Ut Unum Sint: A virtual hair shirt

Aggiornamento subitoThinking of wearing a hair shirt or engaging in some other form of mortification? Try this:

First, read Satis Cognitum of Pope Leo XIII followed by a reading of Mortalium Animos of Pope Pius XI. Take a moment to let these clear and precise presentations on the immutable faith of the Holy Catholic Church sink in…

Then, read Ut Unum Sint of John Paul II.

Ouch!

There can be no doubt whatsoever that both Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI (and a list of other popes too long to recite here) would have condemned the writing of John Paul II as incompatible with the doctrine of Holy Church.

The bottom line – a place the weak, the invincibly deceived and the diabolically disoriented dare not go – is that either John Paul II or his predecessors did not hold the Catholic faith. There is no via media here.

Ut Unum Sint, as is typical of modernist screed, is very lengthy. It is, after all, an exercise in novelty, which naturally requires copious explanation in order to convince the reader (and perhaps even the writer) of its Catholicity.

Be forewarned, it’s a very painful experience, but for those willing to suffer through it, I have reproduced here just a relatively small portion of Ut Unum Sint along with commentary that draws from the authentic faith.

Feeling brave? Jump in and offer it up.

Ut unum sint! The call for Christian unity made by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council with such impassioned commitment is finding an ever greater echo in the hearts of believers, especially as the Year 2000 approaches, a year which Christians will celebrate as a sacred Jubilee, the commemoration of the Incarnation of the Son of God, who became man in order to save humanity.

The courageous witness of so many martyrs of our century, including members of Churches and Ecclesial Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church, gives new vigour to the Council’s call and reminds us of our duty to listen to and put into practice its exhortation.  

That a martyr for the faith can come from among those who reject Holy Mother Church, and in so doing reject Christ her Head, is preposterous.

These brothers and sisters of ours, united in the selfless offering of their lives for the Kingdom of God, are the most powerful proof that every factor of division can be transcended and overcome in the total gift of self for the sake of the Gospel.

Another false premise: That one can offer their lives for the Kingdom of God and yet do so from outside of His Kingdom, the Holy Catholic Church.

Believers in Christ, united in following in the footsteps of the martyrs, cannot remain divided. If they wish truly and effectively to oppose the world’s tendency to reduce to powerlessness the Mystery of Redemption, they must profess together the same truth about the Cross.1 The Cross! An anti-Christian outlook seeks to minimize the Cross, to empty it of its meaning, and to deny that in it man has the source of his new life. It claims that the Cross is unable to provide either vision or hope. Man, it says, is nothing but an earthly being, who must live as if God did not exist.

In order to profess “the same Cross,” clearly one must also profess the one faith; i.e., the Holy Catholic faith.

Nevertheless, besides the doctrinal differences needing to be resolved, Christians cannot underestimate the burden of long-standing misgivings inherited from the past, and of mutual misunderstandings and prejudices. Complacency, indifference and insufficient knowledge of one another often make this situation worse. Consequently, the commitment to ecumenism must be based upon the conversion of hearts and upon prayer, which will also lead to the necessary purification of past memories.

Hurt feelings due to the events of previous centuries is not the issue; rather, it is the refusal of the heretic to embrace the doctrine of the faith; doctrine that is well known to all, without confusion, who wish to know it.

What is needed is a calm, clear-sighted and truthful vision of things, a vision enlivened by divine mercy and capable of freeing people’s minds and of inspiring in everyone a renewed willingness, precisely with a view to proclaiming the Gospel to the men and women of every people and nation.

A “renewed willingness” to what? Apart from a willingness on the part of heretics to embrace in faith the fullness of Catholic doctrine, unity simply is not possible for such a person.

At the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church committed herself irrevocably to following the path of the ecumenical venture, thus heeding the Spirit of the Lord, who teaches people to interpret carefully the “signs of the times.”

