NB: iTunes users… I found that there was a second enclosure buried in the post which screwed up the feed. Let me know if you are getting this on iTunes.
Ecumenical dialogue has been much on my mind these days. I often think about ecumenism, since I myself am a convert. There is a lot of “false ecumenism” out there.
We cannot turn our backs on the ecumenical challenge. But ecumenism must be authentic. We must make distinctions about truths and about the way we express them. There is a hierarchy of truths, and yet not one iota can be denied. How do we maintain that fidelity in the face of an irreversible ecumenical course?
To that end, I reviewed my trusty copy of Pius XI’s 1928 encyclical called Mortalium animos about ecumenism. That is, what ecumenism can’t be and what ecumenism ought to be.
Watching the fruits of Anglicanorum coetibus develop in England, I am confirmed in my conviction that we need an ecumenism of return
You younger readers. Pay attention. You may never have heard of these old encyclicals. You are in for a treat.
“But Father! But Father!”, I can hear some of you saying. “Are you suggesting people read that? Mortalium animos? That’s … that’s …ecclesiological positivism! It’s culturally conditioned and therefore not relevant! It’s… it’s… not Vatican II! You’re an unreconstructed ossified manualist! You’re a retrograde patriarchal exclusivist!”
As the late Msgr. Schuler used to say, “When you’re right, you can’t be wrong.”
If you have never read this encyclical, please take some time and listen to this. It is short enough that I can read the whole thing and then rant for a while.
Mortalium animos is written in a style we no longer see in documents from Rome. Keep in mind that just because it was written before 1963 that doesn’t mean it isn’t still part of the Ordinary Magisterium of Church.
As we deal with new ecumenical developments, we are prudent to review what the Vicar of Christ said about ecumenism when it was revving up.
It also has a great explanation, without all the nuances, of the hierarchy of truths we believe as Catholics.
Mortalium animos sounds in many respects as if it were written for our own time.