Bringing Tim Tebow & Others To The Fullness of Truth That Is The Catholic Church

Wednesday, December 14, AD 2011

A very interesting debate broke out recently following my article on the attacks Denver Quarterback Tim Tebow is coming under from militant liberal secularists concerning his public displays of faith. Catholic writer David L Gray wrote this piece and of course there have been many others. The debate shifted to Tim Tebow’s father who is an Evangelical leader and who takes missionary groups to Catholic countries like the Philippines so the people can “Hear the Gospel.” These kinds of statements either make Catholics laugh or get them angry. Whenever I hear these groups say that they are taking the Gospel into Catholic countries I think we should all say, “We have been preaching the Gospel since before the Canon of the Bible came to be,” or “When did your church start?  Actually, we have been under the same management for 2,000 years.” The crux of the matter is how do we willingly lead people to a place we think they most certainly want to go?

I have always found that outside of a few fundamentalist crackpots, most Evangelicals respect us when we humbly but boldly tell them about Church History, Apostolic Succession, the Real Presence and other Sacraments. Why? They sincerely want to know all they can about Jesus and with the aforementioned they aren’t even getting the Readers Digest version let alone the Fullness of Truth.

In some ways Evangelicals are the low hanging fruit of the religious world. They are eager people who want to know Jesus and boy can we show them Jesus. What about the Catholic Church Abuse scandals some say; shouldn’t that prevent them from coming home to Rome? Evangelicals are familiar with scandals, in many ways they have a belief that if a scandal brews it is the work of the devil and where the devil is you know that somewhere nearby the Gospel is being preached, otherwise the devil wouldn’t be there. The devil doesn’t waste his time fighting against with fluff, because fluff never saved souls. I dare say that some Evangelicals might also take to sites such as this or even sites like Michael Brown’s Spirit Daily that delve a little into Catholic Eschatology.

Some may say what about Catholics who have fallen away? Of course it is important for our lost brothers and sisters to come home. However, many are working on that, including Catholics Come Home which is doing amazing work bringing Catholics back home. Recently in Phoenix, 92,000 fallen away Catholics registered in Phoenix parishes thanks to a concerted diocesan campaign implement by Catholics Come Home, which included commercials on television and radio.

Some may say that reconciling the split with the Orthodox Church which took place in 1056 is the most important step, after all aren’t they closest to us in ideology and practice, and hasn’t reconciliation with the Orthodox Church been the primary push by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI? Yes the last two pontiffs have made a big push with our liturgical friends to the East. However, here are a couple of points. There are more Evangelicals in the United States alone than there are Orthodox Christians in the entire English speaking world. Time is running out to bring our Evangelical brothers and sisters home. Why? Sadly most Evangelical organized churches outside the Southern Baptists are in a statistical freefall due to being raided by non-denominational mega churches. These mega churches which are increasingly becoming entertainment oriented churches have no sound theology to which to build their foundation. We all know what Jesus said about what you need to build your foundation on.  (You might want to read the following article one on what liberals have done to churches in an article entitled: If You Want Liberals To Run Governments Look At What They Have Done To Religion; Left It In Tatters & the effect of entertainment churches on society in an article entitled; Margaritaville Christianity, God’s Way or Our Way?

This leads us to one of the most underreported religious stories of the year; the Catholic Diocese of Orange, California buying Dr. Robert Schuler’s Crystal Cathedral, the nation’s first mega church which had gone bankrupt.  Some folks got caught up in the argument over whether a Catholic Church could even use something that hardly looks like a traditional church. However, think of the significance of the event. Rev, Robert Schuler was such a powerful name, his words were listened to and his church started an entire movement. Yet, look where his church ended up, going back home to Rome. What a metaphor for going full circle back to the Fullness of Truth, the Catholic Church.

While working on our upcoming national cable television show Non Negotiable, Producer & Director Christian Peschken talked about this very subject. Christian implored me that I needed to make this a bigger deal than it already was going to be for my upcoming book. He felt the symbolism of this the nation’s first and once most powerful mega church being turned over to the Catholic Church could not be understated. They who built their foundation on sand have now put their foundation on the Rock of Peter.

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17 Responses to Bringing Tim Tebow & Others To The Fullness of Truth That Is The Catholic Church

  • The debate shifted to Tim Tebow’s father who is an Evangelical leader and who takes missionary groups to Catholic countries like the Philippines so the people can “Hear the Gospel.”

    I’m pretty sure the Tebow family was around Mindanao, the Muslim area– that’s where he went back to talk to school kids not so long ago.
    The Moro Islamic Liberation Front could stand to hear the Gospel, and if the Evangelicals can get around the hate to get them to listen, more power to them.

  • I wonder if our atheist trolls will return to raise havoc with this blog entry. BTW, very good, David Hartline! My family is all Pentecostal Evangelicals. I am the only Catholic, so anything they learn about the Faith probably comes from me.

  • Until I had read Dave’s earlier piece about Tebow, I had just assumed he was another Phillip Rivers, what with his pro-life other Catholic-like stances. So that tells me that he just may be the kind of person who could easily cross the Tiber, if not plunge head-long toward his true home much like he does against his opponents despite his father’s anti-Catholic views. I’ve seen stranger conversions, after all.

    By the way, I just saw on the news a report about a controversy involving a rabbi, who says that the pro-Tebow crowd will go nuts and burn down mosques if the Broncos end up winning the Super Bowl.

  • Joel T.: I saw that, too.

    Sic semper tyrannis.

    They murdered 100,000,000 in the 20th century. Using the same “logic”, there ought to be a bounty on atheists.

    Liberals aren’t just evil and hate-filled. They are freaking stupid, too.

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  • I recently posted a couple of articles on Tim Tebow also as I am am becoming increasingly saddened by the lack of willingness to understand Tim Tebow’s enthusiasm for serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Feel free to check them out.

    http://catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/is-time-tebow-gods-gift-or-something-methinks-so/

    Jesus once was asked by His disciples if they should forbid some other people who were preaching in His Name but did not follow with them. Jesus said, surprisingly “NO.” He further said that “those who are not against Me are for Me.”

    Tim Tebow is our Christian brother and should be respected as such. That is the teaching of our Church and Catechism (reference 817-820). His family is doing a marvelous work in a needy place. Do I wish they brought the Gospel from a strictly Catholic perspective? Of course. But I would rather see a good Protestant who deeply loves Christ than a bad Catholic who snoozes through Mass any day. For us to condemn their work as “anti-Catholic” because they do not follow the hierarchy is ludicrous.

    I say let’s pray for Tebow, and hard. His job is not easy and the temptations are very real in the world he now lives in. satan and not a few women would love to see him fall. Perhaps, just perhaps, he will surprise us all and become a Catholic priest one day. It just could happen.

  • “I say let’s pray for Tebow, and hard. His job is not easy and the temptations are very real in the world he now lives in.”

    I agree, as long as we are not referring to pass completions or fourth quarter comebacks, etc. We pray that Tebow follows and obeys God’s will, whatever that may be. Praise God always, even after a spectacular, improbable, nationally-televised failure. God has a plan for each of us, and we pray for the grace and the wisdom to make the right choices at the right time. Our chosen profession is not always the one God wants for us, and failures — small or spectacular — can be a way of telling us we need to move on.

