Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ecumenism done right

Fr. Z has a great post on ecumenism on his blog. I encourage you to read it.  I've never been one for ecumenism simply because, as Fr. Z shows, it would require Orthodox and traditional Catholics to concede to mainline Protestants and renegade Catholics validity to innovations in the catholic tradition which we simply cannot concede.

For instance, ecumenical dialogues between Orthodox/Catholics and Protestants always have to bring up the issue of women's ordination.  Orthodox and Catholic participants are more or less required to concede that such "is just the way they do things" and we should move on.  Never are the Orthodox and Catholic participants allowed to insist that the Protestants stop their practice or insist that Protestants stop using their properties and churches to insult what Catholics and Orthodox hold dear.  The double standard is obvious--Protestants can tell Orthodox and Catholics what to do about Catholic and Orthodox theology and rites, but should an Orthodox or Catholic prelate tell the Protestant to stop meddling in our affairs, that prelate is dubbed "anti-ecumenical" and someone is sought out with a "cooler head."

Fr. Z would like modern ecumenism to start out by his criteria.  I like that, but it will never happen. I believe that modern ecumenism is dangerous and it really serves no purpose.  For that reason, I believe that none of the Orthodox Churches should be involved in it on any level.  I've said it before and I'll say it again but true and faithful ecumenism is NOT about uniting the churches; it is about having the confessions of Christianity unite themselves to the una Sancta Ecclesia.  Those are two entirely different approaches. The former is more about administrative unity and agreeing to disagree while the latter requires a rejection of heresy and all other errors and being obedient to Christ and His Church.  This is not to say that I am for cutting off all contact with other confessions of Christianity, but like Patriarch JEREMIAS II said to the Lutheran theologians at Tuebingen, with whom he had dialogue, we should be in contact for the sake of friendship and nothing else.

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