August 31, 2005
Wednesday
vol 16, no. 243

The Truth About Ecumenism

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever?"
2 Corinthians 6: 15

An Analysis of the Encyclical Mortalium Animos
and other true Catholic Teaching on Religious Unity

Part 10: An Attempt at a Defense (5)

    "The Neo-Catholics and Neo-Traditionalists now have a 'Pope' who openly rejects Vatican I; a 'Pope' who thinks that the definition of 1870 is a matter of historical development and not really a matter of truth. But boy, when it comes to the Second Vatican Council, there is no turning back, it's a matter of 'irrevocable progress'! Do you know a modernist when you see one?"



    In my last installment I mentioned the strange views on papal primacy of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, now "Benedict XVI," in his 1982 book Principles of Catholic Theology (English edition, Ignatius Press, 1987). Here is what he says:

    Certainly, no one who claims allegiance to Catholic theology can simply declare the doctrine of primacy null and void, especially not if he seeks to understand the objections and evaluates with an open mind the relative weight of what can be determined historically. Nor is it possible, on the other hand, for him to regard as the only possible form and, consequently, as binding on all Christians the form this primacy has taken in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The symbolic gestures of Pope Paul VI and, in particular, his kneeling before the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch [the schismatic Patriarch Athenagoras] were an attempt to express precisely this and, by such signs, to point the way out of the historical impasse.

    [Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1987), p. 198]

    First, I find it hilarious that Ratzinger would judge it necessary to mention that one cannot simply declare a Catholic dogma null and void. If this is something he had to make clear to his readers, one seriously has to wonder just what kind of theology this man and his church have been teaching that could give rise to the notion that maybe one can simply invalidate a Catholic dogma. Oh well. Who is surprised? Looking at the period of 1958-1982, what could possibly give one the idea that maybe some dogmas can be done away with?

    Next, Fr. Ratzinger speaks of the "form this [papal] primacy has taken" in the 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps I'm just misinformed, but somehow I didn't know there was a significant difference in the "exercise" of the primacy between Popes St. Pius V, Clement XI, Pius VI, and Leo XIII. Did you? What happened in the 19th century? Well, of course there was that despised Vatican Council, that real Vatican Council, that defined papal primacy and infallibility in 1870. A page earlier, Ratzinger said that the maximum demand the Catholic Church could make on the Orthodox schismatics would be "that the East recognize the primacy of the bishop of Rome in the full scope of the definition of 1870 and in so doing submit in practice, to a primacy such as been accepted by the Uniate churches" (p. 197).

    Indeed, that would be the "maximum" demand, wouldn't it? I submit that at the same time this would be the minimum demand, too, but what does Ratzinger think about this? A few lines down, he says that "the first three maximum demands"-altogether he speaks of four, but we will only focus on the one I quoted-"are today rather unanimously rejected by Christian consciousness." Ah. What a nice admission that this is where ecumenism has led us. But it gets even better: "[N]one of the maximum solutions offers any real hope of unity" (p. 198). But it is the only way to achieve unity! Unless, of course, one does not consider the Vatican Council's teachings on papal primacy and papal infallibility matters of truth but only matters of practicality. Ratzinger goes on:

    What is at stake here is unity of belief, that is, the question of truth, which cannot be the object of political maneuvering. As long as and to the extent that the maximum solution must be regarded as a requirement of truth itself, just so long and to just that extent will there be no other recourse than simply to strive to convert one's partner in the debate. In other words, the claim of truth ought not to be raised where there is not a compelling and indisputable reason for doing so. We may not interpret as truth that which is, in reality, a historical development with a more or less close relationship to truth. Whenever, then, the weight of truth and its incontrovertibility are involved, they must be met by a corresponding sincerity that avoids laying claim to truth prematurely and is ready to search for the inner fullness of truth with the eyes of love.
    [p. 198; bold print added for emphasis]

