as a heathen and a publican. It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"What the soul is to man's body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church. The Holy Spirit does in the whole Church what the soul does in all the members of one body. But see what you must beware of, see what you must take not of, see what you must fear. It happens that in the human body - or rather, of the body - some member, whether hand, finger, or foot, may be cut away. And if a member be cut off, does the soul go with it? When the member was in the body, it lived; and off, its life is lost. So too, a Christian man is Catholic while he lives in the body; cut off, he is made a heretic; the Spirit does not follow an amputated member." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 5th century A.D.)

"Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in our encyclical letter of a few years ago, and based on the sources of revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation. Others finally belittle the reasonable character of the credibility of Christian faith. These and like errors, it is clear, have crept in among certain of Our sons who are deceived by imprudent zeal for souls or by false science. To them We are compelled with grief to repeat once again truths already well known, and to point out with solicitude clear errors and dangers of error." (Pope Pius XII, "Humani Generis", 1950 A.D.)

"If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ - which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church - we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression 'the Mystical Body of Christ' - an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the Holy Fathers. That the Church is a body is frequently asserted in the Sacred Scriptures. 'Christ,' says the Apostle, 'is the Head of the Body of the Church.' If the Church is a body, it must be an unbroken unity, according to those words of Paul: 'Though many we are one body in Christ.' But it is not enough that the Body of the Church should be an unbroken unity; it must also be something definite and perceptible to the senses as Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum asserts: 'the Church is visible because she is a body. Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely 'pneumatological' as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are united by an invisible bond." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"We must consequently investigate not how the Church may possibly be one, but how He, who founded it, willed that it should be one. But when we consider what was actually done we find that Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: 'I believe in one Church.' 'The Church in respect of its unity belongs to the category of things indivisible by nature, though heretics try to divide it into many parts...We say, therefore, that the Catholic Church is unique in its essence, in its doctrine, in its origin, and in its excellence... Furthermore, the eminence of the Church arises from its unity, as the principle of its constitution - a unity surpassing all else, and having nothing like unto it or equal to it' (S. Clemens Alexandrinus, Stronmatum lib. viii., c. 17). For this reason Christ, speaking of the mystical edifice, mentions only one Church, which he calls His own - 'I will build my church;' any other Church except this one, since it has not been founded by Christ, cannot be the true Church." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"Those who acknowledge Christ must acknowledge Him wholly and entirely. 'The Head and the Body are Christ wholly and entirely. The Head is the only-begotten Son of God, the Body is His Church; the Bridegroom and the Bride, two in one flesh. All who dissent from the Scriptures concerning Christ, although they may be found in all places in which the Church is found, are not in the Church; and again all those who agree with the Scriptures concerning the Head, and do not communicate in the unity of the Church, are not in the Church' (S. Augustinus, Contra Donatistas Epistola, sive De Unit. Eccl., cap. iv., n. 7). And with the same yearning Our soul goes out to those whom the foul breath of irreligion has not entirely corrupted, and who at least seek to have the true God, the Creator of Heaven and earth, as their Father. Let such as these take counsel with themselves, and realize that they can in no wise be counted among the children of God, unless they take Christ Jesus as their Brother, and at the same time the Church as their Mother. We lovingly address to all the words of St. Augustine: 'Let us love the Lord our God; let us love His Church; the Lord as our Father, the Church as our Mother. Let no one say, I go indeed to idols, I consult fortune-tellers and soothsayers; but I leave not the Church of God: I am a Catholic. Clinging to thy Mother, thou offendest thy Father. Another, too, says: 'Far be it from me; I do not consult fortune-telling, I seek not soothsaying, I seek not profane divinations, I go not to the worship of devils, I serve not stones: but I am on the side of Donatus.' What doth it profit thee not to offend the Father, who avenges an offence against the Mother? What doth it profit to confess the Lord, to honor God, to preach Him, to acknowledge His Son, and to confess that He sits on the right hand of the Father, if you blaspheme His Church?...If you had a beneficent friend, whom you honored daily - and even once calumniated his spouse, would you ever enter his house? Hold fast, therefore, O dearly beloved, hold fast altogether God as your Father, and the Church as your Mother' (Enarratio in Psal. lxxxviii., sermo ii., n. 14)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

