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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.

  • JabbaPapa

    Your claims are risible — in fact, the laity have been encouraged to read Scripture both since the invention of printing in the late 15th century made this into a practical possibility, and its industrialisation in the 19th and early 20th centuries made printed books into a cheap and easily obtained commodity, rather than luxury items for the erudite.

    None of these technological and civilisational developments have been caused by Protestantism.

  • JabbaPapa

    Didn’t I see you accusing “some people” of “exclusivism” ?

    Your continued accusations along these lines are unwarranted.

  • JabbaPapa

    Yes, the danger of syncretism is to be quite clearly kept in mind every time that one considers anything to do with ecuminism.

  • JabbaPapa

    Sorry — you have been trying to use my words as if they supported your frankly violent ongoing online vendetta against Ben.

    Well — Nope.

  • Alan

    I’m not suggesting that these things were exclusive to Protestants or Orthodox.  I’m saying that certain aspects of the Christian faith had been pushed into the background, and Bouyer points out that Protestantism reemphasised these (though they proceeded to take them too far which led them into error, such as “scripture alone” and “justification by faith alone”).  Ecumenism does not mean relativism, it means discovering what we have in common, and possibly learning from insights which we might have lost sight of. None of us should ever assume that we possess all truth and can never learn from others.

  • Nat_ons

    ‘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.”’

    A truth many who like to believe themselves the true Catholic Church cannot bring themselves to accept, BC – at least not if it means accepting the the teaching of the church catholic whole and undivided (according to taste).

  • Gildaswiseman

    You are so right Benedict, and I for one am fed up to the back teeth with this diabolical disorientation that continues to blind and deafen many of our religious leaders from the top to the bottom of the Church.I am also sick to death of the myopic attitudes of people, no matter how good intentioned they are, who condemn the faithful Catholicism of the SSPX. It is well recognised by many that this Priestly order are committed to preserving the Traditional Priesthood and the Doctrines of the Faith up until Vatican II. As for the Documents of Vatican II they accept everything except the recognised novelties that no orthodox Catholic worth their salt would touch with a bargepole.
    The Council was clearly high-jacked by liberal and modernist Periti; a very well prepared assembly of  Rhine and French Bishops and the all pervasive press. The seventy traditional  schemas that took two years to prepare and consisted of over 3,000 pages were consigned to the waste-paper basket on the say so of the arch modernist Edward Schillebeeckx. The influence of Protestant observers also paid no small part in influencing  the Council Fathers acceptance of ill prepared and dubious, ambiguous schemas many of which contained ‘Time Bombs which have been systematically exploded over the last fifty years and have led to the deplorable state we experience today.The Changes in the liturgy manufactured by the Freemason Archbishop Bugnini are also unconscionable and have led to a dilution in the Catholic understanding of the propitious Sacrifice of the Mass. I recommend reading The Critical Study of the New Mass by Cardinal Ottivianni and Cardinal Bacci in order to gain a fuller understanding of this fact.
    Many of us who were young adults during the late sixties and early seventies and witnessed the changes as they occurred were left in a state of confusion. We were very well taught and we all believed the same teachings. I myself was a Novice Benedictine Monk until the order scrapped the Gregorian/ Tridentine Mass and Gregorian Chant. It was soul destroying. so I left.

  • Nat_ons

    That is more than unkind, Sj, it is fundamentally mistaken – and unjust.

    True, the extreme ‘believers’ of the SSPX followed the dissent of Kelley et all – and their numbers grow.

    This truth is not the fault of Archbishop Lefebvre – or of his disobedience toward episcopal unity with the Holy Father, Blessed John Paul II.

    The grave sin of the SSPV is that of every ‘Old Catholic’ movement .. and one many in the SSPX seem determined to follow. It sets the true catholic church in the past, according to some aesthetic notion – Pre-Utrecht, Pre-Vatican I, Pre-Vatican II. Only the fact that both SSPX and is extreme daughter SSPV seek to uphold Sacred Tradition separates them from most modern Old Catholics, Anglicans and such; the fundamental issue of retaining communal fidelity with the church catholic at Rome is the insurmountable obstacle ..

    The SSPV has made its choice, it is the remnant of the one, holy, catholic church – while Rome is in heresy and until Rome repents and seeks readmission to the SSPV, there is no pope at Rome (or anywhere, for that matter).

    This is not the stance of the SSPX, and it is sinful to make out that it is – as yet; what it may be or become remains to be seen – whether divided once again around personalities or as a body whole.

    Therefore, those who do uphold communion with the Successor to St Peter, the truly awesome Benedict XVI (and no other), ought to appreciate the SSPX is not ‘Old Catholic’ – yet.

