Thursday, November 3, 2016

MORE ON TEA AND CRUMPETS ECUMENISM AND DID FATHER DWIGHT LONGENECKER READ MY POST ON TEA AND CRUMPETS ECUMENISM WHICH INSPIRED HIS ARTICLE?

Father Dwight Longenecker, a married for Episcopal priest with many children, who is now in full communion with the Catholic Church and a pastor of a church in Greenville, South Carolina, in the Diocese of Charleston and who is building a magnificent new traditional church building, writes the following in this morning's Crux blog, the full article you can read by pressing here.

Progressives, both Protestant and Catholic, see Pope Francis's encounter with Lutherans in Sweden as a new step towards full reunion, while conservatives observed the smiles, the ceremonies and the signatures with cynicism and reserve. Both sides are unrealistic.

When the reports are published, too often the only enthusiasm one senses is on the part of the ecumenists themselves. Thrilled with their progress, they fail to see that Christians in both Catholic and Protestant pews are unimpressed.

Ordinary Christians on both sides are often more stark in their assessment. They see the whole enterprise as being a talking shop for the intellectual elite, and can’t see what the point might be.

Furthermore, many Catholics see the new obstacles that Lutherans and Anglicans have put in the path of church unity and are understandably cynical. “The pope told them ordaining women and having same sex weddings would be a grave obstacle to unity and they just did it anyway.”

My further astute comments: I do not use tea and crumpets as a metaphor of disdain. I like tea and crumpets and it is my kind of breakfast. I have had ecumenical relations with protestants and interfaith relations with Jews every since I was ordained. I have preached in Protestant Churches and Rabbis, Unitarian Universalists have preached in my parishes and I belong to ecumenical and interfaith clergy groups. 

My parishes have worked with ecumenical outreach groups in every parish I have been to help the poor in very practical ways such as soup kitchens, pantries, day and night shelters, clothing, rent and the like.

Many of my parishioners are married to Protestants and there is real ecumenism in the home the best examples being those Catholics who do not compromise one iota on their Catholic faith but are respectful and supportive of their spouse's different kind of practice of Christianity.

Don't denigrate the tea and crumpets metaphor, but folks let's be realistic about ecumenism and where it truly counts, not in highfalutin academic discussions and show pieces but in rank and file parishes.

31 comments:

Dialogue said...

Since one of the four goals of VCII is "to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ", these endeavors deserve appreciation. However, Fr. DL is quite right in noting the elite nature of the whole event.

Union with the Orthodox will primarily require union with the bishops, but union with Protestant sects (with the notable exception of the CofE, which ultimately answers to the Q-in-Council) requires the conversion of each individual member.

No well-bred Southern American would ever disparage tea, so I thank Father McDonald for his clarification on that point.

Anonymous said...

"Don't denigrate the tea and crumpets metaphor, but folks let's be realistic about ecumenism and where it truly counts, not in highfalutin academic discussions and show pieces but in rank and file parishes."

There you go again...

The academics don't matter. The official dialogues don't matter. The agreed upon statements don't matter - they are all "highfalutin" things those "academics," like your former Bishop Raymond Lessard, devoted their time, energy, and great intellects to.

The idea that the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, or any other major ecumenical agreement, is a "show piece" would be laughable if it did not come from someone who ought to know better.

I wonder if you have the same attitude toward the academic research that goes into developing new procedures for fighting illness and disease. Would you call all that "highfalutin" lab work just a "showpiece."

Catholic Mission said...

Many of my parishioners are married to Protestants

Lionel:
Are the Protestants not outside the Church for you according to Vatican Council II and the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus?
Is the couple not living in adultery?
How can a dispensation be given? It is only because the priest does not believe in the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
Like Fr.Longenecker he would also be interpreting Vatican Council II with irrational premises and conclusions.

NOVEMBER 3, 2016

Irrational premises and conclusions: there can be two interpretations of Vatican Council II
http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2016/11/irrational-premises-and-conclusions.html

Mark Thomas said...

Do we need the Ecumenical Movement?

I don't need to pray and worship inside Protestant churches, synagogues, and mosques to spur me to recognize that non-Catholics have been created in God's image.

I don't require a non-Catholic to preach inside a Catholic church to spur me to cooperate with non-Catholics in our quest to aid the poor.

