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A Defense of the Ecumenical Gathering at Assisi (Ecumenism in St. Thomas Aquinas)
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism ^ | uncertain | Fr. Moriselli

Posted on 08/25/2002 8:41:48 PM PDT by petrusv2

A Defense of the Ecumenical Gathering at Assisi

( Ecumenism in St. Thomas Aquinas)

Fr. Alfredo M. Morselli

The meeting in Assisi (27 October 1986) is a very complex issue: there are a lot of issues here, and it is necessary to study all of them and - above all - [to] make the proper distinctions. In my mail I intended only to give a moral evaluation of the act itself and show that it was morally unexceptionable. Initially we must ask ourselves: "Did the pope sin in the Assisi meeting?" John Paul II theorized also, in his speeches, theological justifications of this act. We must ask ourselves "Are these justifications correct or heretical?"

After this we must pose to ourselves a second kind of question: "Was this act advisable or did this act create scandal and disadvantages which were more numerous than advantages?" And then we can examinate correlated facts, such as the statue of Buddha placed on top of the tabernacle. "What is the value of prayers of infidels?," etc. Every man must be religious, by natural law; if the prayers of infidels are always a sin, we would have a contradiction between natural law and positive divine law; but we cannot admit this.

A third kind of question would be: "Is there a difference between John Paul II's theology and that of many progressist theologians, who teach all religions are equivalent." A study of this kind reveals gigantic differences! Why, among principal progressive theologians (Rahner, Kung, feminist theology, etc), nobody aplauded this act?

Another important question: "Is John Paul II's teaching contradictory to the teaching of other popes"? Before trying to answer to this question, let's ask ourselves: "How many people read a large part of the magisterium about this issue; is it sufficent to read two or three encyclicals to judge living papal teaching? How many Catholics know or have read papal speeches about Assisi?

So, let's go step by step, with great patience. I'm only a poor parish priest of a mountain village that tries to give answers. There is an Italian proverb that says; "when there are not horses, donkeys run." We must look for traditional answers merging the teaching of John Paul II, the teaching of previous popes, and the teaching of Scholastic theologians about the salvation of unbelievers.

It's a work of pioneers, which will be useful if we will make our way with great humility, patience and great love for the pope. I ask myself: Before thinking that the pope has "false and erronous ideas and practices," isn't it necessary that I try to make any effort to understand His acts? Between the pope and myself, who has more probability to blunder? Have I well understood what the pope did, what he said, the remote context of his affirmations? Have I looked for a solution in texts by approved scholars? Am I sure my opinion is a definitive verdict about the Holy Father?

Another priest wrote:

Somebody posed me the objection of scandal or correct understanding of Assisi; we can talk about this aspect of the issue after we bring to an end the question of the act itself. We may debate the consequences of the act after full examination of the act itself. Nevertheless, I will try to answer every question list members pose to me.

We have here a shifting of accent: we have to distinguish between the act itself fulfilled by the pope (staying together to pray) and the organization of the meeting. Nevertheless the pope has some responsibility for this organization: is it a sin to invite unbelievers to pray? To answer to this question, we must ask ourselves: "must an unbeliever pray?"

I call up here a dinstinction by St.Thomas:

The fact that "unbelief by way of pure negation" is not a sin, is not only a Thomist concept, but it's also a verity of faith: St. Pius V condemned the proposition "Infidelitas pure negativa in his quibus Christus non est predicatus peccatum est" (D +1068) (=Purely negative unbelief, in those whom Christ was not preached to, is a sin).

A great Thomist theologian , De Victoria, specified also the degree of necessary predication, in order that negative unbelief become positive: it's necessary for not only a simple presentation of faith, but a presentation including all necessary motives of credibility. In fact St. Thomas teaches that "Nobody would believe if he doesn't see he must believe" (non enim crederet nisi videret ea esse credenda - S.Th., II II, q. 1, a. 4 ad 2). Only God knows the degree of innocence or culpability in the heart of unbelievers.

So we can pose a more definite question: must an unbeliever (an unbeliever by way of pure negation) pray? I think the answer is "yes," because, according to St. Thomas's teaching, we know that religion is a part of Justice, and Justice is an obligation by natural law. Every man must be religious, because every man must be upright (iustus). Prayer is an act of religion (not an act of faith), so every man must pray. So we must say to an unbeliever: follow natural law; you must be prudent, temperant, strong, upright.

