Wednesday, November 2, 2016


The academics and those on the world stage of ecumenism, such as popes, bishops and theologians love tea and crumpet ecumenism where they can come together to discuss the finer academic points that they love to bloviate about. It is academic and ivory tower sort of stuff along with the tea and crumpets.

Pope Francis was quick, very, very quick to disavow women priest ever, and I mean forever, just moments after celebrating the Reformation with female ministers of the Lutheran Communion. Why? Because His Holiness damn well knows that if the Roman Catholic Church ever ordained women, our sacramental system would be as null and void as those of the Protestants and High  Anglicans. We would be like them and less like the Eastern Orthodox who have a valid priesthood and Sacramental System--they would then be the true Church because of the See of Peter went heretical and schismatic. Currently, the best chance for formal intercommunion exists with the Orthodox because we are on the same page when it comes to Holy Orders. That does not exist in Protestantism. 

But do rank and file Christians really want practical inter-communion in the highly competitive world of Protestantism?

And in Eastern Orthodoxy, whose congregations in this country are rather small, do they want their members to think it doesn't matter if they receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church or not?

No one wants to lose members or close their doors because they've been amalgamated in a larger denomination because there are supposedly no differences. It is bad for business.

For example, let's say that the Catholic Church went the route of Pope Benedict's vision of Christian Unity and allowed for Lutherans and Presbyterians a sort of Anglican Ordinariate already allowed Anglicans. In Richmond Hill, Georgia, there are tiny congregations of Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Lutherans. As far as I can tell the rector and congregation of St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church has no interest in joining the Catholic Church. If they did, they would be amalgamated into St. Anne Catholic Church because there would be no reason for a big Catholic Church and a small Catholic Church on the same street even if they had their own Ordinariate Liturgy. They don't want to join St. Anne Church, they are congregational, they want to be Episcopal and they, as a small congregation, don't want to lose members to us if we allowed intercommunion without addressing the invalidity of their Sacramental system due to invalid Holy Orders.

The same could be said of our Lutheran and Presbyterian tiny congregations. We have no Greek Orthodox in Richmond Hill, but if there was one they would want to guard against their members coming to the Catholic Church to receive Holy Communion at a liturgy that is far shorter than theirs.

So ecumenism that Pope Francis promotes is still more of the same tea and crumpet type. Come together for Thanksgiving and pray together. Have a nice reception, pat yourself on the back and work together as a non-governmental agency to help the poor. All nice things, but even non believers do these sorts of things for philanthropic and social purposes. People generally like getting along with each other and doing things together as long as it doesn't impinge upon their businesses.


Gene said...

It seems to me like there is more and more division, not only between protestants and Catholics, but also among protestant denominations and within the catholic Church. Every time you turn around there is another "Sword of Joshua True Gospel of Jesus Christ Church" in a metal building on the frontage road. The Baptists continue to divide like some intra-denominational mitosis you might see under a microscope, and the Pope can't dumb the Catholic Church down fast enough to try to keep up with it all.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

It is easy to dismiss discussions of "finer academic points" when one is unconcerned with such, or when one has never been a participant in such discussions. This is an unfortunate attitude because it belittles the serious work that is done in academic and theological circles that is directed to the unity of Christians.

Unfortunately, it belittles the work done by our former Bishop, Raymond Lessard, who devoted a great deal of time and energy to precisely this kind of work.

Also, dismissing common witness through service as a "tea an crumpet" thing indicates that you may not understand that this sort of witness is both called for by the Church's teaching and, more importantly, supportive of the work being done by those who meet for discussions of "finer academic points.'

Anonymous said...

To follow up on Father K, yes, then-Bishop Lessard had pretty good ties with the late Paul Reeves, who was the conservative, Anglo-Catholic bishop of the Savannah-based Episcopal Diocese of Georgia between 1972-1985. Bishop Lessard also maintained contact til the end of his life with Reeve's successor, Bishop Harry Shipps who is still around at age 90. Lessard even allowed the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist to be used for the consecration (in 1995) of Shipp's successor, Henry Louttit Jr. (There is a picture in the Augusta paper of Bishop Louttit on his mitre and chasuble with his daughters, one of whom was a priest---or priestess, whatever you call her.) I don't know how cordial Bishop Hartmayer and Scott Benhase, Savannah's current Episcopal bishop, are, but I believe there is an Episcopal Church somewhere in Rincon (Effingham County) that allows a Saturday night Catholic Mass to be held.

