SSPX Bp. Fellay criticizes Benedict XVI about Assisi meeting

From The Catholic Herald (which has a huge discount right now annual subscriptions to the full digital version):

SSPX leader criticises Pope’s plan to hold inter-religious meeting
By Anna Arco
Vote for Fr. Z!
The leader of the Society of St Pius X has expressed anger at Pope Benedict’s decision to hold another inter-religious meeting at Assisi.

Weeks after Bishop Bernard Fellay said he was feeling optimistic about union with Rome this year, the Superior General of the SSPX?said he was deeply indignant about the Pope’s invitation to religious leaders around the world to join him in Assisi.

Preaching on the Epiphany, Bishop Fellay said: “Yes, we are deeply indignant, we vehemently protest against this repetition of the days at Assisi. [Here’s the thing.  The meeting is quite a way off yet, and he knows that it is going to be a “repetition”?  I, too, am not enthusiastic about this idea, but I am sure that this won’t be a “repetition” of what happened at that first, unfortunate confab.] Everything that we have said, everything that Archbishop Lefebvre had said at the time of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi in 1986, we repeat in our own name. It is evident, my dear brothers, that such a thing demands reparation. What a mystery![Indeed… it is.  And so, perhaps such a strong condemnation is not entirely fair.]

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of the SSPX, complained about the first World Day of Prayer for Peace. He said the Church had never before been “humiliated to such an extent in the course of her history”. He told John Paul II that “the scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured. The Church is shaken to its very foundations”.

Pope Benedict told pilgrims at the first Angelus of the year that he would travel to Assisi in October to mark the 25th anniversary of the day.

He said: “I will make a pilgrimage to the town of St Francis, inviting my Christian brethren of different confessions, leaders of the world’s religious traditions and, in their hearts, all men and women of good will, to join me on this journey in order to commemorate that important historical gesture of my predecessor, and solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.[A good motive, and hard to criticize justly.  What remains to be seen is how.]

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

Bp. Fellay said in his sermon, via our friends at Rorate:

And here modern thinking makes truly bizarre sorts of projections: it pretends that all religions, ultimately, adore one and the same true God. That is absolutely false; it is even in Revelation; we find it already in the psalms, in Psalm 96:5, “All the gods of the Gentiles are devils!” They are devils. And Assisi will be full of devils! This is Revelation, this is the Faith of the Church; this is the teaching of the Church!

Meanwhile, ….

[CUE MUSIC]

When you’ve had a hard day fretting over the upcoming meeting in Assisi, and fuming over the last meeting, when you’ve gotten all worked up and just can’t contain it anymore, why not have a nice hot WDTPRS mug filled with Mystic Monk Coffee?

You know… it is surely Eve’s fault that we run out of patience over most things… but it is our fault if we run out of coffee!

Face it, when it comes to our coffee supply, and the defense of our Faith, don’t be caught short.

Maybe try the Dark Sumatran this time.

Mystic Monk Coffee!

It’s swell!

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117 Responses to SSPX Bp. Fellay criticizes Benedict XVI about Assisi meeting

  1. TNCath says:

    For someone who supposedly wants reconciliation with the Church, he sure doesn’t sound very conciliatory by publicly criticizing the Holy Father.

  2. Fr. Basil says:

    While I would not attend such an interreligious meeting unless requested by an ecclesiastical superior, remember that Pope Benedict’s flock is the entire world, not just the Catholic people in it.

    According to the Bible, the good shepherd goes after the stray sheep. If he feels this is the best exercise of his pastoral authority in this effort, it is not for me to say it isn’t.

  3. Hieronymus says:

    TNCath —

    I don’t think he wants reconciliation if it means that he has to sit by and watch such a meaningless display of religious indifference without a word. The Holy Father is not above criticism — which could be demonstrated by the fact that Cardinal Ratzinger was critical of JPII’s first ecumadness event at Assisi.

    My only hope is that the reunion of the SSPX is not hindered by this meaningless (at best) gesture.

  4. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Look I am right wing and agree that some form of “dumbing down” of the liturgy has happened (mainly due to poor logistics and application of Vat II, a.k.a. The “Brain” was thinking but the hands and feet didn’t get the brain signals right) and the Church should always say NO to such influences when it can recognize them, but to say we should downright exclude ecumenism is absurd! We convert people through honest relationships and what we do as followers of Christ. In doing so, by being in ecumenism we open those non-Catholics to the full Truth of Christ so that maybe in their own free will they will convert.

    Just when you think that there may be hope for SSPX and those members under its wing, this guy comes out and ruins things! Why can’t he just remain quiet and ley Crdl. Hoyos or whoever Benedict assigned to the negotiations do it? It’s “negotiation” because it takes time. Also, he’s not an official bishop of the Church under the Magisterium, so we shouldn’t listen to him when he says things like this. If only he’d and the other high rankers would be quiet, just maybe, the Church will allow SSPX into full communion. Just let the Church and the Holy Spirit work their wonders!

    On a personal note I once strongly desired to go to one of their Latin masses, but once I learnt they aren’t in communion with the Church, there’s no way I am going there until they are in full communion.

    Let’s hope for better things while under Pope B16, “the Pope of Christian Unity.”

  5. teomatteo says:

    “Yes, we are deeply indignant, we vehemently protest against this repetition of the days at Assisi.”

    I must say that I fully trust our Pope. He will speak the truth and I think that in that venue it is needed… sorely…. For me, I will keep our Pope (and the Bishop) in my prayers….

  6. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    God bless him! He is trying to remain the anchor that pulls the Church back from the abyss. Either everything the Church has declared as infallible is infallible, or none of it is. He is never wrong to re-state her eternal teachings, and his motive is always Charitable. If he were to compromise his message in any way, he would become the most pitiable of all men, and he would not be able to help the Church.

  7. kgurries says:

    According to Bishop Fellay, Assisi “…pretends that all religions, ultimately, adore one and the same true God. That is absolutely false…”

    Of course, that is an interpretation of Assisi — one that Pope Benedict would strongly contest. So, it belongs to the Pope to give us the true interpretation of Assisi (I doubt it will be just like 1986). Does it pretend that all religions are equal? Or is it merely a call for sincere prayer by all men of good will regardless of one’s religion. In this sense, even the honest prayer of non-Christians has value. The Catechism of the Council of Trent refers to the prayer of unbelievers as the “third degree of prayer” and affirms that “against none who desire it sincerely are the doors of divine mercy closed.”

    So, the issue is really one of interpretation of the event in itself — and also the question of the value of the honest personal prayer to God — even by non Christians. My bet is that Pope Benedict will do everything possible to promote the proper understanding of what the event is and what it is not.

  8. Daniel Latinus says:

    This is an anniversary that simply does not need to be commemorated.

    The 1986 Assisi meeting was a bad, bad thing. Should never have happened.

    It will be interesting to see how this works out, and what the effect of this is going to be on the SSPX negotiations, but I for one cannot see how any interfaith prayer service can do any good at all.

  9. A few things:

    One, I don’t think this statement from the Archbishop, insofar as it represents criticism of the Pope, in any way impedes reconciliation between SSPX and the Catholic Church. This Pope in particular invites this sort of criticism, and it is precisely in his ability to foster dialogue and even to invite critique that he is able to be so effective as Pope of Christian Unity.

    Two, I am disappointed in +Fellay, because I would think that he should recognize that this Pope is far more effective than his predecessor in establishing authentic dialogue with other world religions, a dialogue that far from descending into the relativism of “this is my truth, that’s your truth, and we can all be true in our own way,” this Pope recognizes the importance of establishing, albeit diplomatically and with real savvy (usually), “Yes, this is what we believe is true, this is an essential truth about God and about man. But of course we want to listen to you and respect you. But we do believe in universal truth.” In other words, this Pope has never been one to go soft on his proclamation of the truth of the Gospel, and +Fellay, I think, should have had a little more respect for that and awareness of that. He could easily have said, “I have grave concerns about this meeting and I hope that the Holy Father takes precautions to ensure that this meeting does not repeat the grave mistakes of the last.”

    Finally, while criticism of itself is not at all an impediment to unity, I do think underlying this criticism is the deep rejection of Vatican II’s commitment to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, and I still am not confident that the rift between their theology and authentic Catholic theology is at this time ripe for reconciliation. I hope I’m wrong, because I hate to see anyone separated from the Church, but at the very least this statement from +Fellay highlights just how steep the task really is.

  10. PghCath says:

    The 1986 meeting was a bad, bad thing. But as Fr. Basil notes, Catholics need to reach out to all the world. I trust this Pope to show us how that should be done.

  11. anna 6 says:

    Benedict, the teacher will show the correct way…
    He said:
    “believers of all religions to live THEIR RELIGIOUS FAITH as a service to the cause of peace.”
    Benedict will not water down Catholicism by one drop!

  12. Faith says:

    Fr. Z,
    Please explain what happened the last time.

  13. traditionalorganist says:

    Daniel Latinus,

    //This is an anniversary that simply does not need to be commemorated.//

    I think this event will be less of a “commemoration” than a way to redo what was done poorly before. The Pope of Christian Unity has only a good track record in dealing with non-Catholics. Look at his visitation to England as an example.

  14. LouiseA says:

    Fr. Z,

    You keep repeating “Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity”, but can you explain to us why you do this, please? Do you believe that repeating something over and over helps to bring words into reality, and so this is an exercise in the power of positive thinking? Is this is an experiment you are working on to see if you can get this title to “go viral” and “stick” to the Pope whenever he is mentioned, by the press, for example? Or perhaps you believe the prophecies that legend attributes to St. Malachy where the current Pope is called the “Glory of the Olive”… olive signifying peace and reconciliation (unity)?