    So, we see here that Fr. Ratzinger is quite aware that one must not tamper with truth. It is not up for debate. And so he then proceeds to make people believe that the definition of 1870 (that is, the definitions on papal primacy and infallibility) is merely a "historical development with a more or less close relationship to truth"- a statement that, I think, is clearly modernistic! In fact, he even implies that the teaching of Vatican I could still be modified and enlightened by "searching for the inner fullness of truth with the eyes of love," presumably together with the Eastern schismatics. (Doesn't that remind you of what John Paul II had in mind in Ut Unum Sint about modifying the "exercise" of the papal primacy?) It says a lot about our times that such drivel is now regarded as top-notch Catholic theology. I suppose that Fr. Ratzinger would suggest that all Catholics who hold to the definition of the Vatican Council in 1870 "prematurely laid claim to truth."

    Now, why do I think that Ratzinger is applying this "truth vs. historical development" business to the Vatican Council's definition of papal primacy? Because he indicates that this is his intention in the very next paragraph, as already quoted. Let me repeat the salient points:

    Nor is it possible, on the other hand, for [the Catholic] to regard as the only possible form and, consequently, as binding on all Christians the form this primacy has taken in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The symbolic gestures of Pope Paul VI and, in particular, his kneeling before the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch [the schismatic Patriarch Athenagoras] were an attempt to express precisely this and, by such signs, to point the way out of the historical impasse.

    So here we have, finally, a candid admission that Paul VI's actions were symbolic of a heretical mindset, since the "Ecumenical Patriarch," of course, denies papal primacy and infallibility as defined by Vatican I. (With this in mind, one may wonder what heresies were symbolized by John Paul II's kissing of the Koran, praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, or giving of a pectoral cross to the Archlayman of Canterbury.)

    But it gets better...or worse, if you will:

    Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium. When the [schismatic] Patriarch Athenagoras, on July 25, 1967, on the occasion of the Pope's visit to Phanar, designated him as the successor of St. Peter, as the most esteemed among us, as one who presides in charity, this great Church leader was expressing the essential content of the doctrine of primacy as it was known in the first millennium. Rome need not ask for more.
    [p. 199]

    Wow! Here Ratzinger makes it very clear that he considers the teaching of the First Vatican Council as non-binding, non-authoritative, and, I guess, false (or merely a "historical development with no real relationship to truth," which would basically amount to the same thing). He furthermore shows that he thinks the Eastern Schismatics need not submit to Vatican I (something Ratzinger doesn't do either, as we see here), which is heresy. So now you know why I can say that Ratzinger rejects Vatican I. Of course he doesn't do so all too manifestly. That is, he doesn't just say, "Vatican I's teaching is false and I reject it." Like any clever modernist, Ratzinger says that in Vatican I the exercise of the papal primacy took on a particular form that was a matter of historical development, and it only has a "more or less close relationship to truth." Then he attempts to make the reader believe that before 1054, the dogmas of papal primacy and infallibility weren't believed or taught by the Catholic Church either (a complete falsehood, of course), and hence we can't ask the Eastern Schismatics to accept it. Ratzinger is basically making the case for Eastern Orthodoxy here. If the Catholic Church had not held or taught the primacy of the Pope before the end of the first millennium, then Eastern Orthodoxy would be true and Catholicism false. Good job, Fr. Ratzinger!

    But the irony of it all is astounding. Such a heretic, my dear readers, is now in Rome claiming to be the Pope. How the Neo-Catholics and the Neo-Traditionalists will try to get around this one, I do not know. Let them make the case that Ratzinger, despite his awareness of the definition of 1870, simply doesn't know that his teaching is at odds with Catholic dogma. Let them argue that despite having been the "official guardian of orthodoxy" (LOL!) for over 20 years, whose job it was to have known Catholicism inside out, forwards and backwards, he simply "doesn't know" fundamental Catholic dogma. Such an argument would be even more absurd than the claim that the star chef at the Sheraton hotel who only cooks for presidents, princes, kings, and queens, doesn't know what onions are. If you can believe that, well, I have some beautiful swampland here in the Everglades to sell you…

    The Neo-Catholics and Neo-Traditionalists now have a "Pope" who openly rejects Vatican I; a "Pope" who thinks that the definition of 1870 is a matter of historical development and not really a matter of truth. But boy, when it comes to the Second Vatican Council, there is no turning back, it's a matter of "irrevocable progress"! Do you know a modernist when you see one?