Atlanta's Catholic bishop recently wrote a column in our diocesan paper that ecumenical work is difficult and tedious, but must continue. I think our relations up here are warmer with the Greek Orthodox, but there are more Episcopalians in the Atlanta area than Orthodox and for years there have been ties between us and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. I remember back in 1978, when Pope Paul the 6th died, then-Archbishop Thomas Donnellan had the suffragan (auxiliary) bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and the dean of Atlanta's Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip over for a requiem Mass, and both (dressed in choir-like vestments) were seated near the main altar (on the side). About 10 years later, for the 50th anniversary of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta's Episcopal bishop coadjutor also was seated near the altar in his choir dress.

TJM said...

In my humble opinion, instead of focusing on Ecumenism, the Church should focus on repairing all of the destruction wrought by Vatican II's implementation, filling up OUR pews, and maybe then, we can act like "Mr. Big".

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

This type of ecumenism, the tea and crumpets metaphor, is nice and creates good tidings with people and as such I endorse it and carry it out. St. Anne is hosting the annual ecumenical Thanksgiving Service on Sunday evening Nov. 13. The collection will be for an ecumenical outreach in town to the poor. There is a reception following it. We will be nice and say nice things and the service will be spoken of as precious as is the word that southern protestants often use to describe these things.

St. Anne's in the 1980's allowed the local Episcopal congregation that did not have a church building yet (they do now) to rent our church. They celebrated their Eucharist on our altar each Sunday and they had a female priestess.

One of my concerns with indiscriminate ecumenism and illegal inter communion is that it gives Catholics the impression it doesn't matter which church you attend as long as you go and we have in many ways accepted the protestant mentality that if a Methodist marries a baptist they then join the Presbyterians. Many Catholics leave the Catholic Church and join a third denomination with their spouse or their spouses' church. This would have been very rare prior to our ecumenism of tea and crumpets these last 50 years or so.

Happy Liberal Catholic said...

With Pope Francis celebrating Martin Luther, and all but informally declaring him a saint, it is now each Catholic's duty and responsibility to imitate the great martin Luther and dissent and rebel against any archaic Catholic teaching that teaches intolerance (ie, anti-gay marriage, anti-woman/anti-choice abortion and birth control, anti-masturbation), that goes against the individual's conscience and dignity. This is a revolutionary moment for the Church, the complete fulfillment of Vatican II, the declaration that Luther was right! Praise God and his great rebel Martin Luther.

TJM said...

Fr. McDonald,

I can see the destruction of the Faith in my vast Irish Catholic family and the families of most friends of ours.

I am over 60 and did not drink the Vatican Disaster II kool-aid. However, most of my cousins no longer go to Church and they ALL went to Catholic grade schools and attended Mass weekly.

Of our children (mine and my cousins) roughly half are still nominally Catholic but many have left the Church. Their children are largely un-Churched.

I think in the next 10-20 years we will see massive closings of parishes and schools.

Great Job, Vatican II. Keep doing what you're doing! And by all means, push Ecumenism, yes, that's the ticket

rcg said...

FrAJM's last paragraph makes the point the OP insinuated: that Catholics think anything is OK as long as you are "going to church". Even that phrase makes my skin crawl because the Catholic should know that Mass is more than 'going to church'. There was a time when the distinction between a Catholic and a Protestant was that the Catholic knew his theology and the Protestant knew his Bible. It may be that the desire to soften the Catholic Church for the benefit of Protestantism in the spirit of ecumenism per Vatican II that the tenets of Faith were deemphasised to the point they are now regarded as trivial. Please note the previous discussion on the Requiem Mass for examples.

TJM said...

"Happy Liberal Catholic", you are no Catholic. You may wish to consider the Episcopal Church where feelings and wishful thinking are superior to belief and doctrine.You may wish to reconsider your love affair with Luther. He was an anti-semite

Anonymous said...

Fr. McDonald, I think you should be honest and tell your ecumenical participants that you think the event is "precious," with all the derision that that term includes, and that you see the event as nothing more than saying nice things about each other.

Or, as I suspect will be the case, you will say nothing of the sort, all the while hiding your self-righteousness under the hem of your cassock.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You seem to think I decry the tea and crumpets approach. I actually like both and enjoy them and see it as a perfect way to move away from Christians bickering with each other to a dialogue, but it has gone as far as it can. And that is fine too, unless we move in the Anglican Ordinariate mode for those to whom it could be applicable--that's working for true Christian unity without compromising on the Deposit of Faith one iota.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You don't like cassocks and surplices, well then, I could hide behind a coat and tie.

