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Is the Ecumenical Delusion Finally Ending?

by Christopher A. Ferrara

For more than forty years the Catholic Church has been engaged at the human level in the utterly futile "ecumenical venture" which somehow seeks "Christian unity" without the simple conversion of the Protestants to Catholicism and the return of the Orthodox to communion with Rome  —  the only way to true Christian unity, as the Popes before Vatican II insisted.

But now there are indications that, at least with respect to the decrepit Anglican Church, the Vatican is finally prepared to admit that "ecumenism" is hopeless (as indeed it always was). On June 12, 2006 Zenit reported that "Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor laments the prospect that full Anglican-Catholic unity will be ‘out of reach’ following a decision by the Church of England to ordain women as bishops."

As Zenit notes, Murphy-O’Connor "told the BBC's ‘Sunday’ program that as the Church of England moves toward ordaining women as bishops ‘we will more and more now exist, as it were, in parallel rather than converging towards the full communion, unity which we believe is the will of Christ.’"

This remark, Zenit notes, was described by the Cardinal’s own press office as "a shift from his previous insistence over the years that the process toward unity was a ‘road without exit.’"

Moreover, Murphy-O’Connor’s remarks "came in wake of a speech last week by Cardinal Walter Kasper to the Church of England's House of Bishops in which he all but said that ecumenism with the Anglicans would be dead once they consecrate women "bishops." As Kasper put it: "Ecumenical dialogue in the true sense of the word has as its goal the restoration of full church communion. That has been the pre-supposition of our dialogue until now. The pre-supposition would realistically no longer exist following the ordination of women to episcopal office." No kidding!

Why ecumenism was not pronounced dead the moment the Anglicans ordained women "priests" has not been explained. Nor have we received an explanation of why ecumenism was undertaken in the first place with a "church" and various other Protestant sects that cannot even agree that the Fifth Commandment prohibits abortion and contraception and that the Sixth Commandment forbids divorce and sodomy.

But at least, at long last, we have finally reached the point where even the likes of Cardinal Kasper is forced to admit that after all is said and done ecumenism may be futile  —  as if we didn’t know this all along. Perhaps, in the near future, Vatican prelates will also admit the truth of what the great preconciliar popes taught on this subject: that the only way to Christian unity is the return of the dissidents to the one true Church. Oremus.