Whose ecumenism?

Liberals are beginning to twit.

They are just warming up, but soon it will be a grand mal twit.

They are panicking about Pope Benedict and his provisions for Anglicans who, after their long nightmare with liberal on their side of the Tiber, may want unity in the Catholic Church.

Be alert.

The liberal Catholics will try to pull a sleight of hand.  They will attempt to get you to believe that what Pope Benedict is doing is not true ecumenism. 

They will claim to be the sole arbiters of true ecumenism.

They will claim that conservative Catholics, traditional Catholics are not interested in true ecumenism.

Do not accept their definition or their premises.

I want to invite all you readers into a project.  

My idea is that we should start to refer to Pope Benedict XVI as …

… the Pope of Christian Unity.

It becomes clearer each year that Benedict goes beyond his immediate predecessors, but always in continuity with them, in promoting Christian unity.

His efforts in this direction can be seen on several fronts:

1) with the Orthodox in general, and the Russian Orthodox in particular;
2) with the SSPX;
3) with the Anglicans.

I can hear it now.

"But Father! But Father!", my liberal readers will say, squirming. "Pope Benedict’s efforts with the SSPX and with the Anglican trads are not really about ‘Christian unity’!  They aren’t even endorsed by many high-ranking Catholic prelates or conspicuous newspaper theologians!"


That is precisely why Pope Benedict is preeminently the Pope of Christian Unity.

Pope Benedict has been struggling against forces within his own fold to achieve Christian unity.  

His is decidedly not the unity that liberals (Richard McBrien, Gerald O’Collins) have in mind when they think of Christian unity, with its watered-down version of Roman primacy, liturgy, catechesis, sexual ethics and church discipline. In other words, a Christian unity without a Christian identity (christian with a small ‘c’).

No, Benedict’s unity is real unity, true unity that costs something, that stretches people, but that does not compromise what is essential to the Church.

This is not Rahner’s "world church" where anything and anyone goes.  It is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ Jesus.

Benedict’s true ecumenism is consonant with everything we are as a Church. 

People are going to be stretched, but absolutely nothing essential will be given away.

You see where I am going with this.

Liberals want ecumenism only with those whom they want in their sort of church.

They want ecumenical dialogue with those who agree with the manifestos of, for example, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

But true ecumenism is not about compromise on essentials, giving away fundamental elements of our Catholic identity.

True ecumenism requires that we be stretched, to be sure, but that we submit.  We stretch, but we give nothing essential away.

The liberal model of ecumenism gives nearly anything for the sake of bringing in their sort of compromised Christian.

Pope Benedict is the true ecumenist.

He is the Pope of Christian Unity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Ecclesiae unitatem, Our Catholic Identity, Pope of Christian Unity, SESSIUNCULA, The future and our choices, What are they REALLY saying? and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. NLucas says:

    Spot-on, Father. Might I suggest we all make prayers to the Holy Spirit for Pope Benedict [… Pope of Christian Unity…] and for all involved in this effort, that He may pour out an abundance of His seven-fold gifts and fruits.

    COME, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.
    V. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created;
    R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

    Let Us Pray
    O God, Who hast instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost, grant that by the same Spirit we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    In Christ,

  2. Sherrytex says:

    I agree. Pope Benedict has shown himself to place Faith above all things. When in the Holylands, he irritated all parties interested in using the Holy Catholic Church and the seat of Peter as a shield and club against the others.

    The same people protesting this coming gift of people back into the Church, would be praising the ecumenism if they were leaving of the church into which these people opted to join. The free will of those who embrace the Catholic Church and its tenets is always condemned as slavish coerced complicity, while the free will of those lured away is praised as brave and courageous.

  3. Tominellay says:

    You’re right, Father! He’s offered the olive branch to many faith groups, and not just Christians – he has given the Muslim community plenty to think about, too…

  4. Steve K. says:

    I will certainly be adding prayers for the success of the Benedictine Evangelization let’s say to my usual prayers for the Pope of Christian Unity. The bien pensant cohort are incensed about these efforts precisely because the outreach to our separated Christian brothers and sisters thwarts their effort to make the Catholic Church secular.

    Ad multos annos Benedict XVI, Pope of Christian Unity!

  5. TNCath says:

    Fr. Z wrote: “They want ecumenical dialogue with those who agree with the manifestos of, for example, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.”