    Marion Barber deserves my huge respect and prayers for comments he made after his spectacular, improbable, nationally-televised failure:
    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/football/bears/9397550-606/marion-barber-keeps-the-faith.html

    I respect Tebow for the adversity he has overcome, not (yet) for on the field success.

  • Richard,
    I agree with most of what you say, but (i) I think your notion that some Catholics view Tebot’s work as anti-Catholic is a pure red herring and (ii) your description of Catholicism as following the hierarchy is a disappointing trivialization of who we are.

  • Foxfier,
    Although there is a significant Muslim population in Mindanao, Catholics still make up 63% of the population there. Besides this, Tebow built his hospital in Davao which is 95% Catholic.

  • “This leads us to one of the most underreported religious stories of the year; the Catholic Diocese of Orange, California buying Dr. Robert Schuler’s Crystal Cathedral, the nation’s first mega church which had gone bankrupt. Some folks got caught up in the argument over whether a Catholic Church could even use something that hardly looks like a traditional church. However, think of the significance of the event. Rev, Robert Schuler was such a powerful name, his words were listened to and his church started an entire movement. Yet, look where his church ended up, going back home to Rome. What a metaphor for going full circle back to the Fullness of Truth, the Catholic Church.”

    So what does the Church of Nicea being turned into a mosque mean? Secondly, I don’t understand why Muslims need converted if the Church says that they can reject Christ and still inherit eternal life. Not being combative, just some honest thoughts.

  • I like to remind some people of some Gospel-biblical Truth. Jesus told the apostles when they told Him some people are teaching your material but are not with us. His reply, those who are not against us are with us. Revelation gives us the crude truth that if we are lukewarm, not hot or cold, Jesus will “puke” us out! Too manyespecially older Catholics today who do attend Mass are out the door as soon as Communion starts or walk out when they receive the sacrament. I witnessed that so much in a US resort area. St Paul is the patron saint of those who were so full of hate he met Jesus and he sure accepted Him as Lord and Saviour and showed he believed Him when Jesus said why persecute ME, the Church and zealously filled up and built up that Church until they chpped his head off in Rome. The Tebows are doing Jesus’ work and please GOD they will do a Paul on the road to Damascus and make it “all better” as the little ones say, and do not join a parosh where Mass is over for most of the congregatiom while the Supper of the Lamb is being served to the other guests.

  • Thanks for your post G Burch. What does the Church at Nicea being turned into a mosque mean? Sadly, it means the people of the day were taken over in a bloody invasion that saw what is now modern day Turkey become Muslim. Our old friend Mack who posts here occasionally refers to Istanbul as “Occupied Constantinople.” I never give up hope because the Church is who she says she is, “The Fullness of Truth.” I don’t say this out of pride or arrogance but only because Christ said He was the Way the Truth and Light.” He passed that light via the keys of leadership to St Peter and every other successive Pope. The Church says that other religions have pieces and or slivers of the truth. However, the Fullness of Truth belongs to the Church Jesus founded, the Catholic Church. Jesus will judge us all and He knows the ins and outs of all of ours souls. I hope that helps.

  • Us Catholics should be ashamed. Where does the “press” go to find out the “truth” about our Church? Biden, Kerry, Pelosi, “sister” Teresa Kane, “SNAP”, “catholics” for choice, etc.. Even though Tim & his family don’t have all the truth, at least they are standing up for Jesus as in Col. 3:17, which is something that we are not doing very well, are we? Didn’t Jesus say that all men will bend the knee to Him (also, God said the same in the O.T.) & now, men that wouldn’t dare to bend their knee in public (not very manly) are doing the same on national T.V., even though it is in mockery, but who knows just how & when the Holy Spirit will hit them. It will be a wonderful day the the Tebows became Catholic. Can you imagine the horror from the press when a Catholic will do the same as Tim on the field & in front of a microphone? Glory & Praise the Lord. +JMJ+

  • JMJ, yes it is very sad that so many Catholics are CINO’s (Catholic In Name Only.) However, the Fullness of Truth marches on and is examplified in the fine work of many people, some of which I mentioned in the article. While we may be angry at those who let down the Faith, we should never forget those who show her best side to others. Maybe we will have our own version of Tim Tebow someday, or maybe just maybe someone will show him The Fullness of Truth!

  • There are 23 truly ancient churches of varying shades of heresy and schism to the Catholic church. These range from Nestorians and Copts to the Armenian Church and the Chaldeans, Ethiopian church etc. ALL venerate Mary as a unique channel of grace. ALL of them are hierarchal, venerate images and share dozens of beliefs and tendencies with the Catholic church. NONE of the most ancient churches are remotely like the ‘primitive’ church the protestants cooked up from historical ignorance, pride and fantasy. For two hundreds years the apostolic church subsisted without ‘the’ Bible’ which is the gift of the church guided by the Holy Spirit to all Christians. History + Protestantism + Bibliolatry = 33,000 Protestant sects and growing.

  • I am a Filipino and I’m grateful to what Tim Tebow is doing to serve the underprivileged and the needy in my country. I certainly admire Tim for his courageous witness of how to be a true follower of Jesus Christ as he knows it. I’m a Catholic and would be overjoyed to hear the news someday about Tim entering the Catholic Church but I leave that work to the Holy Spirit. I can only pray so much for him. Whether he becomes a Catholic or not in the future, as long as he remains faithful to God until the end, I see no problem with that.

  • Well, Tebow and his team saw their winning streak come to an end against the Patriots. At least he will be keeping his lamp that is his faith out for all to see rather than hidden under a table.

One Response to Catholic-Orthodox Reunion Baby Steps

  • This is great! The first step is the hardest. While this is a baby step it is a big deal in the unification process between Catholics and our Orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ.

Moving Halloween to Saturday: Treat or Trick?

Thursday, October 29, AD 2009

In recent years Halloween has gone from a primarily child-oriented holiday to an occasion of commercial importance comparable to Christmas or Easter. National retail sales figures indicate that Halloween is the 6th biggest holiday for retailers — behind Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day — and rapidly gaining ground, particularly among young adults.

The trend has now sparked a movement of sorts — led by the Spirit Halloween retail chain — to move Halloween permanently to the last Saturday in October. Their online petition at this link (http://www.spirithalloweekend.com/ ) asks Congress to lend its official endorsement to the change, although that would not be strictly necessary since Halloween is not a federal or national holiday.

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15 Responses to Moving Halloween to Saturday: Treat or Trick?

  • Darn, I wish Spirit Halloween had a combox. Darn, darn, darn!

  • I vote (B) a concession to worldliness and indifference.
    Vigils, feast days, birthdays… the actual dates count for something. I enjoy a movable feast as much as the next guy, but it should have a better excuse behind it than grubbing for cash or extending the weekend.

  • Remember that they then consolidated both Abraham Lincoln’s and George Washington’s birthdays to “President’s Day”.

  • Halloween and All Saints have a particular significance for me since my wedding anniversay falls on All Saints. If they change it, I will have to come up with some other way to remember, so I vote no. Or maybe I can convince my wife to celebrate the solemnity of our marriage along with All Saints, rather than the actual day of our wedding?

  • I think you make a compelling argument overall. Actually changed my mind, as a matter of fact.

    As to changing the date – I actually find it to be more confusing. When I’m looking at my calendar, it’s so much easier to assess the fixed-date holidays as compared to the floating ones. “Which weekend is that on this year?”

  • For the record, I also would vote “no”.