    Thanks for any explanation.

    [Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.]

  15. kgurries says:

    I think one of the big problems in 1986 was the lack of control and this led to scandal and many wrong interpretations. For example, Buddhists were allowed to worship in a Catholic Church and there appeared photos (you can probably find them on the internet) of a statue of Budda placed on top of the tabernacle in the Assisi Church. Similar things happened and it was the cause of much confusion and scandal. My understanding is that many of these things were corrected by Assisi II (2002). I expect Assisi III will further reduce the risk of scandal and misinterpretation.

  16. Randii says:

    kgurries said:
    “According to Bishop Fellay, Assisi “…pretends that all religions, ultimately, adore one and the same true God. That is absolutely false…””

    In point of fact item 841 of the catechism states, with respect to Islam, that Catholics worhsip the same God as the Muslims. The God of Abraham.

    Can’t get much clearer than that.

  17. traditionalorganist says:

    LouiseA,

    I think Fr. Z’s description of Pope Benedict as the Pope of Christian Unity is dead on. I repeat it to others and explain why I think so. If you need an explanation, I’d check this blog’s archives. Click on the Pope of Christian Unity Tag to see other posts demonstrating this point.

  18. anna 6 says:

    Here is a relevant article in il Giornale by Andrea Tornielli, which begins:

    “It takes a certain chutzpah to write an appeal to Benedict XVI – theologian Pope who was the Church’s chief doctrinal officer for almost a quarter century – to explain to him the doctrinal reasons why he should cancel an initiative that he himself has already announced: his convocation of the world’s religious leaders to meet in Assisi next October in order to raise a concerted call for peace…”

    translated by Theresa Benedetta here:
    http://benedettoxviforum.freeforumzone.leonardo.it/discussione.aspx?idd=8527207&p=177

  19. Centristian says:

    I have not much use for “ecumenical” summits of any kind, and I understand Fellay’s concerns, sympathizing with them to a degree.

    That having been said, what I would like to know is where is this harshness of condemnation whenever Fellay’s confrere, Richard Williamson, publishes his regular diatribes against the pope, against the Holy See, against the modern Catholic Church, in general, against the Jewish People, against democracy, against women, &c? Where was this sternness when Williamson got his derierre in a sling for publicly denying the Holocaust? Where was this zeal when Williamson declared that the United States Government orchestrated the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Center, declaring that “not one plane” crashed into it?

    Not that Williamson is alone in his bizarre beliefs and teachings. To a greater or lesser degree, all the bishops and most of the priests of the SSPX hold fast to the same atrocious doctrines that Williamson routinely spouts.

    As a former “Lefebvrist” who has seen the anti-semitic, anti-papal, conspiracy theory-oriented mentality of the Society of St. Pius X from the inside, it is my sincere hope that Rome one day fully recognizes that the SSPX is not at all Catholic in the authentic sense of the word, and is wholly separated, in spirit and in fact, from the Roman Catholic Church that we know and recognize as such, and will cease, therefore, to aspire to regularize the Society’s status within the Church.

    The SSPX use all the right vestments and all the right rubrics and chant all the right chants, but that’s about all they’ve got right. The Palmarian Catholic Church has all of that, too, and there certainly isn’t anything “Catholic” about them.

    Beware a strong need for Rome to continue to reach out to Fellay and the SSPX; such a yearning is misguided, in my opinion. The Church of Jesus Christ has no actual need of them…and they seem to have little need of Her.

  20. Childermass says:

    “I think this event will be less of a “commemoration” than a way to redo what was done poorly before.”

    That is not the Holy Father’s intention. As he stated, he wants us to “join me on this journey in order to commemorate that important historical gesture of my predecessor….”

    So you should not contradict the Pope and join him in celebrating that glorious event in 1986. Perhaps, for the occasion, you can set up a Buddha statue in your prayer corner at home.

  21. kgurries says:

    Randii, are we going to reduce “all religions” down to Islam? Yes, the Catechism affirms that “Muslims…together with us…adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” Of course, CCC 841 refers us to NA 3 which in turn refers us to another source from the tradition of the Church: (Cf St. Gregory VII, letter XXI to Anzir (Nacir), King of Mauritania (Pl. 148, col. 450f.)

    If we look it up, we can see that St. Gregory VII says the same thing found in the Catechism.

  22. LouiseA says:

    That the Pope actually participated in (not merely attended passively) an Anglican Vespers service when he was in London recently was a terrible scandal to me, even more so than the Assisi meetings were. I thought that it was a mortal sin for anyone to participate in non-Catholic worship! Next time I visit my Protestant relatives, can I attend services with them? I am sincerely confused by what the Pope did in London.

  23. wolfeken says:

    Good for Bishop Fellay.

    A lot of people think this, but hardly anyone has said it. It needs to be said. And the bishop said it.

    It does not matter what the details end up being at the actual event — unless there is some kind of wholesale condemnation of the widespread belief that outside the Catholic Church one can be saved, the event will be taken by the media and the general public as the same sort of “ecumenical” love fest as the first one (that Ratzinger boycotted).

    And then all the same conservatives who said hold-your-fire will go to the Internet to express shock and dismay. Yet again.

    Good for Bishop Fellay.

  24. Tradster says:

    Bishop Fellay’s concerns are indeed valid, but I suspect another purpose in stating them. His every move and word is constantly scrutinized for some hint of capitulation to the Vatican. So this may be a way of demonstrating to those who suspect his motives that although he desires reconciliation he will not compromise the values of the SSPX. In short, a good political move.

  25. Geoffrey says:

    “The harshest accusations came from the Lefebvrists. And there were critical judgments even in the Church and the Curia, but most of the critics were older people who were afraid that the day of prayer in Assisi might open the door to syncretism, to the idea of a big spiritual melting pot where every religion is as good as every other. But that completely missed the point. Completely. The Holy Father explained over and over again that we met together to pray, not that we met to pray together… And since I am on the topic, I’d like to contradict the claims of those who said, and still say, that Cardinal Ratzinger didn’t agree with the Pope regarding Assisi. That’s completely false.”

    — from “A Life with Karol” by Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, pp. 212-213

  26. Traductora says:

    Assisi was dreadful, and IIRC Ratzinger did not even attend the one over which JPII presided. However, I think the objective of this is entirely different.

    BXVI has been speaking a great deal about religious freedom and respect, and in the announcements of this event, he is also talking about peace between religions. There is one religion (well, actually, I regard it as a political system) in particular that refuses to be peaceful and play nicely, and that’s Islam. My feeling is that by trying to bring the heads of other major religions together and hoping to get them to agree on on their behavior (not their beliefs, because that’s not possible) , he is hoping to put pressure on Islam. That is, if all the religions present a united front, perhaps Islamic leaders will feel shamed into behaving themselves. In addition, it might provide more security for Christians in general in places where other religions (such as Hinduism) hold the majority.

    Personally, I don’t think anything will make Islam stop acting like a mad dog, since the fundamentals of the religion are so skewed and so wrong that black is white and evil is good with it. Dante made no mistake when he put Mohammed at the center of the circle of those who cause discord.

    Still, I think BXVI believes that making an appeal is worth the effort; there’s certainly nothing to lose. Don’t forget that St Francis went to confront and preach to the Muslims in their own territory. He didn’t achieve much, alas, but they were so stunned by his audacity that they didn’t kill him.

  27. kgurries says:

    LouiseA, I understand your confusion. It helps me to recall that the Pope has a very unique mission. What is a sin for me to attempt may actually be a duty for a Pope. A Pope has a much bigger world to deal with than I do. That sometimes may involve going going after other sheep in some uncomfortable places. At the end of the day it is a question of pastoral prudence — and there are always risks involved. So, the Pope rightly sees himself as the Pastor of even the COE — even if they reject it to a large extent.

  28. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Some years after the last Assisi gathering, a violent earthquake shook the town and brought down catastrophic damage to the basilicas of the Portiuncula and the tomb of St. Francis. Tragically, the earthquake killed a Franciscan priest and brother, as I recall. I visited Assisi some time later and practically wept to see the damage to the holy sites, rebuilt now at great cost. Even still, some of the art which adorned those churches is lost, except in the photos which survive.

    Some of the folks who were angered at the first meeting saw the hand of Divine Justice in that first earthquake. Now, even with the steel reinforcements ordered by the Italian government to the sacred sites, I am sure Benedict will be very careful not to provoke any further earthquakes, either spiritual or physical.

  29. kallman says:

    Fellay is correct. His timing and wording may not be savvy but his message is spot on. Jesus was not exactly politically correct either. Unfortunately this may push SSPX away from rather than towards communion depending on the reaction. His message is correct.

  30. anna 6 says:

    Also from the above mentioned Il Giornale article:

    “In fact, Assisi-II had none of the excesses and abuses of Assisi-I. And riding beside Papa Wojtyla on the train for Assisi-II was Cardinal Ratzinger himself, who upon returning from the event, wrote a beautiful meditation on it for the magazine 30 GIORNI.

    “It was not,” he wrote, “a self-presentation by each religion as if they were interchangeable. It was not an affirmation of equality among all religions, which does not exist. Rather, it was the expression of a path, a search, a pilgrimage for peace, which is peace only if it comes with justice”.

  31. LouiseA says:

    kgurries,

    The Pope is first and foremost Head of the members of the Catholic Church. [NO! NO! NO! CHRIST is “Head of the Church”! He alone is the Head of the members. cf. Col 1:18 and Eph 5:23] He is responsible for Catholics, many of whom are lost sheep, also. How is he seeking these lost Catholic sheep by praying with Anglicans? It sends a message to these fallen away Catholics that Protestant forms of worship are also legitimate ways to worship God, so why should they have to return to the Catholic Church?