Despite the above, it is clear that "ecumenism is now supposed to permeate the Church", for better or for worse. Regarding the supposed necessity of false ecumenism, however, no Catholic is obliged to participate. This can be easily determined by the fact that such efforts have always been condemned by the Church, and were even potentially punishable offenses. The Church cannot positively command us to do something that she has always forbidden as wrong / dangerous / evil, etc. To require us to do so would automatically mean that not to do so would be sinful - which would mean a blanket condemnation of all previous popes, saints, councils, etc., which is clearly ridiculous. Further, we can see that the Bible instructs us not to communicate with heretics and even common sense tells us that it is dangerous. And, we can again recall that even the Second Vatican Council warned that "Common participation in worship (communicatio in sacris) which harms the unity of the Church or involves formal acceptance of error or the danger of aberration in the faith, of scandal and indifferentism, is forbidden by divine law."

Also, we may consider the fact that after decades of ecumenism, the Church has not been well served. Instead, she has a protestantized liturgy and other sacraments, a massive falling away from the faith, a loss of tradition, confused laity, priestly shortages, a crisis in religious orders, reduced conversions, decreased Mass attendance, disunity, blurring of the roles between priestly and laity, loss of belief in Catholic doctrines, loss of Marian emphasis, fewer prayers for the suffering souls in purgatory, diminution of the Communion of the saints, loss of obedience, relaxing of discipline, de-emphasizing of "harsh" doctrines (e.g. judgment, hell, purgatory, etc.), an "unbecoming familiarity with the world", as well as the building of ugly churches, the removal or hiding of Tabernacles, the demolition of priceless works of art, the removal of crucifixes. Catholics have been poorly catechized, heavenly devotions have been changed (e.g. the Rosary), etc. The Church is also plagued with much dissent, error, and religious indifferentism, as well as many other problems (click here for additional information). Ecumenical events have caused grave scandals (e.g. high ranking prelates kissing the 'holy' books of false religions and offering undue praise of heretical / schismatic faiths and their leaders, participating in scandalous interfaith events, scandalous statements indicating that Jews don't need to convert, reports of an idol being placed on a Tabernacle, etc.). Sacrilege and profanation abound. Protestant authors publish in 'Catholic' publications. Mixed marriages may be encouraged (despite frequently resulting tragedies). Joint churches between Catholics and heretics have been built and even tabernacles have been shared (as Davies points out, this has occurred in Britain) - although those outside the church don't believe in the Real Presence and those with whom Tabernacles have been shared have no valid priesthood!! Now it is even allowed for priests to celebrate Mass in the "temples of heretics or schismatics" [as they were formerly called in Canon Law when such offensive practices were forbidden (Can.823) - in the new Canon Law "a priest is permitted to celebrate the Eucharist in the place of worship of some ('Church') or ecclesial community which does not have full communion with the Catholic Church so long as there is no scandal" (Can. 933). How could there be no scandal?!].

Thanks to ecumenism, changes have even been made to the holiest thing on earth - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - to accommodate those outside the Church who don't believe it is a true sacrifice. The ambiguity in many of the prayers of the new Mass may allow those outside the Church to attend and believe what they want (an untruth - that is, that the Mass is not a sacrifice), while those in the Church can believe the truth (that is, the Mass is a sacrifice). In Scripture, however, we are told that "those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth" (cf. Jn. 4:24). Are we permitting those outside the Church to worship "not in truth" by allowing (or possibly encouraging) a false interpretation of the holiest thing on earth? 

