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, April 6, 2017

Resisting "Feel Good" Ecumenism

Real problems or conflicts between differing communities are often ignored because of a fascination with "unity at all costs", one of those costs or casualties being the Truth. Groups speak of diversity without seeking what truly unifies. Jesus' true disciples must, by definition as followers of The Way, unceasingly pursue unity in the Truth, not sacrificing the Truth merely to go along to get along. The sophistry of the "play nice" crowd has led to a loss of authentic catechesis stretching into its second generation.

The Christian must work for unity among true disciples. A scandal persists in the form of the separation between Catholics and our eastern non-Catholic brethren of the national orthodox churches and the other ancient churches. Catholics must become christians for all christians, mediators of God's grace by our graced acts of charity and confident witness to the Truth which flow from a complete embrace of Jesus' prayer to the Father for unity. Therefore, we must constantly seek the grace of God to be made and remain worthy vessels of mercy who, though perhaps suffering in the service of Jesus Christ for the greater glory of God, indefatigably proclaim and celebrate the fullness of the Faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (St Jude 3:3).

As a Catholic informed by Tradition (written and oral: 2 Thess 2:15) clearly found, for example, in the Catechism, and ever striving to be docile to the Holy Spirit, and guided, of course, by the Magisterium of the Church, it is this blogger's considered opinion that we Catholics should invite others who believe themselves to be Christian to launch out into the deep (duc in altum, St Luke 5:4) and make the journey to Rome. I.e., communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter to whom Jesus has entrusted the care of the Church.

"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).—St Cyprian of Carthage
Others may believe unity with Rome is not necessary to being Christian. To that opinion a Catholic might respond that to remain separate from the Church Jesus founded is to deny the will of Jesus for His Church—i.e., visible unity in the Truth—and to deny that Jesus Himself founded the Church on His terms, not the terms of mere mortals who have by their fruits, their abandonment of Jesus' teaching on marriage and the sacraments, for example, proven their unworthiness to reinvent Jesus' Church.

The division among non-Catholic communities is a pitiable sign of discord and confusion so far from Jesus' express will for His Church that Catholics must pray constantly for those people of goodwill who are lost to heresy and schism. THey so desperately need the unity (in the Truth) which only the Petrine ministry can provide.

We Catholics must be mindful, too, of the signs of God's grace among those same people of goodwill who currently do not enjoy the fullness of the Faith in unity with Jesus' earthly shepherd and vicar, the Roman Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome.
(M)any elements of sanctification and of truth" are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements." Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."—CCC819

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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