In these days of millennial fever, the Catholic church has been absolutely gushing over her wish to unite just about all the world under the banner of ecumenicalism. Can this be taken as a sign that the Roman hierarchy is softening its rigid stance on matters of dogma and doctrine? Is the Roman Catholic Church willing to "let up a bit" in order that what she proclaims to be essential truth might be tolerable to those who subscribe to other belief systems?
Not on your life!!!!
The Roman church would have us believe she is willing to engage in a meaningful dialogue with those of other faiths, with the stated purpose of seeking unification. My ever handy American Heritage Dictionary tells me that to "dialogue" is: "To engage in an informal exchange of views." In this sense, I suppose that is what Catholic apologists are attempting to do when they defend or promote the party line on issues of RCC doctrine.
How far is Rome willing to go in order to achieve "community" with what she calls "separated Christians?" She is not willing to move one micron from where she now stands, as this papal declaration makes quite clear:
"18. Taking up an idea expressed by Pope John XXIII at the opening of the Council, the Decree on Ecumenism mentions the way of formulating doctrine as one of the elements of a continuing reform. Here it is not a question of altering the deposit of faith, changing the meaning of dogmas, eliminating essential words from them, accommodating truth to the preferences of a particular age, or suppressing certain articles of the Creed under the false pretext that they are no longer understood today. The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? The Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae attributes to human dignity the quest for truth, "especially in what concerns God and his Church", and adherence to truth's demands. A "being together" which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart."--Ut Unam Sint, ("That They May Be One"), encyclical promulgated by Pope John Paul II on May 25, 1995
Rome persists in declaring her wish to dialogue with her separated brethren. Is such a dialogue possible? Only under Roman conditions. As shown below, any such dialogue must have two "essential elements of reference." One of those points of reference, the Word of God, certainly should be acceptable to every Christian. However, I doubt any Bible-believing follower of Christ would be willing to submit his arguments to the "great Tradition of the Church."
From the very establishment of this requirement, the Roman church has made meaningful dialogue virtually impossible, for those who believe the Bible cannot in conscience accept the many heretical "traditions" of the RCC. How can anyone who truly believes the Bible accept such inventions as infallibility, the real presence, indulgences, dispensations, Purgatory, etc.?
How can he offer endless prayers to Mary as advocate, mediatrix, intercessor and co-redeemer? How can he believe that salvation is a result of baptism?
"39. Finally, dialogue puts before the participants real and genuine disagreements in matters of faith. Above all, these disagreements should be faced in a sincere spirit of fraternal charity, of respect for the demands of one's own conscience and of the conscience of the other party, with profound humility and love for the truth. The examination of such disagreements has two essential points of reference: Sacred Scripture and the great Tradition of the Church. Catholics have the help of the Church's living Magisterium."--Ut Unam Sint, Op. cit.
Ecumenicalism, according to the RCC view, does not mean different groups coming together to seek the God's truth and establish a common church founded on sound doctrine. Quite the contrary. For Rome, ecumenicalism means that everyone who is not a Catholic now must be converted to Catholicism. Ecumenicalism, as used by Rome, is but another method for increasing her power and authority.
86. The Constitution Lumen Gentium, in a fundamental affirmation echoed by the Decree Unitatis Redintegratio, states that the one Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. The Decree on Ecumenism emphasizes the presence in her of the fullness (plenitudo) of the means of salvation. Full unity will come about when all share in the fullness of the means of salvation entrusted by Christ to his Church.--Ut Unam Sint, Op. cit.
There you have it. The Roman Catholic Church is the "one Church of Christ" because the Roman Catholic Church infallibly declares that to be so. Hard to defeat logic like that. NOT!!
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.--Revelation 21:23-27
Ye Must Be Born Again