Worshiping With Pagans
We as Catholics believe that only the Catholic Church holds the Truth. We believe this because Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father and Proceeding the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, said so. He started the Catholic Church upon St. Peter (cf Matthew 16:18). Jesus also said that He is the Truth, The Way and the Light. By saying this, He means that there is no other Truth, but him (cf John 14:6).
When we engage in worship, we are announcing that we believe in said worship, whether we realize it or not. We announce it by our presence, by our willful participation. If you walk in, sit down, stand up or whatever, you are participating. Unless you are forced to be there against your own free will, you yourself are willfully being present and participating.
If we are to receive an anointing, we are receiving more than just oil, ashes, or whatever substance the anointing is being done with, and general pleasantries. We are receiving prayers, words, creeds and beliefs that go behind the anointing.
If I was to tell you that I was going to lay my hand upon you and pray over you and send the spirits of my fallen ancestors upon you to strengthen you, would you allow me to do it? Probably not because you know what the prayers entail and know that it is false and pagan.
If I wasn’t to tell you that I was going to do all of that and just said “I’m going to lay my hands upon you as a sign of our friendship” (a lie) would you allow me to do it? This is where the confusion lays.
Unfortunately, today, in the Church, this is the confusion that we are faced with. Jesus did hang out with sinners and engage them in discussion, but he did not receive any blessings or engage in their worship.
It is indeed scandalous when a leader in the Church engages in worship with false religions. All of the leaders in our Church, whether they be a priest, bishop, cardinal or Pope, are a visual sign of Christ here on this Earth. They are his representatives as when they say the Mass or hear confessions, they become in persona Christi, or in the Person of Christ. They become Christ. As Jesus never engaged in worship with the false religions, it would be inappropriate for our prelates to engage in these worships. It gives the false impression that all religions are equal, when they are indeed not.
Our prelates should be spending the time, to instead building up relationships of community, to preaching the truths of the faith. Many saints were martyred for defending the Catholic faith to these same false creeds and for preaching the Truth. The Church canonized these same Saints for their actions. To me, it seems insulting to now spend time in false ecumenicism and giving the false impression that we are all in the same boat, worshiping the same God.
The thing to recognize with ecumunism is that a lot abuses occurred after the second Vatican council. The sole reason why eccumunism was brought up at the council tries in with Christs prayer to his father that they may be one as we are one. Eccuminism, as addressed at the council, and as even addressed in doctrinal statements at the council, was a movement of the Church to first find common ground with protestants. The reason for this was ultimately to bring about theological discussion and their conversion to the faith. Its a lot harder for people to want to listen or enter into theological discussion when there is not first an acknowledgement of what is shared and what is common.
The problem however developed after Vatican II. This emphasis for unity was never applied correctly. For many in the Church this emphasis went to the extreme. For instance artwork. Taking down statues and images in many Catholic Churches throughout the world to be more like protestants and emphasis unity occurred after the council. In so doing this, we lost a sense of catholic identity and went against the very reason that the council put such a strong emphasis on ecumenism in the first place. Its really ironic. We emphasize it to heal bitter tensions and open the doors to theological dialogue. We end up going to the other extreme…. at that time in history there was a nasty rift that remained between protestants and Catholics, much more than I think today in this day and age where almost everyone and everything is accepted. So that was the aim of the Church, but the misapplication of it to this day has created great damage. Because now instead of hearing Catholic hymns at Catholic parishes, you hear protestant ones. At many parishes instead of hearing about the lives of the saints, you hear about unity from priest who studied in seminaries right after the council and who were trained in the wake of the misapplications of the council to teach this.
You can’t blame the council itself that didnt aim for this and had the aim of actually increasing those in the Catholic Church. Still you can be upset by the results and those who took advantage of missapplied it…..a watered down faith around the Church in the US and world..Dance then wherever I am the Lord of the dance said he. You may as well grab a lollipop while your at it and do the macharina for Peter James and John. It was a multitude of people that Satan affected and distorted their view after the council with multiple circumstances leading to the present situation.
Anyhow overall the article makes some really good points. I do however think its important to be cautious how its addressed. Its not directly stated in the article, but the article does start speaking about not engaging in pagan religions and while speaking with sinners, not doing what they do, and then pretty quickly transitions to speaking of eccuminism, which in its most common sense is dircetly related to intereligious diolgue between those who do serve the same God. Christ was with Peter on a daily basis who sinned just as bad as the pagans during the passion. We’re all sinners be we protestants or Catholics or any other religion. Do you see what Im saying? When the phrase ecumenism is used, it is commonly speaking of those who do worship the same God even if their practices or way of doing so are slightly different. And perhaps that is a place for further discussion: Where does one draw the line in that regard? I personally think that the biggest defining factor is accepting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and savior. That there are certain beliefs that accompany this outside of the Catholic Church but that those beliefs must be held. Thoughts?