So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Feckless Ecumenism

The high muckety-mucks have met in Rome to pat each other on the back for all the nicey-nice work that's being done to foster unity between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

An uncomfortable question or two remains, however, for those who enjoy their paid ecumenical holidays:
Why would Catholics want anything to do with a group that, at least at the official or hierarchical level, wants nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Why do we entertain the folly of union with people who have rejected God's teaching on the Sacrament of Matrimony, human sexuality, the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the authority of Holy Scripture and a host of other issues? Or, for that matter, why would Anglicans who have little or no interest in the Apostolic teaching want anything to do with Catholics who uphold the Apostolic teaching?
Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, issued a joint declaration in Rome last Wednesday. The Declaration includes the following passage:
Fifty years ago Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey took as their inspiration the words of the apostle: “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3: 13-14). Today, “those things which are behind” – the painful centuries of separation –have been partially healed by fifty years of friendship. We give thanks for the fifty years of the Anglican Centre in Rome dedicated to being a place of encounter and friendship. We have become partners and companions on our pilgrim journey, facing the same difficulties, and strengthening each other by learning to value the gifts which God has given to the other, and to receive them as our own in humility and gratitude. (Partners who, perhaps, have been talking past each other because at least one party is deaf to the received teaching of the Church.)
We are impatient for progress that we might be fully united in proclaiming, in word and deed, the saving and healing gospel of Christ to all people. (And of God's patience?) For this reason we take great encouragement from the meeting during these days of so many Catholic and Anglican bishops of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) who, on the basis of all that they have in common, which generations of ARCIC scholars have painstakingly unveiled, are eager to go forward in collaborative mission and witness to the “ends of the earth”. Today we rejoice to commission them and send them forth in pairs as the Lord sent out the seventy-two disciples. Let their ecumenical mission to those on the margins of society be a witness to all of us, and let the message go out from this holy place, as the Good News was sent out so many centuries ago, that Catholics and Anglicans will work together to give voice to our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring relief to the suffering, to bring peace where there is conflict, to bring dignity where it is denied and trampled upon.
Please forgive the skepticism, but to which "common faith" is the Joint Declaration referring? After five decades of Anglican drift further from the Apostolic Faith, is it still true that "what unites us much greater that what divides us"?
This is what Pope John XXIII believed about the unity of the Church and how he saw full Christian unity. With regard to other Christians, to the great Christian family, he observed: "What unites us is much greater than what divides us". The Second Vatican Council for its part exhorts "all Christ's faithful to remember that the more purely they strive to live according to the Gospel, the more they are fostering and even practising Christian unity. For they can achieve depth and ease in strengthening mutual brotherhood to the degree that they enjoy profound communion with the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit".—Ut Unum Sint, Pope St John Paul II
The tossing aside of Sacred Tradition by Anglicans and other protestants does little to persuade one that the same protestants are Christians in any meaningful sense of the word.

God has already provided a response to the joint declaration through the hands of Pope Benedict XVI:
Dear Anglicans, do your part for unity! Join the Ordinariate!

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