Monday, September 17, 2012

On Ecumenism and Being Nice with Non-Catholics

One of the most politically correct statements that you hear nowadays is that all religions are equal, we all worship the same God, whether it be Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, Krishna or Christ.  It is just a matter of difference of giving him different names...  And even in the pandemonium that has overwhelmed the Church these days since the days of Vatican II, a lot of Catholics think that it is triumphalistic (in a negative way), rude, bigotry, and medievalistic (again in a negative way) to insist that the Church still teaches that there is but one God, who is not a mere perception suited to the taste of different cultures to which people give different names.  There really is ONE GOD who revealed Himself in definitive historical events, who is active in human history, and who made Himself known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit according to the life, teachings, and claims of a certain Jesus of Nazareth, and who Himself claimed to be God in the flesh...

ALL RELIGIONS ARE NOT THE SAME!  Precisely because in the conviction of Catholic Truth, all religions other than the Catholic Faith are mistaken notions or approximations of the one truth revealed with finality in Our Lord Jesus Christ and transmitted in His Church.  And yet being convinced of this truth of our faith in the Lord Jesus and in His Church has nothing to do with being bigots, or with being mean with other people.  Conversely, telling non-Catholics with heartfelt charity that they oftentimes get it wrong and muddled up when they teach about God or about the Lord Jesus, or about the Blessed Mother, or the Saints, or the Eucharist, or the Church (such as the Mormons, Jehovah's witnesses, INCs, so-called "Born-agains", and other Protestants) is different from being mean and disrespectful of their convictions especially when they sincerely believe in their ERRORS.

What therefore should be our attitude to them?  We should respect them.  We should be good to them.  Let us be nice with non-Catholics who are fellow men and women, fellow citizens of this earth, fellow creatures created by the same God who created us all: as indeed we all ought to be nice with every people of good will on this world.  And yet being nice is one thing and being convinced of the truth is another... to tell them in charity that they are mistaken, and to speak about the truth to them if they are willing to listen.  Otherwise, if they won't accept the truth we teach, we still ought to be good and nice to them and leave them be where they are (in what we are certain of as errors).  Our attitude ought to be the attitude of our Lord Jesus Christ -- He never backed down from His claim that He is the Son of God, and yet still prayed for them who were wrong about Him: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

That is why ecumenism has nothing to do with being deaf, dumb, and blind... as if all religions are all the same, as if with simplistic sophistry and naive equivocation, we can sweep away or water down the enduring truth of the claims of the Catholic Faith about our Lord Jesus Christ, about His Church... because the Lord Jesus and the Apostles themselves preached the truth even unto the laying down of their lives and never even for a second told people who did not believe their message that it is ok to stay where they are, that they need not change an iota of their perceptions, their beliefs, and their worldview.

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