The Holy Father at Regensburg

The Holy Father at Regensburg

I recently received a comment from a viewer on another blog post that had to do with the topic of ecumenism. Since I find the topic to be interesting to me, I’ve decided to write an entire post about it.

First of all, ecumenism is not what many traditionalist Catholics take it to mean. The ecumenical movement centers around the idea that religions can work together to solve the world’s problems. This means that there are various ecumenical meetings and conferences that take place throughout the world. These have happened numerous times throughout the last several decades and continue today.

One of the reasons for why ecumenism has become so important is that Catholics have come to the realization that we are not in this alone. In order for certain world problems to be solved, we need to collaborate and work with other religions. On the one hand, this means that a certain amount of tolerance must be exerted towards the religions in question. Yet we must also realize that this tolerance should not degenerate into allowing the Buddhists to erect a shrine of the Buddha in the Vatican or Hindus to have services at Fatima. That is taking the idea of ecumenism a little bit too far for comfort.

I remember a number of years ago when the Hindus showed up at Fatima and performed a ceremony there. A great howl of outrage was heard from all corners of the Catholic world. Certain persons believed that the Pope was a heretic for allowing such things to happen at a Marian shrine. Others thought that it was too little. Basically, everybody was up in arms over what happened. Yet it seems to me that the incident at Fatima was an example of an abuse. We hear about liturgical abuses every day, but what about ecumenical abuses? That is entirely possible, is it not?

It seems to me that certain people hurl a lot of vitriol at the Holy Father for certain things that he has done in recent years. For example, he visited Istanbul and kissed a Quran. I’m sure that for some of my readers this was a bit much, but we clearly know where the Holy Father stands with regard to Islam and Muslims. During the Regensburg address, he clearly stated that Islam was not a religion of peace and he did not make any bones about it. I see his veneration of the Quran (if we can call it that) as a sign of respect for Muslims and their religious traditions. Nothing more and nothing less.

This year, Pope Benedict appeared at one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. Once again, traditionalists and ultraconservatives were up in arms about what the Pope did. Yet it seems to me that there is nothing wrong with the Pope visiting a synagogue. After all, there are rabbis and other Jews who visit the Vatican. I really don’t see what was so abhorrent about this.

It seems to me that certain traditionalist commentators such as Dr. Thomas A. Droleskey and Fr. Anthony Cekada would say that Pope Benedict has even genuflected to the Jews by having the Good Friday prayer revised. Yet it seems to me that we cannot call the Jews “perfidious.” The fact of the matter is that the Old Covenant passed to the Catholic Church, but we should not view the Jews as being anything other than the original group to whom God made His promises of a Messiah. Yes, mistakes were made along the way, but times have changed and so have inter-religious relations.

It seems to me that certain people see the ecumenical movement as part of the ushering in of a one world government. Yet it seems to me that this is nothing more than a conspiracy theory. The one world government will come about through other channels. Nor can it be said that the Mass was revised to please Protestant and Orthodox visitors to Vatican II, but that I will hold off on for another day.

Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!

St. Joseph, pray for us!