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Archbishop Longley tells synod: ecumenism makes us better evangelisers

By on Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Archbishop Bernard Longley, Bishop Michael Campbell and Bishop Kieran Conry at the English College in Rome (Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Archbishop Bernard Longley, Bishop Michael Campbell and Bishop Kieran Conry at the English College in Rome (Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham delivered the following address on Monday:

I would like to refer to art. 125 of the Instrumentum Laboris which speaks of a “renewed commitment to ecumenism” as a fruit of the Church’s own transformation. One of the insights of the Second Vatican Council was the fresh ability of the Church to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit, not only in individual Christians but also acting in and through the churches and ecclesial communities to which they belong.

The Catholic Church’s commitment to dialogue and a growing common witness with others churches and ecclesial communities must also serve the new evangelization. Authentic dialogue promotes the conversion of heart that opens us to a relationship with others where the message of the Gospel can be more clearly expressed and more fruitfully received.

There can be no effective proclamation of faith without an attempt to understand how the message is likely to be heard, how it sounds to others. That involves a profound act of listening after the example of our Lord himself In the scriptures in a number of encounters with others he is described by the evangelist as “knowing what they were thinking” before speaking to his listeners.

That awareness of Christ precedes his teaching. It needs to be a characteristic of our teaching, insofar as we can discern under the influence of the Holy Spirit what people are thinking and present the Good News in a manner that helps it to be received.

At the same time there can be no dialogue without proclamation of our faith since dialogue is always reciprocal. The more effective and dedicated our dialogue with our brothers and sisters in other churches and ecclesial communities the more likely it is that we shall come to a comprehensive and deeper understanding of the cultures that we are sent to evangelize.

In most cities in England and Wales today there exist a multiplicity of cultures among ethnic groups living side by side. In many Catholic parishes there is no longer a dominant culture and we find African, Filipino, Vietnamese, Latin American and Anglo-Irish Catholics sometimes in equal numbers. That presents a challenge, for example in deciding what constitutes the most appropriate length of time for preaching.

On 9th October we celebrated in England the feast of Blessed John Henry Newman. He was received into the Catholic Church by Blessed Dominic Barberi, the Italian Passionist who had made England his home. Cardinal Newman was already intellectually certain of the claims of the Catholic Church but he needed to experience the holiness and the priestly ministry of Blessed Dominic before his heart was touched.

Cor ad cor loquitur – Heart speaks unto heart was more than a motto for Blessed John Henry Newman. At the deepest level he understood the people of his own time – he saw what they truly needed as well as the preoccupations that often distracted them from finding it. His Apologia pro Vita Sua was not only a proclamation of faith – it also described the pathway of dialogue that drew others to commit themselves more deeply to Christ.

The new evangelization is a mission that embraces all the baptized, clergy, religious and lay faithful. The laity need and deserve appropriate formation to become new evangelizers, equipped to proclaim the faith of the Church with clarity and confidence, but also secure enough in their faith to listen to and enter into dialogue with people of good will…

I am grateful that the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham is helping to equip men and women to be new evangelizers through its commitment to collaborative learning (the ecclesial equivalent of distance learning) and as a Pontifical Higher Institute of Religious Sciences.

Maryvale was Blessed John Henry Newman’s first home in Birmingham. May his prayers and the example of his life together with Blessed Dominic Barberi encourage and support us in the task of new evangelization.

  • Nat_ons

    “The laity need and deserve appropriate formation to become new evangelizers, equipped to proclaim the faith of the Church with clarity and confidence, but also secure enough in their faith to listen to and enter into dialogue with people of good will…”

    I wonder does His Grace mean a revival of the apologetic formation of young adults once prevailing in Catholic schools, colleges, institutes, then unceremoniously dumped – in favour of oecumenical outreach, following ‘the spirit of the age’, and using the relevance (sic) of pop-folk?

    Few – if any – Catholic schools ‘evangelise’ for the Catholic Faith today (and for quite some decades past); they tend to offer instead a mish-mash of colourful culture-relevant catechesis (specifically made devoid of any doctrine or dogma of the Church).

    Part of this, of course, comes from the demands of the modernist, multi-cultural, medium preferred by humanistic states (or Islamic Law, etc) – but most from the teaching experts .. and Bishops Conferences.