St. Thomas says:

How is it possible that God orders man to be religious, knowing that men (today the majority of humankind), although unbelivers "by way of pure negation," performing this precept, will sin? If an unbeliever doesn't pray, he sins (against natural law). If an unbeliver prays, he sins, beacuse He doesn't pray to the true God. This would be a trap!

Therefore, I conclude that invitation to unbelievers to pray, is not a formal participation in an act of false religion, but is a formal invitation to be religious, to follow natural law. The pope doesn't says: "Pray to a false God," but "Pray [as best you can]." Everything false in such act of religion, becomes an "indirect voluntary" (as the death of a child in case of removal of a cancerous uterus).

But now there are some new questions: Why must man be religious if he cannot know true religion? May an act of religion be specified by a false material object (as the one of false religion)? According to St. Thomas, the exercise of religion by an unbeliever may be a sort of natural preparation to receive grace: In IV Sent., II, d. 28 q. 1, a. 4 ad 4:

S. Th., I II, 109 6 c

So the prayer of an unbeliever "by way of pure negation", even though materially false, is a fulfilment of natural law given by God Himself- a preparation to Grace.

I say with St Paul:"...I will not even be the judge of my own self. It is true that my conscience does not reproach me, but that is not enough to justify me: it is the Lord who is my judge" (1 Cor. 4:3-4). I dont' know; nobody cannot know the degree of innocence of unbelievers. But in a missionary approach, it is natural to suppose the good faith of our interlocutor. Nobody knows our true disposition, not even we ourselves (with absolute certainty); so, nobody will begin a missionary dialogue with an unbeliver saying: "Dear sir, I don't know your degree of innocence; maybe my effort is vain because you are not an unbeliever by way of negation: so you will go to hell; but, in case you are an unbeliever by way of negation, in this case we will accomplish something positive."

None among traditional missionaries begins his speech in a such manner. All missionary speeches hope for the good faith of the interlocutor. The fact that a missionary knows that not all men are good, doesn't exempt him from trying to convert, step by step, all men. And the first step of conversion is the observance of natural law. In addition, although we know not all men are in good faith, we don't know which are good or bad people. I didn't say "in Assisi all people were good," but rather, "it was allowable to invite all men to pray, hoping they were in good faith."

We must distinguish the virtue of religion before and after original sin. If Adam hadn't sinned, what an easy issue the demonstration of the existence of God would have been! But after original sin, as Vatican I teaches, a clear concept of God is very difficult, and we have the moral necessity of revelation also for verities that are recognizable, themselves, by natural reason. The most intelligent -perhaps- of pagan people, Aristotle, conceived an idea of God that is not true. (Hegel is more Aristotelian than St. Thomas: our St Thomas has substantially changed Aristotle's concept of God). I don't believe particular judgment will be an "examination of methaphysics": nevertheless what St Paul writes is true and it must be well understood.

Here it is opportune to examine the "Unknown God" of Acts 17:23:

What is the history of this cult to the "Unknown God"?: St. John Chrysostom tells us the story, when the Athenians send Philippides to ask help for Sparta, in his travel he had a spectral vision of a mysterious personage, who said to him: "Why don't you worship me? I will help you." Hence the worship to an "Unknown God." But the great Card. Baronius gives another explication, which is not irreconciliable with the previous one. Athenians were understanding that was impossible to attribute to their gods the peculiarities of the idea of "to be" (esse): the natural, implicit, perception of vanity of idols let them think of a quite different god, whose attributes were not yet definite. It's reasonable that people who enunciated such sophisticated concepts of "to be" (esse), were dissatisfied with idols. So the "Unknown God" was the object of this interior query of a true God, "unknown" because "not yet known."

All these premises indicate that many idolatrous cults of antiquity (as some contemporaneous people) were not formally idolatrous, because there was not formal attribution of divine attributes to idols (such as eternity, first principle, plenitude of being, etc.). What I wrote is not only an hypothis, but a scientific statement of the Ethnologic School of History of Religions. The great Wilhem Schmidt, author of the monumental work Ursprung der Gottesidee (Origin of the Idea of God) shows that a lot of people and primitive religions, - even though they had worship that, at first glance, we could define as idolatrous-, all these people believed in a one principal God, and only this god had attributes such as eternity, universal causality, infinity, providence etc.