Further, the ecumenical orientation has ushered in countless abuses to the Holy Eucharist. Offensive practices have been adopted which please Protestants (e.g. receiving Communion in the hand, standing, from a lay person), keeling has been discouraged. Even Pope John Paul II has lamented "ambiguity and depreciation" of the Holy Eucharist which is tied to ecumenical initiatives: "At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. Stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet. Furthermore, the necessity of the ministerial priesthood, grounded in apostolic succession, is at times obscured and the sacramental nature of the Eucharist is reduced to its mere effectiveness as a form of proclamation. This has led here and there to ecumenical initiatives which, albeit well-intentioned, indulge in Eucharistic practices contrary to the discipline by which the Church expresses her faith. How can we not express profound grief at all this? The Eucharist is too great a gift to tolerate ambiguity and depreciation."

Ecumenical priorities have also greatly endangered the faith of Catholics. For example, consider that the ecumenical Novus Ordo Mass makes it easier for Catholics to err in important matters of faith [as illustrated by today's widespread disbelief in the Real Presence (reported to affect about 70% of Catholics) which, as St. Paul warns, causes one to eat and drink judgment upon oneself: "For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1 Cor. 11:29)]. Remember that, despite the fact that the ecumenically oriented Novus Ordo Mass may tend to obscure this truth, Catholics will still be held responsible for holding proper doctrine on the Eucharist since moral diligence will easily remove the error ["Error concerning a matter of faith or of conduct will imperil salvation if (a) it can be corrected by moral diligence, or (b) if it is due to a direct refusal to see the truth (affected error)" (Catholic Dictionary)].

And furthermore, traditional Catholics who reject the new orientation are mistreated, abused, ostracized, punished, called disobedient, etc. 

As Pope John Paul II has said, "There are people who in the face of the difficulties or because they consider that the first ecumenical endeavors have brought negative results would have liked to turn back. Some even express the opinion that these efforts are harmful to the cause of the Gospel, are leading to a further rupture in the Church, are causing confusion of ideas in questions of faith and morals and are ending up with a specific indifferentism. It is perhaps a good thing that the spokesmen for these opinions should express their fears."

For our part, we ask: (1) Is the Church better served? (2) Are Catholics better served? (3) Are we more pleasing to God? When all is said and done, "the fruits themselves speak so loudly that we can't hear voices."

As for what constitutes true and false ecumenism, we are not qualified to say, but we leave one to review the traditional teachings of the Evangelists, Popes, Saints, and Councils. Given these as a reference, it is clear that many actions which have occurred in the wake of the Second Vatican Council cannot possibly be squared with the longstanding practice of the Church - who, even if she was to tolerate any admixture of Catholics with those outside the Church, implemented proper safeguards and warned that "With regard especially to mixed assemblies and conferences of Catholics with non-Catholics, which in recent times have begun to be held in many places to promote 'union' in the faith, there is need of quite peculiar vigilance and control on the part of Ordinaries. For if on the one hand these meetings afford the desired opportunity to spread among non-Catholics the knowledge of Catholic doctrine, which is generally not sufficiently known to them, yet on the other hand they easily involve no slight danger of indifferentism for Catholics." (Instruction Of The Holy Office, On The Ecumenical Movement, 1949 A.D.) She also warned that "larger meetings of this sort usually bear little fruit and involve greater danger" (Instruction Of The Holy Office, On The Ecumenical Movement, 1949 A.D.) and further enacted various safeguards to protect the faithful and limited participation only to select individuals [e.g. those of proven faith and ability: "The faithful, however, should not attend these meetings unless they have obtained special permission from Ecclesiastical Authority, and this shall be given only to those who are known to be well instructed and strong in their faith. Where there is no apparent hope of good results, or where the affair involves special dangers on other grounds, the faithful are to be prudently kept away from the meetings" (Instruction Of The Holy Office, On The Ecumenical Movement, 1949 A.D.)]