    Hmmm. Could we just make a trade? We’ll trade the members of the LCWR with the potential converts from the Traditional Anglican Communion. This seems like a fair deal to me, for each side would get what it really wanted.

    And then, 50 years from now, we could then see well each side progressed!

  6. stephenocist says:

    A few thoughts here on the cultural barriers Anglicans coming to Rome have to face, especially in terms of the locus of authority and the role of the laity–and a thing or two that American Catholics might learn from them as well:


  7. LarryD says:

    “The Pope of Christian Unity” – awesome!

    This development clearly shows the liberals’ stripes – and that the watered-down theology they have been foisting upon the faithful is unattractive. It’s a mile wide and an inch deep. As Fr. Rutler said in his piece yesterday, this is a “slap-down” to the left. The only way they can spin this is to say that the Pope of Christian Unity is turning his back on the Spirit of Vatican II, which will only demonstrate how much they fail to understand ecumenism. Instead, they cry “how unfair” this is to cradle Catholic men who can’t be married priests – talk about putting feelings above the Faith!

  8. q7swallows says:

    Liberal modus operendi:

    “Everything I say can be fully substantiated by my own opinion.”

    Pope Benedict XVI–the Pope of Christian Unity–rocks!

  9. ljc says:

    That’s a great title… but I’ve always liked “The Liturgical Pope.” Maybe “The Liturgical Pope of Christian Unity?” Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…

  10. Lurker 59 says:

    This is a wonderful idea.

    A further suggestion: Those of us with blogs should make sure to use “Pope of Christian Unity” when they talk about Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope of Christian Unity, both in their text as well as the titles for their posts, especially if they are using blogger. This way search engines will start to associate “christian unity” with “benedict xvi” thereby directing people who are looking for “christian unity” to consider what our Pope, who really is the Pope of Christian Unity has to say on the topic. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

    I agree with you about stretching. Everyone is going to get stretched, no one should expect to be comfortable. After all that is how it should be: we are part of the Mystical Body Christ, His Church, His Body. It is not our own will to which we get conformed to, but rather Christ’s. Pope Benedict XVI is just relaying the message from his boss, because he is the Pope of Christian Unity, and that unity is not on man’s terms but rather on Christ’s.

    WDTPRS Gold Star For The Day!

  11. Lurker 59: Exactly what I had in mind.

  12. mdillon says:

    “He is the Pope of Christian Unity.”

    As the kids say, “true that!”

  13. Andrew_81 says:

    Honestly, it is very likely that this Benedictine “ecumenism” and view of Christian Unity (that is, all must unite with the Catholic Church) is what will show through concrete action good faith in the proper meaning of certain ambiguous and seemingly contradictory statements in Vatican II documents.

    I wonder if the whole effort with the SSPX isn’t now much easier to solve if the Anglicans can be incorporated into the Church in the proper manner and if there are efforts with the Orthodox to do the same thing.

    The SSPX’s issues have been about more than just the problem of the modern ecumenical approach, but that is certainly a huge part of things. It was only after the first debacle at Assisi that Archbishop Lefebvre made more serious the consideration of consecrating bishops. While his declining health (stomach cancer) was likely the primary factor, Assisi was the clearly keystone of his fear that such consecrations were necessary.

    It seems, with such steps, on the eve of the doctrinal discussions, hammering out a more clear statement on relations with non-Catholics might be much easier than it seemed 5 years ago.

  14. Agellius says:

    “The liberal model of ecumenism gives nearly anything for the sake of bringing in their sort of compromised Christian.”

    I agree. Like liberals in general, Catholic liberals are not liberal towards all viewpoints, but only towards those that are consonant with their own.

  15. frobuaidhe says:

    In the age that historians of the future will label as ‘The Age of Reunion,’ what else would we have but a Pope of Reunion? [… Pope of Christian Unity…]

  16. Tradster says:

    Great idea! I completely agree with the suggestion and the previous comments. But (you had to know someone would toss in a “but”) the one small cloud in the sky is the report that HH will be visiting a Lutheran church in Rome sometime soon. I cannot help feeling that those actions are still carrying ecumenism too far. [Visiting a Lutheran church gives up nothing.]

  17. medievalist says:

    Benedictus XVI, Papa unitatis Christiani, episcopus Romae, servus servorum Dei, etc…

  18. Ioannes Andreades says:

    umm…err…unitatis Christianae.