In the case of unbelievers by way of negation, this idolatry can be reduced to a (at least sometimes) not culpable "vain observance" or to a vain observance that is not irreconcilable with natural law. Implicit faith is impossible within the context of formal idolatry; but I think it's very difficult to find truly formal idolatry because it's difficult, after original sin, conceiving the idea of God that must attributed to idols to be idolatrous in the proper sense.

Let's imagine asking a primitive biblical Canaanite; "which idea of God are you attributing to your idols?" What could he answer? Could he answer "ipsum esse subsistens," "esse per se et non per partecipationem"? (I don't want to say that there were not also truly pagan gnostic mythologies). We can understand biblical maledictions against idolatry, to preserve true religion among Jews. But we must believe that God also loves the Canaanites and othersunbelievers and that he also offered salvation to them.

There were no Satanists at Assisi. Obviously the acts of natural religon that can prepare for grace must be compatible with all natural law; so we must exclude sexual or magic practices etc. But in Assisi the issue was the prayer.

If someone ascribes to "The Blue Elephant" authentic divine preogatives, it's impossible for them to have implicit faith. If someone doesn't ascribe to "The Blue Elephant" authentic divine prerogatives, and someone understands he must be religious, and there is also the perception of the necessity of existence of a God quite different, it's possible this can be, "per accidens" a preparation to grace. We can extend here the principle of "erroneous conscience in invincible manner."

We don't forget that God doesn't give impossible orders. If natural law orders man to be religious, we have two solutions.

But we cannot admit B.

We must not forget also that God dispenses his grace to this concrete man after original sin: and God knows the difficulties of building a natural theology.

The invitation for Assisi was an invitation to do "as much as anyone can", as St. Thomas wrote "quod in se est facit," preparing oneself in this manner to receiving grace. And this invitation is possible, without betting one dollar on the good faith of participants at the meeting.

May we assume a good act of religion expressing veneration to false gods?

Let's consider Cornelius the centurion:

I don't want suggest solutions "sola scriptura"!:-)) But, as an alternative, I would like to survey how medieval theologians - especially our St.Thomas - considered the prayer of a pagan man before his conversion.

Certainly his prayer - before conversion - was not the right worship at all; Cornelius' religion was not "THE true religion." But, nevertheless, this prayer was accepted by God. And why were Cornelius' prayers "accepted by God"? Because - St. Thomas says, he had "implicit faith." Well, we find ourselves in front of a prayer of a pagan, who had "implicit faith." Let's note that this is a prayer after the coming of Jesus Christ.

We find ourselves, about this issue, between two great theological errors: the necessity of faith to be absolutely explicit: in this perspective (Jansenist et al), man would have to have explicit cognition of all the verities of faith to be saved - and, on the other side, a faith as an a priori act; in this perspective, any worship of any undefinite god - regardless of the content of this act - would be sufficient to make every man a Christian. This is - substantially and in the broadest sense - the Anonymous Christian Theory, at least as this theory is vulgarized.

But now, let's return to the heart of the issue:

The prayer of Cornelius was a false worship, but it has been made a good prayer by faith; an implicit faith:

S Th. II II q. 10 a. 4 ad 3 (in some editions ad 4)

But may we compare Cornelius, who was very near to true religion, with a Hindu or an animist, very far from Truth? Yes, we may! Let's hear St. Thomas:

in IV Sent, III d. 25 q. 2 a. 2

Why may St.Thomas say that? Because, formally, the one who doesn't acknowledege even one article of faith, sins aginst all faith! Here nothing is more true than James 2:10: "You see, anyone who keeps the whole of the Law but trips up on a single point, is still guilty of breaking it all." We cannot judge an unbeliever by way of pure negation looking at how much he believes absolutely - because only a little less would be a sin against faith; "one more one less" destroys faith; the criterion must be quite different: We must look at the disposition of the subject and how much is explicit Truth that God revealed to him. The whole - we may take as point of reference - is not the whole faith itself, but the the faith as much as it is revealed to the particular unbeliever.

Before we advance in our study, here is another important quotation that shows that the degree of explicit faith may be very small and quite sufficient for salvation.

II II ,a. 2 q. 7 ad 3.

Title of the question: "Whether it is necessary for the salvation of all, that they should believe explicitly in the mystery of Christ?"

Some pagan people got salvation,

Conclusion: It's possible that worship by an unbeliever (by way of pure negatin) can be accepted by God. It's the implicit faith, the supernatural grace, which makes this act acceptable. The natural obligation to be religious doesn't trap the unbeliever so that "he must sin by natural law": the unbeliever finds the divine rescue: the gift of implicit faith. The implicit faith may be, materially, very poor.

