Sunday, May 31, 2015

When ecumenism was sound

Expressing their concern about the worldwide distortion of the Faith, 12 outstanding theologians of the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches met at a retreat center near Regensburg, Bavaria for what one member described as "a meeting of historic significance." The Rt. Rev. Dr. Rudolf Graber, Bishop of Regensburg, was the host for this ecumenical meeting.

Adopted in "complete accord," was a seven-point proposal, the emphasis and theme of which was that June 1975 will mark the 1,650th anniversary of the Council of Nicea.

This ecumenical group called upon contemporary Christianity to defend the full divinity of Christ against a heresy which has reduced Christ to a mere creature, the "man for others." The theologians assembled at Regensburg arrived at the conclusion that "notwithstanding some remaining doctrinal controversies, all Bible-believing Christians are called today by their common faith in the Divinity of Christ to make a joint confession."

The participants were agreed that ecumenical conversations must not be left to those who are not interested in the preservation of doctrinal tradition.

The Reverend Canon Albert J. duBois, President of the American Church Union, expects to attend the June Transconfessional Symposium
From the Episcopal Church's (!) archives. Catholic and liturgical mainline Protestant: the Anglo-Catholic American Church Union (A-Cs didn't want to be Protestants so we didn't call ourselves that but anyway) and some German Lutherans. There's an echo of this high-ground small-o orthodoxy in Touchstone and First Things. When the mainliners sounded like this, it almost made sense for the Orthodox to join their Federal/National and World Councils of Churches. Now I think their presence there is just window dressing for the mainliners to put on an air of historical authenticity vs. the Catholic Church. (The Orthodox, to their credit, are a consistent "Catholic" nay voice in the NCC and WCC, issuing separate statements as a group opposing the NCC's and WCC's stupider pronouncements. Fitting for estranged Catholics who still have bishops and the Mass.) Brothers in anti-Romanism: the Anglicans have cozied up to the Orthodox semi-officially since A-Cism started in the 1800s (it began as an assertion of an exclusive Anglican claim to the truth, not as would-be Catholicism; liberal high church [our traditionalist services but Protestant ecclesiology] is a continuation of that), and the Orthodox have reciprocated for their own anti-Catholic reason, to spite Rome. Anyway, this kind of ecumenism seemed promising. The sides had so much in common, no wonder many churchmen and denominational officials and churchgoers thought we all were getting back together any day now. (How the media reported Vatican II and ecumenism then.) In A-Cism if we weren't sure we were already Catholic, it seemed like we were on our way home to the church. No. Birds fly, fish swim, and Anglicans do things like vote to have women deacons and more (a power the Pope of course doesn't claim). I understand Canon duBois was a serious would-be Catholic; after women's ordination he helped lay the groundwork for the church's Pastoral Provision (forerunner of the ordinariates; married convert priests and the Anglican Use, a splice of ICEL Novus Ordo/1979 Episcopal BCP [their Novus imitation] done with "traditionalish" ceremonial) but died as he was about to come into the church. Anyway, the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and the ordinariates are the exception; no mass movements into the church and the high mainline has degraded. (A good word for the high non-mainline, even though they're a rival one true church so of course they don't like us [they say we're in grave error, idolatrous and believers in "works righteousness"]: the Gottesdienst "Lutho-Catholics" of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.) It's bottomed out and bounced back a little, like we are after the mistake that was Vatican II, but while it's not Spongian (Küngian) agnostic anymore, it's firmly on the wrong side of the culture war (feminism, homosexualism, multicultural relativism by well-meaning whites, etc., all Christian heresy), basically their modern reason to exist: they're jockeying to remain the chaplains to the Anglosphere powers that be but those powers no longer need nor want them. Ecumenism's only lasting achievements are the sides understand each other and are no longer trying to kill each other. As a classic American as well as a classic Catholic I think we can get along (again) in American religious freedom without buying into American denominationalism/indifferentism or "the American religion" or moralistic therapeutic deism (got to watch it with those last two; they're easy to fall into while keeping the church's trappings).

The Orthodox bishops won't come back but our door is open to them.

Fits today's feast, which a medieval Pope instituted. Mass: Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas, atque indivisa Unitas: confitemur et, quia fecit nobiscum misericordiam suam.

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