Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Just Say No to Ecumenism

I'm glad my denomination is not part of the BWA.

"…The pope met privately at the Vatican Dec. 6 with more than 20 delegates who were in Rome for a meeting of the joint international commission sponsored by the Baptist World Alliance and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Pope Benedict said if reconciliation and greater fellowship between Baptists and Catholics were to be realized certain issues "need to be faced together, in a spirit of openness, mutual respect and fidelity" to the Gospel.

He said some of the "historically controverted issues" that needed further discussion include "the relationship between Scripture and tradition, the understanding of baptism and the sacraments, the place of Mary in the communion of the church, and the nature of oversight and primacy in the church's ministerial structure."

… Catholics place great emphasis on the sacraments, with particular reverence for Christ's presence in the Eucharist. Baptists recognize baptism and the Lord's Supper but refer to them as biblical "ordinances," carried out in obedience to the Lord's commands in Scripture.

Baptists honor Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ, but they do not address prayer to Mary or the saints because Jesus is the only mediator between human beings and God."

-Catholic News

Sadly, it appears these Baptists are willing to compromise the gospel while the Catholics won't even compromise on Mary.


David Waltz said...

Which “gospel” Carrie? Are you referring to the “gospel” that was “lost” for nearly 1,500 years and “discovered” by the magisterial Reformers of the 16th century?


Carrie said...

Not lost, just subverted.

I am sure there were some who were true to the biblical gospel that was "once and for all delivered to the saints". But even if there weren't a remnant, the pure gospel in its written form has survived through history. Praise God for that!

Machaira said...

Sadly, it appears these Baptists are willing to compromise the gospel while the Catholics won't even compromise on Mary.

Let's face it. "Ecumenism" for Rome is where the other side concedes its principles, never vice versa.

Mateo said...

I hope machaira will find this interesting:

"The aim of ecumenical work is the full communion and the fullness of unity, which cannot be a unitary Church, but a unity in diversity.[20] The way to it is therefore not the return of the others into the fold of the Catholic Church, nor the conversion of individuals to the Catholic Church (even if this must obviously be mutually acknowledged when it is based on reasons of conscience).[21]

In the ecumenical movement the question is the conversion of all to Jesus Christ. As we move nearer to Jesus Christ, in him we move nearer to one another. Therefore, it is not a question of Church political debates and compromises, not of some kind of union, but of a reciprocal spiritual exchange and a mutual enrichment. The oikoumene is a spiritual process, in which the question is not about a way backwards but about a way forwards.[22] Such unity is ultimately a gift of God’s Spirit and of his guidance. Therefore, the oikoumene is neither a mere academic nor only a diplomatic matter; its soul is spiritual ecumenism.[23]"


Machaira said...

Yes indeed Mateo, I always find it interesting when the one true church contradicts its own infallible popes and irreformable councils. I gain a greater and greater respect for sedacavantists like Gerry Matatics each and every time I watch you and your friends at work on Beggars All. Thanks for thinking of me.

Machaira said...

The way I see it Mateo, one good turn deserves another. I hope you find this interesting.


Carrie said...

I agree with Machaira. Accordind to UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO:

"When such actions are undertaken prudently and patiently by the Catholic faithful, with the attentive guidance of their bishops, they promote justice and truth, concord and collaboration, as well as the spirit of brotherly love and unity. This is the way that, when the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion have been gradually overcome, all Christians will at last, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, be gathered into the one and only Church in that unity which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning."


Carrie said...

Btw Mateo, can you elaborate on the bolded section below (from your comment):

The way to it is therefore not the return of the others into the fold of the Catholic Church, nor the conversion of individuals to the Catholic Church (even if this must obviously be mutually acknowledged when it is based on reasons of conscience).

Mateo said...

Again, incidentally, Machaira's comments are exactly why Catholics probably seem to angry to you all. If you see contradictions between what I am saying and irreformable councils, etc., then why don't you write something on Beggars All. It is pretty easy to sit by the sidelines. In fact, I am pretty conservative, so you probably are misunderstanding me. It wouldn't surprise me.

1) You have simply asserted that there are contradictions between Kaspar (besides the fact that you refer to him as "the one true Church" and councils, popes, etc., so it is impossible for me to respond to you. What is gratuitously asserted can be gratuitously denied.

2) And it is not surprising that Pius X-types appeal to you. First of all, you have bought into THEIR definition of the Church and, moreover, I imagine that you are equally reactionary with respect to your own confession.

3) Carrie, let me know if you think that my comments are merely scoring points for Matatics types. If so, I will not waste my time. I am a full-time teacher and student but thought that a different perspective on Catholic apologetics might be useful, interesting, and even illuminating for Protestant apologists on websites like Beggars All. If necessary, I would appreciate your disabusing me of that, so I can leave you to the belligerent types.

4) In response to your question: Kaspar is saying that what is most important is conversion to Christ. Therefore, individual conversions between Christian confessions, while they ought to be respected, are not the end-game. Because of his vision of the Church as unity-in-diversity, Kaspar believes that it is important for whole "denominations" to unite together. It is only that way that the other confessions (let's say, Lutheranism) can preserve their distinctive charisms and their distinctive approaches to certain doctrines (as long as they are within the appropriate range of "orthodox" opinion), etc. Later in the essay, he talks about the idea of "reconciled diversity", "differentiated agreement", etc. So he would prefer true, visible union between other Churches, rather than individual trickles between confessions.

5) Carrie, I only found your other post, where you quote John Paul II. This might clarify for me why you were disagreeing with me. This is the problem with quoting something without giving any analysis. What I was responding to was the idea that ecumenism from a Roman perspective is simply convincing other communions to jump back into the Roman fold. What is clear to me is that Walter Kaspar and most prelates today (including John Paul II) would not think so. While they do think that any "final solution" will entail some sort of Roman primacy (as Kaspar argues in the remainder of his piece), they recognize that it is not simply a rejoining. This unity will transform the visible Roman Church, these other Churches will bring their own charisms and distinctives, they will maintain much of their identity--most importantly, for Kaspar, is that all the Churches will become closer to Christ Himself, as He was the one who prayed for a unity that the world can see among the people His Father gave Him.

While this is not a direct contradiction with what machaira was saying, it is simply much more complex (Kaspar says that, in a certain sense, the Church is incomplete because of division--it is breathing with only one lung) than the bare rejoining that machaira suggests.

But I think the problem is that you both read the quotation as suggesting that full visible unity (which will end up including the Roman see) is not a goal of Catholic ecumenism. I can see why you would think that from this quotation, but that was not my intention (I would reject that opinion) and I don't believe it is Kaspar's intention either (if you read the rest of the essay)

Does that help?i

Mateo said...

Confirmation: Walter Kaspar has recently stated that "the unsparing effort for the restoration of the full and visible unity of the all of Christ's followers is not an optional choice but a sacred obligation (quoted in the current edition of First Things, p. 65)