We must now ask ourselves, "What exactly is implicit faith?"

II II ,a. 2 q. 7 ad 3.

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) Summa Theologica Second Part of the Second Part Question 5 Article 3:

{Translated by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Copyright © 1947 Benzinger Brothers Inc., Hypertext Version Copyright © 1995, 1996 New Advent Inc.}

There is a witty Italian witty proverb that says: "Did you want the bike? Now pedal!" You posed me a lot of questions about Assisi, and now endure my answers! :-)) Well, where did we leave off?

We have now to deal bravely with a decisive issue, because HERE is the difference between Assisi and modernism, false ecumenism, panchristianism etc.

The issue is about the contents of implicit faith: any faith, more or less explicit, must have contents - more exactly, supernatural revealed contents -, otherwise it would not be faith, but human thought. According to modernists, religion is the emerging of religious feelings: for modernists, the content of this feeling is not important: a good existential outcome of this religious sentiment is sufficient. So they reason: "Are you contented or satisfied to be a Buddhist or to practice Your homemade religion? Let this sentiment emerge! If you let your religious sentiment emerge, you are a Christian, even though you are not conscious of being a Christian."

What is the difference between implicit faith, as we have learned by St.Thomas, and this modernist conception? The differences concern dispositions of the subject, and the object itself. Man knows, by natural reason, that he must pursue his utimate end; man knows this end is good, lovely; so he desires to pursue his ultimate end. Grace manages to get into this natural desire, and so this natural desire becomes supernatural; this is the psychological beginning of the act of faith. There are already important differences between the Catholic and modernist conceptions of faith.

God himself reveals the means of act of faith, the objective contents, even though this knowledge may be not completely explicit. Gods acts in two manners:

1) with his natural providence; an unbeliever can admire the creation (Rom. 1:20: ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things) and believe (but he may also not believe); or God sends a missionary to the unbeliever.

2) with an immediate supernatural inspiration: we can read the autobiography of some convert, and admire their reflections. But we cannot exclude mysterious inspirations in the hearts of a lot of umbelievers: may we think that a poor primitive in Amazonia or in Asia is forgotten by God?

In both cases, a truth, a content, a supernatural - implicit or explicit - revelation, is proposed to man. A good will wants, "chooses," all these means God revealed to her.

St. Thomas says, about such unbelievers -a man that doesn't believe by way of pure negation, as Cornelius, but adheres to everything God reveals to him, that "he does as much he can (quod in se est facit) - he is not, formally, an unbeliver - he has implicit faith."

In, this sense we may better understand the word by Fr. Garrigou Lagrange: "Formally are more far from true religion people who deviated preserving many dogmas than people who tend to Catholicism embracing few verities."

A primitive man in the jungle, who "does as much he can", has more faith than a dissident theologian! And we have the same faith of the primitive man - in this sense we believe in the same God -, but we have not the same faith of a dissident theologian, and we don't believe in the same God as the dissident theologian, even though he can understand trinitarian procession better than us. We can so understand what St. Paul says in Acts 17:23 "...the unknown God you revere is the one I proclaim to you." In another sense, we have not the same God of the primitive, but we have the same God of the dissident theologian (from a merely material point of view). In this last sense is true that gods of pagan people are devils.

We can understand also why Pope St. Pius X says, in Pascendi, that modernism is the enemy not only of the Catholic religion, but of all religions: because the act of religion, the act that could precede a conversion, is basically undermined. So Fr. Cornelius a Lapide says that in the last days, the Antichrist will fight against all religion!

I tried only to begin to study the facts of Assisi: you didn't read the complete argumentation which would be necessary, but only few e-mails by a mountain priest. I believe I have shown that Assisi is not only a question of ecumenism, but that a lot of issues are implied. We cannot have an unconscious tour d'esprit: "Mortalium Animos didn't provide for Assisi, so Assisi is an heinous fact." There are some new facts that are not in pre-concilar handbooks; and we must be able to evaluate them in a serene manner. The battle for traditional liturgy, for Catholic Tradition et al, expects "new wine in fresh skins" (Luke 5:38).

