'Culture of Encounter': An Opportunity to Deny Christ?

'Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.'
 ~ His Holiness Pope Francis, on the Feast of 
St Francis de Sales

Herein lies the Francis enigma, that the Successor of St Peter gives the impression that the Catholic Church does not necessarily contain the fullness of truth and inerrancy in Her teaching. Is this not precisely what the Devil, through his agents, and his whisperings, proposes to mankind in this century, as in previous centuries, that there can exist no absolute truths which can be trusted - not even those insisted upon by the Bride of Christ? Why is Pope Francis reticent to proclaim that the Church has the fullness of truth or that such a thing as 'Absolute Truth' exists? 

If I, as a Catholic, maintain that my own opinion holds that badgers are the sweetest of all the animals, then my opinion hold no weight. Yet, if I appeal to the Authority of the Catholic Church in recognising that a particular moral action or doctrine is right or wrong, then I am appealing to the Authority of Christ Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. A 'Culture of Encounter' would appear to involve a measure of denial, obfuscation or apostasy in the public proclamation of Catholic doctrine in the public arena or in private discussions.

St Francis de Sales himself wrote, in his Catholic Controversy...

'If we are to run the risk of erring, who would not choose to run it rather by following his own fancy, than by slavishly following that of Calvin or Luther? Everybody shall give liberty to his wits to run promiscuously about amongst opinions the most diverse possible; and, indeed, he will perhaps light on truth as soon as another will. But it is impious to believe that Our Lord has not left us some supreme judge on earth to whom we can address ourselves in our difficulties, and who is so infallible in his judgments that we cannot err. I maintain that this judge is no other than the Church Catholic, which can in no way err in the interpretations and conclusions she makes with regard to the Holy Scripture, nor in the decisions she gives concerning the difficulties which are found therein. For who has ever heard this doubted of?'

In Rerum Omnium Perturbationem, Pope Pius XI maintained that...

'After this brief resume of the work and writings of St. Francis de Sales, Venerable Brothers, it only remains to exhort you to celebrate his Centenary as worthily as possible in your dioceses. We do not wish that this Centenary should become a mere commemoration of certain events of history which would turn out a purely sterile function, neither that it should be restricted to a few selected days. We do desire that, throughout the whole year and up to the twenty-eighth of December, the day when St. Francis passed from earth to heaven, you do everything possible to instruct the faithful in doctrines and virtues which characterized the holy Doctor.

First of all, you should make known and even explain with all diligence this encyclical both to your clergy and to the people committed to your care. Particularly We are most desirous that you do all in your power to call back the faithful to their duty of practicing the obligations and virtues proper to each one's state in life, since even in our own times the number is very large who never think of eternity and who neglect almost totally the salvation of their souls. 

Some are so immersed in business that they think of nothing but accumulating riches and, by consequences, the spiritual life ceases to exist for them. Others give themselves up entirely to the satisfaction of their passions and thus fall so low that they, with difficulty if at all, are able to appreciate anything which transcends the life of sense. Finally, there are many who give their every thought to politics, and this to such an extent, that while they are completely devoted to the welfare of the public, they forget altogether one thing, the welfare of their own souls. Because of these facts, Venerable Brothers, do you endeavor, following the example of St. Francis, to instruct thoroughly the faithful in the truth that holiness of life is not the privilege of a select few. All are called by God to a state of sanctity and all are obliged to try to attain it. Teach them, too, that the acquisition of virtue, although it cannot be done without much labor (such labor has its own compensations, the spiritual consolations and joys which always accompany it) it is possible for everyone with the aid of God's grace, which is never denied us.'

 'Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.' 

Said no Pope in history...ever! I mean, does this go for the abortion debate as well? Does this go for the nature of marriage? Does this go for the Sacraments of the Church? The mind Bergoggles! A peace and culture that is based upon falsehood, rather than on truth, is a false peace and a culture that denies Truth. Our ideas are flawed, but the Opinion of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, even if I, as a flawed human being, present them accurately, are True. These are not simply the ideas of a human institution but a Divine One, founded by the Son of God and guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit. I will happily renounce 'my own' ideas and traditions and lose any claim that they alone and valid or absolute. I will never, Your Holiness, renounce the belief that the Church teaches the truth on matters of faith and morals and cannot err in Her teaching, whether the Successor of St Peter should respect these truths, or, indeed, deny them completely one day, or agree with them another, depending on what side of bed he has got out of on the day.

Those who took part in the March for Life in Washington, who received a Papal tweet of support, presumably believe that the sanctity of human life is a moral absolute and that the suggestion that abortion is in any situation a good action is simply not a valid position. Have I understood what Pope Francis said today? I do so hope to God that I have failed to do so.


JB said…

All I need to hear is the word "dialogue" and I know what's coming. He and Maradiaga make quite the dynamic duo. You have Bergoglio encouraging muslims in their serious errors, in the face of rampant islamic persecution of Christians whom Francis should be doing all he can to protect, and Maradiaga spewing one falsehood after another about how Christ "never preached himself' and other such blather.

I would pay money to hear this pope say, just one time, that the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Jesus Christ. won't hold my breath.
Jacobi said…
If this is what the Holy Father actually said, presumably of Ecumenistic discussion, then he is, now how shall I put, not in agreement with what my RE teacher in third year Apologetics class (some decades ago) would have said.

That worthy gentleman would have said that all Churches, ecclesial bodies and other such groups are in error insofar as they fail to recognise and accept the full Truth which the Catholic Church alone, absolutely and validly holds, from Jesus Christ.