Long before certain Protestants invented the Ecumenical Movement, millions of Catholics and non-Catholics mingled with each other in peace. They were friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

Unfortunately, as soon as Pope Venerable Pius XII launched the Church into the Ecumenical Movement, our ecumenically-minded Churchmen ravaged the Mass (the TLM was/is too "Catholic" for the Ecumenical Movement to advance), EENS, church architecture, and Catholic identity.

That was the only way forward for our Churchmen who supported Catholic participation in the Ecumenical Movement.

The TLM was sacrificed as the ancient Roman Mass, which was/is imbued with a powerful sense of Catholic identity, had to give way to a New Mass that was watered-down in regard to Catholic identity.

Great symbols and practices associated with the Papacy had to go...too Catholic for the Ecumenical Movement.

Catholic churches that reflected a strong Catholic identity were wreckovated (transformed into Protestant meeting halls).

None of the above was required to bring Catholics and non-Catholics together to help advance the common public good.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Gene said...

In any theological understanding of the NT, right belief is primary. All those academic issues and doctrinal struggles are, indeed, important. Otherwise, the Church is just a social feel-good society...sort of an egalitarian junior league.

Mark Thomas said...

Father Dwight Longenecker said:

"Pope Francis’s visit to Sweden to commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation was greeted with varied and predictable responses.

"Progressives, both Protestant and Catholic, hailed the meeting as a new step towards full re-union while conservatives on both sides of the Wittenberg Door observed the smiles, the ceremonies and the signatures with cynicism and reserve.

"Both sides are unrealistic."
==========================================================================

The conservative (whatever that means) Catholic response in question is not unrealistic. (By the way, many Catholic "conservatives" are fine with the Ecumenical Movement.)

Pope Venerable Pius XII entered the Church into the Ecumenical Movement. From that time to date, Catholic participation in the Ecumenical Movement has damaged severely Catholic identity throughout the Church.

Many conservative Catholics recognize that fact. They have every reason to harbor strong reservations about Pope Francis' ecumenical activities in Sweden.

To pursue their ecumenical agenda, our Churchmen sacrificed the TLM (too Catholic), EENS, churches via wreckovation, and shattered Catholic identity. Our Churchmen watered-down Catholicism to appease non-Catholics.

Sorry, Father Longenecker, but you are wrong about "conservatives." They have every reason to express concerns about Pope Francis' ecumenical activities in Sweden.

Pax.

Mark Thomas said...

Father Longenecker said..."Those who believe the re-unification of the Catholic and Lutheran churches is just around the corner are too optimistic while those conservatives who mutter, “If they want re-union let them become Catholic…” are too pessimistic."

I am thankful that there are Catholics who "mutter" that.

Discussions with Lutheran communities are fine and dandy. Let us talk to each other in peace. Fine. Let us work together to care for poor people. Fine.

But the bottom line is that reunion between the Church and a Lutheran community requires Lutherans to embrace the True Religion.

It is pessimistic to note that Lutherans who wish to return to the True Church must become Catholic?

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Father Longenecker said...

"The ecumenical showpieces that feature a pope and Protestant leaders are just that: showpieces that mark an anniversary here, the closing of theological talks there or the beginning of a new effort to cooperate in the promotion of justice and peace.

"While the showpieces make good news stories, there are four foundations of ecumenism that keep us grounded.

"The first two principles are the core ideas of the second Vatican Council. The Italian word aggiornomento means “to bring up to date.”

"The fathers of the church wanted to modernize the Catholic faith, and being affirming rather than antagonistic towards other Christians was part of the new spirit in the church. To be modern was to put old animosities aside and accept Orthodox Christians as well as those from the Protestant tradition as “separated brethren.”

"The task of bringing the ancient faith up to date was balanced by the second principle, expressed by the French word resourcement. This is the idea that for the church to be renewed properly we must turn to the original sources of the faith.

"In the decades building up to the council new discoveries were made about the earliest ages of the church. Archeological finds, textual research and Biblical and liturgical discoveries enabled Christian scholars to understand the beliefs, traditions and devotions of the first Christians as never before.