Tony V said...

I tend to agree with Fr K--the theological details are important. But on the other hand, they're not important to most people on the ground. Other things are what matter to them.

It's much easier to leave the Catholic Church for a Protestant sect since Vatican II because Paul VI ill-conceived liturgical 'reforms' protestantised the liturgy. And why go to a Catholic church for a protestant liturgy when you get the real thing from the people who, frankly, do it better?

I went to an All Souls Day requiem mass today--it was an SSPX chapel because of course you won't find it at my parish church. Three male and three female voices provided a polyphonic Sanctus, Agnus Dei and motet; Gregorian chant for the propers. What were Montini and Bugnini thinking? And why didn't the bishops (save 2) stand up to them?

TJM said...

Tony V,

Because the bishops were (and are) weanies. They can't even excommunicate "catholic" politicians who prominently support abortion on demand and gay marriage. What would you expect on the liturgy then?

Anonymous said...

You say you like them, but then you belittle them as "tea and crumpets," as "precious" events, as saying "nice things" to and about each other.

You error is in thinking that this level of engagement was meant to go farther than it has gone.

It was never envisioned to be the basis for recovering the original unity of the Church. But it is also of far greater significance than you admit, given that, 50-plus years ago, such things would not have happened since WE and THEY still had our apologetic force shields in place and our theological photon torpedoes at the ready.

If you think the "Tea and Crumpet" level of ecumenical engagement is so worthless or pointless or played out, then be honest and say so to the guests you will welcome to your church.

TJM said...

Anonymous at 2:32

Why not adopt a moniker, it's getting beyond ridiculous responding to a non-entity. You're not worthy to tie Fr. McDonald's shoelaces. Too bad we can't start up the "auto da fe" just for you.

Happy Liberal Catholic said...

"Comments that are...insulting to others will not be published"

I voiced my opinion, which is the majority opinion of rank and file Catholics, and TJM out of nowhere, takes it upon himself to insult me, daring to judge me as not being Catholic. How dare you, TJM. You should be suspended from posting comments for at least one month. I know gob, Anonymous and Fr Kavanaugh agree with me about these slanderous hit job comments. We have God and Pope Francis on our side.

Anonymous said...

Well. how about a light moment here? Back in the 1960s, a Catholic commissioned someone to make some new, elaborate vestments for Atlanta's Cathedral of Christ the King. Turns out, Atlanta's Episcopal cathedral, St. Philips, is almost right across the street (it is the big golden brick church you see coming north on Peachtree Road into Buckhead, on a hill as Peachtree makes a sharp turn to the right), and whoever was responsible for delivering the vestments left them at the Episcopal cathedral! Well, the donor was so embarrassed by the situation, he allowed the Episcopalians to keep the vestments (golden chasubles, copes and the like) and commissioned some additional ones for Christ the King. Legend is that the vestments were so fine, the Episcopalians only use them at Easter and Christmas.

TJM said...

Happy Liberal Catholic,

I wouldn't want the endorsement of gob, anonymous or Fr Kavanuagh because it would mean I have ceased to be Catholic. Your comments on Martin Luther were incendiary and the positions you have taken are anathema. Typical liberal, shut down debate or comments you don't like. Are you some kind of campus snowflake?

Anonymous said...

TJM says: "...the positions you have taken are anathema."

AS IF you had any authority whatsoever to declare some one or someone's ideas to be "anathema."

You delusions of grandeur are getting serious now.

TJM said...


If you take each one of Liberal Catholics positions, and then refer to the Catholic Catechism promulgated by St. John Paul II, it is fairly simple to reach the conclusions that I have. Not delusions of grandeur, just a faithful Catholic calling out fake catholics. Pope Francis would agree, by the way.

Anonymous said...

TJM - You do not have the authority to pronounce anathemas against any one. It's part of your tragedy that you cannot accept this.

John Nolan said...


I think if you reread Happy Liberal Catholic's original post you will find irony so heavy it's like being hit with a sledgehammer. And this continues in his follow-up comment.

Why is it that irony, so easily discerned in the printed word, falls flat on the internet?

Gene said...

Happy Liberal Catholic, what is "dignified" about gay marriage, abortion, and masturbation?

Happy Liberal Catholic said...

Gene, the human being is dignified, and deserves dignity, no matter what.