“No Rupture with the Past” Update:
The Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches
Image 1: by Dnalor 01 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Image 2: World Council of Churches Logo [Fair Use], via Wikimedia Commons
The Vatican has announced that “Pope” Francis will visit the Swiss city of Geneva on June 21, 2018, to participate in the festivities for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the so-called World Council of Churches, an ecumenical body of sundry heretical and schismatic sects that are striving for some kind of “visible unity”. According to its official web site, the World Council of Churches identifies itself as “a community of churches on the way to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and in common life in Christ” (source). The Vatican II Sect is not a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC), although it does have its own accredited observers who attend its meetings.
It comes as no surprise to Catholics that the WCC’s stated goal of visible unity in belief hasn’t been achieved yet even after 70 years. In fact, concerning the current state of ecumenism in general, “Cardinal” Kurt Koch candidly lamented last year that despite conducting its own dialogues for 50 years with various Protestant and Eastern Orthodox denominations, the result is that they cannot even agree on the point of ecumenism. What they all can agree on, however, is the fact that no matter what ecumenism is supposed to accomplish, it is definitely not the conversion of non-Catholics to the Roman Catholic Church. Precisely this, however, is the only type of ecumenism — if we must use that awful term — acceptable to the Catholic Church, for Jesus Christ founded only one Church (see Mt 16:18), as the “foundation and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15), with one Faith (see Eph 4:5). He gave her a divine mission to convert the nations (see Mt 28:19-20) and declared that all who do not remain in this Faith and in this Church are cut off from friendship with God (see Mk 16:16; Mt 18:17-18; 2 Jn 9).
This true Catholic position on religious unity and ecumenism is spelled out beautifully in the following extremely clear, consistent, and entirely non-ecumenical Catholic magisterial documents:
- Pope Pius IX, Holy Office Letter to English Bishops on Christian Unity (1864)
- Pope Pius IX, Holy Office Instruction to Anglican Puseyites on True Religious Unity (1865)
- Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Letter Iam Vos Omnes (1868)
- Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae (1894)
- Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic Letter to Archbishop Francis Satolli (1895)
- Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum (1896)
- Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos (1928)
- Pope Pius XII, Canonical Warning Cum Compertum on Attending Ecumenical Gatherings (1948)
- Pope Pius XII, Instruction De Motione Oecumenica on the Ecumenical Movement (1949)
When the Modernists took over the Catholic structures after the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, it was clear to them that no ecumenism would ever be possible for as long as the Catholic Church claimed to be the only true religion, founded exclusively by Jesus Christ, the sole ark of salvation. To make ecumenism possible, a new definition of “Catholic Church” would be required, for which reason “Pope” John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council, which — lo and behold — redefined the nature of the Church: No longer were men to think of the Church founded by Jesus Christ as being identical the Catholic Church, but merely as existing in it. Thus a substantial change was introduced: An essential distinction was made between the “institutional church” on the one hand and the Church founded by Christ on the other. This opened the door to ecumenism, for Vatican II and the post-conciliar pseudo-magisterium declared that although the Church of Christ exists fully in the Catholic Church, it also supposedly exists in elements (or degrees) in other churches and communities (i.e. in heretical sects).
Some time ago we made a video about this, demonstrating that this change in doctrine could not possibly have been approved by a true Pope, for it dissolves the nature of the Catholic Church:
With Francis attending the 70th anniversary celebrations of the WCC, some are speculating that the “Pope” will make the Vatican II Sect part of that ecumenical body, as Ed Pentin reports. However, this seems unlikely, especially since it is not necessary — the same theological and spiritual damage can be and has been accomplished even without “Catholic” membership in the WCC.
Since the WCC was founded in 1948, and some similar entities and movements had already appeared much earlier, it is possible to find traditional Catholic commentary on these endeavors and the WCC in particular, straight from priests and theologians who lived in those days and were thus blissfully unaware of what would happen once Pope Pius XII died. They cannot, then, be accused of being biased in any way, since they were merely articulating the only possible Catholic position as it was known then, the very same position true Catholics still hold today — because it must be as true and as Catholic now as it was then: “Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today; and the same for ever” (Heb 13:8).
And so we turn to a slew of questions and answers about the WCC and other efforts aimed at bringing about supposed Christian unity outside of conversion to Catholicism. The following objections and replies are taken from the monumental work Radio Replies by Fr. Leslie Rumble and Fr. Charles Carty. Both of these priests had radio programs, respectively in Sydney, Australia and St. Paul, Minnesota, on which they answered thousands of objections to Catholicism over the years. Radio Replies was published in 3 volumes: the first in 1938, the second in 1940, and the third in 1942. In 1954, Fr. Rumble published a follow-up volume entitled That Catholic Church: A Radio Analysis, containing another 1,650 questions and answers.