And what must we say about ecumenism? I confess that when I hear this word, my hair stands on end! :-)) But let's forget for a moment this word. Must we try any effort in order that unbelievers convert themselves! Yes, we must. May we compel the act of faith? No, we may not. May we try to persuade and convince them with arguments? Yes! And how do we begin this persuasion? "Hi Protestant; your mother was not an honest woman! Convert yourself, otherwise hell will gulp you down," or trying to not "break the crushed reed or snuff the faltering wick" (Is. 42:3)? Trying to not break the crushed reed or snuff the faltering wick . . . And is this a missionary action? Yes, it's a missionary action. And must we be missionaries? Yes, we must. Is the term ecumenism abused and used to pass the worse foul errors? Yes, but we must be missionaries even though the term is abused.

Main Index & Search / Traditionalist Page / Orthodoxy and Ecumenism Index / St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas

Edited by Dave Armstrong, from forwarded e-mail letters: 1 August 1999.

TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: assisi; interfaithprayer
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1 posted on 08/25/2002 8:41:48 PM PDT by petrusv2
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To: petrusv2
May we try to persuade and convince them with arguments? Yes! And how do we begin this persuasion? "Hi Protestant; your mother was not an honest woman! Convert yourself, otherwise hell will gulp you down,"

Actually my mom wore Army boots:>)

2 posted on 08/25/2002 8:45:08 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

You are redundant and obsessive. Odd that you enjoy posting the picture of the New Guinea mass every day.
5 posted on 08/25/2002 9:36:23 PM PDT by St.Chuck
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To: petrusv2
Good post but to be honest, most of it was over my head. The Holy Father has distilled it for dummies like me.

"Our confession of' Christ as the only Son, through whom we ourselves see the Father's face (cf. Jn 14:8), is not arrogance that disdains other religions, but joyful gratitude that Christ has revealed himself to us without any merit on our part. At the same time, he has obliged us to continue giving what we have received and to communicate to others what we have been given, since the Truth that is has been given and the Love which is God belong to all people.

With the Apostle Peter, we confess that "there is salvation in no one else" (Acts 4:12). The Declaration Dominus Iesus, following the lead of the Second Vatican Council, shows us that this confession does not deny salvation to non-Christians, but points to its ultimate source in Christ, in whom man and God are united. God gives light to all in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation, granting them salvific grace in ways known to himself.

6 posted on 08/25/2002 9:56:32 PM PDT by Theresa
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You're interesting in the same way a car wreck is interesting.

We look, then drive on.

7 posted on 08/25/2002 9:58:26 PM PDT by sinkspur
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To: sinkspur
"The theological dissent and schismatic behavior of the Feeneyites, however, would seem a particularly dangerous course of action indeed for those who preach in the strongest terms possible . Their words might come back to haunt them."

8 posted on 08/25/2002 11:19:25 PM PDT by Theresa
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When the Pope Kissed the Koran

By Stephen Hand

Back in 1999, on the 14th of May, according to the Patriarch of the Chaldeans, at the end of an audience between the Pope and some delegates of the Islamic Shiite and Sunni factions, the Pope bowed as “a sign of respect” toward a copy of the Koran which was presented to him as a gift. When the book was officially “presented to him,” the Pope, perhaps a bit perplexed concerning the appropriate protocol for such an official gesture, kissed it; again, as a “sign of respect toward the 34 million followers of Islam”. The event was reported by the Fides news service. It turned out to be more controversial a sign than the Pope and Vatican ever expected, since both Neomodernist and Integrist reactionaries pounced on it. The former to suggest that all religions were essentially one, and the latter to suggest that the Pope had, well, er, left the Faith.

Both, of course, were utterly wrong, and both---who are temperamentally and psychologically joined at the hip in not a few ways---refused to look long at the Church’s actual teachings, the texts which clearly explain what the Church’s attitude toward other religions is-----and is not.

It is the reaction of the latter which concerns us here.

Every religion, sadly, has its Pharisees, the ones who are more royal than the king, the (only) “true” believers. It is an attitude, a psychological type, which comes in degrees of severity and is tied up with legalism, a preference for the letter as opposed to the spirit of the law. What the Taliban is to Islam, Integrism approximately is to Catholicism.

Pharisees, thinking themselves the only true observers of the law, love to debate, to bait and trap the unwary victim, as they tried to do with our Lord on many an occasion. This attitude finds its logical completion in the Essenes who broke off entirely from the Temple (unlike Jesus, His Mother and St. Joseph) and fled to the desert proclaiming themselves the true temple, the remnant of Israel. They are, it is obvious, seldom aware of the pride which feeds such behavior or the logs in their own eyes.