    I have NEVER read or heard of any Church law that applies to all Catholics except for the Pope. Can you find it written anywhere in Church teaching that we are forbidden to participate in non-Catholic worship, but exempting the Pope from that law? I think you will find the opposite… that this law applies MORE to the Pope than to anyone else because of the greater scandal given by his participation in non-Catholic worship.

    [You seem to have a confused understanding of who does what in and for the Church. The Vicar of Christ did not participate in the simulation of some sacrament. There was no forbidden communicatio in sacris He prayed some psalms and other prayers, which seems to be a reasonably benign thing to do. It seems no one suddenly became confused and thought all those Anglicans were really Catholics. Quite a few Anglicans are actually becoming Catholics now, too. Can you point to something in the the 1983 Code of Canon Law that states that Catholics cannot pray with non-Catholics? And don’t forget: Christ is the Head of the Body, the Church. There is only one. The Bishop of Rome is the Vicar of Christ.]

  32. GordonB says:

    Seems like an issue of “once bitten, twice shy” in my opinion, and with the debacle it was, the response is somewhat understood. For my part, I look forward to Benedict XVI making Assisi an example of true ecumenism and making 1986 an aberration.

  33. wchoag says:

    As a former “Lefebvrist” who has seen the anti-semitic, anti-papal, conspiracy theory-oriented mentality of the Society of St. Pius X from the inside, it is my sincere hope that Rome one day fully recognizes that the SSPX is not at all Catholic in the authentic sense of the word, and is wholly separated, in spirit and in fact, from the Roman Catholic Church

    I too am a former Lefebvrist. I too have seen the SSPX from the inside.

    I do not believe that the claim that “the SSPX is not at all Catholic in the authentic sense of the word” is accurate or fair. The Society and its followers are a diverse group–less diverse than 25 years ago but nonetheless diverse. There are good persons as well as the wackos. We need to pray that they all find themselves in the Church before they draw their last breathes.

    That said, criticism of Assisi III is premature. Nonetheless, look here at the origin of the criticism. By Msgr. Lefebvre’s own words two events indicated to him to consecrate bishops without papal mandate: the response of the CDF to the dubia on Religious Liberty and Assisi I. Assisi I was a horrible scandal for which JP II ought to have apologised to the Catholic world.

    We do not know what Assisi III will bring. Praise or condemnation should be held back until the event occurs. If it is beneficial (which I doubt), then Fellay and others should clearly say so. If it is a scandal like Assisi I, then Catholics should make that known…but with proper respect for the Holy Father.

  34. LouiseA says:

    Bishop Fellay’s Comments on Assisi III
    from sspx.org:

    Remarks (by Bishop Fellay) on the Feast of the Epiphany during a sermon given at St. Nicolas du Chardonnet on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, January 9, 2011

    After explaining the arrival of the Three Magi who traveled from the farthest ends of the pagan world to adore Our Lord Jesus Christ, Bishop Fellay contrasts this example of the Faith of the Magi with the unbelief of Herod and of the priests and the announcement of the World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi in October 2011.

    BISHOP FELLAY’S SERMON: (continued)
    In theory they know, in theory they believe. But in reality, do they believe? Do they really believe that Our Lord is God? Do they really believe that peace among men, among nations, is in His hand? Do they really believe in all the immediate, direct consequences of His divinity? …Are they all going, like the Magi, the Three Kings, to adore the true God and to look to Him for that peace and to ask Him for it? Are they going to the King of Peace: Rex Pacificus?

    Oh, how history repeats itself, alas!

    Yes, we are deeply indignant, we vehemently protest against this repetition of the days at Assisi. Everything that we have said, everything that Archbishop Lefebvre had said at the time [of the first World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi in 1986], we repeat in our own name. It is evident, my dear brothers, that such a thing demands reparation. What a mystery!

    Yes, to adore: what does that mean? To adore means first of all: to recognize, to recognize the divinity. Adoration is given to God alone. And recognizing His divinity immediately implies submission; a declaration of submission to the sovereignty of God. It is to recognize that God has every right over us, that we are really entirely dependent, absolutely dependent upon God for our existence, our life, our ability to act, think, desire, and will. Every good, every good thing that happens to us, comes from the goodness of God. And this is true—not only for believers, not only for Christians—this is true for every creature, absolutely every creature.

    God, the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, is also the One who governs this world, the One who sustains all things by the power of His Word, the One in whom everything has its stability! Lord of life and death, of individuals and nations! Almighty, eternal God, to whom all honor and glory is due! Yes, to adore is to put oneself in this posture of humility which acknowledges God’s rights.

    Let us go, then, let us go to Our Lord; even though He hides His Divinity, even though He is a tiny Child in the arms of His Mother, He is truly God! He is true God, sent by the mercy of the good God to save us. For He was made man, and in becoming a man he became the Savior, and His name, given by God Himself, is Jesus: the Savior! The only name that has been given under heaven by which we can be saved. The only Savior! The only Holy One, “Tu solus Sanctus” [as we say in the Gloria], who comes to bring us something unheard of: the invitation to God’s eternal happiness.

    How can people hope to be able to receive His blessings when they insult Him, when they ignore Him, when they diminish Him? It is madness! How can anyone hope for peace among men when he makes a mockery of God?

    And here modern thinking makes truly bizarre sorts of projections: it pretends that all religions, ultimately, adore one and the same true God. That is absolutely false; it is even in Revelation; we find it already in the psalms, in Psalm 96:5, “All the gods of the Gentiles are devils!” They are devils. And Assisi will be full of devils! This is Revelation, this is the Faith of the Church; this is the teaching of the Church!

    Now where is continuity? Now where is rupture? What a mystery!

    Yes, my dear brothers, if we want to be saved, there is only one way, and that is the way of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  35. jt83 says:

    @ Faith: I too don’t know much about the controversy surrounding the first meeting, as I was only abou 4 years old when it took place. perhaps some context for the many younger readers could be addressed in a different post some time?

  36. Amerikaner says:

    This is still early on in the planning stages. I think it imprudent for Bishop Fellay to express such harsh criticism at this juncture. I understand any criticism based on the prior event but to publicly reprimand the Holy Father’s decision, especially based on our knowledge of the Holy Father’s orthodoxy and firm theological understanding, seems rather impulsive and lacks respect for the current Vicar of Christ.

  37. wchoag says:

    Please forgive this additional post. No one likes a posting gremlin.

    I cannot be keep thinking of canon 1404: The First See is judged by no one.

    Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

  38. rfox2 says:

    “We discovered that peace at any price is no peace at all.” – Eve Curie, daughter of Marie Curie, speaking of her work during World War 2.

    The Assisi meetings remind me of the policies of appeasement toward Hitler prior to WW2. With appeasement, you pay a little now and a LOT later so the ramifications of meetings and discussions like Assisi might not become apparent until a while after this pontificate. JP2 was supreme pontiff for a long time, and I don’t recall anything of lasting value coming out of any high level ecumenical discussions, prayer sessions, etc. The gods of the “gentiles” really are evil. Having a meeting like this is like the ancient Israelites calling a prayer session in Jerusalem at the tabernacle with the Canaanites and Philistines to jointly pray to Jehovah, Baal, and Dagon. What would the Lord have thought of such a “prayer session”?

  39. Bornacatholic says:

    While acknowledging the requirement of sensitivity towards other Faiths on the part of The Pope, we ought expect The Holy Father to preach Christ Jesus to the Assisi Attendees, right?

  40. jm says:

    As someone else said, Good for Bishop Fellay.

    A lot of people think this, but hardly anyone has said it. It needs to be said. And the bishop said it.

    We need less of the opaque pronouncements and lame organizational meetings Rome has become so enamored with.

  41. kgurries says:

    LouiseA, of course the Pope is first head the members of the Catholic Church. [Christ is the Head of the Church. cf. Col 1:18 and Eph 5:23.] But that does not mean his responsibilities stop there. The manner in which a pastor seeks lost sheep is probably going to be determined by prudence and the circumstances. Did his presence give the impression that Anglicans are just fine where they are? I doubt Anglicans got that impression. The reality is that there is a larger context to consider. We have to look at each activity within the context of the whole — including the creation of the new ordinariates to bring Anglicans into full communion with the Church. I don’t think Anglicans were as confused by the Pope’s presence as we think they were. Also, I don’t know about the canon law issues — but maybe the question about whether or not the Pope broke any laws can be raised to Cardinal Burke?

  42. NCtrad says:

    Someone needs to say it publicly. Neo-catholics will sit on their hands and wear self-imposed muzzles no matter how bad the ecumenical excesses go. This is most especially true of the false ecumenism of JPII. I pray that this Assisi III does not go down the same road but I am not optimistic. Bravo to Bishop Fellay.

  43. Torkay says:

    The critics of the SSPX, who seem not to know the difference between traditional Catholicism and modernist “Catholicism” – of which Assisi is a perfect example – would do well to review Matthew 12:31, concerning the Blasphemy of the Spirit, wherein the Pharisees attribute the miracles of Christ to Beelzebub. [It seems as if you just labeled those with whom you disagree to be disciples of the devil.] The SSPX defense of tradition, which has never wavered, is constantly criticized and attributed to a schismatic, mean-spirited, fascistic, quasi-lunatic, right-wing spirit by those who subscribe to the error of papal impeccability, etc. This is a form of the blasphemy of the spirit. [The SSPX has no claims to indefectibility, or impeccability.] I would like to see Father Z invite an SSPX priest to debate him on issues of interest, videotape it, and post it on this blog. [Comments like yours will help to ensure that that never happens.] Meanwhile, thank God for Bishop Fellay and the entire Society.