    I suggest the episcopate might set an example to all by i) demonstrably relearning the Penny Catechism (which most seem to have forgotten), ii) undertaking a firmly Orthodox and Catholic course in apologetics (if they have permitted any to survive), and, iii) naturally enough (where this is necessary) show a true conversion of heart, a firm purpose of amendment, and a lasting desire for reconciliation .. with the ageless Faith of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    ++ Longley – one of the destroyers.

    As for ecumenism:

    (St. Maximilian Kolbe, O.F.M. Conventual, murdered in Auschwitz):“There is no greater enemy of the Immaculata and her Knighthood than today’s ecumenism, which every Knight must not only fight against, but also neutralize through diametrically opposed action and ultimately destroy.”

    –Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos, par. 2, January 6, 1928

     “Such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they
    all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little, turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.”

    –Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, par. 9, August 10, 1863 (Denzinger 1678)
      
    “But God forbid that the sons of the Catholic Church ever in any way be hostile to those who are not joined with us in the same bonds of faith and love; but rather they should always be zealous to seek them out and aid them, whether poor, or sick, or afflicted with any other burdens, with all the offices of Christian charity; and they should especially endeavor to snatch
    them from the darkness of error in which they unhappily lie, and lead them back to Catholic truth and to the most loving Mother the Church, who never ceases to stretch out her maternal hands lovingly to them, and to call them back to her bosom so that, established and firm in faith, hope, and charity, and ‘being fruitful in every good work’ [Colossians 1:10], they may
    attain eternal salvation.”

    Pope Pius XII, – Instructio of December 20, 1949:

    “True reunion can only come about by the return of the dissidents to the one true Church of Christ.”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    ” …. art. 125 of the Instrumentum Laboris which speaks of a “renewed commitment to ecumenism” as a fruit of the Church’s own transformation”.

    Into what?

    Something other than the Catholic Church?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    ” One of the insights of the Second Vatican Council was the fresh ability of the Church to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit …”.

    hahhahahaha!!!! 

    Why don’t they try to re-discover the ability to spot the devil? That would be nearer the mark.

  • Patrickhowes

    here,here

  • Sweetjae

    The devil has many forms but the most clear sign is DISOBEDIENCE AND PRIDE that he is right not God nor His Church.

    How can the SSPX followers say that Faith supersedes Obedience? Rather if the latter is absent you won’t have Faith. How will anyone have Faith without being Obedient to accept it in the first place? Jesus Christ saved the world by His Obedience to His Father.

    On the other hand, this is the reason why Lucifer said the famous words, “I will not serve”. Disobedience. The same reason why Sedevacantists, SSPX, Old Catholics and modernists are in the same hole.

  • Sweetjae

    Though we agree with all these citations but what we don’t agree about (as pointed by PappaJabba in other threads) is the manipulation and false interpretation of this man Mr. Carter into something which these documents totally HAVE NOT BEEN implying.

    These were already been refuted so many times in the past threads.

  • paulpriest

    Piffle!!!

  • Sweetjae

    Ecumenism is the act of inviting and promoting unity with the Church founded by Christ. The Councils of Florence is a good example of the Church inviting the Eastern Orthodox churches to help heal the rift and division between the West and Eastern churches. Council of Trent is also a good example.

    In fact St. Maximillian Kolbe didn’t condemn ecumenism itself because the very acts he was doing is ecumenism, what he was condemning is ecumenism without the catholic Faith.

    Benedict Carter seem to have missed the crucial point as there is called an Authentic Ecumenism from false ecumenism as there is a True Repentance from a false repentance.

  • Sweetjae

    Something other than the Lefebvrist’s church???

  • JabbaPapa

    Please DON’T put words into my mouth !!!

    It is not just disrespectful, it’s outright mendacious.

    Dear Benedict and I would agree on virtually every question of Faith, Orthodoxy, and Tradition.

    It’s just that the both of us care passionately about not only that 1-2% where we disagree, but also about evangelising each other to help us both and each other the divine Truth hidden inside.

    Benedict Carter is my brother in the Faith.

  • JabbaPapa

    Ecumenism is a very difficult topic — so it’s a good thing that various sometimes extremely dissenting views on the question are perfectly licit !!!!