The select answers that follow demonstrate the true and only Catholic position on ecumenism and the WCC. See how diametrically opposed they are to what the Novus Ordo Church has been saying and doing for the last five decades.
259. Why does the Roman Church refuse to take part in the World Congresses of other Churches for the securing of unity?
Because she can never sanction by her participation Congresses which admit that the unity of the Church has been lost, and that it must be found again; and which hope to attain unity by a compromising policy of give and take. The unity promised by Christ has been retained by the Catholic Church. That Church believes that she is but the custodian of the religion of Christ, and she has not the right to make any compromises, to pare down and whittle away His doctrines in order to placate those who refuse to accept them in all their fullness. It would be useless to attend a Congress working on the idea that “we are all wrong, and must put our heads together to see how we can put ourselves right.” The acceptance of such a principle would mean that the Catholic Church must unsay her infallibility. Did she do so, she would no longer be the Catholic Church at all. Yet Congresses of non-Catholic denominations would welcome her participation only on the understanding that she admits herself to be as fallible as themselves. It cannot be done.
260. Did not negotiations for the reunion of Anglicanism and Catholicism take place during the Malines Conversations?
The Malines Conversations were an unofficial discussion of the subject between Lord Halifax and several leading Anglican clergymen on the one hand, and Cardinal Mercier with several French theologians on the other. The Conversations were for the sake of inquiring as to whether any common basis could be found upon which an attempt at union could be inaugurated.
261. Why did those Conversations fail?
Because the participants were trying to find a way to reconcile the irreconcilable. Moreover, the Anglican Delegates presented only the High Church views to Cardinal Mercier and the French theologians, giving them a wrong outlook on the Anglican Church as a whole. Low Church Anglican papers throughout England denounced the Anglo-Catholic Delegates for misrepresenting Anglican doctrine, denied their right to speak on behalf of the Church of England, accused them of being “Romanizers,” and declared that they would never submit to any undoing of the work of the Protestant Reformation. With such chaos reigning in the Anglican Church the Conversations could not but fail. Unity in Anglicanism itself is absolutely necessary before it can even discuss the question of possible unity with the Catholic Church.
262. As an Anglican I was bitterly disappointed with the result.
If you believe that the Church of England ought to be in communion with Rome, and is not, how can you justify yourself in remaining where you ought not to be, and in refusing to take that step personally which the corporate Anglican Church cannot and will not take?
263. Will you explain just what Catholics mean by the unity of the Church?
By the unity of the Church we mean the unity of belief, worship, and government for all peoples and for all times in the one religious body. This is the first great requirement of the true Church. Unity is reality. Unity and life, in fact, go together. If the Church is the union of God with man, and man with God, how can there be several different Churches? That would mean division in the very thing that should unite us in God. If God is one, and men are one in Christ, then there can be but one Church, a divine yet human organization, of which Christ is the Head, the Holy Spirit the Soul, and all men members. The Church is but a continuation of Christ in this world. Therefore, St. Paul asks, “Is the body of Christ divided?” There is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Church. The Catholic Church is this one Church; and any religion which differs in character from the Catholic Church, and wishes to exist independently of it, is outside the true Church.
264. History shows that the Roman Church has had crisis after crisis. She has not always had unity, but only recently has perfected her concentration.
The Catholic Church has always had unity. It is true that there has been crisis after crisis in her history. But that does not imply loss of unity. In all life, whether individual or social, civil or religious, crisis follows crisis. But where civil kingdoms have been dissolved, the Catholic Church has ever emerged with a still more concentrated unity. Today there is no possibility of a Greek schism or a Protestant reformation by any movement from within the Catholic Church. Modernism was soon settled as far as she was concerned. And all previous disloyalties and rebellions provoked a reaction of unity proving the vitality of the Catholic Church, and that will to live which is her preservation. What you call the concentration of unity in the Catholic Church is merely her interior principle of control responding to the complications incidental to growth.
265. The exclusive claims of the Catholic Church will never lead to unity. It can come only by tolerance, respect for each other, and closer cooperation.
Continued tolerance of error can never give unity in truth. By such tolerance people will remain as divided as ever in their beliefs. Respect for the persons of others should ever prevail. Closer cooperation is not enough. Perfect cooperation is necessary. But that will be possible only under a unified control. And a unified control of a perfectly united Christian Church will result only from a return of the Churches which caused a division to the one fold of the Catholic-Church. After all, Christ sent His Church to fight the forces of evil. If a country sent an army to resist its enemies, how would that army get on if different subordinate officers walked off with groups of soldiers, disobeying orders of the higher command, and deciding to try out what they thought to be better ideas of their own? Discipline and order are essential. Our Lord knew this, and warned against such divisions, saying, “A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.” And if superior officers protested against the indiscipline of hotheaded subordinates, would you blame them? Or suggest that, since all aimed at defending the country, they should work harmoniously with these insubordinates, whilst still allowing them to do as they please?
