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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.

  • andHarry

     ‘in fact, the laity have been encouraged to read Scripture..’

    I am afraid you are wrong here. I was brought up in a Catholic family with a variety of Irish Catholic aunts, one of whom was prone to end an anti-Protestant rant with  ‘ ; them and their oul Bible.’ Reading the Bible was seen as a Protestant penchant, and indeed the word ‘Bible’ tended to come up in a pejorative setting. 

  • Sweetjae

    Oh deary, DO STOP getting all hot and bothered by the things well beyond your “behind the computer screen” understanding.

    Mathematics is the language of the Universe and an awesome gift from God, the Great Mathematician Himself. Its procedure and mode is scientific, precise, determined, cogent, logical and direct unlike your flowery words, Jabba. Catholic Saints who are great mathematicians are St. Matthew, St. Hubertus, St. Barbara, St. Mendel, Pope Alexander etc., etc.

    It’s just one of the cogent ways we discover the Universe and thus the nature, the genius, the creativity of its great Creator. Enough said.

  • Sweetjae

    JabbaPappa you just called me a Modernist and a Relativist in other thread and you have the audacity to say you haven’t insulted me???the rest of your rant described you very well. Hypocrisy at it’s best!

  • Sweetjae

    I’m not forcing myself to have an argument with Mr. C, who told you that lie?? Or are you trying to make case based on your own hypocritical vendetta against a catholic?

    I will always defend and put refutation to whomever attack and undermine the Pope, VII, CCC and the Church that I so loved whether coming from you or your famous friend. I’m not expecting any reply or argument from both of you but if you wish I’m all here. Until you understand that all your response amounts to nothing.

  • andHarry

     This ‘local event’ featured none other than  ‘Saint’ Thomas More who responded to Tyndale’s mission in translating the Bible into the vernacular by characterizing his effort as ”discharging a filthy foam of blasphemies out of his beastly brutish mouth”

  • Sweetjae

    I already have shown that “exclusivism” is NOT part of the Gospel of Christ found in the Holy Writ itself. Better yet look at yourself in the mirror Jabba, because there is not a beam but a LOG in your eyes too.

  • Sweetjae

    Oh deary, yet again this clearly shows how so narrow your thinking is! Having some fun throwing names like modernist and liberal to anyone who doesn’t agree with your shallow and flowery words, like your friend the big Ben??

    You keep on saying I accuse and put ad hominem attacks yet you also commit the same crime, stop this hypocrisy ok, Jabba?what a load of tosh!

    What I’m referring to are the pseudo teachings of Sedevacantists,SSPX and other ultraTrads of selecting and cherry picking the Councils of their choice as orthodox! That they are the authority to decide who is orthodox or not, that they are right in their interpretation not the postVII Popes or Church on Sacred Tradition etc, etc.

    The very concept of Modernism is the very concept they are practicing without them realizing it, as stated previously by Cardinal Ratzinger.

    Your accusations against me are very laughable, hilarious and without basis. You sounded like Bishop Williamson, really.

  • Sweetjae

    I agree with you, no dispute but the word “revolutionary” means bringing fundamental change that Jesus Christ absolutely did 2,000 years ago. That was my only point nothing else.

  • Sweetjae

    The ultraTrads’ interpretation of the past and present Magisterial documents are the hogwash and garbage ones!

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

    Let’s not forget that the first-ever vernacular Bible was Catholic, not Protestant. 

    St. Thomas was quite right: Tyndale’s effort left out certain parts of Scripture he didn’t like. Luther and all the other revolutionaries did the same. 

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

    Jabba, almost Masonic, isn’t it?

  • Sweetjae

    The magnificence of your abundant hogwash knowledge knows no bounds because of your blind vendetta. I grouped and had included people in the word “them” as those who are not Catholics in my post, meaning non-Catholics in general, including Buddhists, pagans, Hindus etc. that was why it’s in a separate paragraph.

    Anyways, Mormons are considered and grouped as Protestants, so do believe they have the same Doctrine of The Father, the same Jesus Christ and the same Holy Spirit the way we and other Christian churches have believed? Be careful.

  • Sweetjae

    I guy who doesn’t have any iota of common sense regarding a language that God Himself designed and outright labeled it Masonic! Where does my statement can be classified as masonic, dear Ben? Dont hide behind another man’s back, be a man, is this British chivalry? Paranoia indeed!

  • Sweetjae

    I already have encountered the same objections you put when I encountered a Sedevacantist. Anyways, we shouldn’t outright condemn the group as the Jesuits, there still a majority who are faithful to the teachings of the Church. They are doing great work and charity for the marginalized and very poor of us. Christ words, “If you did it to the least of my brothers, you did it to Me….”

