Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

So-Called Ecumenism at the Expense of Evangelization

March 31st, 2011, Promulgated by Abaccio

You’ve heard this story before…some arm of the Diocese of Rochester supporting other religions ahead of our own.

You heard it when Bishop Clark hosted an ecumenical prayer service in our cathedral in which the name of Christ was never mentioned.  You heard it when the diocese posted a video on youtube that seems to promote the idea that Judaism, Islam, and all forms of Christianity are essentially the same basic thing. You heard it when Fr. Callan over at Corpus Christi brought his congregation to a protestant service in lieu of Mass one Sunday.  You heard it when the youth at the 2008 Diocesan Youth Convention were sent to the Rochester Islamic Center to learn about and witness Muslim prayer.  You heard about it when Sr. Joan unearthed these “ecumenical” lenten plans.  You heard it when Fr Tanck had a Catholic-Sikh dialogue in which men wore their headdresses in a Catholic Church.  Yes, you’ve heard this story before.

Does it surprise you then, to see this article linked on Facebook by the Catholic Courier?  All the Courier page shows is the title: “Finding Faith.”  This would be a lovely thing to post, were it discussing a conversion story of an RIT student, or spoke of how to maintain a Catholic faith under the attack of a secular university.  It doesn’t do that.  It barely mentions Catholicism at all–the only reference to the Catholic Newman Community on campus is to note their fund-raising for the Special Olympics.  Instead, this article speaks of a “seven-year research study [which] showed that although students’ religious involvement declines during college, their spirituality grows. Students become more caring, more tolerant and more connected with others.” Now, I hate to be the voice of reason here, but REALLY?  The Diocesan newspaper is supporting the idea of SBNR?  I’m sorry to be the one to burst your bubble, dear reader, but “tolerance” is not one of the ten commandments.  Neither is a superficial connectedness.

It speaks of Muslim Ablutions, of the Jewish Hillel services (in which “many of the students are looking for a cultural experience more than a religious experience.”  Yes, they are indeed “Finding Faith.”)  It speaks of the booming Lutheran community (now ten members strong!) and other protestant “interdenominational” groups.  But never once does it speak of Catholicism in a meaningful way.  Not a single picture shows a Catholic Mass, nor anything remotely Catholic.  But, you know what?  Perhaps it’s better this way.  They might have shown RIT Newman Chaplain Fr. Hunt, who once “processed into mass behind the cross wearing the Mickey Mouse hat and a gold masquerade mask. Once the singing stopped, the first thing he did was blow a kazoo and say, ‘Happy Mardi Gras.'”  You can see his tie-dyed chasuble and the super-soaker he used for the Asperges.

You’ve heard this story before, folks.  As always, the Diocese does a better job promoting other religions than it does promoting the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.   Instead of preaching the truth (things like the “outside the Church, there is no salvation”), the Diocese and its employees find ways to promote syncretism and false ecumenism.  True ecumenism, rather, must be firmly rooted in the truth.  The point of ecumenism is not to produce wishy-washy theology that says “each religion is as good as the next,” but rather conversion.  Thanks, Catholic Courier.  This has been edifying.

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4 Responses to “So-Called Ecumenism at the Expense of Evangelization”

  1. Abaccio says:

    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the 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, 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.336
    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.337
    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

    I might take this opportunity to remind you that the Second Vatican Council changed not a single whim of doctrine or dogma. It was a purely pastoral council. The teachings of the church were the same in 1960 as they are today.

  2. Scott says:

    Christ and His Church are the only means to salvation for anyone. This is, and remains, the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church. There is no other name by which salvation comes to anyone. There is a great misunderstanding of this defined teaching. It does not mean formal incorporation into the Church as through baptism but it can be by baptism of desire, blood, or grace offered by God to others but only through the umbrella of His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. So if anyone acheives salvation it is only through the grace that flows through this Church and no other.

  3. Ben Anderson says:

    anon 12:25,
    I don’t know if this is a genuine comment or not, but I hope not. While your stereotype might unfortunately be true around here, but (this is stretching my latin skills) abusus non tollit usum (abuse does not take away use). Listen to the Kreeft lecture I linked to in this post. Or look at what ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) has produced. This is good stuff. We must reach out our hands to those outside the Church. To do so, we must understand their world views.

  4. brother of penance says:

    In John Paul II’s Encyclical MISSION OF THE REDEEMER we read in part:

    The Initial Proclamation of Christ the Savior

    44. Proclamation is the permanent priority of mission…… “Evangelization will always contain-as the foundation, center and at the same time the summit of its dynamism-a clear proclamation that, in Jesus Christ…salvation is offered to all people, as a gift of God’s grace and mercy……(which introduces us)into the mystery of the love of God, who invites him to enter into a personal relationship with himself in Christ and opens the way to conversion. Faith is born of preaching, and every (church) community draws its origin and life from the personal response of each believer to that preaching.

    The subject of proclamation is Christ who was crucified, died and is risen: through him is accomplished our full and authentic liberation from evil, sin and death; through him God bestows “new life” that is divine and eternal.

    This is the “Good News” which changes man and his history, and which all peoples have a right to hear. This proclamation is to be made within the context of the lives of the individuals and peoples who receive it. It is to be made with an attitude of love and esteem toward those who hear it, in language which is practical and adapted to the situation. In this proclamation the Spirit is at work and establishes a communion between the missionary and his hearers, a communion which is possible inasmuch as both enter into communion with God the Father through Christ.

    Proclamation is inspired by faith, which gives rise to enthusiasm and fervor in the missionary. As already mentioned, the Acts of the Apostles uses the word parrhesia to describe this attitude, a word which means to speak frankly and with courage. This term is found also in St. Paul: “We had courage in our God to declare to you the Gospel of God in the face of great opposition” (1 Th 2:2); “Pray…also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Eph 6:18-20).

    (The missionary) knows that he is not proclaiming a human truth, but the “word of God,” which has an intrinsic and mysterious power of its own (cf. Rom 1:16).

    The supreme test is the giving of one’s life, to the point of accepting death in order to bear witness to one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Throughout Christian history, martyrs, that is, “witnesses,” have always been numerous and indispensable to the spread of the Gospel. In our own age, there are many: bishops, priests, men and women religious, lay people-often unknown heroes who give their lives to bear witness to the faith. They are par excellence the heralds and witnesses of the faith.

    46. The proclamation of the Word of God has Christian conversion as its aim: a complete and sincere adherence to Christ and his Gospel through faith. Conversion is a gift of God, a work of the Blessed Trinity. It is the Spirit who opens people’s hearts so that they can believe in Christ and “confess him” (cf. 1 Cor 12:3); of those who draw near to him through faith Jesus says: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (Jn 6:44).

    From the outset, conversion is expressed in faith which is total and radical, and which neither limits nor hinders God’s gift. At the same time, it gives rise to a dynamic and lifelong process which demands a continual turning away from “life according to the flesh” to “life according to the Spirit” (cf. Rom 8:3-13). Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming his disciple.

    The Church calls all people to this conversion, following the example of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Christ by “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mk 1:4), as well as the example of Christ himself, who “after John was arrested,…came into Galilee preaching the Gospel of God and saying: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel'” (Mk 1:14-15).

    ….. every person has the right to hear the “Good News” of the God who reveals and gives himself in Christ, so that each one can live out in its fullness his or her proper calling. This lofty reality is expressed in the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God,” and in the unconscious but ardent desire of the woman: “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst” (Jn 4:10, 15).

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