Again, the fruits of the last several decades of poorly considered, ecumenically inspired activities speak for themselves (click here for some fruits) and more than justify their immediate curtailment. Once again, we should keep in mind what Holy Scripture and Pope Pius XI have said:

"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works." (St. John, 2 Jn. 1:10-11)

"After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned." (St. Paul, Ti. 3:10-11)

"But, all the same, although many non-Catholics may be found who loudly preach fraternal communion in Christ Jesus, yet you will find none at all to whom it ever occurs to submit to and obey the Vicar of Jesus Christ either in His capacity as a teacher or as a governor. Meanwhile they affirm that they would willingly treat with the Church of Rome, but on equal terms, that is as equals with an equal: but even if they could so act, it does not seem open to doubt that any pact into which they might enter would not compel them to turn from those opinions which are still the reason why they err and stray from the one fold of Christ. This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ." (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928 A.D.)

Lastly, the rejection of false ecumenism does not go against "the" Vatican Council. The first Vatican Council states that:

"The meaning of Sacred Dogmas, which must always be preserved, is that which our Holy Mother the Church has determined. Never is it permissible to depart from this in the name of a deeper understanding." (First Vatican Council)


"If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema."

Even the Second Vatican Council's teaches that...

"Common participation in worship (communicatio in sacris) which harms the unity of the Church or involves formal acceptance of error or the danger of aberration in the faith, of scandal and indifferentism, is forbidden by divine law."

Furthermore, considering that the Church is not authorized to change or create new doctrine, but that she must retain the same doctrine that she has always had, and with the same understanding - and that prior to the Second Vatican Council, all the councils, saints, popes, etc. rejected false ecumenism, traditional Catholics feel safe continuing to reject false ecumenism.

One may also do well to remember that the Pope who closed the council, himself said that: "Given the Council's pastoral character, it avoided pronouncing in any extraordinary manner, dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility." (Pope Paul VI, General Audience, Jan. 12, 1966)

As Cardinal Ratzinger, council father and the future Pope Benedict XVI has said, "There are many accounts of it which give the impression that, from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and that what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II. The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of super-dogma which takes away the importance of all the rest." (emphasis added) 

As Cardinal Felici, Secretary General of the Council has said, "Taking into account conciliar practice and the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred synod has defined as binding on the Church only those matters of Faith and Morals which it has expressly put forward as such." He has also been quoted as saying, "We have to distinguish according to the schemas and the chapters those which have already been the subject of dogmatic [infallible] definitions; as for the declarations which have a novel character, we have to make reservations."

Even one Bishop has admitted: "I was relieved when we told that this Council was not aiming at defining or giving final statements on doctrine, because a statement of doctrine has to be very carefully formulated and I would have regarded the Council statements as tentative and liable to be reformed." (Bishop Morris)

It should be further noted that ecumenism "is more of a 'strategy', not a doctrine, and therefore it does not invoke infallibility." Of course, strategies - no matter how well-intentioned they might be - may be harmful and ill-conceived, and it is not disobedient to point this out.

Finally, it's interesting to note how many Catholics who accuse 'Traditionalist' Catholics of "going against the Council" or "going against the pope" because they disapprove of false ecumenism seem to have no qualms about going against many councils and many popes - and may even go against their own beloved Second Vatican Council (e.g. by failing to protect the traditional rite of Mass, by not using Latin at Mass, by not using Gregorian chant or the pipe organ, etc.).

Note: For More on Religious Indifferentism / The Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation, Click Here. For Heresy / Heretic Reflections, Click Here.

"Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire, as it were, to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith." (Saint Peter Canisius, Doctor of the Church)

"May Faith, without which love and charity cannot exist, be maintained in all its purity; may the serpent of heresy be crushed, and its poisoned cup find neither teachers to offer it not disciples to drink it. May the attachment to the doctrines of the Church be firm and courageous; may no human schemes or theories, or cowardly toleration of error, enervate the principles of truth and morals; may the children of light boldly disown fellowship with the children of darkness." (Dom Gueranger)


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