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  • Also, I really need to give credit here to Todd Aglialoro, now a writer for Inside Catholic, who many years ago when he worked for the Peoria Diocese Family Life Office, wrote a column for The Catholic Post titled “How Halloween Is a Very Catholic Thing.”

    It was in that article that I first came across the quote from Chesterton on paganism and Christianity. Unfortunately, I cannot find this article online anywhere, and I no longer have print back issues of The Post to refer to.

    If you happen to be reading this, Todd, thanks for the inspiration, and can you tell me where to find that article?

  • Instead of moving Halloween to Saturday, it needs to be moved right off the calendar. There is nothing good about it- junk food for kids, wild parties for adults, strangers ringing your doorbell all evening, drunks in the ER all night. Once again, America has taken a religious day and turned it into a mockery.

  • I understand your concerns, Annie, but by your standards, St. Patrick’s Day should probably be “moved right off the calendar” too.

    It lacks only junk food for kids and strangers ringing your doorbell… although strangers in an adjacent apartment who start their St. Paddy’s Day party at 2 in the afternoon are just as annoying 🙂 Likewise, it too is a religious holiday that has been pretty much turned into a caricature of itself, at least in the U.S.

    Also, I read somewhere many years ago that the government of Ireland, back in the late 50s or early 60s, briefly considered moving St. Patrick’s Day to September so there would be better weather for outdoor celebrations! Needless to say, that didn’t fly.

  • And speaking of moving holidays to weekends — if I remember correctly, students at U. of Ill. in Champaign observe something called “Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day” on the Friday or Saturday closest to the actual St. Paddy’s Day. The observance consists entirely of hanging out in bars and getting as drunk as possible.

    I suppose that no matter what happens to the Spirit Halloween petition drive, the preceding Saturday will become, if it hasn’t already, “Unofficial Halloween” for adult partying purposes anyway.

  • Goodness, perhaps someday the secularists will wish to ensure “Christmas,” which they will call “The Winter Holiday,” always falls on Friday so everyone gets a 3 day weekend.

    Awfully pesky the way things are now, when Dec. 25 can fall on a Wednesday. Once you remove the religious significance of these holidays, there’s no point to keeping to a set date.

  • Some of you should read up on history a bit.

    The reality is that the Church chose Dec 25th for Christmas in an attempt to add religious meaning to an already existent pagan holiday. There is circumstantial evidence that Jesus was actually born in April.

    Back to the holiday at hand…Halloween is and always has been a pagan holiday. The religious holiday that the Church attached to it (once again, in order to add a religious meaning to it) is All Saints Day. This petition doesn’t mention moving All Saints Day. In fact, you might end up with more people in the pews on Nov. 1st if they haven’t been out trick or treating and then stuffing themselves full of candy all night the night before.

  • Martha,

    I wasn’t aware that the Hebrews were pagans. Wasn’t Dec. 25th the date the temple was re-dedicated? It seems like a religiously significant date for the temple in Jerusalem and since Jesus refers to Himself as the temple – it makes sense, don’t you think?

    As for Halloween – move it, don’t move it – it doesn’t matter – for most of us, including the secularists, it is just a fun night to dress up act silly, beg for candy and share some frivolous entertainment with each other. There is a danger that the occult becomes cool, but I think for most people this is innocent fun. As for all the drunks, rowdy morons, witches and satanists – they are going to do what they do, with or without secular Halloween and they’ll do it on Oct 31 and/or the last Sat in Oct – do they really care?

    People are not skipping Mass on All Saints because of Halloween – how else do you account for all the other days they skip Mass?

    Holidays have the significance we give them. Christmas can be just a day to drink egg nog and get gifts. Easter can just be about chocolate eggs. We are not forced to worship God; we are just as free to worship ourselves – at least for a little while – then Bam! Halloween won’t mean a thing although some of the imagery might be familiar in hell.

  • Thanks for sharing with information. now i know more about holloween..please keep posting. I will visit again.

Anglicans And Catholics To Reunite, Reaction And News Roundup

Tuesday, October 20, AD 2009

St. Thomas More

I will be updating this post as often as I can throughout the day [Last update at 10:01pm CDT].  I’ll be reporting on reactions and news concerning this groundbreaking development that came from the Vatican this morning.  The Vatican issued a note explaining a new provision in an upcoming Apostolic Constitution that will allow for a structure to be in place to receive Anglicans and Episcopalians into the Catholic Church.  Basically a corporate reunion!

To read the full text of this announcement from the Vatican click here.

To read the full text of the joint press release of the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Gerard Nichols, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, click here.

Reaction and news from around the world [all emphasis mine]:

Last Update of the day at 10:01pm CDT (Earlier updates further down this post)

Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London.  Offers a brief history of what transpired the last couple of years between Anglo-Catholics, and those inside the Vatican, both faithful and dissident Catholics.

Rome has parked its tanks on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lawn [Interesting choice of words, but nonetheless accurate in my opinion] after manoeuvres undertaken by up to fifty bishops and begun two years ago by an Australian archbishop, John Hepworth [The leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion].”

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18 Responses to Anglicans And Catholics To Reunite, Reaction And News Roundup

  • Does this action reverse Apostolicae Curae?

  • A brilliant stroke on the part of Pope Benedict. He has the mental agility and energy of a prelate half his age. Disaffected Anglicans now have a home and the powers that be in the Anglican Church have a major problem. To all of our Anglican brothers and sisters who will be joining us I say that we are overjoyed to have you!

  • Might I just add that this is what Ecumenism is supposed to be about: Conversion into the Catholic Church, and not the other way around (i.e., Catholics mutating into Protestants)?

  • e.,

    In addition to what you said, Ecumenism is about conversion, not dialogue that continues without resolution.

  • Tito: I was having problems earlier at the website. Would you kindly remove the first instance of my comments above since it’s merely a duplicate?

    Also, would you happen to know if in that ordinariate in the Anglican ultimately means that a person can actually be married and yet become a priest in that rite (for lack of a better word)?

    Thanks!

  • e.,

    Yes, I read the Note that was released early this morning the same way.

    Married men can now become priests in the Catholic Church, but only within the Anglican Personal Ordinariate. Very similar to Easter Catholic Rites.

    But they may not become priests in the Latin Rite, which encompasses the vast majority of Catholics worldwide.

    I’m sure once the mainstream media gets to reading the details they’ll begin to make hay about this pretty soon.

    Take note though, only unmarried priests can become bishop within the Anglican Personal Ordinariate, just as in the Easter Catholic Rites and the Easter Orthodox Churches.

  • Tito:

    Thanks for the info!

    I’m just wondering if a person who is seeking to become a priest and yet at the same time be married, alls he need do is pursue such vocation but within that same Anglican Personal Ordinariate which you mention; in other words, will this be at long last that loophole for those married but yet feel a calling to serve the Lord in the priesthood.

    Here is The Wall Street Journal scoop:

    Vatican Opens Door for Anglican Converts

    ROME — Pope Benedict XVI introduced a fast track for Anglicans seeking to join Roman Catholicism, paving the way for conservative Anglicans frustrated by their church’s blessing of same-sex unions and homosexuality in the priesthood to enter the Catholic fold.

    The Vatican on Tuesday announced plans to create a special set of canon laws, known as an “Apostolic Constitution,” to allow Anglican faithful, priests and bishops to enter into full communion with the Vatican without having to give up a large part of their liturgical and spiritual traditions.