    [For your efforts in this ill-considered post, you probably earned a couple dozen more “critics” of the SSPX, which you seem to admire.]

  44. RichR says:

    I think we should all approach non-Catholics, wherever they are spiritually, and try to encourage them towards the One, True Faith. However, I think that there is a tendency among some ecumenists to find any shard of light among the darkness and exalt it to the point that it sounds like the person is already saved. These types of ecumenists would look at a Satanist and say, “Well at least they believe in a a higher being.” It is this sloppy ecumenism that gets trad’s on the defensive.

    That having been said, doesn’t the Vicar of Christ deserve a little benefit of the doubt here? It’s not like he is not aware of the scandal the first meeting caused.

  45. wchoag, I keep thinking of this:

    Can. 212 §3 [The faithful] have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.

  46. Jason Keener says:

    I would hope that we would not see a repeat of what went on at the Assisi Prayer Meetings under Pope John Paul II. Even the current Pope, as Cardinal Ratzinger, criticized what took place at those gatherings when he said “This cannot be the model.” I can see why the Holy Father would want to hold another Assisi Meeting for the purpose of demonstrating that people of different religions can get together and dialogue peacefully. Of course, the Holy Father, like all of us, is horrified by the recent violence that has taken place in the Middle East between people of different religious faiths.

    Having said that, these Assisi Meetings have the real possibility of causing immense scandal and religious indifferentism, if not carried out carefully. I am also confused by some of the things our current Pope has done with regards to non-Catholic religions like when Pope Benedict prayed in the Blue Mosque in Turkey in the direction of Mecca. I believe the Pope must teach us to tolerate other non-Catholic religions because tolerance of error can sometimes be a good thing, as God is tolerant of our errors; however, at times, I think our Catholic leaders have gone too far to the point of actually promoting religious error, not just showing us how to peacefully tolerate it.

    (P.S. I believe it is legitimate to call the Pope “Head of the Church,” as long as it is specified that the Pope is the “visible head” of the Church and that Christ is the “invisible head.” Please see the Baltimore Catechism. Of course, Christ is the major and pre-eminent head of the Church.) [Christ is the Head of the Church.]

  47. LouiseA says:

    Fr. Z,
    I should have phrased that better, sorry, and thanks for the clarification. I should have added the word “visible” before the word “Head”
    From Baltimore Catechism #3:
    Q. 496. Who is the visible Head of the Church?
    A. Our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the visible Head of the Church.

    Also,
    205. How does a Catholic sin against faith?
    A Catholic sins against faith by apostasy, heresy, indifferentism, and by taking part in non-Catholic worship.
    (note: it says taking part in non-Catholic worship… Anglican Vespers is a form of non-Catholic worship.)

    [You are going to make a judgment about what the Pope does based on a 9th grade catechism? I really like the Baltimore Catechism series. I sincerely think it should be restored to wide-spread use. It is a great foundation… for when you grow up. I even recommended that new seminarians should study it in a propaedeutic year. But there may be more to what the Pope is doing that is covered in your 9th grade catechism. Also, I asked for something from the 1983 Code. I the meantime, I am confident that you and others reading this will not presume to think the Vicar of Christ is sinning against faith before the event even happens. Check your Baltimore Catechism under #Q. 289. “What sin does he commit who without sufficient reason believes another guilty of sin? A. He who without sufficient reason believes another guilty of sin commits a sin of rash judgment.” This would be even worse when it comes to the person of the Pope and even worse when done in public.]

  48. asophist says:

    Perhaps the Holy Father will give a blessing to the leaders of the other faiths. I recommend the blessing that was given by Leo XIII to a contingent of Protestant ministers at the conclusion of their audience with him: “Ab illo bene + dicaris, in cuius honore cremaberis.” They went away satisfied, having not a clue what the Latin meant (something about being burnt). It’s from one of the blessings of the incense in the TLM. Can’t say it wasn’t clever – and diplomatic!

  49. “…solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”
    – Pope Benedict XVI

    I can see how this statement is troubling. How can the Holy Father encourage those in grave error to “renew the commitment” to persist in it?

  50. EditorCT says:

    I am increasingly astonished at the way the Catholic sense has all but died in the souls of priests and laity in the modern Church. At one time, a shiver of horror would have shot down the spines of Catholics at the very idea of a Pope encouraging the members of false religions to pray to their false deity, and that at a Catholic shrine, let alone be the organizer of such an event.

    Fr Z, I have to say you absolutely amazed me when you supported the Pope’s condom error [Your memory is as selective as your understanding of what the Pope said.] and you amaze me now, with your acceptance of this latest Assisi meeting. [for crying out loud… it hasn’t even happened yet. Have you read a schedule? Seen a text?] We’re told that the Pope was initially reluctant to do this again – why? What is it in his innermost being that tells him this is not right? [Are you psychic now?]

    With every development in this post-Vatican II mess that we call the Church, I thank God for giving us, in His Divine Providence, Archbishop Lefebvre, to be the Athanasius of our times, [Nooo… I think that the late Archbishop was a great man in many ways, but he was no Athanasius.] and for Bishop Fellay, who – as we can see from his strong condemnation of this latest papal scandal – is not going to put Vatican deals, a possible Cardinal’s hat, before the truth. [A rich fantasy life.]

    I second Torkay’s suggestion – Fr Z, let you and Bishop Fellay debate the issues and post the video online – you can be sure of a huge audience. I wish someone would invite me to debate thus with one of the real schismatics (pick any UK bishop) – I’d accept in a heartbeat.

    Will you accept Torkay’s challenge?

  51. LouiseA and kgurries:

    Also remember that Pope Benedict wore Pope Leo XIII’s stole during the prayer service with the Anglicans. Leo XIII, of course, was the pope who officially declared Anglican orders to be invalid.

    Coincidence? I think not.

  52. moon1234 says:

    In point of fact item 841 of the catechism states, with respect to Islam, that Catholics worhsip the same God as the Muslims. The God of Abraham.

    Please explain then what Jesus meant when he said “Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.” John 14:6.

    So the Muslims now worship the same God? How can this be? So the Jews of modern times also worship the same God?

    Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. [33] But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven.

    This statement that Muslims worship the SAME God, the God of Abraham, how can this be? For th God of Abraham has revealed his Triune nature. Muslims deny this. So also then, By Jesus’s own words, they deny the Father.

    I think it is amazing to note the following, how inconsistent the magesterium has been in it’s public venue over the last 50-60 years: [First… it is Magisterium… with an “i”. Also, you might want to review what the Magisterium is.]
    1) Cardinal Ratzinger boycotted Assisi I
    2) Cardinal Ratzinger participated in Assisi II
    3) Pope Benedict has now called for an Assisi III to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Assisi I that he had boycotted as then Cardinal Ratzinger.
    Matthew 10:32-33
    [Joseph Ratzinger’s role in the Church has changed since then.]

  53. Leonius says:

    The first Assissi was a disgrace were the Pope sat meekly and allowed the Bride of Christ be trampled upon by pagans and heretics, let us pray this will not be a repeat of that shameful occurrence, in fairness however we all including Fellay must wait until after the event before we can judge it.

  54. digdigby says:

    Jason Keener says-
    “I am also confused by some of the things our current Pope has done with regards to non-Catholic religions like when Pope Benedict prayed in the Blue Mosque in Turkey in the direction of Mecca. ”

    He didn’t pray he ‘meditated’ – the point was clearly made though the MSM blithely passed over it and said he ‘prayed’. It was decided he could face the Qibla (towards Mecca) just as you or I might look at a Greek Temple and meditate on it and not worship Zeus
    I remember reading at the time how precisely and exhaustively the Vatican experts worked out just how far the Holy Father could go in making his goodwill gesture to the Muslims and every bodily posture, hand gesture, the itinerary within the Mosque etc. were worked out with painstaking precision, every word and statement carefully weighed to balance. I have faith in our Holy Father.

  55. iudicame says:

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    JUDI, Montcalm NJ

    [cue Don Wilson vox] THANKS JUDI! FOLKS, YOU KNOW, JUDI AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER HIGHLY AGITATED BLOG ADDICTS HAVE THANKED THE GOOD FOLKS AT MYSTIC MONK FOR THEIR UNIQUE BLEND OF COFFEE THATS NEVER BITTER, ALWAYS SMOOTH AND DOCTOR RECOMMENDED AS AN AID TO DIGESTION. LETTERS AND TELEGRAMS CONTINUE TO POUR IN TESTIFYING TO…

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  56. kgurries says:

    “…and by taking part in non-Catholic worship.” As Fr. Z noted, praying the psalms (even with protestants) can hardly be considered a non-Catholic form of worship. I expect that many former Anglicans coming over with the new ordinariates will continue praying the very same Vespers — with full canonical approval. Former Anglicans will not need to leave everything behind — only those elements that don’t conform to the Faith.

  57. moon1234 says:

    And from the Baltimore Catechism we have the following:

    Q. 1148. How do we offer God false worship?

    A. We offer God false worship by rejecting the religion He has instituted and following one pleasing to ourselves, with a form of worship He has never authorized, approved or sanctioned.

    Islam clearly comes under the notion of false worship that (objectively speaking) is not rendered to God.

    I am VERY distrubed that some consider Muslims to worship the one true God. They are Apostates and should be viewed as such. They need missionary conversion, not elevation to the view that they worship the one true God, which they do not.

