The Flying Buttress, 1/1/06
+This issue concludes our review of Dr. Alan Schreck’s book “
+To touch on two of the worst of these flaws: first, Schreck claims that the many post-Conciliar liturgical excesses committed or allowed by the bishops did not violate the letter of Sacrosanctum Concilium. This despite the fact that SC clearly states, for example, that Latin should remain the language used for most of the sacred liturgy, and, with the approval of bishops, certain select prayers could be said and prayed in the vernacular. But no, claims Schreck, the bishops had a virtual carte blanche, better known as “discretion."
+On the other hand, we find on page 55: “…’the crisis of
+Second, Schreck states, incredibly, that the renewal of the liturgy has been successful (123). He repeats John Paul II’s definition of success, however, as “the vast majority of pastors and Christian people [accepting] the liturgical reform in a spirit of obedience and indeed joyful fervor." Nothing about the frivolities which have passed for “reform" and “renewal"? Nothing about the devastating effect of liturgical “renewal" on the health of the Church? Nothing about the liturgy having lost its sense of sacredness, which he acknowledges a few pages later, then claims we need not worry about it because it hasn’t really been lost? This is beyond optimism in Pollyannaish proportions: it is just downright foolhardy. Or is it just joyful fervor?
+But we digress. The topic at hand is ecumenism:
...Flying Buttress…Flying Buttress
Ecumenism is a “movement…for the restoration of unity among all Christians." (Decree on Ecumenism/Schreck, 248)
Christopher Ferrara claims that ecumenism has never been precisely defined, and that it is a virus within the Body of Christ.
The charismatic renewal is a new advance in Christian unity (243).
Pope Benedict has just severely disciplined the neo-Catechumenical Way and instructed them to return to standard Catholic practices.
Speaks positively about the World Council of Churches in the effort to restore Christian unity (244).
The WCC is a virtual front for the same left-wing ideologies which control the United Nations, and which seek the replacement of Judeo-Christian civilization by pagan phallus-worship, anarchy and despotism. One of its mottos is “Service unites, doctrine divides."
“To believe in Christ means to desire unity…" (246)
To believe in Christ means to desire union with Him.
“…whatever is wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brethren can contribute to our own edification. Whatever is truly Christian never conflicts with the genuine interests of the faith…" (Unitatis Redintegratio/Schreck, 249-250)
Our protestant “separated brethren" have rejected the Catholic Church, not the other way around. They have therefore lost the edification of their own faith in order to cling to some skeletal, stripped-down, desacralized remainder of it. This rejection was wrought by Martin Luther, not by the Holy Spirit. Moreover, no definition is offered of either “truly Christian," or “genuine interests of the faith."
The points of difference between the Eastern Orthodox and the
Complement: “Something that completes, makes up a whole, or brings to perfection; something added to complete or make perfect." Inference: the Roman Catholic Church by itself is incomplete and imperfect.
“By definition, ecumenism seeks to bring Christians and their churches toward closer unity." (251)
Ecumenism is a “movement…for the restoration of unity among all Christians." (Decree on Ecumenism/Schreck, 248) Which is it, Dr. Schreck – unity, or a movement towards unity? Can you define “unity"?
“Full communion would mean recognizing the same apostolic authority, professing the same essential Christian beliefs, and sharing fully in the same sacraments." (252)
A kinder, gentler, more self-doubting and indecisive (one might even say “devious") way of saying what the pre-Vatican II Popes said: “unity means returning to the Church."
“Every Catholic must therefore aim at Christian perfection." Decree on Ecumenism/Schreck, 253.
An unmistakable implication that continuing Christian divisions are exacerbated by the faithful who fail to live by the Church’s truths. How about when the faithful witness to the fullness of Catholic truth and pronounce the incompleteness of other truths? Will that fulfillment of their Catholic mission heal these divisions?
We’ll know we have aimed ourselves correctly by the response of others (253-254).
What about the response of God?
“Christian unity will not be accomplished primarily by individual decisions to join the Catholic Church." (255)
In other words, ecumenism is not primarily achieved on an individual scale, even though, as stated above, individual failures place additional obstacles in the path of unity!
“Truth must be the basis for unity." (257)
Only Catholics possess the fullness of truth.
The way out of the impasse is to remember that Catholic beliefs are a hierarchy of truths, some of which may not be “critical" to the “basic gospel message," like “purgatory, indulgences, and devotions to particular saints." (258)
The reality of our hierarchy of truths is that they all support and depend on and are all consistent with one another. None can be excluded. In fact, the “fullness of truth" of the Roman Catholic Church is this very hierarchy! Now we are told that perhaps parts of our fullness aren’t so important after all. This argument is called “having your cake and eating it too."
…"because of the division of Christianity, the Catholic Church does not possess in actuality all of the essential marks of the true
This is called manufacturing an undefined (and specious) condition to justify an illusory argument. The Catholic Church can never be defined by who rejected it and left it. Their departure is not our sin, but theirs.
“The conclusion to be drawn may sound contradictory" (that the Church possesses the fullness of faith, yet imperfectly expresses it because of Christian divisions) (259)
Duh. The fullness of our faith is not imperfectly expressed, but imperfectly understood – and that because we are mortal, not because of who has departed from our fold. In fact, non-Catholic Christians have a far less perfect understanding of the faith than do Catholics!
“Why shouldn’t all Christians simply return to the Catholic Church?" (258)
Why indeed: the missionary charge to the laity clearly says that they should!
+Why is all post-Conciliar ecumenical language so vague and contradictory? Because no one knows what unity means, what it will look like, or how it will come about. The most that can be said for it is that it is a yearning for all the prodigal non-Catholics to return home. Is there no one in the feckless post-Conciliar Church who has the guts to say it plainly?
+When the Body of Christ loses its identity in Christ, because it sought instead its identity in the world, then the result is the post-Conciliar Church: 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Well-intentioned naïveté is no match for evil. May our Blessed Mother and Her Son open our eyes, steel our resolve, and return us to sanity…