266. Could not one religion be arrived at by compromise on the part of all the different Churches?
The resultant religion certainly would not be Christianity. Instead of being the religion of Christ, it would be a religion which all those putting their heads together would agree that it would be nice for Him to have taught. Just imagine one saying, “Well, I am convinced that Christ taught this, but you are convinced that He taught something else. But now, let us not bother about the authority of Christ. I’ll give up a section of what I am convinced to be His teaching; and you give up a section of what you are convinced to be His teaching, and thus we will arrive at a working agreement to suit ourselves.” Surely you can see how impossible is such an attitude. After all, to whom does the Christian religion belong? It belongs, not to us, but to Christ. For the Catholic Church, therefore, there can be no question of compromise.
267. You cannot foresee a new and undivided Church blending all existent forms of the Christian religion?
That will never be. The Catholic Church will never abandon such of her truths as Protestants dislike, in order to embrace the various errors all Protestants will generously agree amongst themselves to accept in a spirit of real good fellowship. How you can talk of a new Church is a mystery. Christ established a definite Church, promising to be with it all days till the end of the world. That does not suggest the abolition of all existent Churches and the formation of a new one. As a matter of fact, another true Christian Church would demand another Christ, and another Incarnation. But to what purpose? What would a new Christ do that the first Christ has not done? No. Christ established a definite Church to last for the rest of time, promising that the gates of hell will never prevail against it. They have not done so. And that definite Church of Christ is the Catholic Church. To her men must return.
1411. Have not over one hundred branches of the Christian Churches joined the World Council of Churches?
It would be incorrect to speak in such a way. Over one hundred different non-Catholic Churches have agreed to form amongst themselves a “World Council.” We cannot speak of these Churches as branches of the Christian Church as though they already belonged to one Church. They themselves deplore the fact that they do not, and urge the necessity of getting back to a unity which will make them “the Christian Church” instead of remaining divided and conflicting “Churches.” One cannot have it both ways, admitting that they are not one united Church, and then speaking of them as if they were!
1412. What is the nature and purpose of the World Council of Churches?
It is a kind of Committee with members drawn from most of the Protestant Churches, and from some, not all, of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. It was established in 1938 at Utrecht, in Holland. Its purpose is to promote common action in fields in which the member Churches are already agreed; and to try to see how such differences as still exist between them can be overcome, so that eventually there will be “only one Christian Church.” Although the Catholic Church has never been affiliated with this “World Council of Churches,” the members themselves realize that there can never be one only Church without Catholics belonging to it. They therefore declare that their ultimate hope is a unity which will include the Catholic Church. Their problem is to discover terms of reunion which will be acceptable to the Catholic Church, and to persuade Protestant and Greek Orthodox peoples in turn to accept those terms. I cannot see any prospect of such a hope ever being realized.
1413. Has the World Council of Churches any power of legislation over member Churches?
No. It expressly disclaims any such power of legislation. And that is a sure sign that its member Churches are separate and distinct bodies, not members of one and the same Church. In the Council they may agree to cooperate in common action on some things, as England and America cooperated during World War II. But they remain as distinct and separate Churches as England and America are distinct and separate nations.
1414. You say that the “World Council of Churches” aims at a unity which will include the Catholic Church. But the “World Evangelical Alliance” protested against such an idea saying: “Ultimate aim of reunion with the Roman Catholic Church is impossible and undesirable unless there is a complete revolution in both the doctrine and practice of Romanism.”
The “World Evangelical Alliance” is an older body than the “World Council of Churches” and it stands for the defense and propagation of strictly Protestant principles as opposed to Catholic and Eastern Orthodox teachings. Its outlook is that Catholics and members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches must be converted to Protestantism, and its one fear is that the “World Council of Churches” should make concessions at the expense of Protestantism to placate Catholics and the various Orthodox Churches. Its attitude merely stresses the difficulty the “World Council of Churches” will have in trying to persuade convinced Protestants to accept any moves towards reunion with the Catholic Church at all.
1415. I am a member of the “World Protestant Alliance” and I hold that all Protestant reunion movements are a betrayal of the first Protestant reformers.
To a certain extent you are right in that. For the first Protestant reformers thought it a good thing to set up new and conflicting denominations, whilst many modern Protestants, by advocating reunion, admit that such divisions among Christians are bad and should never have arisen. But you cannot condemn the “betrayal” of the first Protestant reformers unless you first justify the conduct of those first Protestant reformers. For if they were mistaken, then they were the betrayers of true Christianity and to undo their mistake is the best thing that could be.
1416. The first Protestant reformers would have been horrified by any talk of reunion with the Catholic Church, which they denounced as Antichrist and a wicked abomination.