    This is why so many no longer truely believe in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. They see no clear definition that all other religions, other than the one true Catholic Church, are false.

    This is so very sad.

  58. kgurries says:

    moon1234, I think we need to distinguish between “false gods” and “false worship”. The former has to do with idolatry while the later can include any type of heresy with false notions about the Faith. In this sense, Muslims are not idolators — but they have many false notions about God and the true Faith. Interestingly, Belloc classified Islam as a type of heresy — a branch of Arianism. In any case, it would not be accurate to say they worship a “false god” in the sense of idolatry.

  59. paulbailes says:

    The HF is quoted as saying ” join me on this journey in order to commemorate that important historical gesture of my predecessor”

    I’m afraid that “commemorate” has positive connotations that don’t seem appropriate re this “important historical gesture of my predecessor”. If the HF had instead said “amend the mistakes of” that would be different, but he hasn’t. He may yet give us a pleasant surprise, but as long as he says “commemorate” it’s not unreasonable to assume that’s his intention. “Commemorating” Assisi 86 sounds like something to be indignant about.

    God bless
    Paul

  60. PghCath says:

    I was a few months old when Assisi I happened, so I was fortunately spared all the heartache suffered by traditional Catholics in the second half of the last century. From the perspective of my generation, the Church’s existential struggle is over and things are improving brick by brick: the EF is increasingly available, people are regaining interest in traditional music, seminaries are producing some wonderful, orthodox men, and people like Bishops Chaput and Dolan are becoming more common in the USCCB.

    In such an environment, Bishop Fellay’s thoughts on anything, much less how the Vicar of Christ should comport himself, don’t seem to matter much. The biological solution works on the right as well as the left.

  61. Jason Keener says:

    Digdigby,

    The fact that we are even discussing what the Pope did at the Blue Mosque is evidence enough that his actions were suffciently confusing to the faithful. When the Pope and Mustafa Cagrici were done “meditating” at the Blue Mosque, the Pope himself told Cagrici, “Thank you for this moment of PRAYER.” That was widely-reported, and the story is still available at the Catholic News Service site. In any event, certainly you can see the scandal that is caused when the Roman Pontiff goes to a Mosque, turns in the direction of Mecca, and carries out actions that would lead any reasonable person to believe that he is praying.

  62. Given the famous lack of fear that St. Francis displayed when going forth to convert the Muslims, and given the Pope’s obvious belief that an encounter with Christ honestly preached will convert nearly anyone, I suspect that Assisi III will be almost totally a matter of getting people of other religions in range of preaching Christ crucified (and twisting the arms of various countries’ governments to allow religious freedom). Of course, since Muslims seem to be the most plentiful demographic of non-Catholics in Italy, I think the focus on them is obvious.

    But I’m sure the Pope also wants religious freedom in other areas, as well as advocating freedom in the public square for religions to speak. Politicians love to go places and try to look good in front of other politicians, so throwing a big shindig that they want to attend can actually put some peer pressure on whole nations.

  63. LouiseA says:

    Fr. Z.,
    I am not judging a future event, but am confused by the apparent contradiction between the catechism I learned growing up and the Pope’s participation in a non-Catholic worship service that already happened in London a few months ago. If your answer is that Anglican Vespers does not fit the description of non-Catholic worship, or that as we grow up our understanding of the First Commandment should become more nuanced and less black and white, well, then I’ll think about that. Thanks for your replies.

  64. BTW… How did Anglicans think up Vespers?

  65. michael-can says:

    I grew up in a Moslem’s country, been a Catholic in that world was rough, now reading all this commend above of some for and some against the peace prayer at Assisi, first thought that came to my head, Islam is not a true religion, it is a copy of falsified bible translate by Mohammad to suit his needs, secondly it called to kill those who would not convert ( infidel), I have study some Buddhism in my stay in Asia, this is ought, they never believe in God or a Creator, in fact they are anti-God and believe they would reincarnate to become God, this days you don’t really know what to expect from the Holy Church, on one hand Christ is the only one that shall give us true PEACE and now we have a get together to pray for peace with the ( falsified translator of the bible and anti-God)???? does that make any sense!!!! farther more the majority in the group that never believe in Jesus Christ is the Messiah and others that don’t believe Simon Peter hold the key and worst still they don’t even believe in the Eucharist, and don’t even understand there are also shaman from Africa, what???? ( what would Moses, St. Francis, St. Peter and St.Paul says??? same word that I would say, madness, madness)

    I love the Holy Father, I pray that he will stop all these madness and help us be Catholic again, Holy Father please teach us how to pray the Rosary, how to honor and love the Divine Lord, Jesus Christ and His Virgin Mother, Mary Most Holy.

    My loving Virgin Mother of Christ, please come to our aid, we asked of You, to free Our Holy Father for the captivity of the power of this world, help him my sweet Virgin Mary, we asked Your Divine Son to help HIS Vicar to lead the flock back on the right path, we don’t look for the salvation for all, but we look forward for the salvation of many. Amen PAX

  66. vivaldi says:

    Like many of the commenters, I am also a former “Lefebvrist”. I am now a Novus Ordo Seminarian.

    Bishop Fellay’s rhetoric is to be expected and really isn’t surprising to me at all. What he says is what the SSPX followers would expect him to say. Fellay himself may not want to inflame relations with Rome but to make no comment would be seen as a lack of leadership in the Society and I would say is a manifestation of the reality of the situation in the Society – Reunion with Rome while things like the Assisi meeting go on will result in a split.

    Candid comments such has Bishop Fellay’s really do illuminate the massive rift that still exists between the SSPX and the post-conciliar Church.

    Rather than continue the inflamatory comments perhaps the commenters who attack the Holy Father and his actions should spend more time praying for unity in the Church rather than making things even worse with poorly thought out comments! I suspect I am not alone in being extremly annoyed by some of the comments on this article!

  67. brianvzn says:

    God bless Bishop Fellay, the SSPX, and Pope Benedict XVI. Let us pray that this event does not even come close to what happened before. I have seen a few comments about the 1983 Code of Canon Law and different catechsims. It is a fact that the SSPX has serious problems with not only Vatican II, but also the New Catechism, and the 1983 Code of Canon Law. You can see for yourself on their website if you wish. The poison of Vatican II has spread its errors within these new documents, which may have 99% true Catholic doctrine, but that 1% of Vatican II poison corrupts the document, and possibly the faith of the reader.

  68. The Contrast:

    Archbishop Lefebvre on Assisi 1986:
    “He who now sits upon the Throne of Peter mocks publicly the first article of the Creed and the first Commandment of the Decalogue. The scandal given to Catholic souls cannot be measured. The Church is shaken to its very foundation.”
    http://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2009/07/summorum-pontificum-2-year-anniversary.html

    Pope Benedict XVI’s recent statement on Assisi:
    Speaking in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Pope Benedict said the aim of the [upcoming October] summit would be to “to solemnly renew the effort of those with faith of all religions to live their faith as a service for the cause of peace”…. He said the summit would also “honour the memory of the historical event promoted by my predecessor”. (Jan. 1, 2011)

  69. When people write things like this in reference to the SSPX it makes me chuckle at how little those commenting here know about what they are commenting about:

    “The SSPX use all the right vestments and all the right rubrics and chant all the right chants, but that’s about all they’ve got right.”

  70. brianvzn says:

    There is only One True Religion, Catholicism. All others are false.

  71. Mike says:

    Reading over these comments, it seems to me that Fr. Z is correct: everyone, exhale. Then pray for light for the Pope, keep praying for the SSPX to be in full communion, and for goodness’ sake, trust in the providence of our God. Yes, bad things have happened in the last 40 years; but the Risen One is still Lord.

  72. nmoerbeek says:

    If our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ warned
    “Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.” John 15:20

    It would seem that IF a prayer offered at Assisi asked to end the persecution of Christians would be asking for something Christ warned that if we are his servants would not be granted. Furthermore our most Gracious Lord rewards in the greatest abundance those persecutions for his sake

    “Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake:” Matthew 5:11

    Truly then we would be blessed to endure hardships that are coming about, though I confess in my weakness to fear certain tribulations. However, any meeting that promotes religious tolerance to deprive Christians of the crowns that they might receive from persecution (which martyrdom being a special grace comes from God) could be a path from the road to cavalry. Christ rebuked Peter when he did not want him to go to Jerusalem to be sacrificed “But he, turning to Peter, said, Get out of my way, Satan: you are a danger to me because your mind is not on the things of God, but on the things of men” (Matthew 16:23)

    Perhaps out of filial love some Christians get away from the spirit of Christian martyrdom. All the greater burden on those who love Christ to pray for the Seat of Peter that he brings to Assisi the Spirit of Cavalry and Christ Crucified not Satan and love of this world and for an increase in Faith and Fortitude for all the faithful that they can endure the evil times ahead.

  73. jlmorrell says:

    I too must say I am troubled by the announcement. I don’t think it is off base to infer in the Vatican statement a very positive tone when referring to Assisi I. Also, can anyone explain to me how the following statement is not scandalous:
    “…solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”

    Can anyone even imagine this statement coming from a Pre-Vatican II pope?

  74. Luke says:

    Matthew 23… The whole chapter: read it.

  75. Luke says:

    After re-reading the posts, I feel I must point out that the above is not in reference to Fr. Z (with whom I fully agree). Rather, it is in reference to the brood of vipers throwing a nutty.

  76. Joseph-Mary says:

    I really do not care that much for Bishop Fellay’s opinion. Although our Holy Father was gracious enough to list his excommunication, the SSPX is NOT in union with Rome and many of its members (that continue to be outside the Roman Catholic church) like to throw stones as much as possible.