In Catholicism, if the Neo-modernists are the Saducees, i.e., the rationalists who tend to doubt articles of Faith, then the Integrists are very clearly our modern Pharisees, the ones who fancy themselves the true interpreters of the “fathers” and of the letter of the law.

The Pharisee wants an easy, hyper-logical world, a world of airtight Yes-No compartments, where people are either “in” or “out”. In Our Lord’s day they considered Jesus lax with sinners and heathen, dubious in doctrine, fickle regarding the inviolable law. They viewed him with suspicion and ultimately felt he had to be removed altogether. They preferred a religion where the question of the "spirit," or the heart of the law----the ultimate telos / goal to which the law tends----was not welcome, despite the warnings of the major and minor prophets. For the Pharisee it is easy: The woman sinned against her husband? Stone her. The Pope kissed the Koran? Throw him out, follow the law. Such is the spirit of the Pharisee, then and now.

The Pharisee is more comfortable with executing judgment than mercy which is considered a complicating factor. He prefers a simple world where one always knows what to do. That makes debating easier; and our modern Pharisee loves to debate. He wakes up in the morning and aims straightway for the computer to either engage the debate or aid his fellows in it. His religion often exists in chat rooms or on email lists where he seeks to draw the first blood. Mercy is like an ‘X’ in the equation of justice and makes the Pharisee uncomfortable. Just the same with love and the kind of religion as described in Isaiah 58 or Matt 5-7. Such concepts complicate their neat rule book (though most of these guys have never been trained in Catholic theology and hermeneutics).

The Pope Kissed the Koran

The Pope kissed the Koran. Our new version Pharisee immediately salivates. He is ready to pounce and add such an indictable emblem to his files. And what does it prove? That the Pope is a secret Muslim maybe? That the Pope doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ maybe? That the Pope is a relativist, perhaps? A syncretist for sure? That all religions are one in the Pope’s mind? The Pope also kisses the ground upon landing in various countries on pastoral visits. A secret pantheist?

The Pope, of course, teaches the very opposite everywhere. The facts are well known, if one would take the time to learn. Yet the Pharisee has a penchant for turning ones eyes from anything that will reveal his opinion to be an absurdity. Even authoritative texts matter little if they can be simply brushed under the rug of bigotry.

Yet facts are stubborn. The gesture of the Pope by no means indicates syncretism, relativism, or anything of the sort. Cynical Integrists simply seek to make hay of it, as they do of everything else. It is the way of the Pharisee. That way they sell their papers to the gullible. They would rather not believe that the kiss was merely a gesture, as one would bow before a king, or a President, or even kiss the Pope’s ring. They would rather put the worst and most absurd construction on it, like with everything else. Had they been there they would have sent the Three Wise Men---heathens---packing; the Roman Centurion whom our Lord helped too (pagan). And the good Samaritan would have been viewed very simply as a dismal heretic. I know rigroist Feeneyites who must first baptise (in their minds) the good thief on the Cross before they will concur with our Lord's pronouncement concerning him. Legalism...

I adduce the following texts, from innumerable others, not for debate, but to show those confused by them that the Pope’s teaching is nothing like the accusations and framing of the Integrists.

For the Holy Father, dialogue does not substitute for evangelism/mission, but is a part of that mission of evangelism, divorced from neither love nor truth.

The emphasis is mine throughout below.


2. From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human history; at times some indeed have come to the recognition of a Supreme Being, or even of a Father. This perception and recognition penetrates their lives with a profound religious sense. Religions, however, that are bound up with an advanced culture have struggled to answer the same questions by means of more refined concepts and a more developed language. Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways," comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4)

From Redmptoris Missio:

55. Inter-religious dialogue is a part of the Church's evangelizing mission. Understood as a method and means of mutual knowledge and enrichment, dialogue is not in opposition to the mission ad gentes; indeed, it has special links with that mission and is one of its expressions . This mission, in fact, is addressed to those who do not know Christ and his Gospel, and who belong for the most part to other religions. In Christ, God calls all peoples to himself and he wishes to share with them the fullness of his revelation and love. He does not fail to make himself present in many ways, not only to individuals but also to entire peoples through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main and essential expression, even when they contain "gaps, insufficiencies and errors."(98) All of this has been given ample emphasis by the Council and the subsequent Magisterium, without detracting in any way from the fact that salvation comes from Christ and that dialogue does not dispense from evangelization.(99)

