I am diametrically opposed to the ''Ecumenical Movement'' in its current manifestation. I do not agree with services of ''ecumenical'' Vespers, I do not agree with self-styled Archbishops of Canterbury setting foot in the Sanctuary of Westminster Cathedral (whilst our separated, and more worthy, brethren the Eastern bishops are sat as dignitaries in the Nave) in their silly red choir dress, still less do I agree with inter-Communion services and things that generally make a farce of Catholic doctrine and liturgical orthopraxis. I refer readers to Pope Pius XI's Encyclical letter Mortalium Animos for a proper discourse on Ecumenism: namely, we are the True Church of Jesus Christ, extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. It's that simple. Pretending that there is an ''imperfect'' communion among self-styled Christians achieves nothing. Divisions remain, and will always remain, as this was fated to happen. Once the Protestant reformers splintered from the Church, naturally there would just ensue a gradual (or rapid, depending on how one reckons Time I expect) declension of Faith. This photo encapsulates this. But the True Church is One and She always will be. But it was also always going to be the way of the World that people preferred their own fancies to Revealed Truth, and the so-called ''Ecumenical Movement'' is certainly no tonic for that. If only heretics would abandon their obstinate arrogance and come back to Rome. But we can only pray I expect...
Anyway, today is the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, the two great Apostles who were martyred in Rome under the Emperor Nero. I was going through my copy of Adrian Fortescue's The Early Papacy this afternoon and came across this pertinent quote (at least in relation to what I've just said):
''The whole principle of believing the teaching of the Church goes by the wayside, if we admit the possibility that the Church may consist of a group of separate communions, all teaching something different.'' (Adrian Fortescue, The Early Papacy, Chapter VI, Communion with Rome.)
As the Successor of St Peter is the ''meeting point,'' or the ultimate focus of the Church's Unity (one of the four marks of the True Church) then a post on union with Rome seemed especially relevant for this Feast. Also, since this is Singulare Ingenium, a quote from Tolkien might well conclude the post as I have now run out of ideas:
''I myself am convinced by the Petrine claims, nor looking around the world does there seem much doubt which (if Christianity is true) is the True Church, the temple of the Spirit* dying but living, corrupt but holy, self-reforming and rearising. But for me that Church of which the Pope is the acknowledged head on earth has as chief claim that it is the one that has (and still does) ever defended the Blessed Sacrament, and given It most honour, and put It (as Christ plainly intended) in the prime place. 'Feed my sheep' was His last charge to St Peter; and since His words are always first to be understood literally, I suppose them to refer primarily to the Bread of Life. It was against this that the W. European revolt (or Reformation) was really launched - 'the blasphemous fable of the Mass' - and faith/works a mere red herring.
''*Not that one should forget the wise words of Charles Williams, that it is our duty to tend the accredited and established altar, though the Holy Spirit may send the fire down somewhere else. God cannot be limited (even by His own Foundations) - of which St Paul is the first & prime example - and may use any channel for His grace. Even to love Our Lord, and certainly call Him Lord, and God, is a grace, and may bring more grace. Nonetheless, speaking institutionally and not of individual souls the channel must eventually run back into the ordained course, or run into sands and perish. Besides the Sun there may be moonlight (even bright enough to read by); but if the Sun were removed there would be no Moon to see. What would Christianity now be if the Roman Church has in fact been destroyed?'' (The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien, no. 250).
I have deliberately omitted what he wrote about the reform of St Pius X and the Council! (this letter was written in 1963) - but I expect that we can't blame him for having said such things. I am still trying to find out what he meant by ''greatest'' and ''achieve'' in terms of those and subsequent ''reforms.'' But the letter (if anyone has a copy) is well worth reading. It certainly makes interesting reading in the light of the post-Conciliar Church. Tolkien could not foresee (who could?) in 1963 what state the Church would be in 46 years on - but like he said, the Church is ''rearising.''
I have said surprisingly little about Sts Peter and Paul, in a post that is dedicated to them. Let us just bless them for their courageous Faith and pray for their intercession.
Sts Peter and Paul,
Pray for us.
Pray for us.