  • Sweetjae

    SSPX is one of the destroyers of the Catholic Church. From her came disobedient offshoots like Bishops Kelley of Sdevacantism, Fr. Dolan, Cedaka of SSPV, Bishop Williamson and of loony conclavist sects and so many more proud and disobedient sons.

    What can you expect from ++Lefebvre? A disobedient son himself who is still under the penalty of excommunication. Sad.

  • Sweetjae

    My point is that your interpretive position on Mortalium Animos is the correct interpretation of the Encyclical not Benedict’s version, that is the only reason, so relax!

  • Sweetjae

    No it’s not, it only becomes difficult if one’s position is based on exclusivism and presupposition that ecumenism is solely an act apart from the Faith.

  • Sweetjae

    If you want to patronize Benedict be my guess.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    :-) Thanks Jabba! And likewise from me. 

    Do I hear a loud, buzzing noise by the way? LOL

  • Patrickhowes

    Well this is the unanswered question!The only winner in today´s world is the devil.His crafty art has turned everything upside down.Vatican ll was supposed to be about how the Church could react to the Enlightenment,communism and Hitler´s national socialism.Nothing,absolutely nothing that really deep down dealt with this issue was produced.The 2,000 Bishops clutched at straws yet the answer was in their hands,Jesus Christ and his Church as it was handed to Peter.The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church was sold big time to the “hippy” times of the period.People took authority in to their hands as a generous of priests from the pulpit began saying”Well follow your own conscience”Since when has man known how to steer his own course withour a disastrous outcome.The thinking,theology and mass was as sound as it could be.Maybe the apporach at times was wrong.Maybe we tried o put he roof on wihout building the foundations first.But nowadays,we have neither.Not a roof, nor foundations

  • Patrickhowes

    But Msgr Lefebvre was right to warn the Church against bending its eternal truths to satisfy the fads of a modern world.Fashion comes and goes but Christ does not.Was the Old Church lacking in compassion,maybe!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Good post Patrick. 

    If the contributions to the Synod are at the same level as that quoted in the article above, this “Year of Faith” is a dead letter.

    Trying to undo the damage of Vatican II using Vatican II as your tool is hardly going to produce anything worthwhile. 

  • JabbaPapa

    Look to the beam in your own eye prior to considering the mote in another’s …

  • JabbaPapa

    Why on EARTH would I “patronise” a personal friend, and brother in the Catholic Faith ???

    I am not your ally in any personal warfare that you might pursue against my friend.

  • JabbaPapa

    And ?

    You VERY falsely assume that Benedict and I do not learn from each other ; by trying to pit us one against the other as enemies.

    This is Devil’s work, not Christian’s.

  • Patrickhowes

    Juxtapose what this Bishop has to say with Bishop Egan´s and Bishop Davies speeches recently,They are chalk and cheese.This is another example of clutching at straws.Ecumenism does not make us better evangelisers.You only have to look at the success of the early Jesuits.Saint Francis Xavier converted en masse heathens as did theJesuits the tribal peoples of South America.Man is made in God´s image and the evangelisers know how to wake the soul in a man.I find it harder to evaneglise to bigoted and agressive protesants or wishey washey anglicans

  • Alan

    Those who oppose ecumenism are opposing Christ’s own words, “that they may all be one”.  They are also arrogantly assuming that they have all the truth, and have nothing to learn from anyone else.  This is the attitude of the all-knowing teenager.  The fact is that the Church has already learned from Protestants (for example the importance of Scripture) and from the Orthodox (for example the importance of the early centuries).  We can all learn from each other, and it is supreme arrogance to think otherwise.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Christ prayed to the Father that they may all be one. Which means that Christ knew there would be those who left the Church. But the Church Herself remains One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic, however many leave Her. 

    Your use of that quotation has nothing to do with ecumenism. it would be better to say, and in keeping with the Church’s constant teaching, that ‘Those who oppose ecumenism are opposing Christ’s own words “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world”‘.

    The “Great Commission” has been almost entirely negated by ecumenism.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PWZKI7JBARE4DDT3NQ22RWMOJE Benedict Carter

    Ecumenism has done nothing good, but a great deal of evil – in spreading a syncretist and indifferentist mentality.

    The “Old Evangelisation” was converting the world: high time we returned to it.

  • awkwardcustomer

    You claim that ‘the Church has already learned from Protestants (for example the importance os Scripture) …….’.  Are you suggesting that until Ecumenism took off after Vatican II, the Church did not understand the importance of Scripture?