    In reading “Light of the World” and the aftermath of the lifting of the excommunication and then the Williamson affair, the Holy Father notes that Williamson was an Anglican who went to the SSPX and really had no notable time as a Roman Catholic. That was an interesting observation I thought.

    It is the Roman CAtholic church, in spite of everything, that will last until the end of time. To be outside the Church and have the claim of Christian is to be a protestant.

  77. The SSPX have kept the Faith. This can not be said for all within Rome.

    “In this pastoral council, the spirit of error and lies was able to work at will, planting everywhere time bombs that would cause institutions to explode at the desired time” (Archbishop Lefebvre, Principles and Directives, 1977).

    Required Reading for anyone that wants to enter a discussion on the SSPX, the Apologia Pro Marcel and the Open Letter to Confused Catholics (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0935952136?tag=acatlif-20&camp=213381&creative=390973&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0935952136&adid=0GEWZGZN53EMCRCV85DE&).

  78. Jason Keener says:

    jlmorrell,

    I also find it difficult to understand how Pope Benedict could say that at Assisi he will encourage “believers of every religion to live their own religious faith as a service in the cause of peace.” If Christ established one true Catholic Church in which man is to worship God, how can it be anything other than an objective evil for anyone, including the Pope, to purposely encourage others in their non-Catholic religions? Is that not an active promotion of religious error and religious indifferentism? I can definitely understand that the Pope wants to achieve peace, but I don’t think promotion of religious error is the way to do it, as one can never do evil so that good might come of it.

    Am I off base? How do others understand this?

  79. Geoffrey says:

    “The SSPX use all the right vestments and all the right rubrics and chant all the right chants, but that’s about all they’ve got right.”

    Actually, they don’t even have that going for them! They officially ignored Pope Benedict XVI’s updated Good Friday Prayer for the Jewish People, and I am sure they use the “Second Confiteor”.

  80. Luvadoxi says:

    Could someone please translate for me?
    “Ab illo bene + dicaris, in cuius honore cremaberis.”
    Gratias! :)

  81. muckemdanno says:

    “I will make a pilgrimage to the town of St Francis, inviting [the practicers of the other religions] solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”

    Several posters have pointed out the scandal in this comment by the Holy Father, and it is clearly scandalous. To do evil, so that a good might come of it, is evil. This is exactly what the pope is encouraging. To practice a false religion (which is, objectively, a sin, a violation of the first commandment) in order to foster peace (a good thing, in itself) is itself a sin. And the pope encourages this!

    How can we continue to respect the Holy Father’s constant preaching against relativism and subjectivism? There is objective morality, and we can not commit an objectively sinful act in order to accomplish some other good. Nor can we encourage others to do so. This includes the pope.

    Fr Z, the fact that this prayer meeting has not happened yet is completely irrelevant. The stated purpose of this meeting, according to the pope’s quote above, is bad. Bp. Fellay is right.

  82. sanctamaria says:

    Luke: “Rather, it is in reference to the brood of vipers throwing a nutty.” LOL

    SSPX supporters, followers, here is the constant Pick Pick Pick you love to do.

    DO you not have trust in God? His Divine Mercy? Our Blessed Mother? Yes but, you will say, we have to stand up for truth. I will pray you find peace in your hearts.
    SSPX, supporters, followers, we all know you are not the Pope, you are not infallible. Same goes for the rest of us.
    SSPX are not Angelic Doctors like St Thomas.
    Nor are they out there, noticably out there preaching and planting seeds of love!
    Rather, they plant constant, persistant doubt in the Church, fear and damnation for all of those who are not of the same beliefs as the SSPX, which they will say are the Catholic beliefs from all of time, all of the Saints, etc etc.
    So are ours.

    If you have the Truth SSPX, then blast it on the radio’s and in the sky, and out in the public! Write a book with actual references, APA style!!!!!
    I cannot understand the quotes or where they come from in SSPX books. No proper citing, and plenty of re-wording.
    It is very negative and depressing first and foremorest, why would anyone want to be a Catholic which such negative finger-pointing writings? It is all about joining them and following them because they are the true Catholic Church that never broke at Vatican II.
    Once you drop the Vatican II debate, what does SSPX do? Gosh, to think they only exist because of Vatican II, maybe Vatican II came about to shine a light on lepers?

    Marcel Lef., is either rolling in his grave at this terrible rift or he is a great part of this rift that continues to create a terrible break in the Church that causes groups to go after groups to mock, attack and poison the reputations of the Pope, Mother Theresa, Pope JPII, Opus Dei, other priests and religious, to bash them all and cause DOUBT.

    That is extrermely destructive and cancerous! NO matter if it was even true, it is sinful and wrong. And it is wrong to do the same against Williamson and all SSPX’s QUESTIONABLE behaviour.

    STONES, If it is not stones thrown by the SSPX, its poison, distrust, DOUBT and fear.
    It is how we are not “Catholic” enough, and watered down. We need to stand up against the liberals! We are all falling off the cliff! We need to return to the true Rome! This is like injecting venom into people.
    And stones are only thrown back in defense of the truth.

    May The Crucified Lord bless and protect those who take their “chance” with the Pope, and with good, holy, kind, devout, intelligent Priests like FR. Z. As if God would just let us follow such people if it was wrong! The Vicar of Christ, leading millions of souls to hell? No Catholic believes this.

    Any Saint, Pope, Priest I have ever read about never speaks the way SSPX Priests, Fellay, followers speak.
    To attack, accuse Popes, Priests, fellow men, it is the opposite of Christ.
    And no reasoning about the truth and the turning of the tables in the temple argument can prove against it.
    You cannot attack the Mystical Body of Christ like this.

    God bless us and keep us from such terror and mistrust. Bless and protect our dear, God-loving Priests who everyday say yes to Chirst in their vocation, sinful as the rest of us, but still saying yes, for us.

    Mater Salvatoris Pray for us.

    In the end do you think a Catholic who followed all the “rules” and who loved will be better off than a Catholic who followed all the “rules” yet attacked the Church for being broken because of humans will be?

  83. winoblue1 says:

    I have to admit that Assisi I and II left me very disturbed and angry at JP2.
    I think that inspite of what is being reported as the Holy Father having some initial misgivings about hosting another Assisi event he is doing this to neutralize any criticism of JP2 being beatified. The scandals of the first two events are hard to recocile with his being raised to the altars.
    Also, as others have expressed, perhaps he wants to show how ‘real’ inter-religious prayer should take place.
    My dream of course is that he give a surprise lecture on the only way to salvation and peace is through the Prince of Peace. Now all we can do is pray that the Holy Ghost will so inspire him.
    I for one however have to side with Bishop Fellay and Archbishop Lefebvre on this, even if it wasn’t a complete break with tradition, it is certainly ill-advised. Just look at the storm of anger the first two events caused. No one but a person steeped in his own ideology would go against such protests, risking scandalizing the faithful beyond measure, to do this.
    I think the last year has shown the Holy Father’s true colours. He is a V2 baby and so the restoration of the Church will have to wait for another generation. It is sad however to see how ideology can warp even the sharpest minds so they no longer can see the devastation this has already brought and how it will continue unless real change is made.
    I echo Bishop Fellay, indeed it is a mystery, of why the Holy Father would encourage others to pray to devils, because no matter what kind words can be used, “the gods of the Gentiles are devils.”

  84. kallman says:

    for Luvadoxi:

    Mayest thou be blessed ? by Him in Whose honour thou art to be burnt

    (at the blessing of incense prior to incensing the altar at Mass)

  85. Sixupman says:

    centristian & wchoag are largely correct.
    Comment upon the Assisi venture should be withheld until post the event as BXVI is a wily old bird and pulled off his UK meetings with the Cof E hierarchy with aplomb and did not yield an inch.

    If you read one UK (SSPX) blog, it is virulently anti-+Fellay and sycophantic +Williamson, which indicates that The Society is in danger of splitting asunder – like all deviations from Rome. +Williamson, whilst in the USA, created a clique/coterie within SSPX which can be best judged by one of its fruits – the extremely nasty goings-on at Post Falls, Idaho, and, its treatment of Fr. John Rizzo and others. The Post Falls situation was fully documented and not denied by SSPX, just like conciliar hierarchies, it fell back on the minutiae of civil law and the transfer of the cleric, in question, out of the jurisdiction. Charity is the last thing you will find within elements of SSPX, and without Charity …….. !

    +Williamson has only a minority of the SSPX clergy as supporters.

  86. greasemonkey says:

    I know there’s a lot of commentary here, but I’ll add to the frey.

    In a couple weeks many people of many faith traditions will gather in Washington DC and pray for an end to abortion in the US. Catholics will be joining common cause with other faiths. How many folks would be “outraged” if the world’s religious leaders AND the Pope joined them in the cause?
    Come on, put this into perspective and chill out. Fellay wants to talk mystery?
    As for the SSPX they “are a mystery”. They can’t come back into the Church because of these types of thigs while at the same time they are in the Church! “A mystery”, “a mystery”! Ha!

  87. I trust absolutely in the superhuman intelligence of the Pope. I wait and trust. I won’t criticize him. He knows what he does.

  88. LouiseA says:

    Joseph-Mary,

    The Holy Father made some glaring errors about Bishop Williamson in his book, to the point where, in fairness, he should probably issue a retraction.

    The Pope said that Bishop Williamson was “never Catholic in the proper sense” because “he was an Anglican and then went over directly to Lefebvre”.