That is the way they thought, but the vast majority of Protestants have grown out of such ideas. It would be strange if, in 400 years, education and reason showed no signs of prevailing over prejudices based far more on heated and violent ill-feeling than on intelligence. However, there are some, even many, not yet emancipated from the narrowness and bigotry of past centuries.
1417. Would you deny that in encouraging Protestant reunion movements, Rome is merely leading Protestants up the garden path, hoping to get all Protestants back once more?
I’m afraid your question is based on a misunderstanding of the position. Protestants promoting reunion movements regularly complain of the lack of encouragement they receive from Rome. That does not look like Rome leading them up any garden path! Again, commenting on the Instruction issued by the Vatican in 1950 concerning relations between Catholics and other Christian bodies, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury said that the Vatican’s insistence that in all discussions stress must be placed on points of disagreement rather than on points of agreement discourages rather than encourages such discussions. Rome is not interested in making converts just for the sake of adding to her numbers. She does, of course, desire non-Catholics to become Catholics; but that is for their sake, not for her own sake. And it can only be in so far as they themselves, with the help of God’s grace, have become sincerely convinced of the truth of the Catholic religion. If you yourself attained to that conviction, you would want to become a Catholic; but you are far from that yet, of course.
1418. In an address in New York, Dr. Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, told Americans that the absence of the Roman Catholic Church was the great weakness of “World Council of Churches” through no lack of effort on their part.
It is true that promoters of the “World Council of Churches” have again and again begged the Catholic Church to send official representatives to its assemblies, invitations which the Catholic Church has had no choice but to decline. It is also true that the absence of the greatest of all the Churches in the world professing to be Christian deprives the “World Council” of the influence its promoters desire. But the Catholic Church is already all that the members of the Council say that they are seekhai to become. She is one united universal Church, the Church which hal been faithful through the centuries to the religion of Christ. And it i l through no lack of effort on her part that people remain separated from her, divided among themselves and ever worried about their differences! The real road to unity is that of return to the Catholic Church.
1419. Why cannot the Roman Church join the “World Council of Churches?”
Because Christ said: “I will build My Church,” not “My Churches” Matt., XVI, 18. The existence of hundreds of Churches, independent of each other, differing in essential matters of faith and order, and trying to function in a spirit of compromise through a world council like a league of distinct and separated nations, is quite opposed to the teachings and intentions of Christ. He intended one world-wide Church, united in faith, worship and discipline; and the Catholic Church, conscious of being the true Church of Christ, cannot on principle sanction the mistaken ideas of those promoting the “World Council of Churches.”
1420. Is it too much to ask the Catholic Church to cooperate with the Protestant Churches on an equal basis?
That is too much to ask. Try to realize the position. It is part of the Catholic Faith that Christ gave His Church a divinely-maintained unity which can never be lost. People may break away from the Catholic Church, but that does not mean divisions in the Church. The unity Christ promised remains in the Catholic Church. For a Catholic, therefore, there can be no question of repairing a lost unity as far as the Church is concerned. We can only invite other people who have forsaken Catholic unity and who are distressed by lack of unity among themselves, to return to unity within the Catholic Church. If the Catholic Church collaborated with the Protestant Churches on an equal basis, as if she as well as they, were but a fragment of a shattered unity, she would be denying the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to be with His Church, preserving her unity all days till the end of the world. She cannot admit that, because people have divided themselves from the Church, the Church herself is divided. She can only work to bring such separated people back. She cannot participate with them in plans based on the idea that the unity promised by Christ has been lost; and that it is for men to restore it by their own human efforts.
If these answers do not sound like what you’ve been hearing at your local “Catholic” parish recently, there’s a reason for that: Your diocese is not run by Catholics but by Modernists.
By the way: Fr. Rumble continued his radio show until December of 1968 and published a fifth volume of questions and answers, mainly about Vatican II, in 1972. That final volume was entitled Questions People Ask. For the sake of honesty we have to point out that, unfortunately, as did most others, Fr. Rumble defended the council and tried to square it with traditional Catholic teaching. Thinking that infernal synod to have come from a true Pope, he naturally accepted its teachings as binding and allowed it to correct him: “As for my pre-conciliar replies, some of the positions I earlier maintained no longer hold good”, he wrote, convinced, however, like many for a few years after the council, that “there have been no changes in the essentials of the Catholic religion…” (Questions People Ask [Kensington, NSW: Chevalier Books, 1972], p. xi). What may not have been so clearly visible yet in 1968, however, is crystal-clear today, as the post-conciliar Novus Ordo pseudo-magisterium has spent the last 50 years interpreting and applying Vatican II, to the detriment of true and traditional Catholic teaching.
Fr. Leslie Rumble died in 1975; Fr. Charles Carty had passed away in 1964.
The truth remains.