  • awkwardcustomer

    ‘… this man Mr. Carter…’.  Dear me. 

  • awkwardcustomer

    So what’s the difference between an ‘Authentic Ecumenism’ and a ‘false ecumenism’?

  • Parasum

    What has  Abp. Longley been huffing – paint-stripper ?

    “I would like to refer to art. 125 of the Instrumentum Laboris which
    speaks of a “renewed commitment to ecumenism” as a fruit of the Church’s
    own transformation. ”

    ## He forgot to say “…into a rubbish-tip”.

    “Maryvale was Blessed John Henry Newman’s first home in Birmingham. May
    his prayers and the example of his life together with Blessed Dominic
    Barberi encourage and support us in the task of new evangelization.”

    ## But they were Catholics.

  • Alan

    No, I’m talking about the post-Refomation period. Read Louis Bouyer’s Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, which demonstrates how the positive aspects of Protestantism, such as the emphasis on scripture, found their way into Catholicism.  But it is also true that the laity were encouraged after VII to read scripture more.

  • Parasum

    “They are also arrogantly assuming that they have all the truth, and have nothing to learn from anyone else.”

    ## The Church has the truth, all of it, because the Truth has freely and out of sheer grace  made it His own, has made it the Church. That Catholics have received the entire deposit of faith, is simply a fact.

    There is nothing whatever arrogant in this claim – the very reverse in fact. It does not mean “Look at us Catholics, how wonderful we are, because we are so much better than you *plebs*” – it means no such thing as that. It is a very humble, and a very humbling, claim.  What it means is “Through no merit or good of our own, we Catholics are in the blessed position of being members of the unique community of salvation to which Christ has committed every good needed for the task He has laid upon that community, namely, the evangelisation of the entire world until He comes again”. To acknowledge our need of Him, is not arrogant. To acknowledge the immensity of what He has done, is not arrogant. To acknowledge that He has numbered certain people among the beneficiaries of what He has done, is not arrogant. To acknowledge that the One Unique Church has been given the One Unique entire of deposit of faith is not arrogant at all. That the Lord is the One Unique & All-Sufficient Saviour of all mankind is to say only what St. Peter said in Acts 4.12 – that “there is no salvation in any other Name given among men”. The Uniqueness of the Church of Christ, & the claim that all the treasures of wisdom and truth are in Christ, & so, are found in His Church, follow from that.

    If the Church wanted to squirrel away these good things for itself alone, why is it missionary & called to be missionary ? The Church has received the deposit in its entirety, so that it may share all of it with the rest of the world, so that the Church may become co-extensive with the world.

    To call this claim “arrogant” is to see things back to front. It comes from leaving Christ out of the equation. It’s like calling the dogma of the Incarnation arrogant, or parochial – that objection takes for granted that Jesus Christ is a mere man. But if, & as, He is God as well as man, then to proclaim that He come to this planet to rescue some creatures of His who desperately need rescuing, is not arrogant – it is unflattering to man, but not arrogant of Christians.  Jesus Christ is not a mere human sage, but Almighty God & the Wisdom of God. If He chooses to give His Wisdom to the New Israel – as He did to the Old – it is not for man to find fault. We should give Him thanks instead, for such a gift of His grace.

  • Parasum

     Exclusivism is part of the Gospel – pride is not. The Church’s claims are very humble, not prideful.

  • Sweetjae

    Huh??So said I’m assuming???

    Are you serious or just plain?????Catholics don’t learn from people who have NO OBEDIENCE whatsoever besides themselves. Oh, so sorry if you mistook my gesture as luring you away from your dear friend, NOT my intention, in fact you and Benedict can juxtapose each other intimately, no problem.
    What is wrong with my post above, its true, I just agree with your interpretation not Benedict’s, so why in the world are you accusing of falsely assuming???It’s NOT a devil’s work when a person just happened to agree with the analysis of another however, it’s a Devil’s work when one accuse the other of bogus and concocted evidence.

  • Sweetjae

    So you have no problem when Mr. Carter (I actually gave him some respect by affixing MR) name called the Pope as “this man”, “modernist”, “nu church”, “liberal”, “counted out”?????

    Where is your sense of fairness?