"Both Protestant and Catholic scholars were making the new discoveries and both sides saw the principle of resourcement as a great ecumenical gift. With aggiornomento and resourcement firmly in mind, theologians conceived a new method for ecumenical discussion which might be called “theological translation.” The terminology and definitions that had been defined and defended by one side and denied and denounced by the other would be set aside."
============================================================================

Father Longenecker may prefer the "modernized" Church of ecumenism. But I prefer to hold fast to Holy Tradition.

How has the Church fared in regard to Father Longenecker's assertion that for the "church to be renewed properly we must turn to the original sources of the faith"?

Again, Father Longenecker stated that in "the decades building up to the council new discoveries were made about the earliest ages of the church. Archeological finds, textual research and Biblical and liturgical discoveries enabled Christian scholars to understand the beliefs, traditions and devotions of the first Christians as never before."

Did the Catholic Church lose Her way from the early centuries of the Faith until a few decades prior to Vatican II? I thought that Holy Mother Church, from Her beginning to "a few decades prior to Vatican II" had held fast to that which She had received from Jesus Christ and His Apostles?

After having read another puzzling column from Father Longenecker (I have been puzzled by much of what he's said ever since I first encountered his writings), I understand as to why more and more Catholics are turning to the FSSP, ICK, SSPX...to Holy Tradition. Said Faithful have tired of the "modernized" Catholicism that Father Longenecker promotes.

The TLM and Holy Tradition are the future of the (Latin) Church. (Ordinariates for various Protestant communities are fine.)

Pax.

Mark Thomas

johnnyc said...

Interfaith service with protestants = the Blessed Mother and the saints get put in the closet so as not to offend.

Anonymous said...

Pope Pius the 12th started the ecumenical movement? I thought that was more Pope John 23rd---under whom in 1960 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher (who crowned Queen Elizabeth in 1953), made a quick visit to Rome, the first time an Anglican bishop had ever visited there. Then under Pope Paul 6th came meetings with the ecumenical patriarch and a few more AOCs (Archbishops of Canterbury). In 1977, Dr. Donald Coggan, AOC 1975-1980, suggested intercommunion with Pope Paul 6th, who (rightly) nixed that concept.

I agree with the statements above---Anglicanism needs to drop the concept of women priests and bishops and get back to marriage of a man and woman. Until then, doesn't seem to be much point discussing other hot topics like the sacraments, birth control, abortion and Mary........

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

johnnyc - I have attended dozens of ecumenical events in Catholic and non-Catholic churches. Not once in a Catholic church have any statues or mentions of saints been "put in a closet."

Just last April the National Workshop on Christian unity was held in Louisville and the opening worship, which included all denominations present, was held in the Catholic cathedral there.

Nothing had been altered "so as not to offend."

John Nolan said...

Some forty-odd years ago a notably 'spiky' Anglican church on the south coast of England (its priest would go over to France and purchase at knock-down prices beautiful Roman vestments which Catholic churches over there were throwing out) hosted an 'ecumenical' service which welcomed Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, the Salvation Army, and presumably Papists as well as Anglicans of every stripe. I assume the local Anglican churches operated a rota system for these events.

The service comprised Solemn Vespers and Benediction. I was told one could scarcely see across the church for smoke. I don't know what the Prots made of it, and I suspect most of the Papists didn't see the like in their own parishes.

On a more serious note, for an insight into ecumenism from someone who had a lifetime's interest and involvement with it, read the memoirs of Louis Bouyer who is admirably clear and unprejudiced.

Relations with other denominations are coloured by the milieu in which one finds oneself. In 1950s England there was little sectarianism (it was, and still is, prevalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland) but the Established Church was prestigious and confident, and it viewed the Catholic minority with a mixture of tolerance and condescension. Catholics were conscious of the fact that the great cathedrals and parish churches had been built with Catholic money and for the Catholic liturgy but were effectively in the hands of heretics. They were also aware that the Anglican clergy were on the whole better educated than their own.

That, and the fact that many if not most Catholics were descended from Irish immigrants gave them a distinct cultural identity. No doubt it was similar in the great cities of North America, but the difference is that there is no established Church so denominations are more or less equal.

A slight correction to Dialogue's comment - although the monarch is Supreme Governor, the CofE is 'by law established' and is ultimately answerable to Parliament. Its bishops are still technically Prime Ministerial appointees.