What is the “ecumenical venture”? We are about to find out…

I myself intend to promote every suitable initiative aimed at making the witness of the entire Catholic community understood in its full purity and consistency, especially considering the engagement which awaits the Church at the threshold of the new Millennium. That will be an exceptional occasion, in view of which she asks the Lord to increase the unity of all Christians until they reach full communion.3 The present Encyclical Letter is meant as a contribution to this most noble goal. Essentially pastoral in character, it seeks to encourage the efforts of all who work for the cause of unity.

OK, so you’re the pope. Will you tell “all Christians” how to “reach full unity” like your predecessors?

The unity of all divided humanity is the will of God. For this reason he sent his Son, so that by dying and rising for us he might bestow on us the Spirit of love. On the eve of his sacrifice on the Cross, Jesus himself prayed to the Father for his disciples and for all those who believe in him, that they might be one, a living communion. This is the basis not only of the duty, but also of the responsibility before God and his plan, which falls to those who through Baptism become members of the Body of Christ, a Body in which the fullness of reconciliation and communion must be made present.

The duty is to persist in the unity that already exists in the Catholic Church. JPII writes as if it is a human goal to somehow manufacture unity when in fact it is a attribute of the Church divinely endowed.

Taking part in this movement, which is called ecumenical, are those who invoke the Triune God and confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour. They join in not merely as individuals but also as members of the corporate groups in which they have heard the Gospel, and which each regards as his Church and, indeed, God’s. And yet almost everyone, though in different ways, longs that there may be one visible Church of God, a Church truly universal and sent forth to the whole world that the world may be converted to the Gospel and so be saved, to the glory of God”.6

That there may be one visible Church of God? Hello? There is. It’s the Catholic Church.

Unitatis Redintegratio states “they long for the one visible Church of God…” which can be read to say that it does presently exist and those outside long for it without knowing what it is.

JPII, however, writes here as if this one visible Church is as yet unrealized.

This statement of the Decree Unitatis Redintegratio is to be read in the context of the complete teaching of the Second Vatican Council. The Council expresses the Church’s decision to take up the ecumenical task of working for Christian unity and to propose it with conviction and vigour: “This sacred Synod exhorts all the Catholic faithful to recognize the signs of the times and to participate actively in the work of ecumenism.”

As JPII made clear in his inaugural encyclical, Remptor Hominis, the “deep roots” of the faith as far as he is concerned go all the way back to the Second Vatican Council. How about reading everything in context with the whole of tradition? That is the Catholic approach, and yet, for JPII, there is a new self-awareness in the Church; an awareness quite unknown previous to the Council. (ibid.)

Jesus himself, at the hour of his Passion, prayed “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). This unity, which the Lord has bestowed on his Church and in which he wishes to embrace all people, is not something added on, but stands at the very heart of Christ’s mission. Nor is it some secondary attribute of the community of his disciples. Rather, it belongs to the very essence of this community. God wills the Church, because he wills unity, and unity is an expression of the whole depth of his agape.

Ambiguous though it is, this approaches the faith of the Church; namely, the dogma that says that the Catholic Church possesses unity as a fundamental characteristic. Why this should now lead to 20,000+ more words on the topic, none of which will urge those outside of the Church to enter, is a sure sign that we are about to be treated to the convoluted innovations of a dyed in the wool modernist.

In effect, this unity bestowed by the Holy Spirit does not merely consist in the gathering of people as a collection of individuals. It is a unity constituted by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments and hierarchical communion.10

True; unity is not a numeric concept. Therefore, one who desires unity must profess with the Catholic Church the one faith, partake of the same sacraments, under the authority of the visible head of the Church, the pope. This is the immutable teaching found in Satis Cognitum and Mortalium Animos, and yet this pope (a saint as we are told) treats this teaching as if it is passé.

The faithful are one because, in the Spirit, they are in communion with the Son and, in him, share in his communion with the Father: “Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn 1:3).

The communion spoken of here exists in the Catholic Church alone; in such way that to break bonds with the Catholic Church is to break bonds with the Body of Christ and likewise the Father and the Spirit as they are inseparable.