  • Sweetjae

    Nobody is bending eternal truths here NOT the Pope NOT the legit Council…the bending were being done by the freewill of men with liberal agendas. Msgr Lefebrve was actually a practitioner of real Modernism without realizing it, as stated brilliantly by Cardinal Ratzinger.

  • Sweetjae

    Exclusivism is NOT part of the Gospel, maybe from another gospel according to Williamson or Lefebvre. Though I agree with you that the Church’s claim are humble. Salvation is offered to everyone and to the whole world but depends on the cooperation of men.

  • Sweetjae

    Huh?? Doesn’t make sense with my post above, I just didn’t agree with what you had said about Ecumenism, I’m not accusing you of anything….One liner are for tots….be a man, jabba.

  • awkwardcustomer

    The same Louis Bouyer who was one of the liturgical ‘experts’ at Vatican II and who published ‘The Decomposition of Catholicism’ in 1969, advocating – well, the decomposition of Catholicism. 

    I have here a copy of ‘The Word, Church and Sacraments’ by Bouyer.  This ‘great 20th century theologian’ was an apologist for Protestantism.

    Protestantism is heresy.  The Church has nothing to learn from it.

  • Sweetjae

    I’m not looking for an ally, I had been to REAL battlefield, you know where soldiers really bled and die, so please spare me of the blush, specially coming from the kind of man of your stature.

  • Sweetjae

    “LOL” is from childish, frivolous and infantile language. No surprise.

  • Sweetjae

    DISOBEDIENCE has done nothing instead of breeding another disobedience.

    Onward Christian soldiers, behind the Ecumenism of the Pope and the Church. We are for the  Living Interpretation NOT the “relic” version of Sacred Tradition to spread and evangelize the world!

  • Sweetjae

    ” One of the insights of the Second Vatican Council was the fresh ability of the Church to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit …”.

    Very True. Can’t refute the fact that in 1950 catholics are just 437 million, in just 50 years of Vatican II catholics are 1.3 BILLION, triple the size around the world and still growing out pacing population growth itself in just 50 years!!!!
    The secularism, materialism and lost of faith of the European peninsula can not be blamed on the Church but rather themselves.

  • awkwardcustomer

    I have a problem with your ranting and raving against Traditionalists and your personnal attacks against Benedict Carter on this and other threads. As for the quotes you attribute to him, I can’t find them.  And even if they exist, your insults are still out of order.

    You sound like a typical illiberal liberal.  Have you been inspired by Herbert Marcuse’s principle of ‘intolerant tolerance’, in other words, tolerance of most things but no tolerance whatsoever for Traditional opinion?

  • Sweetjae

    The answer is above your post. Hint: APART is the key word.

  • awkwardcustomer

    The Christian soldiers of Ecumenism have put down their arms.  And you’ve given the game away by saying,  ‘We are for the Living Interpretation NOT the “relic” version of Sacred Tradition to spread and evangelize the world.’

    ‘Living Interpretation’ means that you make it up.  And you despise the “‘relic’” version because you CAN’T make it up.  And then you kid yourself that you can evangelize the world with your made up religion.

  • Sweetjae

    What Alan’s point is, that protestants are known for their love of the Holy Scripture eventhough some of their interpretations are wrong. They share some truths with the Catholic Church (e.g. Holy Trinity, Deity of Christ etc) that can NOT be thrown away just because they belonged to protestantism.

    True Ecumenism is a part of the Gospel, a command of Christ and act of the Church. Period.

  • Alan

    Bouyer’s “Spirit and Forms of Protestantism” was published during Pius XII’s reign, with an Imprimatur.  It shows how the Church benefitted from some of the insights of the Protestant Refomers, while rejecting their excesses.  If you think Bouyer was wrong in this book,please explain how.

  • JabbaPapa

    I find that it is MOST arrogant to imagine that the importance of Scripture was somehow “discovered” by the Protestants, or that the teachings of the early centuries of the Church were somehow exclusive to the Orthodox prior to Vatican II !!!

    It’s also outright historically inaccurate !!!

    Ecumenism has its virtues, and it has its flaws — but you’re talking about it in such a way as to lead people to believe that it has some kind of doctrinal or dogmatic value, which is just rubbish !!!

    Ecumenism is a pastoral initiative, and it is very very silly to talk about it as if it were something else entirely.