THE letter of Pat and Lois O’Shea (CL 10/12/00) was headed “Unity needs love”.
It failed to make the more fundamental point that both need to be based on truth.
At Vatican II the push for a new concept of ecumenism caused some council fathers to ask whether they were assembled to teach Catholics or to placate Protestants. Pius XII had warned against a misguided zeal in the search for unity.
Pope Paul was even more specific: “The desire to come together as brothers must not lead to a watering down or subtracting from truth. We cannot make vague compromises about the principles of faith and action. An immoderate desire to make peace and sink differences at all costs is, fundamentally, a kind of scepticism”.
Our Lord opted for division rather than compromise: “Do you suppose I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division …” Since Vatican II all three have been ignored, the truth of the one true Church has been mothballed in the cause of ecumenism, and the damage to the Church has been enormous.
Cardinal Ratzinger has had the honesty to admit that the suppression of the Church’s traditional liturgy did “extremely serious damage” to the Church. Needed now is a prelate to make a similar admission regarding the current concept of ecumenism.
Prior to the council the annual conversions in the US have been variously given as from 70,000 to 170,000; 15 years ago they were down to 20,000.
A ray of light pierced the gloom when The Leader (28/11/99) reported German Bishop Walter Kasper as admonishing Catholics that all faiths are not equal. Next came “Dominus Iesus”, clearly stating the Catholic doctrine of the one true Church. It was too good to last, of course. Cardinal Cassidy virtually apologised for the document; and now Pope John Paul himself has effectively put things back to square one by proclaiming the work of the Holy Spirit in other religions. We do know the Holy Spirit was promised to the Church founded by Christ. Has the operation of the Holy Spirit in other faiths been the subject of a later revelation?
Pope John Paul was on sure ground, however, when he assessed today’s Church: “We must admit realistically, and with feelings of deep pain, that Christians in large measure feel lost, confused, perplexed and even disappointed; ideas opposed to the truth which has been revealed and always taught, are being scattered abroad in abundance. Heresies, in the full and proper sense of the word, have been spread in the area of dogma and morals, creating doubts, confusions and rebellions. The liturgy has been tampered with, immersed in an intellectual and moral relativism, and therefore in permissiveness. Christians are tempted by atheism, agnosticism, vaguely moral enlightenment, and by a sociological Christianity devoid of defined dogmas or an objective morality.
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