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"Ecumenical Follies" Update

Another Day, Another Useless Piece of Paper

by Christopher A. Ferrara

On October 14, 2002 CWNews.com reported that "At the conclusion of a visit to the Vatican by the Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Teoctist, Pope John Paul II emphasized the commitment of the Catholic Church to the cause of Christian unity. The Romanian patriarch was warmly received by the Pope and other Vatican officials during his stay in Rome. Later, the Pope and the Patriarch signed a communal declaration, confirming ‘our commitment to work and pray for full visible unity among all the disciples of Christ.’"

Another visit to Rome by a schismatic Greek prelate, another warm reception, another pronouncement that the Catholic Church is committed to "Christian unity" and another useless document saying so. But after 40 years of this sort of thing, the Orthodox are not one step closer to ending their schism by renouncing their doctrinal errors and submitting to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.

CWN further reports: "After a private meeting with the Orthodox prelate, the Holy Father took note of the progress in ecumenical talks between the Catholic and Orthodox churches in the years since Vatican II." With all due respect - what progress? The Pope mentioned only that "a series of ecumenical discussions had reaffirmed ‘our communion of faith in the mystery of the Eucharist, the sacraments, and the priesthood and episcopal ministry in apostolic succession.’" So, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox together affirm that they believe in the Eucharist, the priesthood and the apostolic succession. But the Orthodox have never denied the Eucharist, the priesthood and the Apostolic succession. What they deny is the primacy of jurisdiction of the Pope as Vicar of Christ; and this they continue to deny as adamantly as they did in 1054, when their schism began. This is progress?

Ecumenism, the joint declaration said, is "an irreversible path, to which there are no alternatives." But what exactly is this path of ecumenism, if not the return of the Orthodox to unity with Rome, as called for by every single Pope before 1962? For example, as Saint Pius X declared in his apostolic letter on reunion with the Eastern churches: "Let, then, all those who strive to defend the cause of unity go forth; let them go forth wearing the helmet of faith, holding to the anchor of hope, and inflamed with the fire of charity, to work unceasingly in this most heavenly enterprise; and God, the author and lover of peace, will hasten the day when the nations of the East shall return to Catholic unity, and, united to the Apostolic See, after casting away their errors, shall enter the port of everlasting salvation."

But the return of the Orthodox to Catholic unity and the abandonment of their errors is apparently the last thing ecumenism seeks. No less than John Paul II himself declared during Teoctist’s visit that, far from seeking converts among the Orthodox, "the Catholic Church has always tried to sustain and help the mission of the Orthodox churches in the lands of their origin." Is this the conversion of Russia prophesied by Our Lady of Fatima? Not if words still have meaning.

The current state of affairs in Russia should show any reasonable person just how far removed the current "ecumenical" attitude toward the Orthodox is from the traditional teaching of the Church, and from what the Mother of God Herself called for at Fatima. Instead of Heaven’s own plan for true Christian unity, it is just another day of the conciliar "springtime" - and another useless piece of paper signed at the Vatican.