    With the measures, Pope Benedict is attempting to reclaim ground lost by the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century when King Henry VIII defied papal authority to found the Church of England. The move clears the way for entire congregations of Anglicans to join the Catholic Church and makes it easier for married Anglican priests to convert without embracing Catholicism’s traditional code of priestly celibacy…

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125604916994796545.html?mod=rss_Today's_Most_Popular

  • e.,

    As much as the mainstream media hypes that the solution to a declining pool of priests is to allow married people to pursue this vocation, it won’t be anything more than a trickle.

    We all know that families that practice and teach the faith to their children, ie, foster vocations, in addition to participating in orthodox Catholic parishes will create large pools of seminarians.

    As evident in the Lincoln and Omaha dioceses of Nebraska.

    Allowing married men and wymyn priests is a band-ade at best.

  • Tito:

    Obviously, woman priests is clearly forbidden and should never be allowed — ever.

    However, allowing married priests is more of a disciplinary rather than a doctrinal matter; I don’t see how such a thing can actually even be considered subversive.

    In fact, even Fr. Corapi admitted as much in his Catechism of the Catholic Church series on EWTN.

  • e.,

    I know that it is a discipline and not doctrinal.

    I agree with you completely on this point. You may have misread my comment on this, but to be clear, I believe you and I are on the same page.

    I’m fine with allowing married priests. Especially how it will be set up in the upcoming provision in the Apostolic Constitution.

    …and I looove Father Corapi!

  • I got to see Fr. Corapi in Buffalo this past August on Our Lady’s feast. He is wonderful. A true son of the Church.

    I prefer that the Latin Rite keep the celibacy discipline. We are at a point right now where experience is teaching us that when we are orthodox we grow and when we are hetrodox we wane.

    Even though the Pope could lift this I think it diminishes the priest’s efficacy if he has to worry about the formation and protection, etc. of children of his own flesh – it is actually a freedom to be able to care for all the children in his parish.

    Nevertheless, whatever the Pope decides is fine by me. I think everyone except the Holy Spirit underestimated our German Shepherd. He rocks.

  • AK,

    I agree 100%.

    Celibacy needs to be kept for many apparent reasons, one of the most basic is he has dedicated his life to Christ. Adding a good wife would only shorten his time on earth.

  • Fr. Grandon is a distant relative of mine by marriage, whom I met for the first time when he had just become Catholic and had gone from being an Episcopal priest to a Catholic layperson. Great guy with a really interesting conversion story.

    On another blog I read that Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, retired Episcopal bishop of Quincy, Illinois (its cathedral, however, is in Peoria), was more or less stripped of his episcopal status by the “High Priestess” referred to above… he also is a great guy, good friends with Bishops Myers and Jenky, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him jump the Tiber now. Since he’s married and has kids he wouldn’t be able to be a bishop anymore, but given how he’s been treated by his own denomination of late, he’d probably have little to lose if he did convert.

  • Also, maybe I’m getting WAY ahead of everyone here… but could this approach to ecumenism be carried even beyond the boundaries of the Anglican or Orthodox churches? Could we someday (probably centuries from now, if ever) have a Lutheran Rite or Baptist Rite or Pentecostal/Charismatic Rite that combine their distinctive styles of worship with the sacraments, doctrines and teaching authority of the Church?

  • Elaine,

    I briefly touched on that in the next posting.

    In my opinion, I could possibly see something for the Lutherans in a Personal Ordiniate.

    But after them, there are no vestiges of any signs of an apostolic church. Maybe the Methodists, but that is stretching it a bit.

    But again, it’s strictly my opinion.

  • Tito:

    No disrespect; however, if you actually felt that way about married priests, then why did you put it up there with woman priests which, in fact, can never be allowed as it directly goes against Christian doctrine itself?

    Also, I don’t think there could ever be rites that would cater to such Protestant sects as the Baptists who clearly do not hold the same Christian beliefs that we do, like the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Ironically, it is folks like the Lutherans who we have more in common (relatively-speaking, of course) in comparison with those sects who are far more heretical in degree.

    Yet, I do greatly appreciate the fact that you are keeping us apprised of such news. Keep it up.

    Adding a good wife would only shorten his time on earth.

    This reminds of precisely what Saint/Sir Thomas More once said as regarding marriage; that is, once a man is married, he can never be free of worry!

  • e.,

    Now your reading into things way to much.

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Reunion Not Imminent Between Catholic and Orthodox Churches

Monday, October 5, AD 2009

Catholic Orthodox

Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon, a major proponent of union between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, has addressed the virulent opposition among the Metropolitans of Greece by stating that reunion is not imminent.

It is being propagated very falsely and conspiringly that the signing of the union of the Churches is imminent! A professor emeritus of Theology, who is well known for his ill-will towards my person, had visited a Hierarch of the Church of Greece and had told him that he knew with certainty (!) that the union had already been signed (in Ravenna!) and that the relative announcement was a matter of time!!! Clergy and laity have approached me and asked me if it is true that the union is to be signed in Cyprus, in October! Obviously, a feeling of unrest is being attempted among the people of God through this behaviour, with unpredictable consequences for the unity of the Church. However, those who are disseminating these things are fully aware (as long as they have not been blinded by empathy, fanaticism or a mania for self-projection), firstly, that the ongoing theological Dialogue has yet to span an extremely long course, because the theological differences that have accumulated during the one thousand years of division are many; and secondly, that the Committee for the Dialogue is entirely unqualified for the “signing” of a union, given that this right belongs to the Synods of the Churches. Therefore, why all the misinformation? Can’t the disseminators of these false “updates” think of what the consequences will be for the unity of the Church? [He who agitates (God’s people) shall bear the blame, whoever he may be — Galatians 5:10]

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History and the End of Schism

Wednesday, September 16, AD 2009

Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill

Rumors and rumors of rumors of an imminent end to over a thousand years of the Great Schism between Catholics and Orthodox have exploded over these past few days.  If these rumors are correct then not since the Ecumenical Council of Ferrara-Florence have these great Church’s been so close to unity.

In A.D. 1054 Catholic prelate Humbert and Orthodox prelate Michael Cærularius excommunicated each other.  This marks the beginning of the Great Schism between the Catholic and Orthodox Church’s.

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18 Responses to History and the End of Schism

  • Good post, balancing the hope with realism. One slight correction: Mount Athos contains a solid bloc of hardcore anti-Catholics, perhaps (probably?) even the majority of the monks there. But there are those loyal to the Ecumenical Patriarch who are there, too.

  • This has already been all over the blogosphere in Orthodox circles as well as Catholic – Archbishop Pezzi is clearly expressing naive optimism here. Archbishop Hilarion is indeed visiting Rome, but Pezzi made his announcement before Hilarion even set foot in the eternal city. The other question is what did Pezzi actually say in Italian; perhaps it is a mistranslation.

  • Alan,

    I read Irenaeus posting and my impression was it was all over the Orthodox blogosphere, not necessarily the Catholic blogosphere. Just wanting to be exact.

    I agree that Archbishop Pezzi was overly optimistic, but my thinking is that he’s basing it on previous dialogue with the Orthodox, not a prediction of the Hilarion-Kasper talks.

    Dale,

    I only threw in the “Mount Athos crowd” to represent the many Orthodox that are against any form of ecumenism Patriarch-and-Pope-be-damned.

  • “Just wanting to be exact since you want to make a pointless point.”