  19. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    Excellent and right on, as usual! I was speaking with a friend the other day about this and was saying that someone needs to write an article/story about it. This is the true ecumenism that the Council called for, contrary to the garbage we were taught in seminary (at a Pontifical University!)- that we’re not striving for all to become Catholic; that once all achieve unity, it will not be the Catholic Church; “it will look very different”. The Holy Father is showing that he is truly intent on working for Christian Unity- as the Church understands it- in the Truth that Christ has given to His Church. I was amazed at how this was acknowledged at the press conference of Archbishop Nichols and Williams. They said clearly that we were at this point because of the 40 years of work in ecumenical dialogue. Ecumenism paved the way for the Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church! Vivat Benedictus XVI! The Pope of Christian Unity!

  20. AndyMo says:

    What’s worst about the recent articles in Commonweal, NCR, etc. is the idea that ecumenism means “all religions are equally true.” That’s not ecumenism; that’s heresy. True ecumenism has eventual unification and communion as its ultimate goal. The entrance of the Traditional Anglican Communion into the church, thanks to the actions of Benedict XVI, Pope of Christian Unity, is the fruition and triumph of ecumenism.

  21. Jason Keener says:

    Great idea, Fr. Z. May the Pope of Christian Unity enjoy a reign that is long and glorious! Ad multos annos!

  22. kgurries says:

    Thanks Fr. Z for highlighting an important aspect of this story. Pope Benedict is telling the world that true ecumenism is oriented towards full visible Catholic unity.

  23. Geoffrey says:

    Interesting, but shouldn’t we wait until something more substantial happens? Such as a reunification of the the Eastern and Western Church, etc.? It seems premature…

    Nevertheless, sign me up! :-)

  24. Confirming Fr. Z’s prediction, Catholic World News reports:

    The editors of The Globe and Mail, Canada’s second most popular newspaper, have lashed out at the Vatican’s decision to permit Anglican communities to join the Catholic Church as communities.
    “The Vatican’s welcome of some Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church is a Trojan horse,” the editors write. “In the face of an inflexible hierarchy, liberal Catholic voices have had little effect; the grudging loyalty of those who remain is in jeopardy. The Vatican announcement will make the Catholic Church more conservative and the Anglican church more liberal. Is that what ecumenism is meant to accomplish?”
    Similar criticisms were made by one New York Times commentator, who charged the Pope with fostering “cafeteria Catholicism.” …

    from: http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=4373

  25. GordonB says:

    Speaking of twiting liberals, have you noticed how the most promenent aspect of the Pope’s gesture is the fact that its accomodating those Anglicans who disagree with the ordination of women and open homosexuals. On its face, there is some truth, but this intentially uses buzz words that, to the average person, warns implies the irrelevance of the Church for the enlightened modern world.

  26. The reason Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity is because the unity he seeks subsists in Truth!

    That is why dissidents are headed for grand mal. They want to make up their own truth along the way, shaped by every wind of doctrine that fits neatly into a poll.

  27. Chris M says:

    “But Father! But Father!”, my liberal readers will say, squirming.”

    …you have liberal readers?? ;)

  28. Jack Hughes says:

    like chris M I thought that this blog was an all trad cafe

  29. Pope Benedict is the Pope of Christian Unity. Amen. Alleuia!

  30. Gabriel Austin says:

    I am a bit confused by all the comments. As I understand the matter, Anglicans [in the U.S. they call themselves Episcopalians] can always convert. They need not be baptized if they have been baptized. I am uncertain about Confirmation.
    Marriage being a sacrament, married Anglican priests [and I suppose, bishops] may still remain married. Unmarried priests may not marry.
    I suppose the priests and bishops must be ordained. These are the details.
    For a better understanding of the personal perplexities, Fr. Jaki’s book NEWMAN TO CONVERTS is an excellent guide. Newman was most strict, writing to those in doubt “If you feel that there is truth in the Catholic Church, you must join lest you put your immortal soul in danger of perdition”.
    Pace all the screaming from “liberal” and agnostic commentators [i.e. ignorant journalists], there is no compulsion on Anglicans.
    [Amusing is the comment that the Holy Father has offered a “Trojan horse”. It was the Greeks who wanted in and created a Trojan horse. A little learning …]

  31. That should read: “Alleluia”…I do know how to spell, but my fingers do not cooperate all the time.
    Something of interest in regards to this:
    A very good thing!