  • daclamat

    Instead of of going for Bernard Longley’s jugular check up on cardinal peter turkson who has just sent mitres ajar at the synod. Racist? Islamophobe? He would have had the Templars dubbed “Blessed are the peace makers”. Where on earth does the Vatican dig them up? This one is the president of the council for justice and peace!

  • Jon Brownridge

     I must say, I still miss the Gregorian Chant and its integral part in the Tridentine Mass. Those of us who were in Religious Orders were most affected by the changes. Change is hard to accept, but the mature mind must accept that anything that truly lives is in a state of constant change.

  • Jon Brownridge

    The quotes have some interesting years cited – 1928, 1863, 1949,… Even the Flat Earth Society persisted until the mid 1960s. Human knowledge has increased ten-fold since then and in the light of that, surely we can now hold our collective noses and say that Pope Pius XI’s sentiments were clearly mistaken.

  • Jon Brownridge

     Everyone respects that “crie de coeur”.

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

    But not the settled piety of the faithful nor the dogmas of the Faith nor the Sacraments. 

    A Catholic is not a revolutionary, even if most of the Hierarchy is.

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

    Ah, a “Year Zero-er”. 

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

    So right. And we see the wreckage of their Revolution all around us.

  • daclamat

    You should have been around to persuade the people that had Tyndale strangled. The laity were actively discouraged in fact.

  • Sweetjae

    A mathematical conjecture. The premise (first paragraph) is correct but the conclusion is false and has nothing to do with premise, therefore an error! In Logic, it’s called non-siquitur, still an error!

  • Sweetjae

    Did you read my post, I’m not accusing but correcting. You are confusing between the two Jabba because you also have a beam in your eyes.

  • Sweetjae

    Revolutuion means in dictionary, constituting or bringing about a major or fundamental change. Jesus Christ was a revolutionary in His time as well as the Apostles and Early Church.

  • Sweetjae

    You definitely mistaken about my intention of the word “Living”. Jesus Christ is the “Living” Word, the Church is the “Living” Voice of Christ, the Holy Spirit is the “Living” Water that refreshes the Church and human souls.

    So when I referred to the “Living” Tradition, it is the application of it’s entirety not just to people inside the Church but to reach out the outsiders as well….meaning the Church is not truimphalistic and exclusivist kind of a church that characterized the “relic” interpretation of Tradition by the Sedevacantists, Old catholics and SSPX.

  • Sweetjae

    Mind you I don’t kid around when I defend and evangelize my Catholic Faith to Protestant fundamentalists. In fact I helped convert (Holy Spirit is the One converting) some of my family and friends to the Faith.

    If I told them their religion is false and that they worship idols and false gods to their faces like what the SSPX and Sedes would like us to do, what do you think will happen???? Religious war and animosity is not so far to achieve.

  • Sweetjae

    Good points but still CAN’T deny the fact that disobedience breeds disobedience, it’s a fact, it’s been proven since the creation of freewill. Those I had mentioned are all sons of SSPX. That is a fact.

    Archbishop Lefebrve once said that the Chair of Peter is occupied by the Anti-Christ, google it. The same words uttered by Martin Luther in his disobedience to the Church.

  • Sweetjae

    You can’t find them because you have no problem with those denigrating words when spoken by one of your kind. You are so enamored with Mr. C that you don’t find his insults out of order. I have no hatred towards the true catholic Traditionalists like the offshoots of SSPX who came home to the Church like FSSP, St. VIanney, Christ the King, Papa Stronsay Monastery and more, unfortunately a lot more also to the other side of Sedevacantism.

    Now you name called me despite I haven’t done nothing of the sort to you. Still claim of your self righteousness??you are like Jabba and Mr. C who keep on saying to stop ad hominem attacks and insults yet they do it themselves first then complain when they tasted their own medicine. What is this?

  • Sweetjae

    So sorry you are mistaken I don’t need your support, it’s all yours. If you perceived my words as violent, the insulting words from Mr. C are piety and virtues to you?

  • Sweetjae

    Exaggerated reaction.

  • Sweetjae

    I don’t need an ally honestly, specially the kind of stature you have, it’s all yours and don’t flatter yourself.

  • Sweetjae

    The word is revolutionary…and Dogmas don’t change but Practice and Disciplines of the church can. SSPX and Sedes confused both as one and the same that is the reason why their hermeneutic is chaotic.

  • Patrickhowes

    Jesus Christ was not a revolutionary.God had a plan for mankind from the outset.It was man who rebelled against God.Jesus came to redeem man not revolutionise him

  • JabbaPapa

    Local events do not nullify the general tendencies, which were created and informed by a series of technological revolutions that some may, indeed, have resisted.