Dialogue said...

Anonymous,

The medical research you mention is valuable for the practical reason you mention. If, however, medical research did little more than produce joint declarations which had no practical effect upon sick or susceptible people, then that would be a reality subject to legitimate scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Well, we could use some ecumenical prayers up here in Atlanta---and a rain dance (not in church of course!). It is bone-dry up here, scorched, parched, a la Arizona or the Greek Isles...while coastal Georgia has had too much rainfall this fall, we have had too little---far too little..less than an inch in the last 40 days. Is it a sign of the end times when we have day after day in North Georgia of 80+ degrees and no rain?!? But on the positive side, it will be great weather in Georgia to vote next week---if you have not done so already.

Anonymous said...

Medical Research is not designed to reach "joint declarations." Hence your complaint is not germane.

"Highfalutin" seems to be used here as a euphemism for "stuff I don't understand."

rcg said...

My family was mostly Catholic, Methodist, Pesberterian, and some Anglican, all according to marriage. For what ever reason, if a Baptist entered the fold he didn't last long as such and ended up one of the above. I do not recall a Church of Christ or Pentecostal ever even visiting our home although it must have happened. It may have been due our tolerance for alcohol and the family history with its manufacture. I don't recall any discussions denegrating a particular sect but do recall discussions of leadership, education, and intelligence. Bible thumping and ad hoc interpretations were not accepted.

Conversely, I did see quite a bit of sectarianism among the people I met from large cities on the east coast. This seemed due to their relatively recent arrival as they were usually parroting views of elders who had grown up in another country.

About the only group I know of that encouraged religious violence on a significant scale are Mormons. I don't know that there is a basis for ecumenism with them and they are largly living in peace these days.

Mark Thomas said...

"Pope Pius the 12th started the ecumenical movement?"

Pope Venerable Pius XII did not initiate the Ecumenical Movement. Pope Venerable Pius XII authorized Catholic participation in the Ecumenical Movement.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Pre-Pius XII and pre-John XXIII

"On Sept. 11, 1893, amidst great pomp and fanfare, the World’s Parliament of Religions opened in the Memorial Arts Palace near the grounds of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Among the delegates were adherents of various sects of Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism and Christianity including, significantly, several Catholic bishops such as Cardinal James Gibbons, the Archbishop of Baltimore; and Archbishop Patrick Feehan of Chicago." - See more at: http://www.paulist.org/the-conversation/worlds-parliament-of-religions-1893-1993-and-the-paulists/#sthash.PVGFMBE7.dpuf

Without waiting for ecclesiastical approval, or, I suspect, without seeking it, Bishop Geremia Bonomelli, Catholic bishop of Cremona, Italy, wrote a lengthy letter of greetings to the Protestant Missionary conference that was held in Edinburgh in 1910. The letter as read to the gatherings by American delegate Silas McBee.

Bonomelli had a young secretary, Rev. Angelo Roncalli....

THE MALINES COVERSATIONS The conversations were held in the Belgian primatial see of Malines (now normally referred to as Mechelen) from 1921 to 1927, largely on the initiative of Cardinal Mercier, but with tacit support from the Vatican and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York Randall Davidson and Cosmo Gordon Lang.

The number of participants varied but included on the Anglican side Lord Halifax, Bishops Frere and Gore and Armitage Robinson (Dean of Wells). The Catholic participants included Mercier himself, Batiffol, Hemmer, Portal and Mercier's successor van Roey, who wound up the conversations in 1927. Dom Lambert Beauduin's 1925 paper L'église anglicane unie, mais non absorbée was particularly remarked.[


Bonomelli had a young secretary, Rev. Angelo Roncalli....

TJM said...

So Father Kavanaugh if you're now a big fan of St. John XXIII I assume you ascribe to Veterum Sapientia and agree that "Latin is the language which joins the Church of today" and are ready, willing, and able to celebrate the Holy Mass in Latin?

Dialogue said...

Anonymous,

Then why did you mention medical research?

Dialogue said...

TJM,

More generally speaking, it would be helpful if Father Kavanaugh and others like him would produce their own catechism so we could know what it is exactly that they believe.

Anonymous said...

Read it again: "I wonder if you have the same attitude toward the academic research that goes into developing new procedures for fighting illness and disease. Would you call all that "highfalutin" lab work just a "showpiece."

