Ecumenism

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 [...]

Benedict XVI and the Pathologies of Religion

It passed almost unnoticed, but last month Benedict XVI significantly upped the ante in an argument he’s made one of his pontificate’s centerpieces. To the horror, one suspects, of some professional interfaith dialoguers and wishful-thinkers more generally, the pope indicated the Church should recognize that some types of religion are in fact “sick and distorted.” [...]

Ecumenism and Other Novel Interpretations

Since Vatican II, the Catholic Church has been turned upside down in the name of an ecumenical council whose true interpretation continues to be debated more than half a century after it closed. One point of contention is the Council’s teaching on religious liberty. In his 1864 encyclical Quanta Cura, Pope Pius IX labeled as [...]

We are Non-Roman Catholics

The first reaction of visitors to my lovely parish church is generally one of bewilderment, as they anoint themselves with air after reaching out for a holy water font inside the door and coming up empty. No statues, either. No stations of the cross. No confessionals or Rosary group either, for that matter. The first [...]

The Ecumenical Future

The Evangelical Church in Germany is a theological muddle, being a federation of Lutheran, Prussian Union, and Reformed (or Calvinist) Protestant communities. Still, it must have been a moving moment when the Council of this federation met with Pope Benedict XVI last month in the chapter hall of the former Augustinian priory at Erfurt: the [...]

A New Bridge across the Tiber

The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has now been established in England. By Easter this year, three bishops, sixty priests, and nearly one thousand lay people had left the Church of England to be received into the Catholic Church. Archbishop Donald Wuerl is working with interested parties to establish the ordinariate in the United [...]

The Two Novaks: Jews, Christians, and the One True God

It happens that in the various Slavic tongues the name Novak means new man, newcomer, stranger. Novak was a name often given to wanderers to a town, who might be of Jewish or of Christian background. Those of us whose name is Novak (or Novick, or Nowak, or Novakoff, or Novacek, or other variants) -- [...]

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