    This is not true. Richard Williamson converted into the (Novus Ordo) Catholic Church in early 1971, and attended a diocesan seminary and then tried the religious life before joining the seminary in Econe. At the time he became a member of the SSPX it enjoyed full canonical approval by Rome for a few years (until the illegal suppression of the SSPX in 1976).

    So, it is ironic that that this same Pope is permitting 3 Anglican “Bishops” to be ordained into the Catholic priesthood after being Catholics for only 15 DAYS!

  89. albizzi says:

    Is it a sin to criticize the Pope?
    IMHO, it is a sin when one criticizes the Pope regarding any statement he made under the cover of his infallibility. Are these meetings a matter of pontifical infallibility?
    The Assisi meetings are highly subjects to criticism because they SOW CONFUSION in the faithfuls minds.
    There is enough confusion sowed by the priests and bishops (with no reaction frm the hierarchy) without the Pope adding his share to.

  90. Sigh. The Pope asserts his God-given authority over and responsibility for all human souls living today and calls upon them all to follow God’s commands in respect to the issue of peace no matter how ignorant they are of Christianity; and people here can only see it as a heretical exhortation to stay in people’s own religions. Honest to goodness, people, I think B16 could announce total world Catholic domination and y’all would be calling him weak!

    The old grey ultramontanism ain’t what it used to be, ain’t what it used to be, ain’t what it used to be
    The old grey ultramontanism ain’t what it used to be, ad multum annos….

  91. robtbrown says:

    LouiseA says:
    This is not true. Richard Williamson converted into the (Novus Ordo) Catholic Church in early 1971, and attended a diocesan seminary and then tried the religious life before joining the seminary in Econe. At the time he became a member of the SSPX it enjoyed full canonical approval by Rome for a few years (until the illegal suppression of the SSPX in 1976).

    What was illegal about the suppression? It was probably unjust, but that doesn’t make it illegal.

  92. Wayne NYC says:

    Ubi Petrus ibi Ecclesia. I love Pope Benedict XVI and trust
    in the Holy Ghost. Without a doubt he is the Pope of Christian unity.

  93. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    acatholicife (who is Matthew, the blog owner) said: “The SSPX have kept the Faith. This can not be said for all within Rome.”
    –> While he didn’t say everybody, this is nonetheless a scathing statement of generality that the majority of Catholics out there aren’t faithful to the true faith of Chirst. This also sounds like one of those “You are either with us or are our enemy statements.” The SSPX isn’t in full communion with the Church so how can it be said it has kept the Faith! If there are specific examples of people out there who have been unfaithful to the Catholic Church, then call them out by name and state their sins and your evidence (e.g. Bishop X is pro choice or allows for a homosexual association in his diocesan parishes directly against the Church’s teaching).

    Not to mention as Sixupman mentioned: “… the extremely nasty goings-on at Post Falls, Idaho, and, its treatment of Fr. John Rizzo and others. The Post Falls situation was fully documented and not denied by SSPX, …” clearly shows there are issues within. There is a website out there that goes in depth about this and even talks about the activities that went on in the school associated there with the students. Those activities, are clearly not Catholic by any means.

    As Christ Said in Matthew 7:3-5 NAB translation: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? 5 You hypocrite, 3 remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

    So don’t make blanket statements like this. This only serves to harm the ongoing efforts between the Vatican and SSPX discussions and paints a nasty picture on the traditional movement, including everything we want restored of it like the TLM!!!!

    sanctamaria –> well said!

  94. M.D.R. says:

    Good post there, Suburnbanbanshee, at 8:08am. I couldn’t agree more!

  95. M.D.R. says:

    Oops…correction: Suburbanbanshee

  96. kgurries says:

    “I will make a pilgrimage to the town of St Francis, inviting [the practicers of the other religions] solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”

    Obviously, some here understand these words as an encouragement by the Pope to commit sin (evil) in order to obtain some good (peace). Of course, a good end never justified evil means. But, the question we have to ask ourselves is whether or not non-Catholics can have an authentic “religious faith”. Obviously, such a religious faith will involve a certain degree of ignorance and error. But is there such a thing as religious faith outside the visible boundaries of the Church? If so, does it serve to draw them into the fulness of truth and to the true Church? I think these questions get to the heart of a proper understanding of the dogma that “outside the Church there is no salvation” (CCC 846). But we also need to read this together with CCC 847 and 848. Understood in this light perhaps the Pope’s words will begin to make more sense.

  97. kgurries says:

    Sorry, this is the full quote I meant to use above….

    “I will make a pilgrimage to the town of St Francis, inviting my Christian brethren of different confessions, leaders of the world’s religious traditions and, in their hearts, all men and women of good will, to join me on this journey in order to commemorate that important historical gesture of my predecessor, and solemnly to renew the commitment of believers of all religions to live their religious faith as a service to the cause of peace.”

  98. Joeandmeg says:

    I, like many above, pray for no repeat of the previous. http://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A169rcBuddhaAssisi.htm

  99. jarthurcrank says:

    I question whether Bp. Fellay’s prooftexting of that psalm is appropriate in the first place. I doubt the Psalmist had Islam or Buddhists in mind when he wrote that passage – – he was probably thinking of Baal and other contemporary cults. Besides, his furious denunciations of “devil worship” make it sound like that, if he and his kind ran France, Switerland, etc., they would bulldoze and destroy mosques, Buddhist temples, and sacred objects of other religions. The Catholic religion does not require this. While I have some sympathies for the cultural fate of the French integralists, it seems to me that they are often their own worst enemies, staking out unnecessarily extreme theological/social lines in the sand, and then wondering why they never seem to get anywhere or accomplish anything worthwhile. Fellay’s “devil” sermon is just the latest example of the ongoing self-sabotage of the integralists.

  100. Jason Keener says:

    kgurries,

    I am still trying to understand the Pope’s words, too. It still seems to me that no matter how you spin it, one can never encourage believers of other religions to live their faith for any reason, including peace, because the Son of God founded only one True Religion in which man is to approach God in the period after the Incarnation. It is the sin of indifferentism to give any kind of support to the living out of non-Catholic religions, as if God does not care about the truth or that it is not absolutely essential that all men follow God in the Catholic Church He established. This is what the Church taught for centuries, and it still makes sense to me.

    I think it’s true that God accepts the prayers, etc., of non-Catholics who are seeking God with a sincere heart to the best of their ability; however, Catholics should know that this is nothing to actively encourage. We know that worship outside of the one true Church is an objective evil, so we should only tolerate it. Of course, we should be charitable with our Protestant brothers and sisters in our neighborhoods, etc., but we should not cooperate in helping them maintain Christian division through common public prayer gatherings, etc. Some people might think these prayer gatherings help non-Catholics to see the truth of the Catholic Religion and will hasten the day when every person will become a Catholic, which is a fundamental premise of ecumenism, but is that really true? Is it possible these gatherings mostly confirm non-Catholics in their errors and scandalize others?

    Even if Protestants have some elements of the truth like Baptism and a respect for the Word of God, I don’t think we should be overly positive about that. In a sense these Protestants are still carrying out an objective evil by using these elements of Catholic life and worship outside of the fully true Church that the Son of God wants them to be used in. Of course, subjectively, Protestants may not realize that what they are doing is wrong. Why aren’t we telling them? Why do we continue to confirm them in their errors and perhaps even cooperate in their errors with so many ecumenical gatherings, which make it appear as if there is very little wrong with their use of Catholic elements outside of the fully true and visible Catholic Church? Christian division is a scandal, and it is the duty of non-Catholics to return to the True Church from which they have ripped elements of Catholic life and used them in their own ways. It is not our Catholic duty to support Protestant errors and make it look as if what they are doing is not that serious. It is not the duty of Catholics to contort themselves in every which way to promote new theologies about how it is an actual good that Protestants celebrate Baptism, even though in doing so, they carry out an objective evil by ripping the sacrament from divinely-intended proper context.

    In short, I think the Church has to re-examine everything surrounding Her practice of Ecumenism.

  101. Andrew says:

    Someone asked: “If Christ established one true Catholic Church in which man is to worship God, how can it be anything other than an objective evil for anyone, including the Pope, to purposely encourage others in their non-Catholic religions?”
    Let me try to respond: There are different dimensions to the reality of “religion”. We cannot ignore that there are various religions in the world. And it is not an act of apostasy to interact with members of other religions. On a certain level, religion is akin to culture. It is what underlines the social consciousness of certain groups or nations. These religions are necessary and they do contribute to the common good, even when theologically speaking, we as Christians recognize their deficiencies.
    It is a prudential decision to join with them on the occasion of a given public event and to offer some encouragement having to do with a public commitment to principles of non violence. That does not have to equate to the condoning of error or to diminishing the truths of our faith.

  102. moon1234 says:

    The whole thing boils down very simply to “Missionary Conversion”. Anything other than missionary conversion is false ecumenism. False Ecumenism is what happened in the past at Assisi. We dishonor the martyrs who called for the conversion of Muslims and other adherants to false relgions. Those Martyrs become and symbol of what Love for Christ really is.

    The missionary martyrs of the past did not go and ask these people practicing false religion to play peacefully with one another. They went and preached the truth. Devils do not like truth being preached. Devils seek to sow lies and decit and murder the innocent to further their objective.

    Most people here know their faith much better than 90% of todays Catholics. Today’s catholics, for the most part, are casual observers. They did not receive a good formation in their youth. They are now VISUAL learners of their faith. If you fell into their category how would you understand what the Holy Father said? If you saw pictures of a Buddah on the tabernacle and the Vicar of Christ looking on with the current vicar of Christ saying he is commemorating these previous acts?