    Secondly, the SSPX has violated a major teaching of Sacred Tradition, that a catholic can not decide and pass judgment which legit Council to refuse or not.

    Thirdly, St. Athansius and +Lefebvre’s case is very different. The former had disobeyed a mere flawed opinion of the Pope (meaning not Official Teachings) the latter had disobeyed a legitimate General Council of the Church. Huge difference.

  • Hiker

    “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.”
    You mean the original cafeteria Catholics, schismatic donatists  including anti-semites and misogynists such as “Bishop” Williamson who  don’t think the Pope is Catholic enough?

  • JabbaPapa

    I’d grant that there was a certain authoritarian Catholicism of 14th-15th centuries, revived somewhat in 19th to early 20th centuries, that was quite hostile to the idea of the laity being any other than subservient, but that’s not a general truth of the Church in its 2000 year History…

  • JabbaPapa

    Well I wasn’t contradicting you — but translation into one language and events surrounding it is a local not universal affair.

  • JabbaPapa

    Yes indeed, Ben — his notion that Revelation could be interpreted according to the Laws of Mathematics is risible !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    Are you a Protestant ? You certainly sound like one !!!

  • Gildaswiseman

    They most certainly did not disobey anything from the Council that was the authentic Doctrines of the Church. You appear to have absolutely no idea how to differentiate between those teachings from the Council that all faithful Catholics are duty bound to obey and the novel concepts that the liberal fractions inserted into the Council documents. You appear to forget that Archbishop Lefebvre was one of the members of the Preparatory Commission, he was also the Superior General of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Apostolic Delegate of French Africa. Pope PiusXII had enormous respect and confidence in him.
    The Archbishop was a good and holy Prelate. Read his ‘Declaration of Faith.
    We hold fast, with all our heart and with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, Guardian of the Catholic faith and of the traditions necessary to preserve this faith, to Eternal Rome, Mistress of wisdom and truth.We refuse, on the other hand, and have always refused to follow the Rome of neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies which were clearly evident in the Second Vatican Council and, after the Council, in all the reforms which issued from it.All these reforms, indeed, have contributed and are still contributing to the destruction of the Church, to the ruin of the priesthood, to the abolition of the Sacrifice of the Mass and of the sacraments, to the disappearance of religious life, to a naturalist and Teilhardian teaching in universities, seminaries and catechectics; a teaching derived from Liberalism and Protestantism, many times condemned by the solemn Magisterium of the Church.No authority, not even the highest in the hierarchy, can force us to abandon or diminish our Catholic faith, so clearly expressed and professed by the Church’s Magisterium for nineteen centuries.“But though we,” says St. Paul, “or an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8).Is it not this that the Holy Father is repeating to us today?  And if we can discern a certain contradiction in his words and deeds, as well as in those of the dicasteries, well we choose what was always taught and we turn a deaf ear to the novelties destroying the Church.It is impossible to modify profoundly the lex orandi without modifying the lex credendi. To the Novus Ordo Missae correspond a new catechism, a new priesthood, new seminaries, a charismatic Pentecostal Church – all things opposed to orthodoxy and the perennial teaching of the Church.This Reformation, born of Liberalism and Modernism, is poisoned through and through; it derives from heresy and ends in heresy, even if all its acts are not formally heretical. It is therefore impossible for any conscientious and faithful Catholic to espouse this Reformation or to submit to it in any way whatsoever.The only attitude of faithfulness to the Church and Catholic doctrine, in view of our salvation, is a categorical refusal to accept this Reformation.That is why, without any spirit of rebellion, bitterness or resentment, we pursue our work of forming priests, with the timeless Magisterium as our guide. We are persuaded that we can render no greater service to the Holy Catholic Church, to the Sovereign Pontiff and to posterity. That is why we hold fast to all that has been believed and practiced in the faith, morals, liturgy, teaching of the catechism, formation of the priest and institution of the Church, by the Church of all time; to all these things as codified in those books which saw day before the Modernist influence of the Council. This we shall do until such time that the true light of Tradition dissipates the darkness obscuring the sky of Eternal Rome.By doing this, with the grace of God and the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that of St. Joseph and St. Pius X, we are assured of remaining faithful to the Roman Catholic Church and to all the successors of Peter, and of being thefideles dispensatores mysteriorum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi in Spiritu Sancto.  Amen. 

  • Gildaswiseman

    No! I don’t mean that. I mean what I say. Bishop Williamson can think what he likes but his views do not represent the views of the order’s leadership. Just name me any order of Religious that has recognised canonical status and of which does not have within its ranks dissenting voices.