  32. jamie r says:

    I think it’s important to put this in perspective (Not to say that at the end of Benedict’s papacy he won’t deserve the title; he almost certainly will).

    How the Anglican reunification will play out remains to be seen. While it is important that we will gain a large proportion of the conservative, Anglo-Catholic faction of the Anglican communion, the liberal Anglo-Catholic and evangelical factions aren’t likely to join the Church anytime soon. Hopefully, we will pick up large numbers in England, and in a few African countries, but, except in those places, the actual impact will be felt only symbolically by Catholics. The Anglicans will feel much more of the impact of this, since their worldwide “Anglican Communion” will now consist of a handful of liberals in Western Countries and a lot of evangelicals outside; this may be, in effect, the end of the Anglican Communion, but, alas, not of the C of E or the ECUSA.

    Likewise, outside of a few places, particularly France, bringing the SSPX back into the Church will have mainly symbolic value, and, in the long sweep of history, is different from the other two in that the Pope is preventing them from falling into full-scale, permanent, generational schism.

    So, I think the real victories are, perhaps, not so much the reunification as such, but the bolstering of the Church in the historically Christian nations of England and France, redoing the works of Saints Pope Gregory the Great and Remigius.

    On the other hand, the circumstances of the Anglican situation are not irrelevant. Anglicans put up with a lot of crap, including women priests and atheist bishops (e.g., Spong), and didn’t seem that interested in coming to the Church en masse until some Episcopalians consecrated a gay bishop. If they came to us at first because they realized the via media of Elizabeth was a stupid idea, or because they wanted valid sacraments, that would be great. But their willingness to play along with the dress-up game that is so-called Anglo-Catholicism through so much crap and then jump ship because of one gay Bishop, may turn out to be problematic (Not, of course, that they’re wrong not to want an actively Gay Bishop, but hopefully they are more motivated by wanting actual Bishops). The symbolic weight of such a change could maybe turn out to contribute to the polarization of the Church, especially in America. I hope that our hierarchy and our new Anglican-use brothers are very careful about the stated reasons for Tiber crossing. It would be a shame if Pope Benedict’s victories in England, and hopefully France and Russia, were offset by worsening the situation in America by further splitting liberals and conservatives. Maybe. I’m just guessing at how this could turn out – great for Europe, but perhaps less great for North America.

    Not, of course, that your assessment is wrong. I’m happy to see true ecumenism, that is, our reabsorption of those communities that left us.

  33. What we need now is Vincenzo, editing software, and that old Coke commercial with the Up with People song.

    Heh. Heh. Heh.

  34. PJ says:

    The Pope of Christian Unity.

    Unity in truth. The only sort of unity that means anything.

    Three cheers for Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope of Christian Unity!

    But while we are on this topic, the activities of our Pope of Christian Unity remind me of something. What, according to Sacrosanctum Concilium, were objectives of VCII [correct me if I am wrong]?
    1. Increase vigour in the lives of the faithful
    2. Adapt to modern needs those things subject to change
    3. Promote Christian unity
    4. Strengthen the Church’s gravitational pull on humanity


    1. CHECK! Summorum Pontificum, focus on friendship with Christ, encyclicals, and his earlier and continued teachings on the liturgy (e.g. Spirit of the Liturgy) – list goes on.
    2. CHECK! Ordinariates
    3. CHECK! (reasons given by Fr Z)
    4. CHECK! (see above)

    Pope Benedict XVI, the Pope of Christian Unity, has really picked up the vision of Vatican II and run with it. Three cheers again, I think, and lots of prayers too.

  35. jt83 says:

    Benedict XVI- The Pope of Christian Unity
    Viva Il Papa!!!!

    SPOT ON FR. Z :)

  36. Fr. Z: There’s nothing better than “a grand mal” twit…maybe then, they’ll think twice about what it is exactly they believe. I’m a total optimist, here. Stupid, maybe. But God does work in mysterious ways.

  37. Neither Liberal nor Conservative; rather, both Literate and Considerate.

  38. PJ says:

    jamie r – I sort of agree with you. We can’t be sure large numbers will come over. And also I sympathise with your implied concerns about the motivations of people who will be coming over:

    “I hope that our hierarchy and our new Anglican-use brothers are very careful about the stated reasons for Tiber crossing.”