    The blog to which I linked is a Catholic/Orthodox blog.
    The story was also on NLM just yesterday. The “pointless point” judgment seems kind of harsh – not sure where that is coming from?? Maybe it didn’t come across in my comment, but my point was that most seem to be taking this with a grain of salt, and rightfully so.

  • Alan,

    I edited that out before you were able to reread it.

    No harm done.

    Posting isn’t the same as talking in person.

    I don’t read the NLM as much as I used to in the past, so I missed that one.

  • Teófilo over at Vivificat also has a good post on the subject from Monday with some interesting points.

  • LOL…

    I didn’t want to bash Archbishop Pezzi, so I tried to be diplomatic concerning his enthusiasm, but I do agree with Teofilo’s assessment on the archbishops exuberance!

  • Thank you for the link to Vivificat!

    With all due respect to Archbishop Pezzi, the expectations he has ignited need to be dowsed with a cold, wet showert of realism.

    In Christ,
    -Theo

  • Assuming this somehow goes through, would that mean RCs could fulfill Mass obligations by going to an Orthodox parish (will they still be called RC and Orthodox)? What would the post-schism Church look like?

  • c matt,

    I believe you already can fulfill your obligation to go to Mass in an Orthodox parish ONLY IF it is impossible to fulfill that obligation in a Roman Catholic Church (or those in communion–Byzantine, Ukrainian Catholic… ect.) Though, you can not partake in Communion.

  • Daniel,
    I believe you already can fulfill your obligation to go to Mass in an Orthodox parish ONLY IF it is impossible to fulfill that obligation in a Roman Catholic Church (or those in communion–Byzantine, Ukrainian Catholic… ect.)

    That’s correct and would change if they were in full communion, you’d be free to assist for any reason and even switch rituals formally (with permission) as is the case with th Uniates now.

    Though, you can not partake in Communion.

    the Catholic Church permits you to receive as long as you defer to the celebrant. As I understand it Orthodox are quite restrictive and will not allow it unless perhaps prior arrangements are made.

  • Matt is more or less right here. The Catholic Church is more permissive than the Orthodox (any Orthodox is welcome to take our communion, but told to follow the rules of their jurisdiction), and we are told, in various circumstances (not all) that we can take Orthodox communion (though most Orthodox will not give it to Catholics, some will). Then there are some, like the Armenian Orthodox and Catholic, who freely share communion.

  • I like the fact that we are able to partake in some sacraments with the Orthodox under certain conditions.

    Though the Orthodox in America are more receptive to this, do you see this attitude changing for the better in traditional Orthodox lands?

    I am aware of the amount of distrust that many Greeks and Russians share towards Catholics, is this changing as well?

    Just questions because of all of the ecumenical efforts we’ve done since Vatican II, it is the Orthodox that I see real progress in reuniting with more than any other ecclesiastical group (the Orthodox being the only other real Church).

  • Mr. Edwards and friends,

    In your article/commentary you said the following, which needs correction:

    “Outside of malefactors such as the Mount Athos crowd and the Orthodox resentment of the sacking of Constantinople, anything is possible.”

    Webster’s dictionary defines malefactor as:

    “one who does ill toward another”.

    It is unfortunate that such ignorance or malice exists among those roman catholics who respect the Orthodox Church and desire to be united to it. For, the Holy Mountain of Athos is THE ark of true Christian Spiritual Life in the Church, a bastion of true Christian spiritual practice and defender of the Truth of Revelation for over 1000 years. Her life and Saints are the heart of the Orthodox Church in the 2nd millenium. To say that the holy fathers of Athos are intent on doing ill to others or even to the desire for true unity in Christ is an affront to all who love Truth and to all Orthodox Christians. They have been and are today lights to every sincere practitioner of Christian love and without them and their agreement no true union can take place.

    Your ignorance is one of the many obstacles standing in the way of real progress toward unity in Christ. I hope that you will correct your error and take time to learn more about the Garden of the All-Holy Mother of God (as Athos is known).

    Sincerely,

    Panagiotis Dimitriadis

  • Panagiotis Dimitriadis,

    It is unfortunate that such ignorance or malice exists among those roman catholics who respect the Orthodox Church and desire to be united to it

    We desire the return of ALL Christians to the One Holy Catholic Church. We pray that the Orthodox chuches return in their integrity as particular churches.

    Your pride is one of the many obstacles standing in the way of real progress toward unity in Christ.

  • Panagiotis Dimitriadis,

    I noticed you referred to Catholic with the small “c”, but the Orthodox with the large “O”.

    You need to remove the speck in your own eye before commenting.

    By the way, the ARK is the Virgin Mary carrying Jesus to birth and I referred to the Mount Athos crowd, ie, those like yourself that hold ill-will towards Catholicism in general and unity in particular.

  • Regarding the Unity of The Holy Spirit and the Filioque: If we believe in the UNITY of God, The Father, The Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, of all that is, seen and unseen AND one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of The Father, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten, not made, ONE IN BEING with The Father…THEN, in order to be a Trinity, The Holy Spirit, The Love Between The Father And The Son, must proceed from The Father AND The Son, to begin with.

Ecumenism! Ecumenism!

Thursday, July 23, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this posting]

Ecumenism today is in a sorry state.  Most Protestant denominations have splintered off to the point that dialogue has become pointless.  Only the Orthodox offer any hope of reunion with us, but that is a distant land where we are struggling to navigate towards.

In the meantime too many well-intentioned Catholics yell Ecumenism! Ecumenism!” yet they know not what they say nor do.  Heck, they can’t even explain it themselves.

For example I’ve stopped attending Taizé services because the only people that attend them are other Catholics.  If it was intended to bring our separated brothers in Christ together then I failed to see a single one of them attend in the three years that I have been going.

Ecumenism, whatever that means anymore, is a dead cat.  It’s going nowhere because it has no idea what it is.  Hence the forty years of fruitless labor has produced nothing to celebrate.

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62 Responses to Ecumenism! Ecumenism!

  • Tito,

    Are you familiar with the significant advancements in the Catholic-Lutheran dialogue– on the question of salvation through faith and/or works?

  • Ecumenism is far longer than forty years; but you know, I can imagine Tito in the 4th century decry the decision at Nicea because, “Those darn Arians are still staying, and it looks like nothing will stop them.”

  • Mark,

    Yes, the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod have agreed to some of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) but not all. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has agreed to almost all of the JDDJ.

    The World Lutheran Federation (WLF) has agreed on some aspects, but in the end, if the WLF agrees to all of the JDDJ, it is then up to individual regional and national Lutheran conferences to agree, and then it drops down to the local church level where they be disagreements. So it is a fractured lot to say the least.

  • Tito Taco,

    Are you familiar with the notion that today’s ecumenical catholicism is just as groovy and authentic as Nicaea’s or even Sir/St. Thomas More’s?

    Too bad that it just ain’t (not to mention, anachronistic and remarkably compromised). Seriously.

  • Are you guys still talking about JDDJ?

    Don’t you guys know that even the Lutherans themselves scoff at it (as should Catholics, too)?

    I mean, seriously; it really is as empty and meaningless as ecumenism itself, as even the average Lutheran rightly concludes.

  • Tito,

    Surely in your individual life you do not take an “all or nothing” approach to conflict and disagreement?!!

  • “Those darn Arians are still staying, and it looks like nothing will stop them.”

    I doubt that Tito would have said that since the Council anathematized the Arians.