  • JabbaPapa

    Mathematics continue to be a very blunt instrument for the understanding of the Humanities and the Divinities.

    And a worthless one for the understanding the nature of God and of the Church of Christ.

  • JabbaPapa

    In order to “correct”, you would first need to demonstrate that you are right.

    Which you have not.

  • JabbaPapa

    cripes … you accuse others of having a “chaotic” hermeneutic ???

    That’s just laughably ironic !!!

    Radical statements of liberal reformism, such as those that you appear to believe in, are just as unorthodox as the more radical statements of traditionalist conservatism.

    Any properly Catholic hermeneutic keeps a proper sense of balance between the various factions of the Church, and their expressed beliefs.

    Your strange notion that the interpretation of Church doctrine and teachings should strictly follow the rules of mathematical logic is Modernist by definition, and false — because you are claiming in a very Protestant manner that individual human minds such as your own can provide rules that Revelation should have to obey.

  • JabbaPapa

    That’s totally ridiculous — NOBODY claims that Protestants “worship idols and false gods”.

  • JabbaPapa

    Please don’t claim that I’ve “insulted” you, as this would be a lie.

    I have certainly complained about your vitriol and about your ongoing campaign or flame war against some members of this forum.

    Do not confuse my sometimes forceful attacks against the uncatholic ideas and attitude that you have been displaying as being directed against your person.

    What’s directed against your person is my growing frustration and anger at your intolerance and your vindictiveness.

  • JabbaPapa

    Benedict has made it very clear that he no longer wishes to discuss these matters with you, precisely because he does not want to carry on with this destructive “conversation”, that you have decided to continue relentlessly.

    It takes TWO people to have an argument, and you’re quite wrong in your presentation of Benedict alone being to blame for it.

    As for “need my support” — puh-lease try reading what people say before having one of your characteristic knee-jerk reactions…

  • Guest686

    don’t know where you are coming from (SSPX?), but VC 2 did give vitality to the church. Of course the liberals thought they could push the church further but Kung never became the Pope JPII did! And the rest as they say is history.

    the best was saying the Mass in different native languages. For example, A Korean catholic would never cry when they sing hymns in Latin but they would cry spontaneously when the psalms were sung in Korean!In the church despite the sex scandals there is still MORE GOOD THAN BAD!

  • Guest686

    the gregorian chant was scrapped by the Benedictine monks. Really? If so why can you still hear it in full on http://www.youtube clips of what happens in a Benedictine monastery? And on this clip you can see the Tridentine Mass being offerred as the priest has his back to the congregation. Ultimately the faith of Jesus Christ is in your heart, sir, irrespective of the forms of liturgy being offerred

  • Roderick Blyth

    I am one of those catholics who regard the major goals of ecumenism to have been achieved.  These days, few christians regard those divided from them by birth, tradition or personal conviction with suspicion, hatred, or contempt: most are content to leave to the Holy Spirit the infusion of such grace as may issue in the salvation of the beloved individual.  But I think that the goal of Church Unity is still far away, and I do not think the assumption that it is desirable above all else is particularly helpful.  The differences between a faith that subordinates personal judgment to authority, doctrine and tradition and one which subordinates those principles to individual preference, the culture of ‘rights’, and a system of moral principles often based on ignorance, or worse, an outgoing rejection of, an internally consistent moral framework, in my view, too great  It troubles me to think that, in assessing the stance taken by the ecumenists, I so often feel that there is a tendency to regard principle as a kind of inconvenience – something about which as little should be said as possible – or that there is always some kind of verbal formula that can be used to paper over the cracks in order to pretend that they are not there.  Worse, I sometimes feel that there are, within the Church, people who question very fundamentally the authority of scripture, the fathers, and the magisterium, and who feel that modern systems of though evolved since 1789 are a better guide to the ind of Church, and the kind of beliefs that we should hold.  This view can only really be consistent with a view that the principles of 1789 are the Spirit working outside the Church to bring about change within, which seems a rather rum go  to me.   It is, I think, perfectly obvious that ‘the world’ is not, in its public aspect, particularly sympathetic the Christianity – and has never really been so. Against the sins and scandals with which the Church in the world has been taxed, must be set the hideous record of those revolutionaries and social reformers who have sought to implement their own ideals at vast human cost. The Church may, from time to time, have overly compromised with the world of its time, but there have always been those who confessed and witnessed to their faith in times when to do so could result in persecution and death – and the Church itself, has never ceased to uphold a coherent system of belief which are a light to the world, even when the hierarchy, and the congregations, can be said to have acted inconsistently with them.  But while we now recognise that the compromises and adjustments made at various stages of its history stand revealed in later ages as embarrassing departures from fundaments truth, we can also see that the Church has always taken prevailing social norms and remoulded them in christian form – so that, for example, the Church recast the system of violence and brigandage in the feudal world in the mould of courtesy and chivalry.  The question for me, and I hope for other catholics, is how the Church can take the prevailing social assumptions of the current age – some of which are appalling, but many of which are admirable – and mould them into something consistent with its unchanging vision of the will of God, the humanity of the son, and the operation on the world of the Holy Spirit.
     