    But let’s remember – people need *exit velocity* to make the Tiber crossing. It is hard to overcome old prejudices (if one has held them), it is hard to accept that one may have been wrong in the past about a few things doctrinally, it is hard (in the case of clergy) to accept re-ordination and what that may mean about your past ministry… it is hard to change something so big, frankly.

    The recent rapid deterioration in the Anglican Communion (and most observers would accept things are in a pretty bad way: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jonathanwynne-jones/100003401/anglican-schism-means-archbishop-rowan-must-act/) and the whole issue of women bishops and practicing homosexual clergy is not the sole issue driving these people. It is the tip of the iceberg. It is that extra few pounds of thrust that gives lift-off. It is the exit velocity.

    So let’s not be too cynical.

    Yay for the Pope of Christian Unity.

  39. Jason Keener says:

    I am reminded of when the Pope of Christian Unity wrote this in his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum:

    “Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: “Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!” (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.”

    Pope Benedict truly is the Pope of Christian Unity. He is not only bringing others back into the Lord’s one fold, but he has had the wisdom and courage to finally begin healing the divisions that have torn the Mystical Body from within over the last 45 years.

  40. Jason: Very good.

    “Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity.”


  41. Geremia says:

    Pope Benedict indeed is the Pope of Christian Unity; not just of Christians but, being a Christian himself, he unifies other things, too, especially in his writings and speeches on faith and reason, science and religion, God and man.

  42. England is the “dowry of our Lady”.
    Could this be a beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy that England would return to Rome?

  43. albizzi says:

    (Liberal’s) “Ecumenism is the enemy of the Immaculata” (St Maximilian Kolbe)
    Pope Benedict’s Ecumenism looks like the exact contrary.

  44. irishgirl says:

    Wow, Father Z-quite an assessment!

    Long live our German Shepherd, the Pope of Christian Unity!

  45. chironomo says:

    The Vatican announcement will make the Catholic Church more conservative and the Anglican church more liberal. Is that what ecumenism is meant to accomplish?”

    No… it is meant to (eventually) make the Anglican Church non-existent.

  46. PatrickV says:


  47. JoeGarcia says:

    Benedictus XVI, Papa unitatis Christianæ

    Now, MY flavor of mortification is to read the comboxes at places such as dotCommonweal. And Father might be understating the displeasure of the progressives within the Church. The comments I have read betray an odd mindset that carries the worst attributes of rage and confusion.

    I believe the sharper among them have noticed things spinning out of control after all those years when, thought them, they were on the verge of having a Church built to their image and likeness. And they are displeased and, if I may say so without being uncharitable, giving voice to their sense of impotence.


  48. Sandy says:

    Great comments, Father. This aspect of the discussion reminds me of the late, great Dietrich Von Hildebrand. Compromise is not true ecumenism. Maintaining the fullness of truth is essential

  49. Antiquarian says:

    It ought, perhaps, to be mentioned that on some websites there are a few extremists on the other (conservative/traditional) end of the spectrum who are also shrieking like elephants seeing a mouse in a Warner Brothers cartoon. Perhaps because this IS true ecumenism of the sort Vatican II intended, and they’ve dedicated their whole lives to denigrating the Council and its fruits, but who knows?

  50. Hamburglar says:

    In addition to being the Pope of Christian Unity, he is also the Pope of everything that is awesome =]

  51. Mitchell NY says:

    No longer any doubt that this Pontificate will go down in history as having brought many, many, truly wonderful things to the whole of the Church. He knows what he is doing..So much for the “care taker” Pope title..Looks like Pope of Chrisitan Unity may eclipse everything else.

  52. Supertradmom says:

    Interesting that on the BBC, an article noted that it was the liberal bishops of England in the Catholic Church who opposed in 1994 such a welcome to entire parishes and even dioceses of Anglicans, insisting on one by one personal acceptance. I think the Pope of Christian Unity, Benedict XVI saw that the congregations had been working towards and accepted much of the doctrine and liturgical practices of the Catholics already, and were “waiting in the wings” as it were. Pope Benedict has again shown not only much courage, but wisdom in this new response to the traditional Anglicans.

  53. Supertradmom says:

    Father Z, did you see this? http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/ [Surely you jest. I never miss His Hermeueticalness and neither should anyone else!]

  54. tewter says:

    Hear! Hear! With the stroke of a pen our wonderful Pope put the lie to false ecumenism. Let the modernists choke on their rage, recover, and be converted.