    “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten (??????????), not made, being of one substance (?????????, consubstantialem) with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not (?? ???? ??? ??? ??), or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion — all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.”
    As Saint Athanasius could attest the Arians remained a deadly danger for the Catholic Church after the Council, but the ruling of the Council clearly indicated that there would be no “ecumenical” relations between the Catholic Church and those who followed the teachings of Arius.

  • Mark,

    Excellent point.

    But after forty years, what have we shown for it?

    As for me, my time is limited, so dropping Taize was a prudent move on my part. Though it may prove fruitful for others, I just don’t have the charism for that particular path.

  • Vatican II proclaimed ecumenism; but here we have Tito repudiating it. But this brings us back to the 4th century; the confusion then was far greater than anything today; what was or was not authoritative and an ecumenical council had not been established, and there were rival councils coming up all the time. Tito would have been able to say how Nicea “added words from heretics” like “homoousios,” and that, forty years after, solved nothing, so it was a failure and Nicene faith was dead.

  • Tito’s posts (and those defending him) prove he hasn’t follow the Church and ignores it when it suits his purpose; this is again demonstration of someone who is full of themselves, so full, they can’t listen to others, and thinks the Church should be in his image. This is Satanic pride at its height.

  • Henry K.,

    Can you find for me a clear and concise definition or road map of how to pursue ecumenism?

    Even Pope John Paul II conceded that Ecumenism was a Protestant invention that was difficult to define in Ut Unum Sint.

  • Mark D.,

    while it is well and good that some organizations of which may or may not be relevant to Lutheran’s and their congregations are compromising on theological points (possible that we may be as well…despite Pius XII cautions), there’s no evidence that progress on them rejecting their founder and embracing the One True Church is actually being made. None. In fact, like other mainstream protestant denominations, in practice they are farther from Catholicism than they EVER have been.

  • Henry K.,

    Now, now.

    There’s no need for that.

    There is room for disagreement and amicable debate.

    I think ecumenism can be productive, if it is clearly defined with goals placed.

    Not when it’s dressed in flowery and ambiguous language where you can read into it a Gilgamesh story or a Chupacabra attack.

  • “This is Satanic pride at its height.”

    Rubbish. What it means is that Tito is merely stating the obvious: ecumenicalism since Vatican II is a radical departure from prior Church practice, and that from a Catholic perspective the good that the change has produced is rather difficult to discern. Having married a Protestant, who converted a few years after our marriage, a father who was Protestant until the day he died, and most of my relatives being Protestant, I am all for good relations among Christians of all stripes, but attempting to water down the differences is not the way to go about it.

  • There are many different kinds of dialogues:

    a) The dialogue of life, where people strive to live in an open and neighbourly spirit, sharing their joys and sorrows, their human problems and preoccupations.

    b) The dialogue of action, in which Christians and others collaborate for the integral development and liberation of people.

    c) The dialogue of theological exchange, where specialists seek to deepen their understanding of their respective religious heritages, and to appreciate each other’s spiritual values.

    d) The dialogue of religious experiencee, where persons, rooted in their own religious traditions, share their spiritual riches, for instance with regard to prayer and contemplation, faith and ways of searching for God or the Absolute.

    In this way, there are many different kinds of ecumenical activities. Working with Protestants to stop abortion, for example, is ecumenism. Working with Protestants to feed the poor is ecumenism. There is plenty of such activity going on and in the increase; it’s not dead, but alive, and that should be well noted.

    But when discussing the road map for dialogue about doctrine, the issue is not “one,” but multi-faceted. It is for this reason that dialogues tend to be bi-lateral, where the needs, requirements, expectations differ. But working together, praying together (if we can), listening to each other, learning how the other things instead of telling them (and getting it wrong) is a start. The fact that you don’t want to do that, but always make things up, intra-Catholic, shows the problem.

    Now John Paul II did not concede that Ecumenism was a Protestant invention; you read a text out of context for your ideological pretext. If you want to find a new story about ecumenism, look to the history of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s call for Christian Unity.

  • Henry K.,

    You are being intellectually dishonest; as if the way ecumenical had been applied previously is in every sense the same as it is employed today.

    That’s like saying the same scholastic terms Spinoza himself used were in the very same sense that the scholastics themselves meant.

    You should know better.

  • “Rubbish. What it means is that Tito is merely stating the obvious: ecumenicalism since Vatican II is a radical departure from prior Church practice, and that from a Catholic perspective the good that the change has produced is rather difficult to discern”

    All those who find themselves more Catholic than the Pope throughout history have always made this charge, from Novatius to Donatus to the Greeks (filioque) to the Husites, to the Lutherans, et. al. I would recommend reading some of the ecclesial documents of Nicholas of Cusa if you want to see how far and proper this line of reasoning is thrashed by Catholic tradition itself.

  • “Rubbish. What it means is that Tito is merely stating the obvious: ecumenicalism since Vatican II is a radical departure from prior Church practice, and that from a Catholic perspective the good that the change has produced is rather difficult to discern. Having married a Protestant, who converted a few years after our marriage, a father who was Protestant until the day he died, and most of my relatives being Protestant, I am all for good relations among Christians of all stripes, but attempting to water down the differences is not the way to go about it.”

    Is McClarey the only Catholic on this site?

    Very comforting to see one Catholic still genuinely so!

  • Here, I will help people; here’s a start:

    Perhaps you will say: today’s Church does not walk in the rite of communion as in former times, when most holy men affirmed both by word and deed that the sacrament under both species, by the force of Christ’s precept, was necessary. Could the Church have been in error at that time? Certainly not! If not, how is what was then universally affirmed not true today, since this Church is the same as that one? Certainly it should not disturb you that the rite of sacrifices – and even of the sacraments – is found to be different at different times, while the truth stands fast. The Scriptures are both adapted to the times and understood in various ways, so that they are set forth at one time according to the current universal rite, but when that rite changes, opinions about it change again. Christ, to whom the Father handed over the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms, ruling by means of a wondrous order of angels and men, dispenses mysteries according to the changing of the times; and He supplies what fits particular times by hidden inspiration or evident demonstration. This is the view of the doctors [of the Church]: Ambrose in his twelfth letter to Irenaeus, and Augustine [in his letter] to Deogratias, in the second question on the alteration of sacrifices.

    […] Hence, even if today there is an interpretation by the Church of the same Gospel commanding differing from that of former times, nevertheless, the understanding now currently in use for the rule of the Church was inspired as befitting the times and should be accepted as the way of salvation.

    –Nicholas of Cusa, “To the Bohemians: On the Use of Communion,” pgs. 2 – 85 in Nihcolas of Cusa: Writings on Church and Reform. Trans. Thomas M. Izbicki (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008), 21- 23.

  • The Church prior to Vatican II was never shy about casting out heretics. Those who think otherwise are merely deluding themselves.

  • The Church before Vatican II called the Lutherans to Trent!

  • Yes, and condemned Lutheranism root and branch!

  • Henry K.,

    make things up

    I don’t understand what you mean by that. Especially after I produced documents such as Mortalium Animos, or is it in your nature to ignore everything up until Vatican II?

    And Pope John Paul II did concede that Ecumenism was a Protestant invention.

    Read Ut Unum Sint.

  • But it called them for dialogue. As the Church always does.

  • Tito

    Actually, JPII said ecumenism goes back to Christ and the call “that they may be one.”

  • Henry K.,

    Cite me an ex cathedra statement that we should make up stuff to get along with Protestants?