Then you said, " If, however, medical research did little more than produce joint declarations..."

Then I said, "Medical Research is not designed to reach "joint declarations."

You took the idea and ran in the wrong direction.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Dialogue - I don't need a Catechism of my own. You've been here long enough to know that I cite the CCC with frequency. So, if you REALLY wanted to know what I believe . . . well, you already would.

John Nolan said...

Until 1965 Catholics in my diocese (Nottingham, England) were not allowed to worship with non-Catholics. I was then at school (King's School, Grantham, founded in the early 16th century by a pre-Reformation Catholic bishop) and we papists could not go into morning assembly until prayers were over. We could not attend the school carol service in the adjacent parish church and missed out on the half-holiday which went with it.

Within two years of the ban being lifted, the local Catholic church was hosting an ecumenical service, with hymns being accompanied by the Sally Army band. There was one concession to Catholic sensibilities - when saying the Lord's Prayer participants were instructed to omit the doxology.

In this respect, if in no other, I wouldn't want to return to the pre-1965 situation.

Dialogue said...

Father Kavanaugh,

That's a good point.

johnnyc said...

Fr, Kavanaugh......so you led the Rosary and/or the Litany of the Saints at these interfaith thingys?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

johnnyc - "Interfaith" and "Ecumenical" are two different things.

Ecumenical refers to Christians gathering for dialogue and/or prayer.

Interfaith refers to Christians and non-Christians gathering for dialogue and/or prayer.

In many instances, when an ecumenical gatherings is held in the church of one denomination, that denomination's prayer traditions are followed. For example, when the Georgia Christian Council met in a Catholic Church, we used the Liturgy of the Hours for our morning/evening prayers. Nothing was omitted. When we met in a Presbyterian church, prayer was arranged according to their norms.

Interfaith prayer is more problematic, for obvious reasons. Usually it is much simpler, since the aim is to be as inclusive as possible. In such circumstances, there would probably not be the recitation of the Rosary or the Litany of the Saints, since these do not reflect the faiths of all present.

People who put these things together are generally very respectful of the faith traditions of those attending. Expecting that an interfaith prayer service is, essentially, going to be a Catholic prayer service is unreasonable.

TJM said...

Still waiting for Fr. Kavanaugh's thoughts on Veterum Sapientia, since he has a new found interest in what St. John XXIII has to say!

johnnyc said...

"Interfaith prayer is more problematic, for obvious reasons. Usually it is much simpler, since the aim is to be as inclusive as possible. "

Inclusive except for those whose prayer life includes praying to the Saints.

"In such circumstances, there would probably not be the recitation of the Rosary or the Litany of the Saints, since these do not reflect the faiths of all present. "

Right so.....hide the Blessed Mother and the Saints so as not to offend.

John Nolan said...

Because the CofE is the state Church it is the focus for national commemorations (such as the upcoming Remembrance Sunday) and on these occasions becomes 'ecumenical' - most of those who attend are not parishioners, and many may not be religious at all. The service, however, is distinctly Christian. There is a recent trend for civic commemorations at war memorials to be deliberately 'interfaith' to the extent that spokesmen for atheism are included, as well as pacifists and (inevitably) environmentalists wittering on about climate change.

Catholics (especially overseas visitors) should time their visits to England's historic cathedrals to coincide with Evensong. There is usually room to sit in the choir and they will experience the Anglican tradition at its best. However, you can't really appreciate another denomination's traditions unless you value your own, and Catholics in recent years have not been good at this - something 'our separated brethren' have certainly noticed.

I have made a point over the years of taking non-Catholic friends to the Solemn Latin Mass at Brompton Oratory, so that they can experience the Catholic liturgy at its best. Their reaction has been invariably positive - I remember one girl being moved to tears.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

johnnyc - Not all Catholic prayer includes the Litany of the Saints or the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But keep in mind, in ecumenical and/or interfaith prayer services, we are NOT engaging in Catholic prayer.

For example, the litany is not included as a regular part of the Order of Christian Funerals. No mention is made of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Rite of Committal which is included in that Order.

You expectation that the Litany and the intercession of the BVM are or should be included in EVERY instance when Catholics are praying is mistaken.