In the words of Pope Leo XIII:

The Church of Christ, therefore, is one and the same for ever; those who leave it depart from the will and command of Christ, the Lord – leaving the path of salvation they enter on that of perdition. “Whosoever is separated from the Church is united to an adulteress. He has cut himself off from the promises of the Church, and he who leaves the Church of Christ cannot arrive at the rewards of Christ….He who observes not this unity observes not the law of God, holds not the faith of the Father and the Son, clings not to life and salvation. (Satis Cognitum 5)

For the Catholic Church, then, the communion of Christians is none other than the manifestation in them of the grace by which God makes them sharers in his own communion, which is his eternal life. Christ’s words “that they may be one” are thus his prayer to the Father that the Father’s plan may be fully accomplished, in such a way that everyone may clearly see “what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things” (Eph 3:9). To believe in Christ means to desire unity; to desire unity means to desire the Church; to desire the Church means to desire the communion of grace which corresponds to the Father’s plan from all eternity. Such is the meaning of Christ’s prayer: “Ut unum sint”.

It sounds as if JPII imagines that “communion” (common union) is something other than persisting in unity with the Catholic Church. Indeed his, and every pontificate since, has preached in such way.

In the present situation of the lack of unity among Christians and of the confident quest for full communion, the Catholic faithful are conscious of being deeply challenged by the Lord of the Church. The Second Vatican Council strengthened their commitment with a clear ecclesiological vision, open to all the ecclesial values present among other Christians. The Catholic faithful face the ecumenical question in a spirit of faith.

Read with the eyes of faith as developed in the pre-conciliar magisterium, this treatment is nonsensical. What is the challenge to the Catholic faithful as it pertains to unity? It is twofold: 1) To persist in the unity that exists in the Catholic Church alone, and 2) To invite those outside to enter.

What precisely are “ecclesial values” among the heretics?  Presumably he is referring to those gifts properly belonging to the Catholic Church. (Scripture, baptism.)

What then is the “ecumenical question”? There is none other than this: When will the heretics and schismatics return to Rome. That’s it.

The Council states that the Church of Christ “subsists in the Catholic Church …

By God’s grace, however, neither what belongs to the structure of the Church of Christ nor that communion which still exists with the other Churches and Ecclesial Communities has been destroyed.

There is a fundamental and widespread error here: In truth, as it concerns the schismatics and the heretics, no communion (common union) still exists with the Church of Christ.

This is why it is so important to the ecumenical newchurch to put forth the innovation that says that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. It opens the door to the falsehood that this “Church of Christ” is also present in some sense in the communities of the schismatics and heretics such that they still enjoy some ill-defined “communion” with this Church of Christ.

They do not.

And yet those informed by the teaching of the popes over the centuries before Vatican II know that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church; therefore, those who separate from her have not communion with the Church of Christ.

Indeed, the elements of sanctification and truth present in the other Christian Communities, in a degree which varies from one to the other, constitute the objective basis of the communion, albeit imperfect, which exists between them and the Catholic Church.

Nonsense.

To the extent that these elements are found in other Christian Communities, the one Church of Christ is effectively present in them.

Rephrasing what JPII puts forth here according to the faith so clearly taught before Vatican II makes clear the unsustainability of this wholesale innovation:

“To the extent that these elements are found in other Christian Communities, the Catholic Church is effectively present in them.”

Who could ever accept the ludicrous notion that the Catholic Church – the Body of Christ, this perfect society and solitary way of salvation – is “effectively present” in the communities of the heretics and schismatics?

Not one, single, solitary, well-formed Catholic cold ever embrace such a novelty as this. And yet, this is what we are being sold.

It is a dogma of the Catholic faith that those who separate themselves from the Catholic Church do not, and cannot possibly, somehow take “parts” of the Church with them; the Church is one and indivisible.

It is one thing to make note of the “elements of sanctification and truth” found in such communities (e.g., Scripture, baptism, marriage); the same properly belonging to the Catholic Church and present in the heretical communities, not by legitimate right, but only by the misappropriation of said elements by those who dared to coopt them.

It is quite another to say that the Catholic Church is “effectively present” in them; a heresy to be certain.

At this, we have tortured ourselves enough for one day.

God help us.

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