    I doubt you will find one, that’s assuming that your sources are not gnostic.

  • Hk,

    it called them to receive instruction on the Truth in charity.

  • Henry K.,

    I can’t find the word ‘ecumenism’ in the Holy Bible.

    But if you would have read my posting citing Pope Pius XI’s Mortalium Animos 5, His Holiness addressed that very same verse stating that it is a merely expressed a desire and prayer, not fulfillment of unity.

  • Tito

    There you go — you dissent from the church! And your argument is “if it isn’t ex cathedra, hell no!” Sorry, that’s not how Catholicism works. But you have now proven the cafeteria qualities I’ve pointed to many times — and your quotes, out of context, such as your quote from Cardinal Kasper, have been answered before, but you keep rehashing it like a Protestant with one verse of Scripture. Sad. But thank you. You have proven my point.

  • Henry K,

    For a person who wrote a series on lying, you are demonstrating yourself a liar on this very thread.

    I would’ve thought you to be a better man than this!

    For a student of church history, you either seem to have known very little, understood very little of it, or purposely misrepresent the facts in order to prop your argument against Taco.

  • “I can’t find the word ‘ecumenism’ in the Holy Bible.”

    I can’t find “homoousios” in the Bible. See, I called him on it. Thank you. Goodbye.

  • Henry Karlson,

    If you continue with your calumnies without evidence you will be placed on moderation.

    Typical liberal, when they can’t debate the points they devolve into name-calling.

  • The Fathers of Trent called them only for submission. Melanchthon and others who thought the Catholic Church would alter the Faith to suit them were only fooling themselves. The Protestants had no right to vote and they realized this was a waste of their time from their standpoint. I believe it is also clear that in any case the invitation was given to the Protestants only due to strong pressure from Emperor Charles V.

  • For what it’s worth, Thomas Aquinas emphasized that Jews should not be persecuted for practicing Jewish traditions because the presence of those traditions helped Christians in there own understanding.

    Mind you, he also thought unrepentant heretics should be burned at the stake, but I think you can see in Thomas’s opinion towards the Jews the roots of ecumenism. So let’s be careful about relegating ecumenism to the past forty years (Not saying tito is, but in general that seems to be a temptation in some of the comments here)

  • The Jews were a special case and Pope after Pope extended protection to them. As to Christian heretics however, one can scan the history of the Church with a microscope prior to 1965 and find precious little that would bear any relationship to what we now call ecumenicalism.

  • Henry K. left in a puff when he realized people were reading through his dishonesty.

    I’ve done what I am capable of with Taize. The same can’t be said for others who question my motives.

    I still pray for unity, but I question the tactics and the fruits of these tactics that have done nothing if harm the foundation of the Church by causing confusion in language and action.

  • Fruitful dialogue is when the two parties carefully explain themselves to each other, defining terms, clarifying distinctions, and so on, so that they can each come to an accurate understanding of what the other believes and the rational basis upon which those beliefs rest.

    Fruitful dialogue pares away areas where misunderstanding of terms, superficial differences in behavior or in practice, etc. makes the two believe they have differences where they really are not.

    Fruitful dialogue identifies real differences. It pinpoints the areas where the two really do have to say, “Ah, I see. That’s something you assert which I deny.” Or: “Hey, my belief on that issue, though I phrase it in different words, is not really so very different from yours.”

    Because to clearly identify the exact points of difference is to understand how far apart you are. And when two bodies have clearly delineated the exact points of difference — which they do through fruitful dialogue — it is a help to individuals who may be wondering if they belong not there, but here. It is a challenge to individuals within those two bodies to decide which of the two is more true.

    That is why dialogue can be fruitful, even if it does not seek to “convert,” but only to teach and to learn. To teach the truth as we know it, to learn exactly where the other does not align with that truth.

  • bearing,

    there is a place for dialogue as you state, but it is not going to result in unity on a broad scale as is dreamed by the “ecumenism” movements of the last 40 years.

  • Bearing,

    Thank you for that explanation.

    I think that’s nice and dandy.

    I just wish I can see unity organically come from it, which is difficult to see when the Lutherans themselves (as examples) continue to splinter each year. Not to mention the Anglicans, ie, Traditional Anglican Communion.

    In the end, let’s assume positive results, as an example, the World Lutheran Federation finally wants to unite with us.

    It’ll be a few aging scholars and hopefully their kids that will be left of the ‘WFL’.

    But I see what you mean about fruitful dialogue.

  • Fruitful dialogue does not and, indeed, cannot entail blatant compromise!

    Indeed, if anything, this is not fruitful dialogue but a pitiful engagement in the modernist enterprise of nihilistic emancipation from both Tradition and Our Lord Himself, which inevitably makes us not Catholics but rather sorry Modernists in the most fiendish of disguise; that is, nothing more than heretics in the making!

  • I’m sorry, what’s the point exactly of talking about dialogue and ecumenism when one side is constantly shifting its beliefs according to the latest moral trends?

    Heck, is there really ecumenism when one-half of the conversation exists on a razor’s edge of even being called “Christian”?

    The Church should always have an arm outstretched to all peoples, and with communities that share fundamental similarities with us— perhaps we can do more.

    I agree with Tito’s placement in hope with the Orthodox over that of Protestants. Catholic and Orthodox have at least had better luck in preserving their fundamental positions and identities. Protestantism seems to keep fracturing at a rate of change matching the latest best-selling self-help books!

  • Anthony,

    I believe the crucial test is how will Partriarch Kirill deal with his hostile curia (towards Rome) in dealing with us.

    As Henry Karlson & JohnH stated on another thread, there has been rumblings of detente.

    But from Moscow the optimism has been muted.

    Thankfully though they appointed Hilarion as the External Relations head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Which was Kirill’s previous post, so we may be seeing some movement during Kirill’s patriarchate and Benedict’s pontificate.

  • Fruitful dialogue cannot result in unity on a broad scale unless the differences between the two bodies are either (a) merely superficial differences regarding essential truths, e.g., apparent differences that come from the use of different terminology for the same thing, or (b) differences that both sides can agree are inessential.

    In the case of (a), the two bodies can work together to craft new ways of phrasing the essential truths, phrasing upon which both can agree.

    In the case of (b), the two bodies can make clear to their members that it is acceptable to hold different beliefs in the inessential areas, and thus people in different “camps” can yet exist in the same body.

    Fruitful dialogue is necessary even to determine whether the apparent differences between two groups fall into categories (a) or (b).

    Anyone who’s ever had a hearty, in-depth, lengthy discussion with someone of a different faith, and came away with both of you knowing more about the other person and why they believe what they believe, even if neither of you is at all any more interested in conversion from one to the other, knows what fruitful dialogue can mean. It’s not useless, and it does not necessarily entail compromise. It entails listening, learning the other’s reasoning behind their beliefs, learning “what exactly do you mean when you say…?” and getting the chance to explain yourself in kind. It’s reciprocal apologetics, is what it is.

    Oh, and by the way, having had plenty such dialogue with my good friend who is a member of LCMS — any time you are talking about ecumenism it is completely worthless to speak only of “Lutherans.” There are several different groups and they have had different ecumenical contact with Catholics, with some groups repudiating the actions of other groups.

  • p.s. I think there’s great hope with a large bloc of conservative Anglicans. Their church body may not join with ours, but there may be a mass defection, and we should be ready to talk to these people and listen to their stories.

