Ecumenism

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Who Are the Real Defenders of Humanity?

The latest advances in science and biotechnology (three-parenting, surrogate motherhood, human enhancement, hybridizing of humans and animals…) have now and again encountered opposition from Christians (and, in varying degrees, from other religious believers), as well as from secular critics for moral, ethical, and legal reasons (the last-mentioned rather half-heartedly in a number of countries recently). [...]

Anti-Catholic Critics Oppose Orthodox Council on Unity

While the historic Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, which took place in Crete this past June, sought to bridge the gap between Orthodox and non-Orthodox churches, it seems to have created a divide within the Orthodox Church itself. In recent developments, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who holds the title “first [...]

Intercommunion: The Next Step in Theological Ambiguity?

A recent issue of the Italian daily Avennire suggests the next possible front in the effort to accommodate the sacraments to “pastoral” problems (at least as Cardinal Walter Kasper sees them): intercommunion. The December 9 issue features a brief interview in which Kasper reflects on Pope Francis’s October 31-November 1 visit to Sweden to mark the [...]

The Chieti Agreement Encourages Catholic-Orthodox Unity

September 26 is the feast day of St. Nilo (Νεῖλος/Nilus) the Younger of Rossano otherwise known as St. Nilo of Grottaferrata. St. Nilo died in 1004, the year the Monastery of the Mother of God of Grottaferrata was founded. Grottaferrata is a monastic community of originally Greek monks coming from what was called the Greater [...]

What Benedict Could Teach the USCCB About Muslim Dialogue

I write frequently about the danger of Islamization in the U.S.—the incremental spread of Islamic law and culture that culminates in Islamic dominance. Many people, no doubt, consider that to be an unrealistic fear—about as likely as a takeover by shape-shifting aliens. After all, Muslims make up a relatively small proportion of the population. Besides, [...]

The Vatican Response to Secularization and Conflict in Ukraine

I recently argued that the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church (UGCC—one of two Greco-Catholic churches in Ukraine) is struggling with nationalist and secular influences. Unfortunately, it appears His Beatitude, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk’s valiant efforts to steer his Church between the internal Charybdis of nationalism and the external Scylla of western secularism and unabashed Russian aggression may [...]

Catholicism and Christian Pluralism

Have you ever overheard people discussing how world religions are basically the same, and only superficially different? “We have different opinions about the small stuff,” someone says, “but when it comes down to the essential beliefs, every religion is the same.” This has been described as the “God on the Mountain” perspective. God (or whatever [...]

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Believe it or not, there really is a religious movement called “Chrislam.” It began in Nigeria in the 1980s as an attempt to foster peace between Muslims and Christians by blending elements of Islam and Christianity. Its followers stress the commonalities between the two faiths and they recognize both the Koran and the Bible as [...]

Was Muhammad a False Prophet?

Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves (Mt. 7:15). Would “false prophets” include Muhammad? It’s an impolitic question to ask in these politically correct times, but, thanks to political correctness these are also highly dangerous times. Since a good deal of the danger emanates from the [...]

The New Literalism and Fundamentalism

Catholics—even more so liberal Catholics—are usually quick to criticize anyone who seems to interpret Scripture too literally. Indeed, liberal Catholics often don’t even want to view a lot of it as historical. Liberal Catholics and leftists generally are also ready to rebuke people who adhere to aspects of traditional Christian morality, especially sexual matters, as [...]

Priority Should be Given to Christian Refugees

“Dhimmitude,” like takfir and sharia, is a word of which Americans were happily ignorant not so long ago. Events, unfortunately, have expanded our Arabic vocabulary. As with other Islamic concepts, the meaning of dhimmitude, even its existence, is contested among Muslims. And misuse is not always merely semantic for those prone to issuing fatwas. No [...]

A Call for Better Dialogue with High Church Lutherans

This past October marked the 498th year since Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. It also marked the eleventh year since I walked out of Trinity Lutheran Church in Traverse City and began the long road towards Catholicism. Anyone who has talked to me for more than five [...]

A Primer on Authentic Ecumenism

"Above all, it is necessary to recognize the unity that already exists." ~ John Paul II There’s a 7-Eleven across the street and down a couple blocks from where I teach—Bethel College in Mishawaka. I often go there for an afternoon caffeine boost. I could walk, but if I’m pressed for time (or it’s winter), I’ll jump [...]

Retrieving Apologetics

A number of Catholics, including theologians, think that the Church should not engage in apologetics. These critics claim that Vatican II made apologetics obsolete by calling for the Church to embrace, and no longer turn its back on, the modern world. They say theology is supposed to engage pressing contemporary issues that affect everyone, but [...]

What the Traditional Mass Means to Me

I came to the Church through the Traditional Latin Mass. I would have converted anyway. It was becoming more and more obvious that the Church was where I belonged, and it seemed pointlessly obstinate and even artificial to remain apart from her. But the Traditional Mass made the situation clearer, because it made it more [...]

Ecumenism, Rightly Understood

In Tyler Blanski’s recent Crisis article titled “Did the Synod Endorse ‘Lifestyle Ecumenism’?,” he claims that “ecumenists are pluralists when it comes to truth.” In other words, they are relativists, searching for unity without truth. Essentially, Blanski claims that this is “what ecumenism [as such] really is.” The question here isn’t whether ecumenism is sometimes [...]

Did the Synod Endorse “Lifestyle Ecumenism”?

I would like to suggest to you that so-called “lifestyle ecumenism” helps us see ecumenism for what it really is. You see, in my Anglican days, I used to think I was more catholic than the Catholics. I believed that “spiritual unity,” and maybe also a loose agreement on central doctrines, sufficed. As a Catholic, [...]

Anglican Ordination of Women Bishops Ends Reunion Prospects

It was, of course inevitable, having ordained women to its “priesthood” that the Church of England, mother Church of the Anglican Communion, would in the end ordain women to its “episcopate” (I place the key-words in inverted commas, not to be insulting but to indicate simply that most Anglicans use the words to describe something [...]

Anglicans Choose Egalitarianism Over Christian Unity

On 14 July, the General Synod of the Church of England voted in favor of allowing women to become bishops. The measure had previously been rejected in 2012 by the Synod, the Church of England’s deliberative and legislative body composed of “houses” of bishops, clergy and laity, when it failed to gain the requisite two-thirds [...]

Distinguishing Between Authentic and Heretical Ecumenism

Pope Francis’s visit with the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew in Jerusalem on May 25 elicited the familiar curiosity and hope that accompanies such gestures shared between persons of different faith traditions, in this case persons of the highest leadership and authority in their respective Churches, coming together in at least some degree of commonality and fellowship. [...]

Islam and the Outer Limits of Ecumenism

The 1964 Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis redintegratio, was quite clear: The newly launched ecumenical movement had as its sole goal, the reunification of Christians.  The appeals for reunification would be directed to baptized Christians, “those who invoke the Triune God, and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, doing this not merely as individuals [...]

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