In the light of the economy of salvation, the Church sees no conflict between proclaiming Christ and engaging in interreligious dialogue. Instead, she feels the need to link the two in the context of her mission ad gentes . These two elements must maintain both their intimate connection and their distinctiveness ; therefore they should not be confused, manipulated or regarded as identical, as though they were interchangeable

CDF’s Dominus Iesus: See CDF document here

4. The Church's constant missionary proclamation is endangered today by relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, not only de facto but also de iure (or in principle). As a consequence, it is held that certain truths have been superseded; for example, the definitive and complete character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, the nature of Christian faith as compared with that of belief in other religions, the inspired nature of the books of Sacred Scripture, the personal unity between the Eternal Word and Jesus of Nazareth, the unity of the economy of the Incarnate Word and the Holy Spirit, the unicity and salvific universality of the mystery of Jesus Christ, the universal salvific mediation of the Church, the inseparability — while recognizing the distinction — of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the Church, and the subsistence of the one Church of Christ in the Catholic Church.

6. Therefore, the theory of the limited, incomplete, or imperfect character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, which would be complementary to that found in other religions, is contrary to the Church's faith. Such a position would claim to be based on the notion that the truth about God cannot be grasped and manifested in its globality and completeness by any historical religion, neither by Christianity nor by Jesus Christ.

7. ...Thus, theological faith (the acceptance of the truth revealed by the One and Triune God) is often identified with belief in other religions, which is religious experience still in search of the absolute truth and still lacking assent to God who reveals himself. This is one of the reasons why the differences between Christianity and the other religions tend to be reduced at times to the point of disappearance.

Most critical to our concern:

8. The hypothesis of the inspired value of the sacred writings of other religions is also put forward. Certainly, it must be recognized that there are some elements in these texts which may be de facto instruments by which countless people throughout the centuries have been and still are able today to nourish and maintain their life-relationship with God. Thus, as noted above, the Second Vatican Council, in considering the customs, precepts, and teachings of the other religions, teaches that “although differing in many ways from her own teaching, these nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men”.23

The Church's tradition, however, reserves the designation of inspired texts to the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, since these are inspired by the Holy Spirit.24 Taking up this tradition, the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council states: “For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 20:31; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:19-21; 3:15-16), they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself”.25 These books “firmly, faithfully, and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures”.26

Nevertheless, God, who desires to call all peoples to himself in Christ and to communicate to them the fullness of his revelation and love, “does not fail to make himself present in many ways, not only to individuals, but also to entire peoples through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main and essential expression even when they contain ‘gaps, insufficiencies and errors'”.27 Therefore, the sacred books of other religions, which in actual fact direct and nourish the existence of their followers, receive from the mystery of Christ the elements of goodness and grace which they contain.

It is very clear, then, that neither the Pope nor Vatican II promotes doctrinal relativism, much less syncretism. This is why the neo-modernists consider the Pope a veritable inquisition. They can read. Yet the joyless Integrist can be counted on to always put the worst possible construction on any event or text (even if they usually prefer to simply ignore than compare texts). Thus they alleviate some of their anxiety for airtight security, even if it means fleeing from the vulnerability and suffering of the cross in our time. The Integrist is never so gleeful as when in [the diversion of] debate. Those of us who have known them intimately consider this one of their most striking and constant characteristics. To debate them is to feed their pride. Better to sincerely pray for them often. It is tragic beyond words when truth itself is inconsequential to the act of debating.

The Church, then, rejects nothing which is good, true or holy in other religions, but condemns all syncretistic theology as it did with Frs. Anthony de Mello's and Tissa Balasuriya's writings; see also the CDF's warnings to the bishops of India regarding syncretism and erroneous christologies; also its warnings about eastern meditation, etc.

9 posted on 08/26/2002 6:07:12 AM PDT by petrusv2
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: St.Chuck; HDMZ
Odd that you enjoy posting the picture of the New Guinea mass every day.

LOL I had a friend who was a lay misionary there for years and my sister lived there for over a decade. That is the way they dress. What is interesting to note is that bare breasted woman shows more christian charity towards the Pope than does the clothed sedevacantist HDMZ

Clothes definitely do not make the man.

Hey, HDMZ, do you have scandalous photos of Jesus talking to that Samritan woman?