  • andHarry

    True; with more authoritarianism than you concede. The church was free up until Theodosius decree in AD 381, and free since the Reformation in some parts of the world. Calls by the Modern Catholic Church for freedom of religion are risible. You only have to look at the recent ‘Stolen Babies’ scandal  which made the highlights in Spain to see the controlling power of the Catholic Church if allied to state power.

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

    He has no idea full-stop. 

  • Helen

    Yes, on Monday two of my boys aged 7 and 9, who attend a Catholic School in the diocese of Westminster are meant visiting a Hindu Temple and have been asked to bring fruit as an “offering” to Hindu Idols (I must add in fairness that it seems the “offering” part may now be cancelled due to complaints from parents – my boys will not be going into school Monday morning!).  Apparently visits to Hindu Temples were the brainchild of the Diocese of Westminster!  This seems to me a fruit of “Assisi”.

  • Helen

    I do really like your comments Benedict….full of common sense.  I often am more interested in reading your comments on articles than the articles themselves and just go down to the bottom and see what Benedict Carter has to say!

  • JabbaPapa

    The situation in Spain is that Franco imprisoned dozens of priests who dared stand up to him, and he cowed the rest into silence.

    He was, remember, a fascist dictator.

  • Anna

    Yes, the SSPX are more faithful to the Church than the three bishops in the photo above!.  I remember reading an interview with Bishop Conroy in “The Catholic Herald” a a few years ago in which he said there was no point in teaching young people about the salvation of souls and instead we should be teaching them about saving the planet!  I thought this bishop has not got the Catholic Faith.  Thank God there are at least two Catholic Bishops now in the country.  A french friend tells me that in France five bishops have the Catholic Faith.  It’s better than nothing.

  • Sweetjae

    Your post are all based on impression and misrepresentations, refuted already.

  • Sweetjae

    blah,blah….hiding again?

  • Sweetjae

    Yes their hermeneutic is wrong due to their insistence that interpretive authority of Tradition rest on the primacy of self and people they agree with apart from the present Magsiterium of the Church, that is the very reason why they have serious doctrinal discussion for full reconciliation with the Church.

    Here you go again Jabba, STOP this practice of accusing me of being liberal and modernist and when i do reply the same you switched to being self-righteous. What a baloney.

  • Sweetjae

    Nope, rebutted so resorting to name callin again, huh jabba?

  • Sweetjae

    Math is a language designed by God given to us, so what’s wrong of using the language as one of the ways to discover the Wisdom, Power and Creative nature of Almighty God??

    I do understand if some are not able to comprehend.

  • Sweetjae

    SSPX are a group of disobedient people who thinks they are more catholic than the Pope, General Council, Magisterium,Catechism and the Church. THAT is the reality of things, let’s not try to sugarcoat it.

    Christ said that He saved the world by His Obedience to His Father and without obedience nobody can please the Lord and there is NO Salvation.

  • Sweetjae

    Yes there are always dissenting and disobedient voices within any Religious Order of the Church however, they don’t make and build another church like the sons of the SSPX did. There were more than 5 offshoots that came from it, a clear characteristic of protestantism.

  • Sweetjae

    So what do you think of the wreckage by other ‘traditionalists’ you dont agree with? There are as many ‘catholic’ churches and sects as the days of the year.

  • JabbaPapa

    Math is a language designed by God given to us

    Maths are a product of human logic.

    I do understand that you are unable to comprehend this.

  • JabbaPapa

    Oh, go and look up “to rebut” in the dictionary.

    You might learn there that statements of your own personal opinions rebut nothing at all.

    What you’ve actually done is called “disagreement”.

  • JabbaPapa

    Your theology is embarrassingly inept.

  • JabbaPapa

    Good grief !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    You carry on with your one-track mind and obsessive fixations, there !!!

  • Padraig

    Are you really trying to tell us that in the 2000yrs prior to Vatican 11 that the Church was chaotic.Dont be so ridiculous. 

  • nytor

    Indeed, and Catholicity with the Church through the ages as well. People can no longer sing the psalms as the saints did.

    The universality has also been compromised by the growth of national bishops conferences and in effect national churches and the vernacular liturgy has facilitated this to some extent.

  • nytor

    Well, Nichols himself offered a garland to an idol, didn’t he?

  • Parasum

    Good point. I can’t believe we agree on something.

  • Parasum

    “…notion that the interpretation of Church doctrine and teachings should strictly follow the rules of mathematical logic…”

    ## She has a point about Christianity being revolutionary, and a very good one. The idea may be disconcerting to to people who emphasis tradition and (as they often imply)stability and identity and continuity in teaching – but it’s unhistorical to ignore the discontinuities. They matter too.

