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"Ecumenical Follies" Update

This is Progress?

by Christopher A. Ferrara

The proponents of "ecumenism" are so desperate for results that they are wont to proclaim just about anything as "a step toward full unity."

A case in point is a report by Zenit on June 9, 2002 that "A step toward full unity between Catholics and Orthodox was taken when, for the first time in a millennium, a patriarch of Constantinople celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine basilica of Ravenna."

Excuse me, but why is it a "step toward unity" when a schismatic Orthodox patriarch deigns to celebrate Mass in a Catholic basilica? Why was this event allowed to happen in the first place, without the patriarch having first renounced his schism and submitted to the Vicar of Christ?

Sad to say, the Pope himself is quoted as having "applauded today’s event, which he said helps ‘encourage us to continue on the road toward full unity between the Christian East and West.’" I am at a loss to understand how the Orthodox are encouraged to return to unity with the Catholic Church when their Patriarch is given access to a Catholic basilica without abjuring his errors and acknowledging the Pope as Vicar of Christ.

Indeed, the Zenit article notes that during his sermon in the Catholic basilica in Ravenna, Bartholomew I "didn’t hide the difficulties felt in theological dialogue, but he urged confidence in God, who desires unity among all his children." Why was a schismatic patriarch allowed to sermonize in a Catholic basilica on the "difficulties" in "theological dialogue" with Catholics? What message does this send to the Catholic faithful? The message is clear enough: the major differences between Orthodoxy and Catholicism - first and foremost Orthodoxy’s rejection of the papal primacy - are mere "difficulties" which do not prevent use of a Catholic basilica by an Orthodox prelate.

Zenit reports that following his liturgy in a Catholic basilica, Bartholomew got aboard a cruise ship along with Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Etchegaray and other Vatican functionaries. The cruise is part of Bartholomew’s "environmental outreach" tour of the Adriatic. Zenit reports that "on Monday (June 10th) the [cruise ship] Festos Palace is due to arrive in Venice, where Bartholomew I will sign a declaration on protecting the environment. At the same time, Pope John Paul II will sign at the Vatican. The events will be linked by a television connection." According to Zenit, "the Pope explained that the signing ‘is another example of that sharing of intentions, which is the prelude to a renewed and full communion.’" What in Heaven’s name does the signing of a useless environmental protection agreement have to do with the return of the schismatic Orthodox to Catholic unity?

Meanwhile, the bishops of Archbishop Lefebvre’s Society of Saint Pius X are prohibited from celebrating Mass in any basilica in Italy (or the rest of the world), and are denounced as "schismatics." (They were allowed recently to make a pilgrimage to Roman basilicas, but not to offer Mass there.) The "Lefebvrists" are called "schismatics" because they decline to go along with the obviously disastrous "reforms" of Vatican II - including ecumenical initiatives that undermine the papal primacy by bestowing honors on truly schismatic prelates who reject the primacy as a matter of principle. You see, it is "schismatic" to object to schismatics being given the use of Catholic basilicas for their liturgies. Figure that one out.

Incredibly enough, the very word schism is no longer applied to anyone but "Lefebvrists." The true schismatics - those, such as Bartholomew I, who continue to reject the papal primacy after 1,000 years of adamant separation from Rome and forty years of worthless "ecumenical dialogue" - are allowed to celebrate Mass in Catholic basilicas, take cruises on the Adriatic with Vatican Cardinals, and sign environmental agreements with the Pope.

And this, they tell us, is "progress" on the "road to unity." From this Fatima perspective, I would call it progress on the road to chaos. And chaos is what we have in the Church today.