    This is all so sad it is hard to watch. It is disheartening to listen to the strong, pro catholic message of Pius X and then see what is happening today.

  103. pfreddys says:

    To state the obvious: my role as a Catholic layman is completely different from a pope. Further, I cannot begin to fathom the complexities of a pope’s conscience. While I had found the goings on at Assisi to be repulsive, and I find myself uneasy when in a protestant chuch, even as a tourist, I can be very comfortable in my little corner of the world with my repulsion and uneasiness. As far as I know both Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict in the universal nature or their role may feel compelled by conscience to do these things; but at the very least we must attribute goodwill to them. On the other hand it is a good thing to respectfully question the prudence of these actions, as long as we avoid the role of sitting in judgement on a pope.

  104. kgurries says:

    Jason Keener said: “I think it’s true that God accepts the prayers, etc., of non-Catholics who are seeking God with a sincere heart to the best of their ability; however, Catholics should know that this is nothing to actively encourage.”

    This is the key question. If a non-Catholic is responding to the prompting of grace with a humble and sincere heart (to the best of their ability) — then are they not in a better position (spiritually speaking) than a Catholic full of pride? So, if they are really responding to the call of grace then it would seem fitting to encourage (not discourage) them to continue to grow and mature into the fulness of truth. One could compare this to the “carrot” approach. On the other hand, if they are moving in the wrong direction (schismatics, apostates, etc.) then it would seem fitting to use the “stick” approach (i.e., canonical centures, etc). So, I guess it depends on which direction things are moving — and ultimately prudence will be needed in any case.

  105. isnowhere says:

    Fr. Z.,
    With respect completely intended… I am confused on some of the comments you have made in response to the pope not being head of the church. Is it proper to use “Visible Head of the Church” to describe a pope?

    You also mentioned that “taking part in non-Catholic worship is a sin against the faith” comes from a “9th grade catechism.” Does this mean that the quote from the Baltimore Catechism is not accurate?

    It seems that past Assisi events were problematic, and that many are concerned that they might be problematic again. If the past events were problematic, what should a faithful Catholic / Priest / Bishop do in questioning or criticizing? It it wrong to protest a potential wrong that might be repeated in hopes to prevent it from happening? (It does make sense that no sin is committed until it has been committed!)

  106. Joeandmeg says:

    I think the main issue people have with the SSPX, at least according to a number of blogs I have read today, is their criticism of the Pope, not Catholic – Non-Catholic dialogue. With regard to this specific issue, I think the principal is pretty well laid out by St. Thomas.

    “There being an imminent danger for the Faith, prelates must be questioned, even publicly, by their subjects. Thus, St. Paul, who was a subject of St. Peter, questioned him publicly on account of an imminent danger of scandal in a matter of Faith. And, as the Glossa of St. Augustine puts it (Ad Galatas 2.14), ‘St. Peter himself gave the example to those who govern so that if sometimes they stray from the right way, they will not reject a correction as unworthy even if it comes from their subjects.” (Summa Theologiae, IIa IIae, Q. 33, A. 4)

  107. Jason Keener says:

    kgurries,

    I agree that we have touched upon the key question. If the non-Catholic is responding to grace with a humble and sincere heart, we should encourage them to desist in partaking of an objectively evil religious belief system that has been set up in protest to Christ’s True Church, even if the non-Catholic is not subjectively or intentionally doing evil. We should clearly tell the non-Catholic who is open to responding to grace that there is only one Church and that it is immoral for them to carry on with their own religious services, etc., when God has already indicated that He is to be worshipped at the Mass and according to Catholic ceremonies, such as Vespers, that have not been wrenched from their proper context within the True Church.

    Again, subjectively, the non-Catholic might be in a better position than a Catholic, but the non-Catholic is doing that through and despite the objectively evil religious system he is a part of and may have been born into. That is not something to be praised or encouraged but only tolerated, as God can seek out people in all sorts of bad situations, even total pagans. When it comes to us, however, one may never do evil (promote or actively encourage persistence in a false religion) even if to bring about good (the eventual conversion of the non-Catholic to the True Faith, peace in the world, etc.)—no matter how successful the approach might be. If an act is evil in its object, no circumstance, intention, or consequence can make it good.

    In short, we must find ways to be kind to our Protestant brothers and sisters, to bring about peace in the world with their cooperation, etc., without at the same time encouraging the evil of their persistence in an objectively false religious system through actual shared prayer gatherings, etc.

  108. I am really afraid of what might come out of this anniversary in the way of confusion. There was a statue of Buddha placed on top of a tabernacle in of the previous Assissi prayer meetings. I know the Holy Father would never espouse heresy, but I fear any ambiguous statements made (a la his statement on condom usage) which might come out of the upcoming meeting.

    At least we have 10 months to worry and to listen to news pundits predict that Benedict XVI will declare an equality of faiths!

    Let’s pray!

  109. kgurries says:

    Joeandmeg, I think the controversy between Peter and Paul in Antioch is a great lesson that has some application with Assisi. Basically, Peter took a course of action intending to protect and not scandalize the Jewish Christians. Paul, took the opposite position in order to protect and not scandalize the Christians coming from paganism. So, very often the avoidance of scandal to one group (e.g., Catholics) may involve a certain degree of scandal among others (e.g., non-Catholics). The Pope needs to try to balance all of this. Every prudential decision involves some degree of risk and there is no way to completely avoid it — someone or some group will be offended, scandalized, etc. Peter and Paul both learned a lesson, according to Pope Benedict. In any case, Pope Benedict spoke about this in greater detail in his general audience here:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081001_en.html

  110. kgurries says:

    Jason Keener said: “We should clearly tell the non-Catholic who is open to responding to grace that there is only one Church and that it is immoral for them to carry on with their own religious services, etc., when God has already indicated that He is to be worshipped at the Mass and according to Catholic ceremonies, such as Vespers, that have not been wrenched from their proper context within the True Church.”

    Jason, yes we should point them to the truth and the true Church. But we can’t say that it would be immoral (from a subjective point of view) to continue to worship according to their religious convictions. It would only be a sin (formerly considered) to continue once they become convinced that the Catholic Church is the true Church.

  111. Joeandmeg says:

    kgurries,

    Thank you for your comments. I believe them to be on-point. The only thing I would add to your “balance/risk” point is that the potential for scandal among Catholics is great. The whole way in which ecumenism has been applied today, specifically in how we are to “not judge” those of other faiths has not only firmed up the outsiders in their “incomplete” faiths, but it has contributed to a widespread exodus of Catholics (with the justification that I no longer have to be Catholic to save my soul).

    The stakes you refer to are quite high. I do not know if in the attempt to be so publicly ecumenical, the results are proven enough to justify the risks.

    Just my two cents.

  112. Geoffrey says:

    sanctamaria:

    God bless you! You said it best!

    And let us not forget the holy example of Saint “Padre” Pio, who said: “Do all within the Church, act only within the Church! We must beware of putting ourselves against our Mother… Sweet is the hand of the Church, even when it batters us!”

    “Ego cum Papa semper” (St. George Preca).

  113. Jason Keener says:

    kgurries,

    I think I agree with what you are saying.

    It would technically not be subjectively immoral for non-Catholics to remain in their false religions if they truly did not know any better. It would still be immoral for us to actively encourage such a situation because we do know better. Christ has established one True Church. Moreover, in regards to Assisi, the Pope simply could have said, “We will call people of all religions to live lives of peace.” Such a statement demonstrates the need for non-Catholics to work with Catholics for peace, yet the Pope would not have encouraged non-Catholics to obtain peace through the practice of their false religions.

  114. kgurries says:

    Jason Keener, this is related to another disputed question: does one have a moral duty and corresponding right to worship according to his religious convictions? In other words, does the moral law command under pain of sin the convinced Muslim to practice Islam? Does he have a right to fulfill his moral obligation? These are disputed questions that I got mixed up in here:
    http://opuscula.blogspot.com/2010/04/on-rights-error-and-erring.html

  115. JMody says:

    Two things:
    first to Randii – the Vatican II doc (was it Nostra Aetatae?) said only that the Moslems claim to worship the same God. Bear in mind that they specifically state Christ to have been only a prophet and a mere man, and the Crucifixion was an illusion because Allah wanted to deceive us, and that “Allah is one, and say not Three”. They do NOT worship the same God — they claim to worship the God of Abraham, but to them he can lie and has no son nor spirit. Catechism notwithstanding.

    Second – I saw this as a “rebuke to the face”, and a reminder of the past scandal as warning for the upcoming confab, and a call to prayer, all embedded in a rather good sermon about the Epiphany and the comparison of pagans seeking Truth to pagans seeking affirmation in their errors (which we can deduce that the first two Assisi events were likely closer to doing). The Holy Father is certainly the Pope of Christian Unity, but he is inviting non-Christians. He abstained from the last two – so SSPX, who have as one of their prime objections (or “hang-ups” or whatever you want to call it) the dilution of faith through erroneous ecumenism, are concerned that he is now heading down the path to commemorating and maybe even repeating erroneous ecumenism.

    They are at least intellectually honest and consistent — and because Benedict IS the Pope of Christian Unity, I am confident that their charitable point, however clumsily it might be delivered, is received and understood.

  116. robtbrown says:

    kgurries says:

    Joeandmeg, I think the controversy between Peter and Paul in Antioch is a great lesson that has some application with Assisi. Basically, Peter took a course of action intending to protect and not scandalize the Jewish Christians.

    Actually, Peter was the first to engage the gentiles by his encounter with Cornelius the Centurion, described in the 10th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.