Monday, November 3, 2014

Whither Ecumenism For The Synod?

In the course of the Synod's proceedings, we heard a lot about folks trying to warp the notion of certain settled Church teachings, particularly on things like homosexuality and the indissolubility of marriage.

While we continue to hear a lot about the importance of ecumenism, the scandal being given to those of other faiths due to the Synodal proceedings is being ignored. You can do a few internet searches to see what I mean. Generally speaking, there are two groups involved.

First, you've got the folks who are looking for something to show that Catholicism's claims are false. After all, if the Church ever shows it was wrong about something, then the rightness of anything else is open for debate. This category is inhabited by lots of different groups ranging from militant atheists to virulently anti-Catholic Protestants.

Second, you've got fellow travelers in other faiths, from Protestantism to Islam, who have a certain amount of respect for Catholicism as the global standard bearer for morality on a global scale. These people hear what Cardinal Kaspar or Archbishop Forte are saying and are confused. Why is Catholicism folding in the culture war? What are these bishops/the Pope/the Synod doing? This has the additional effect of confirming to such people that Catholicism is "just another religion" and/or turning them away from the prospect of conversion altogether.

We've talked a lot about liturgical abuse (or just the existence of the Pauline Mass itself) as an ecumenical stumbling block for the Orthodox. Sure, you might have some of them that go with "three strikes and you're out divorce," but they are going to draw the line on homosexuality. Likewise, the Protestant churches that most would call "evangelical" are becoming less and less accepting of divorce (in my admittedly anecdotal experience) and are definitely going to hold anything looking like approval of homosexuality with disdain. And rightfully so.

My point in all this comes from multiple conversations I've had in the last week where I've had to deal with these new issues arising from people who otherwise might be accepting of the Church. Unfortunately, the modern notion of ecumenism, which is largely (and coincidentally?)  embodied in the works of Cardinal Kaspar, is only interested in action that results in an abandonment or compromise of Catholicism and not in the salvation of souls. Until the latter becomes the focus, real ecumenism will be ignored, and a false message of irenicism will result in the abandonment of many who crave the clear message of Truth.

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