11 posted on 08/26/2002 7:35:48 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: petrusv2
Great post. I remember reading this first at That is a site that everyone ought to book mark and visit daily. That site is Faithful to the Magisterium, Pope, the Vatican Two Ecumenical Council etc and it includes a lot of information about Social Doctrine which is too little known and understood or outright rejected by too many Catholics in the West
12 posted on 08/26/2002 7:41:24 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Catholicguy
Dear Catholicguy,

"I ask myself: Before thinking that the pope has "false and erronous ideas and practices," isn't it necessary that I try to make any effort to understand His acts? Between the pope and myself, who has more probability to blunder? Have I well understood what the pope did, what he said, the remote context of his affirmations? Have I looked for a solution in texts by approved scholars? Am I sure my opinion is a definitive verdict about the Holy Father?"

"I ask myself: Before thinking that the pope has "false and erronous ideas and practices," isn't it necessary that I try to make any effort to understand His acts? Between the pope and myself, who has more probability to blunder? Have I well understood what the pope did, what he said, the remote context of his affirmations? Have I looked for a solution in texts by approved scholars? Am I sure my opinion is a definitive verdict about the Holy Father?"

I ask myself: Before thinking that the pope has "false and erronous ideas and practices," isn't it necessary that I try to make any effort to understand His acts? Between the pope and myself, who has more probability to blunder? Have I well understood what the pope did, what he said, the remote context of his affirmations? Have I looked for a solution in texts by approved scholars? Am I sure my opinion is a definitive verdict about the Holy Father?"

I don't wanna sound like a broken record, but...

13 posted on 08/26/2002 7:42:34 AM PDT by sitetest
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To: St.Chuck; HDMZ; Catholicguy
Odd that you enjoy posting the picture of the New Guinea mass every day.

He keeps his vintage National Geographic collection under his bed...similar obsession...

14 posted on 08/26/2002 7:42:51 AM PDT by Polycarp
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To: petrusv2
Thank you. I used this file debating a schismatic on a thread quite some time ago. It is a very good response and deserves its own thread. Thank you for posting it as well at the response.

And welcome to the Catholic Caucus here at Free Republic!
15 posted on 08/26/2002 7:46:42 AM PDT by Polycarp
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To: sitetest
It is amasing isn't it? Imagine giving the Pope the benefit of the doubt....
16 posted on 08/26/2002 9:53:00 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: sitetest
It is amasing isn't it? Imagine giving the Pope the benefit of the doubt....
17 posted on 08/26/2002 10:27:33 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: HDMZ; Polycarp; sitetest
Q: Someone in the schismatic group the Society of St. Pius X told me that when the pope was in India he had his forehead anointed by a Hindu "priestess of Shiva" and that there is a photo to prove it. Is this true?

A: There is a photo of the pope having his forehead anointed by an Indian woman, but she was a Catholic, not a Hindu priestess! She was giving the pope a traditional Indian form of greeting known as "Aarti," which has no more religious significance than a handshake in western culture or giving someone a wreath of flowers as a welcome in Hawaii.

A letter dated November 22, 1994 from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications explains the custom and its role in Indian society:

"Indian Catholics . . . use 'Aarti' when a child returns home after receiving First Holy Communion, and when a newly married couple are received by their respective families. Nowadays, 'Aarti' is often performed to greet the principal celebrant at an important liturgical event, as it was on the occasion shown in the photograph. On such occasions, 'Aarti' is usually offered by a Catholic married lady, and certainly not by a 'priestess of Shiva' as has been alleged."

The letter, by Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the pontifical council, went on to note: "Use of the 'Aarti' ceremonial by Indian Catholics is no more the worship of a heathen deity than is the decoration of a Christmas tree by American Christians a return to the pagan rituals of Northern Europe."

Your schismatic friend in the Society of St. Pius X should check his facts before spreading such malicious gossip about the holy father (cf. Acts 23:1-5). He was simply about to say Mass and received the traditional Indian form of greeting for the celebrant

No way. Can it possibly be true schismatics and sedevacantists aren't relaible sources of information?

18 posted on 08/26/2002 10:37:37 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: sitetest
"Between the pope and myself, who has more probability to blunder...?"

I love this tricky question of yours, so I post it one more time ;-)

19 posted on 08/26/2002 10:45:14 AM PDT by heyheyhey
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To: Catholicguy
And of course, I already refuted the Buddha statue at Assissi story before, so HDMZ has not a leg to stand on. Good work!
20 posted on 08/26/2002 11:14:40 AM PDT by Polycarp
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