  55. JosephMary says:

    The Pope of Christian Unity: Benedict the Great!

    Deo Gratias!

  56. Pope of Christian Unity…

    Benedict’s true ecumenism is consonant with everything we are as a Church…

    This is not Rahner’s “world church” where anything and anyone goes…

    Aside from Penjing’s *RARE* comments, these are some of the reasons why I am a WDTPRS addict.

    Huzzah John Cardinal Zuhlsdorf! o{]:¬)
    (the biretta should have been red, can’t get it change color here.)

    Oh well…


  57. Prof. Basto says:

    Pope Benedict XVI is indeed the Pope of Christian Unity.

    And he is the Pope of Christian Unity, and acheived the practical results he is acheiving (the conversion of the Anglo-Catholics to the True Faith), precisely because he practices the only kind of Ecumenism that is admissible: the Ecumenism of Conversion to the Catholic Church.

    Pope Benedict’s ecumenism is the only ecumenism that conforms to the Church’s perennial and authentic magisterium, and to the mandate that the Apostles received from the Lord. And that is why this is the only kind of Ecumenism from which truy positive fruits arise.

    It works like this: we have dialogue, but not a relativistic dialogue, but a dialogue in which we advance the perennial values that the Church can’t abandon; a dialogue not in search of the “minimum common denominator” that was pursued by some in the last forty years, but a dialogue that seeks to explain to other denominations the reason of our hope. When, aided by Divine Grace, individuals or groups seek conversion, we welcome them.

    Pope Benedict is the Pope of Christian unity because he is the Pope of Catholicity – the Pope of Catholic identity, the Pope of authentic Ecumenism – and the only acceptable form of Ecumenism is that in which faithful from other denominations are converted to the Catholic Church, the true and only Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, teacher of the one true Faith.

    In short, Pope Benedict is the Pope of Christian Unity because – as this recent move shows – he is practicing Ecumenism Mortalium Animos style.

  58. Mark R says:

    The “liberal” response reminds me of a passage from Msgr. Knox’ Spiritual Aeneid. Msgr Knox was defending the Catholic Church’s lack of interest, at the time, in the ecumenical movement. He did not think the various Protestant representatives were not the least interested in real unity since that would deprive them of fellowshipping with members of other denominations.

    n.b. Although the Orthodox Churches were early participants in this movement, it was mainly because they were thrown Westward by the Russian Revolution and needed a forum to explain to the West who they were.

  59. amylpav22 says:

    Liberals want ecumenism only with those whom they want in their sort of church.

    Just as those who are complaining about this – and about the Catholic Church being “exclusive” toward women and those with SSA – believe that inclusion means excluding those who are, well, religious and orthodox and conservative.

    The hypocrisy is astounding.

  60. dclark9191 says:

    Pj and Jamie R. I am one of the ex-members of the American Episcopal Church. My former priest also left the the church (and gave up part of his retirement stipenf to do it) and I assure you the recent events of the last few years were only the straw that broke the camel’s back. Many are trying to stay within the Anglican communion and are submitting to African and South American Bishops as mission churches. I’m sorry, my memory is having lapses this morning but the current head of the American Episcopal Church Referred to Father in the female gender at her installment speech and embraces homosexuallity as a God acceptable lifestlye. You shall soon see a liturgy in America for the blessing of homosexual weddings. It will spread rapidly throughout the world. This is all part of the inroads in our Lord’s Church (those who worship Father in Spirit and in Truth) fortold by our Lord Jesus Himself. Many of the Protestant and Evangelical churches have become so focused on maintaining declining membership or beating their chest about how large their church is compared to everyone elses, they have introduced many of the popular pagan activities from the eastern world into their beliefs. I believe the early Christian church went through something similar in the first 5 or 6 centuries.
    I wonder if the form of democrasy started in America and spreading throughout the world is not the 2nd beast of Revelation, the prophet, and the liturgical blessing or maybe just the legalization of homosexual marriage is not the image of the beast.

  61. NLucas says:

    “The Pope of Christian Unity.” The phrase is starting to spread. I just did a quick google search, and a good number of bloggers who are WDTPRS readers have started to use it, Especially our good English priest bloggers. Fathers Finegan and Blake have weighed in, as well as Father LW Gonzales and “Abbey Roads” Terry in Minneapolis. Huzzah!

