Monday, April 21, 2008

The Pope's Ecumenical Address

One of Milwaukee's Bishops was present for this address, but curiously failed to mention exactly what the Pope said.

Well, fortunately, we have a report from Chiesa on the visit.

During this meeting, at the end of the Liturgy of the Word, Benedict XVI addressed to those present a discourse that was absolutely out of the ordinary for such a gathering. Even more, it was highly original with respect to the previous statements by pope Joseph Ratzinger on the topic of the ecumenism.

The thesis of Benedict XVI is that Christianity is so divided both because of a mutual rivalry expressed in "prophetic actions" that tend to distinguish and divide the communities from "communion with the Church in every age," and because of "a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies."

So instead of preaching Jesus Christ "and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2) – meaning the "objective truth" of the apostolic faith – many Christians of the various denominations prefer to urge each one to follow his own conscience and choose the community that best meets his personal tastes.


In the judgment of Benedict XVI, this reluctance to assert the centrality of doctrine "for fear that it would only exacerbate rather than heal the wounds of division" is also present within the ecumenical movement.

(That may be the reason for relaying the Pope's message....)

On the contrary, this is the appeal of the pope: "Only by 'holding fast' to sound teaching (2 Thess 2:15; cf. Rev 2:12-29) will we be able to respond to the challenges that confront us in an evolving world. Only in this way will we give unambiguous testimony to the truth of the Gospel and its moral teaching. This is the message which the world is waiting to hear from us."

A direct quote from his address:

My dear friends, the power of the kerygma has lost none of its internal dynamism. Yet we must ask ourselves whether its full force has not been attenuated by a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies, which, in alleging that science alone is "objective", relegate religion entirely to the subjective sphere of individual feeling. Scientific discoveries, and their application through human ingenuity, undoubtedly offer new possibilities for the betterment of humankind. This does not mean, however, that the "knowable" is limited to the empirically verifiable, nor religion restricted to the shifting realm of "personal experience". For Christians to accept this faulty line of reasoning would lead to the notion that there is little need to emphasize objective truth in the presentation of the Christian faith, for one need but follow his or her own conscience and choose a community that best suits his or her individual tastes. The result is seen in the continual proliferation of communities which often eschew institutional structures and minimize the importance of doctrinal content for Christian living

Translation: don't pussyfoot around. Either what was revealed IS or is NOT true. There will be no "unity" by departing from the Word...


GOR said...

Pope Benedict has for some time been concerned about how 'Ecumenism' has played out post-Vatican II. While pre-Vatican II there was a sense of triumphalism about Catholicism ("We're right. You're wrong. End of story."), since then many have come to the conclusion that: "We're really all the same, right?" So if we differ on some things, what's the big deal? We all believe in Jesus, so we're all okay, right? It doesn't matter what church you go to, or that you even go to church. We can all pray to God anywhere.

And those sentiments are often expressed by 'Catholics'...! Thanks to decades of watered-down - or outright heretical - catechesis, many Catholics don't even know their own Faith, their own Church. This bears out Chesterton's words that: "It is not that the Catholic Church has been tried and found wanting. It is that it has not been tried."

We will not convert unbelievers by just 'being nice', much less by glossing over fundamental Doctrinal differences between the True Church and the pale imitations. Only by standing fast to the Truth will other see the Catholic Church for what She is - the One True Church, the One with the fullness of Faith, the One against whom the Gates of Hell will not prevail.

So without being triumphalist about it, the fact remains: the Catholic Church has it all, as Our Lord intended. Anything else will always be something less.

Anonymous said...

I know of no rush of converts because of recent ecumenism. More people came into the Church because her Truths and being the Rock of Jesus' Teaching. People convert when they are humble of heart and truly want the truth and want as much of Jesus as they can get. Pandering to heretics does not nurture conversions. Truths do.