  • gildaswiseman

    Excuse me! Were youin the Monastery  in 1972 when they replaced the Gregorian Chant for an unwieldy English form of the Divine Office? I was giving an example of my own personal experience at the beginning of the changes after Vatican II. I realise that many of the orders have returned to this venerable  rite.
    With regards to the Liturgy: Of course Christ should be in our hearts at all times,but The liturgy is about how we adore and worship Christ in communion. A Protestant attending a ‘Communion Mass will believe he has Christ in his heart but the liturgy he celebrates is invalid and therefore as a liturgy provides no graces.The Novas Ordo is of course valid but is impoverished compared to the Traditional rite. Again I recommend a study of the ‘Ottivianni Intervention or the book Lex Orandi Lex Credendi by John Wetherell in order to gain a deeper understanding.

  • gildaswiseman

    If you had any viable knowledge at all about the lifting of the so called ‘excommunications’ of the SSPX Bishops you would immediately realize that his Holiness Pope Benedict included the Arch-Bishop as well.As for your analysis of the SSPX it is woefully wanting and based on irrational prejudice. 

  • gildaswiseman

    And one hopes and prays that it will never become so. 

  • gildaswiseman

    If you want to see disobedience look at the Jesuits as they are today.
    The SSPX and its founder have never been in a state of disobedience to the Tradition and teaching of the Church.It is in an extraordinary canonical jurisdiction due to the crisis and apostasy that is attacking Holy Mother Church  The Code of Canon Law 1983, canon 1323 A person who violates a law out of necessity is not subject to a penalty Even if there is no state of necessity but the person believed that there was a real danger he is protected by this law.
    Where did the Arch-bishop accuse the Pope of being the Anti-Christ? He had always, as does the Society,accept the Popes, before and after the Council as valid rulers of the Church. By your reasoning St. Athanasius was in error because he disobeyed the Pope Liberius. by not accepting his ‘excommunication’ for not supporting the Arian Tract.

  • gildaswiseman

    The Roman Catholic Church is one.it contains within itself the fullness of truth.The Church is not in disunity and is therefore not in scandal. It is a perfect society. All other Christian communities that once belonged to it have separated themselves from the one true Church. All The Catholic teaching that they have retained is meritorious but sadly what unites them to us is less than what divides them from us. If ecumenism is about evangelization with the intention of helping our ‘separated brethren’ to return to the one true Church then that is a praiseworthy activity. The problem is,where is the evidence of that?

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

    That’s the work of Grace. 

    But certainly one can feel confident that obstructing the work of Grace by compromising in doctrinal terms with the malign forces of the world you allude to isn’t the way forward. The world carries on regardless; the Church and the Faith are almost mortally wounded. 

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

    When a Norwich nun known to my father tells a Sri Lankan doctor friend of his (a Buddhist wanting to be become a Catholic) that he doesn’t need to become a Catholic but should try to be a “good Buddhist” you know that ecumenism is a crock of **** and a direct betrayal of Jesus Christ. 

    No good wittering on that, “Oh, but that’s false ecumenism”. This is the universal reality of ecumenism in practice, to which the Assisi meetings have given great impetus. 

  • Ethan

    Propaganda, Hogwash & Garbage-!

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

    Catholics now, in this age of global travel, can no longer follow Mass whilst on holiday or business. The universality of the Church – its Catholicity – has been very severely compromised simply by that one fact.

    And that is merely one tip of one ripple of ice on a very large and very rippled ice-berg.

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

    Some do.

    And claiming that Traditionalists tell proddies to their faces that they are idol-worshippers is just so much bs. 

    Where do these lunatics get their idea of what was the pre-Vatican II Church? 

    Oh, from V-II fans. 

    Nuff said.

  • Parasum

    Having a massive increase in the number of members is utterly pointless and downright pernicious, *if* all it amounts to is practice is to add umpteen million heretics, atheists & pagans to the Church. A Church composed mainly of unbelievers is a Church in a very bad way. As should be obvious.

  • Sweetjae

    Numbers can’t be denied, quality of faith depends on the individual not in anyway related to the Teachings of the Church. Why, don’t you think there had been no abuses, lost of faith and apostasy in the time of the Latin liturgy?? You must be dreaming. Just look at the last 1000 years.