    In Christ,

  62. NLucas says:

    Oh, and Google sent me to the “Huffington Post” Pope page, which has blog links to the the various posts about the Pope for Christian Unity. Who would have thunk?

    In Christ,

  63. If you are a blogger… start using the phrase: Pope of Christian Unity.

  64. PJ says:

    dclark9191 – thanks for giving us the view of someone who has actually made the crossing. Things sound pretty bad from what you were saying. As an ex-Episcopalian yourself, may I ask what you make of this Ordinariate development?

    Or is this too off-piste a question for this specific blog thread?

    Back to the topic of the thread:

    “Liberals want ecumenism only with those whom they want in their sort of church.” – how true.

    And what an appalling offence against ecumenism it is, to masquerade as trying to build the unity that Christ commanded of his church, when in fact one is only interested in stamping onto the church ones own vision of what one thinks the church should be, rather than listening attentively to our Lord (mind you this is something we all of us need to do better – me of all people).

  65. Viva il Papa! PRAY FOR HIM that as Jesus Prayed at the last Supper, that we all may be one!

  66. JimP says:

    Over at the National Catholic(?) Reporter, the grand mal twit is in the form of an opinion piece by a Presbyterian (PCUSA) social worker. The headline is Misogynist? Homophobic? We’ve got the church for you! , which should give you a good idea of the flavor without your having to read it. At least, in their spirit of ecuminism, the PCUSA has altered the Westminster Confession so that they no longer say that the Pope is “that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.”

    Apparently the Holy Father is really just rewarding Anglicans who are misogynistic and homophobic, while ignoring those who truly love the Church, but just don’t agree with Her teaching.

    Neither the article nor most of the comments can be recommended reading for someone with a weak stomach.

  67. If you think about it, our Pope of Christian Unity, Benedict XVI, is not only reaching across the splinterings based on doctrine (e.g. Protestant, Orthodox), but also the splinterings based on time (e.g. SSPX issues), that is what we have been calling the continuity issue (e.g. pre-Vatican II “versus” post-Vatican II). Of course the modernist heretics (relativists), usually called liberals in political fashion, are the ultimate divisive types since unity only comes with truth, not with everyone’s personal opinion, which is worshiped as a personal Magisterium. Such pride never goes down without a fight. Truth unites, because it is shared, and relativism divides, since it’s everyone’s “unholy trinity” – me, myself and I – against everyone else.

  68. trad catholic mom says:

    Wow, I can’t believe my eyes can still see after clicking that link to National “catholic” Reporter and reading that drivel.

  69. joan ellen says:

    Wow…The Church is pulling together because of the Pope of Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI.

    Thanks so very much Fr. Z. I’m grateful still, & more now with this apt title for our Holy Father, & for some realization of what this title signifies.

    Thank you also Prof. Basto & other WDTPRSers.

  70. joecct77 says:


    When the MP came out you wisely gave us Rules for Engagement for the Mass of John XXIII. Might the same thing be needed when the Apostolic Constitution comes out? I don’t want to sound triumphal or condecending but welcoming, if you know what I mean?

    As to numbers – to me they are not important. Our Lord told stories of the *one* lost lamb that gave the shepherd joy when found. Every lost lamb that comes back to the flock, either en masse or singly, is a cause for rejoicing.

  71. New Sister says:

    Father – how lucky I am…attended the Pope of Christian Unity’s Wednesday address on 14 March 2007 – where he gave a talk on St Ignatius of Antioch, in our Holy Father’s words, “the father of Christian unity” (quelle grâce). May I dare to suggest that our beloved Pontiff would be humbled by your suggested (and very apt) title for him. Deo gratias – Therese

  72. Emilio III says:

    “Nourished and sustained by the Eucharist, Catholics cannot but feel encouraged to strive for the full unity for which Christ Expressed so ardent a hope in the Upper Room. The Successor of Peter knows that he must make himself especially responsible for his Divine Master’s supreme aspiration. Indeed, he is entrusted with the task of strengthening his brethren (cf. Lk 22:32). With full awareness, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome that Peter bathed in his blood, Peter’s current Successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ’s followers.

    First Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI at the End of the Eucharistic Concelebration with the Members of the College of Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel”, Wednesday, April 20, 2005.

    My apologies if this quote is a duplicate, but I did not find it in the blog already.

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