  • Bearing,

    In one of my earlier comments I touched on the difficulties of dialoguing with “Lutherans”.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/07/23/ecumenism-ecumenism/#comment-17297

  • Yeah, I saw it and I also noticed that many commenters after your comment were still talking about “Lutherans.” Wanted to reinforce the point.

    I suspect, actually, that individual dialogue — the “reciprocal apologetics” I spoke of in an earlier comment — is much more powerful than institutional dialogue. Here a soul meets a soul, in some human bond of amity or collegiality, and sincere interest in each other as human beings sparks a meeting of minds. In the end, it’s not “institutions” we hope to win over to conversion, but individuals.

  • Whether ecumenism has “failed” depends on how you define it. If you mean it only in the strict theological sense — getting the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies to agree on doctrinal matters like justification by faith or the primacy of the pope — then Tito is right; it’s made very little if any progress. I would agree that prospects for doctrinal ecumenism and ultimate reunion are far better with regard to the Orthodox churches — who still have a valid priesthood, apostolic succession, and valid sacraments from a Catholic point of view.

    However, if “ecumenism” means Catholics and other Christians being able to get along better at the personal and social level, and being able to work together on efforts such as promoting the culture of life and traditional marriage, then I’d say it’s succeeded way better than many people could have imagined 50 or 60 years ago. The days when “mixed marriages” could only be performed in the rectory, when Catholics were discouraged from visiting the YMCA or giving to the Salvation Army, when Catholics were forbidden to attend Protestant services or Protestant church functions unless there was a grave reason to do so — those days are long gone.

  • I addressed this before and I think there are a lot of attitudes in regard to ecumenism that was discussed in one way or another.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/07/09/the-petrine-ministry-and-christian-ecumenism/#more-10266

    I’m not saying this movement does not have any faults or failures. But to say no to it altogether is something entirely different.

    “Thus, it is absolutely clear that ecumenism, the movement promoting Christian unity, is not just some sort of “appendix” which is added to the Church’s traditional activity. Rather, ecumenism is an organic part of her life and work, and consequently must pervade all that she is and does…”(Ut Unum Sint)

    Pope John Paul II connected ecumenism with evangelization and to divorce the two is inherently problematic.

    But if we’re going to just say they’re heretics and let that be the end of it, is that really the Christian thing to do?

    If there is something wrong, join in the debate, but don’t end it.

  • Elaine

    Right, it is a part of the nature of the Church, and any evangelical activity will either be inter-religious or ecumenical in nature (St Paul, for example, engaged inter-religious dialogue at Mars Hill). People confuse the activity with syncretism or giving up one’s beliefs; I’ve pointed out this is a strawman. And as I pointed out, there are four kinds of dialogues – the types dealing with life and work are quite important, and as you have said, they have gone a long way.

  • I do not want to stop ecumenism at all.

    I just want to reassess what works and what doesn’t.

    There are valid points from all across the spectrum here from Eric to Henry, most of which is right on in my opinion.

    I want a more clear and concise road map to follow, which the Vatican is known for.

  • Henry,

    Author: Henry Karlson
    Comment:
    Elaine

    Right, it is a part of the nature of the Church, and any evangelical activity will either be inter-religious or ecumenical in nature (St Paul, for example, engaged inter-religious dialogue at Mars Hill). People confuse the activity with syncretism or giving up one’s beliefs; I’ve pointed out this is a strawman. And as I pointed out, there are four kinds of dialogues – the types dealing with life and work are quite important, and as you have said, they have gone a long way.

    No, it’s not a strawman, since the current implementations of “ecumenism” and “inter-religious dialogue” are actively engaged in abandoning our faith. True ecumenism IS evangelism, sharing our faith with others, not taking on other’s false religious practices.

  • “No, it’s not a strawman, since the current implementations of ‘ecumenism’ and ‘inter-religious dialogue’ are actively engaged in abandoning our faith.”

    It is indeed a stramwan; this claim is made by those who don’t engage the dialogue, have not studied the dialogue, and want an excuse to reject it. However, they offer no evidence of this; show it from the official work of the Church. You can’t.

  • Henry Karlson,

    It was bad enough that you continued to engage in the remarkably deplorable pursuit of false equivalence; but to go to the extent of employing such condescending tone so as to ridicule so as to imply your interlocutor, Elaine, here as nothing more than a simpleton who’s not even “engage[d] the dialogue, have not studied the dialogue, want an excuse to reject it” is nothing more than a viscious ad hominem.

    You’ve written a series on “Lying”, which ironically you have demonstrated yourself expert on not only in theory but, rather magnificently, in practice too.

    You should do well to commit yourself to a study of flagrant fallacies, such as the blatant petitio principii you continue to employ in your above comments — as if merely relying on “dialogue” automatically renders your arguments wholly won.

  • “It was bad enough that you continued to engage in the remarkably deplorable pursuit of false equivalence; but to go to the extent of employing such condescending tone so as to ridicule so as to imply your interlocutor, Elaine, here as nothing more than a simpleton who’s not even “engage[d] the dialogue, have not studied the dialogue, want an excuse to reject it” is nothing more than a viscious ad hominem.”

    I will let people read above and see I said nothing of the sort to Elaine. More importantly, it is quite clear that e. does not know what an ad hominem is — because, of course, it is not an ad hominem to say “you don’t know because you have not studied it” to someone who has not!

    The fact of the matter is, the ones making the charge against ecumenism have to prove their position. That hasn’t been done. Instead, if they read the materials, they would see how silly this charge actually is. But, you know, I think it is because of another kind of ecumenism, they make this charge: for it is the same kind of claptrap one hears from fundies about ecumenism.

  • It pains God that the very body which is to be the sacrament of the unity that he intends for all humankind is so rife with internal division. Any and all efforts that are made even to just increase charity amongst us and our separated brethren are to be commended.

    Love and truth , not power, are the only effective means for a future reunification under Peter.

  • As if by chance, I have begun rereading Christopher Dawson’s THE DIVIDING OF CHRISTENDOM. Its underlying theme is ecumenism, or perhaps rather say, horror and sadness at the division of Christendom.

    Interestingly he indicates that, while it is a religious problem, it is not a theological problem. Rather it is a social and cultural problem.

  • “Typical liberal, when they can’t debate the points they devolve into name-calling.”

    You really should stop using the term “liberal” as a catchall phrase to encompass all those who disagree with you. For the record, of all the people I know, Henry is the one least tainted by Enlightment-era liberalism. Ask him about tsar martyr Nicholas II! He’s also too humble to say this, but inter-religious dialogue is actually his academic field. In other words, we all should listen to what he has to say.

  • It occurred to me today at Mass as we sang a hymn written by Isaac Watt, that that is possibly a good way to nourish ecumenism: swipe the good hymns from the Protestants and send the bad modern catholic jesuit hymns to the Episcopalians.

  • I do not want to stop ecumenism at all.

    Why not? Ecumenism isn’t in the Holy Bible, is it?

  • Michael I.,

    I’ve done my part, my charisms are in others areas. If you want to forward ecumenism you should read Thomas A Kempis’ the “Imitation of Christ”, begin behaving and acting as a Christian in order to bring unity to the Body of Christ, instead of running away to a foreign country and insulting people who truly love the Lord.

  • Tito,

    I commend you for attempts in matters ecumenical.

  • “I, on the other hand, condemn you in matters Romero, you anti-Catholic punk you!”

    (Iafrate)