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Ecumenism: A Meta-Heresy

by Christopher A. Ferrara
January 19, 2018

Of all the unheard-of pseudo-conceptual novelties that have plagued the Church since Vatican II, the single worst is “ecumenism,” which was injected into the Church like a disabling virus in the conciliar document Unitatis Redintegratio (UR).

UR abruptly declared that the Church would now embrace the very movement Pius XI, only 32 years before the Council, had condemned as inimical to the Catholic religion. He condemned it because “ecumenism,” a term essentially devoid of intrinsic meaning, stands in practice for the proposition that doctrinal differences with the Orthodox and the Protestants are of little importance in the “ecumenical journey” toward the destination of an illusory “Christian unity” on the ever-receding horizon of “ecumenical progress.” Doctrines are viewed as mere semantic quibbles to be bracketed for theological discussion by “experts” while the partners in “ecumenical dialogue” proclaim a “growing unity” that is nothing more than a warm and fuzzy feeling which ignores an ever-widening doctrinal divide between the Church that Christ founded and the merely human organizations that claim a mission in His name, many of which now defy even the natural law.

Sandro Magister cites the attitude of Pope Francis as Exhibit A in illustration of the problem. During one of his airborne press conferences in 2014 (on the flight back from Turkey), Francis referred to the ecumenical indifferentism of the Orthodox patriarch Athenaogoras, who famously met with Paul VI in one of the earliest manifestations of the new “ecumenism”:

“I believe we are moving forward in our relations with the Orthodox; they have the sacraments and apostolic succession... we are moving forward. What are we waiting for? For theologians to reach an agreement? That day will never come, I assure you, I’m skeptical. Theologians work well but remember what Athenagoras said to Paul VI: ‘Let’s put the theologians on an island to discuss among themselves and we’ll just get on with things!’ I thought that this might not have been true, but Bartholomew told me: ‘No, it’s true, he said that’. We mustn’t wait. Unity is a journey we have to take, but we need to do it together….”

So, for the Catholic ecumenist — first and foremost Francis these days — “unity” is a “journey” that Catholics are supposed to undertake with non-Catholics while theologians do whatever it is they do, which really doesn’t matter much anyway. But a journey to where, if not unity in the theological truths that Christ revealed and His Church has handed down intact for 2,000 years? The question is never answered. It is never answered because there is no answer. Ecumenism is literally a journey to nowhere, or at best to anywhere but Rome.

“Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Matt. 28:19-20).

What is it about the phrase “all things whatsoever I have commanded you” that the “ecumenist” does not understand? How can the “ecumenist” fail to see that, after fifty years of “ecumenical dialogue,” the Vatican’s principal “dialogue partners” have ceased to observe practically anything the Lord has commanded us, including the avoidance of adultery and sodomy, both of which the mainline Anglican and Lutheran denominations have institutionalized even among their so-called clergy?

Ecumenism is a meta-heresy in the sense of being a heresy above and beyond all the particular heresies the Church has had to combat in her long history, which have recurred repeatedly in different forms and under different names. It is a meta-heresy because it declares that heresy does not matter, that there is, in effect, no heresy at all but only differences of opinion. Ecumenism is, therefore, the heresy of heresies, which is all the more effective for its lack of particular doctrinal content. For ecumenism ultimately dispenses with doctrine as such.

And that is why Pius XI so presciently warned, not long before the Council’s folly, that beneath the ecumenical slogan “Is it not right… that all who invoke the name of Christ should abstain from mutual reproaches and at long last be united in mutual charity?” there “lies hid a most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.” Who can deny that this error is now running rampant in the Church, contributing to the greatest crisis in her entire history?

May Our Lady of Fatima intercede for us to rid the Church of the ecumenical meta-heresy.