Tag Archives: Ecumenism

Doctrine of Justification

As a follow up to my earlier posts on Ecumenism I wanted to post the joint declaration between Lutherans and Catholics on the Doctrine of Justification.  Here is the link to the document resulting from that historic event…it is an example of the Holy Spirit continuing the work of unifying the Church of Christ.  It’s a quick read and contains many of the referenced documents at the bottom…about half the document is the list of references.

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification Continue reading


Is Ecumenism a Heresy?

[By: Fr. Brian Harrison O.S.]

Vying with the Declaration on Religious Liberty for the honor (or disgrace, depending on one’s theological outlook) of being the Second Vatican Council’s most doctrinally innovative document is its Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio (UR). Those at both traditionalist and liberal ends of the Catholic spectrum have seen this Decree (with sentiments of glowering gloom and gloating glee respectively) as representing a significant departure from traditional doctrine. The latter, of course, emphasized Catholicism as the one true religion, to which separated Christians will simply have to return if ever unity is to be restored. In this short article I shall limit myself to a comparison between UR and the pre-conciliar papal document most frequently cited as being incompatible with it, Pope Pius XI’s 1928 encyclical on fostering true religious unity, Mortalium Animos (On Religious Unity). This encyclical set out the Catholic Church’s position regarding the fledgling movement for religious unity which had been gathering steam in liberal Protestant circles since the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Continue reading

Ecumenism and Vatican II

[by Peter John Vere, JCL/M (Canon Law)]

Many traditionalist Catholics— among them, many members of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) — believe that the Second Vatican Council contradicted Church Tradition in its teachings on ecumenism. If they are correct, then the Catholic Church has a serious problem: Vatican II could not be legitimate, since a legitimate ecumenical council may develop but may not contradict the earlier dogmatic teaching of the Church. A canon lawyer who once belonged to the SSPX tells how he resolved this critical issue.

Do Vatican II’s teachings on ecumenism and religious liberty really conflict with Traditional Catholic teaching?

In his first Envoy article on traditionalist apologetics [see “All Tradition Leads to Rome,” Volume 4.6], canon lawyer Pete Vere identified seven common arguments offered by the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) in defense of their schism, and how he overcame these objections during his journey back to the Catholic Church. Some readers responded that this schism, initiated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988, isn’t merely about the Latin Mass. The SSPX also takes issue with the Second Vatican Council, particularly on the issue of ecumenism. These readers knew Pete would have wrestled with the Second Vatican Council as an SSPX adherent and wondered how he overcame his doubts towards the Council in his spiritual pilgrimage back to the Catholic Church. Here is his response. Continue reading

Authentic Ecumenism

[by Matt Abbott (Catholic Online)]

Ecumenism is a vital mission of the Church that needs to be understood more fully and correctly, especially as we enter this ostensibly pivotal third millennium. Does ecumenism require Catholics to compromise their faith?

The answer lies in whether we are talking about authentic ecumenism or false ecumenism.

Contrary to what some “traditionalist” Catholics say, there is such a thing as authentic ecumenism — and it is essential for Christian unity. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Christ bestowed unity on His Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time. Christ always gives His Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ will for her…. The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit” (n. 820). Continue reading

Unity is not Uniformity


The word Ecumenical is thrown around a lot today and generally I’ve found that it isn’t used or understood correctly.  Below is a quick review in preparation for a series of three blog posts which will be submitted over the next few days.  This is an important topic and one which we need to understand and are called by Christ and the Church to participate in.

In general terms, Ecumenical represents the process relating to the Church throughout the world concerned with establishing or promoting unity among its members and also with its separated brethren.  So we can understand its primary goal as unity among the homogeneous Christian community.  Participating in this process is one way in which we partner in Christ’s prayer for unity (John 17:20-23). Continue reading