with “Cardinal” Vincent Nichols!
Vincent Nichols is the Archlayman of Westminster, England. It was John Paul II who decided he should be a “bishop”, back in 1991. It was Benedict XVI who appointed him to Westminster in 2009. And it was Francis who made him a “cardinal” in 2014. Moreover, Nichols is currently the head of the Novus Ordo Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, making him the highest-ranking prelate in all of England.
With such sterling credentials, it is clear that Mr. Nichols is a man of Vatican II through and through. And that means practicing not just ecumenism but also interreligious dialogue. After all, the apostate Second Vatican Council declares:
The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
(Vatican II, Declaration Nostra Aetate, n. 3)
That’s Vatican II doctrine, for all you Novus Ordos out there.
Thanks to an important news release issued by Vatican Media on April 24, the world has been notified that Muslims are currently observing their fasting season of Ramadan. The fast is broken at the nightly Iftar meal. What better thing for a “cardinal” of Nichols’ caliber to do than to join in? For four years now, Nichols has been enjoying food and company with the Mohammedan Christ-deniers during Ramadan. In fact, in 2017, Nichols hosted an interreligious Iftar himself.
This year, however, due to Coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Nichols’ Iftar participation became a digital affair: The Naz Legacy Foundation hosted #RamadanAtHome via the Zoom conferencing tool. Nichols wasn’t the only non-Muslim — or non-Catholic — to take part in this Islamic breaking of the fast: He was in great company, being joined by the Anglican Archlayman of Canterbury, London’s Jewish Chief Rabbi, and the Anglican “Bishopette” of London.
Roughly 19,000 people tuned in live to watch the #RamadanAtHome “interfaith” spectacle, according to a tweet posted by Naz Legacy today:
Record Breaking 19,000 plus watched our special #RamadanAtHome virtual #iftar LIVE with @JustinWelby @chiefrabbi @CardinalNichols @bishopSarahM Imam Mahmoud @ArzooAhmed @TufailH @IRF_Ambassador @MishalHusain @NizamUddin1 & @SadiqKhan #Ramadan History Made! pic.twitter.com/vq35F3ye9T— NazLegacyFoundation (@NazLegacy) May 8, 2020
But Christ ate with sinners, some will now object. Yes, He did — to preach the Gospel to them and convert them, not for fellowship’s sake (cf. 1 Cor 5:11). Surely, then, Mr. Nichols was using the opportunity to proclaim Jesus Christ to those unhappily caught in “the darkness … of Islamism”, as Pope Pius XI called it, right?
Fat chance! Were he ever to do that, it would be his last Iftar for sure! Not only that — he would get in even bigger trouble with his Jesuit boss, who with lightning speed would publicly shame him for “proselytism” and promote him to the position of assistant janitor at a mission chapel in Micronesia — effective immediately.
Indeed, as can be seen in the teaser released by Naz Legacy today (see video above), Nichols faithfully preached the false Vatican II gospel instead, saying that during times of crisis such as the one we’re currently living through, “Each of us learns to live our faith more fully.” In that statement, the grammatical howler is surpassed only by the religious errors inherent in it.
First, Muslims — or people of any other non-Catholic religion — cannot be said to have Faith, properly speaking. It is wrong and dangerous to refer to false religions as “faiths”, since one can only have Faith in what God has revealed, and the Islamic religion was most certainly not revealed by God.
The pre-Vatican II moral theologian Fr. Francis Connell explains:
The use by Catholics of such expression as “interfaith meetings” and “persons of different faiths,” whereby non-Catholics are said or implied to have a different faith from Catholics is very unfortunate. The word faith, as traditionally used in the Catholic Church, signifies exclusively the one true faith, which is found only in the Catholic Church. Objectively, the faith is the body of truths that are proposed by the infallible magisterium of the Church as divinely revealed; subjectively, faith is the infused virtue whereby one accepts the truths of divine revelation on account of God’s authority. It is true, the virtue of faith can reside in persons of good will separated from Catholic unity; yet, even in such the infused virtue impels them to believe only what is actually true; it does not extend to doctrines which they themselves may sincerely believe but which are actually false (St. Thomas, Sum. theol., II-II, q. 1, a. 3). The words of St. Paul are very explicit in this connection: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephes. 4:5). When Catholics wish to speak of those outside the true fold, they could refer to them as persons of different denominations, different beliefs, different creeds — but the word faith should be retained in its traditional Catholic sense.
(Rev. Francis J. Connell, Father Connell Answers Moral Questions [Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1959], pp. 10-11; italics given.)
The reason Fr. Connell’s competent and clear answer doesn’t jibe with Vatican II is that Vatican II isn’t Catholic. The traditional understanding also condemns the blasphemy uttered by “Saint” John Paul II in his first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis, when he said that the firm adherence of non-Christians to their false doctrines “is also an effect of the Spirit of truth operating outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body” (n. 6)!
Secondly, Nichols’ statement implies the heresy of Indifferentism, according to which it doesn’t really matter what one believes, as long as one is basically a “good” person:
Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism” may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that “those who are not with Christ are against Him,” and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.” Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: “He who is for the See of Peter is for me.” A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: “The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?”
(Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari Vos, n. 13)
Ah yes, Gregory XVI, another one of those hapless souls who didn’t live to see the halcyon days of Vatican II!
“Cardinal” Nichols, of course, has the Vatican’s backing not only for his apostate beliefs but also for his corresponding actions. On April 17, 2020, the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue had released his annual message to Muslims for Ramadan, telling them that “[f]or us, your Christian friends, it is a propitious time to further strengthen our relationships with you, by greeting you, meeting you on this occasion and, where possible, by sharing in an iftar with you.” So there you go.
Maybe someone should tell Francis about this so he can step in?
Maybe not. He might be tempted to reaffirm his conviction that “the fast of Ramadan … will bear abundant spiritual fruit” for his Mohammedan friends, or tell them once again: “The faith [!] that your parents instilled in you will always help you move on.” In other words, Francis’ desire is not that Muslims become Catholics but that Muslims become stronger and better Muslims.
But that’s not what Christ commanded His disciples to do: “And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mk 16:15-16). There are certainly different legitimate approaches one can take to evangelize Muslims charitably and effectively — but confirming them in their Mohammedan creed is definitely not one of them.
Now, to end this post on a happy note, let’s not just focus on the bad news. Lest we run the risk of giving our readers a wholly distorted picture of “Cardinal” Nichols, we must clarify that of course it would be wrong to think of the Archlayman of Westminster as being unconcerned about giving scandal. He is most solicitous for the souls under his care.
Just recently he made clear that despite people’s petitions to the contrary, churches in England would remain locked, warning some of the people in his diocese that to re-open churches now for private prayer before the (putative) Blessed Sacrament, would be “to endanger life and to act in a way that gave scandal.”
Good thing he is so concerned about souls that he wants to keep them from being scandalized!
For this article we have used some sources found in the report “Cardinal Celebrates Ramadan at Home” by Church Militant.
Image source: composite with elements from shutterstock.com and flickr.com (Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)
License: paid / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0