     Where do you see anything to justify the words quoted ?

    “…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.”

    ## I don’t see anything remotely resembling that in her posts. She has made very similar comments about traditionalists, and they are equally groundless. Her reasoning  - & in this instance yours – is a confusion between conferring authority, and witnessing to its execise.

    If I say Australia is a country, I am not presuming to set myself up as an authority on geography, still less decreeing that it is so to be reckoned: I am relying on the witness of those who are expert in that science, who being expert therein have a title to be heeded when they assert that Australia is a country. There are, it is true, philosophical and other difficulties in asserting that Australia is a country – it is not impossible that Australia is Protestant invention, which only Modernists would believe – but there are also well-founded reasons for believing that Australia is a real country; though the objections to such a belief do need dealing with. And even if Modernists, Protestants and other bad people are unanimous in believing there is a country called Australia, it is not impossible that they are right. Catholicism and reality are not identical – even non-Catholics are right occasionally. It would be a pity if Catholicism became Non-Australianism. Though it might.

    If Sweetjae is not female, my apologies.

  • Parasum

    Is obedience to satan a good thing ? IMHO, possibly not.

    The morality of obedience is not decided by what the virtue is, taken in the abstract. Obedience is not free-standing - it is always obedience *to* someone or something. And the morality of obedience in a particular instance is decided by whether it is obedience to a  good thing, or to a bad. Obedience is very bad indeed,when it is the obedience of a Nazi to Nazism that leads him to massacre civilians. That action, far from being virtuous, is a war crime.

    The obedience of Christi OTOH was to the Will of His Father in Heaven, that was obedience leading to death on the Cross, then Resurrection; it was was therefore entirely virtuous, righteous, holy & gracious.

    Disobedience can often be a virtue – for the English martyrs to refuse to keep the law that required them to attend the Protestant service on pain of being fined,was disobedient – and worthy of honour. They were virtously & holily & Christianly disobedient by offering the Mass, being reconciled to Rome, preaching the Catholic Faith, being ordained as Catholic priests, printing Catholic literature, being trained in seminaries abroad, bringing up their children as Catholics, & by committing other such acts. The Apostles were disobedient to the priests who warned them not to preach in the Name Of Jesus – they said to them, “We must obey God, rather than men”. When a Pope commands or encourages or requires anything that is contrary to the known truth, he is acting against the authority he has received, not in obedience to it, & it is no sin to withstand him. None of this is novel; it is traditional.

    So the issue is a little more complicated than you perhaps realise.  

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/ EditorCT

    Please be aware that Sweetjae – I am 100 per cent certain – has, in the recent past, been blogging on our blog over at Catholic Truth (under a different name) and he will not be convinced about the SSPX. If Pope John Paul II appeared to him and admitted that the excommunications had been a huge mistake, he wouldn’t believe him.

    Our bloggers posted comments as lengthy as yours, Gildaswiseman, and even lengthier, with fact after indisputable fact packed in there. Sweetjae ignores it all and simply returns to the attack, repeating his opinions; in the Gospel according to Sweetjae, the SSPX don’t accept the validity of Vatican II and thus they are beyond the pale. You can post youtube videos with Bishop Fellay affirming that Vatican II was a valid Council, you can quote from popes and prelates pointing out that the SSPX are not and never have been in schism, it won’t make a blind bit of difference to Sweetjae. He knows differently.

    Just couldn’t resist putting in this tuppence-worth because I don’t say this often; in fact, apart from Sweetjae, I’ve NEVER said it – but it is a total waste of time trying to reason with him. He’s got a block about the SSPX. Leave him to enjoy it, is my (entirely free-of-charge, worry not) advice.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/ EditorCT

    Correction:

    End of penultimate paragraph:

     “…the SSPX are not… in schism”

    should, of course, read:

     “… the SSPX IS not … in schism.

    Apologies for that glaring grammatical gaffe! .  

  • Parasum

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

    The only way to get round that, is to ignore it. This is what has been done. Ecumenism is the AIDS of Catholicism, the result of the Church’s whoring around with false religions. It  is all the more dangerous for not being completely evil - it has some good elements. But just the good eyesight or intelligence of a hunchback don’t alter the deformity of the hunchback, so with ecumenism; the good elements in it, & even the genuine good that has resulted, do not do away with the deformity of ecumenism. It is  entirely possible to reject ecumenism as the bad thing it is, without failing to be grateful for what good there is in it.

  • Helen

    Hi, nytor.  I’d be interested to know the details of that.  At the moment my boys are off school and waiting to go in at lunchtime.  I have sent a letter to the Headteacher.