    But wait! We're still not done yet. Ratzinger has not finished his heretical rant yet:

    Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while, on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox and legitimate in the form she has always had.
    [p. 199]

    Now it's getting really funny! I suppose this is what Ratzinger means by "unity in diversity." Here he attempts to have it both ways. The East will have to say, "OK, your definition of 1870 is not heretical," while the Catholic Church is supposed to say, "OK, you don't need to believe in the definition of 1870, just don't say it's heretical." And - bingo! - there's your unity! Ah, yes, that must be what he means with the bafflegab, "unity in multiplicity, and multiplicity in unity."

    Well, that's the theological madness the adherents of Benedict XVI will now have to swallow, I suppose. Of course what we have here is a fundamental contradiction, but perhaps Fr. Ratzinger is a Hegelian and so contradictions are not a problem for him but only a stepping stone to arrive at a "higher level of truth."

    Since he is now the "Pope" of the Conciliar Church, Benedict XVI will have no internal obstacles to applying this heretical vision and making it reality. We have gotten a neat little preview on where his "ecumenism with the Orthodox" is headed. How many will follow him on this road, which can only lead to perdition?

    Before I finish, there's one more tidbit I have for you from Fr. Ratzinger's book. Commenting on the schismatic Patriarch Athenagoras' "confession" of a heretical papal primacy of honor (addressing the Antipope Paul VI, ironically), Ratzinger muses:

    [I]t would be worth our while to consider whether this archaic confession, which has nothing to do with the "primacy of jurisdiction" but confesses a primacy of "honor" … and agape [love], might not be recognized as a formula that adequately reflects the position Rome occupies in the Church. . . .
    [p. 217]

    So, he makes it clear once more that he rejects the primacy of jurisdiction as infallibly defined by the First Vatican Council in 1870. This makes Fr. Ratzinger, now "Pope" Benedict XVI, a pertinacious heretic, for it is inconceivable that there would be any reasonable excuse that would absolve Ratzinger from being pertinacious, that is, aware that his teaching is in conflict with Catholic dogma.

    A quick reality check is perhaps in order here. The First Vatican Council under Pope Pius IX defined the following infallibly:

    If anyone thus speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction, but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world; or, that he possesses only the more important parts, but not the whole plenitude of this supreme power…: let him be anathema.
    [Denzinger 1831; bold print added for emphasis]

    But, no doubt, there will still be people who will try to say that despite all this, Ratzinger is the Pope nonetheless, as though a non-Catholic could be the Holy Father, the beacon of orthodoxy and principle of unity, the head of all Catholics. I, for one, will have nothing to do with such madness.

    Kenneth D. Whitehead in his article asks: "Who knows what might eventually develop, if indeed Christians in both East and West could succeed in 'leaving useless controversies behind,' in the pope's words, and 'keeping before us only the will of Christ'?" (p. 28).

    Ah well, we have just seen a little preview of what's in store.

    In my next installment, I hope to finish commenting on Mr. Whitehead's article, which I had to set aside this time to show where the ecumenism Mr. Whitehead is so fond of has led and will soon lead, now that Fr. Ratzinger is at the helm of the new church. I, for one, am heading for the catacombs

Mario Derksen


For past columns by Mario Derksen, see Archives for www.DailyCatholic.org/2005mdi.htm


    Mario Derksen's TRADITIONAL INSIGHTS
    August 31, 2005
    Volume 16, no. 243