Now, nothing I personally have seen, heard, or read during those subsequent decades, has suggested otherwise.
"We have to be able to dialogue with the men and women of today, to understand their expectations, doubts and hopes, and to bring them the Gospel, Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us from sin and death. We are challenged to be people of depth, attentive to what is happening around us and spiritually alert.
To dialogue means to believe that the “other” has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective.
Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.

Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/01/23/pope_francis:_communication_must_promote_culture_of_encounter/en1-766566
of the Vatican Radio website

Three contradictions in four sentences. Modernist alert!

But this is nothing new. This is the "spirit of Assisi" for which the ground was layed in "Nostra Aetate" and "Dignitas Humanae". Both documents were used as a reason to stop authentic Catholic mission.
Fr Mark said…
I don't believe or see that what this pope believes or preaches depends on 'what side of bed he got out of in the morning'.

Dialogue means listening and trying to understand the perspective of the other. There's not much point trying to engage with others, if you're just going to monologue at them. In fact it's a very arrogant way to behave and totally pointless.

Your constant dissing of this pope is pushing you further and further towards schism. You appear intent and obstinate in trying to misunderstand and misrepresent Francis. Is that what you want?
The Bones said…
Fr Mark

The Pope is there to strengthen the brethren and to safeguard the Deposit of Faith.

In this regard, so far, His Holiness is abnegating his responsibility for this on a regular basis.

A culture of encounter means nothing if during that encounter Truth is ignored.

If in the course of public discourse on a matter of doctrine, any Catholic 'renounces' the Church's claims to absolutes (to teach with Authority) then of what use is that Catholic to the one with whom he is in dialogue?

There is no evangelisation without truth in charity. There are no apologetics without truth in charity.

Without truth - and the Church possesses it absolutely - what exactly does the Catholic Church have to offer anyone? Salvation? If there is no absolute truth there can be no salvation!

The Bones said…
'Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.'

Dialogue does not demand that we renounce the doctrines of the Church or entertain the idea that we might be wrong because the doctrines are not from us, but THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
JB said…
Yea it's relativism writ large.

The fact is we do have "ideas" and "traditions" that alone are absolute and valid. For example, that Jesus is the Son of God. That "idea" and "tradition" of ours is absolute and valid. That there is only Church, same thing. I could go on and on.

It is improvident in the extreme for Francis to imply that these views are just our ideas and traditions which may or may not be absolutely valid. That implication contradicts many of Christ's own proclamations about Himself and his Church. Moreover, one need not cede claims to absolute validity of these claims before engaging in "dialogue" with another. There is no charity without truth coming first. In fact, it's deceptive to present one's "views" as possibly wrong, when one does not believe that to be the case.

At this point, these attempts at dialogue, also, are the sound of one hand clapping. Post Vatican II clergy have banged this drum for 50 years and what is there to show for it? Any higher level of conversions? Any diminishment in persecutions of Christians? No, no.

Confidence in the truth, recognizing that it can be known, without apology, is what attracts people, not constant equivocation and apologies. As St Paul once wrote, "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?"
Paul C. said…
"Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions ..."

That means that nothing in the Catechism will be renounced.

"... but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute."

That means that in the process of engaging in dialogue with others, we must not assume that we will be the only ones with truth. There will be some truth expressed by the one we are dialoguing with. And since they will be expressing some truth, that truth will be valid. And since they will be expressing some truth, it will not be absolutely true that we are the only ones with true things to say.
The Bones said…
And what if the one I am dialoguing with utters something which is, according to the Church, patently false?
JB said…

Yes, for example, the muslim who tells me that Jesus was just a man, just a "prophet." And a minor prophet at that.

How do I "dialogue" with him, Your Holiness. Do I concede that he may be right? That there is some truth in what he is saying? Is there some truth in that idea and tradition of his?

Dialogue is a code word for relativism and indifferentism. Always has been.

philipjohnson said…
how does one understand francis except by the way he speaks ! i have never heard such utterances from the mouth of a pope in my life! is our holy mother church the one true church of jesus christ or isn't it?i await ,in fear,the next exhortations from francis.god help us. philip johnson.
Lepanto said…
The Pope has said that we cannot expect 'doctrinal certainty' which is exactly what most orthodox Catholics believe that the Church is there to provide. I want to know which bits of the Catechism that he regards as uncertain or whether all of it is doubt in his mind. The Pope's words are quite outrageous. If he doesn't understand that he himself is supposed to be the defender of truths handed down, we are in real trouble.
"And what if the one I am dialoguing with utters something which is, according to the Church, patently false?"

Then the untruth must be charitably countered with the truth.

It is worth remembering that many of the heresies we encounter can be true for the most part - it is only the element of falsehood which is from the devil and leads souls to hell.

Sometimes the purpose of dialogue is to discover whether the other party actually does diverge from the truth, though. What we may perceive as a false position actually turns out to be another truth which is complementary to the truth we believe. The azymes controversy between east and west may well fit into that bill.

I assume it is these latter kind of cases that Pope Francis is referring to as there not being only one absolute position of truth. I am sure he can make the distinction between absolutes and variables, but he just isn't very good at expressing himself in that way.

Unfortunately most people I encounter who are actually keen on ecumenism are also the ones who are most ready to ditch the truth in favour of warm-fuzzies. They will take his words in the wrong way, but they will have to account for both their own souls, and those souls they mislead and send astray.
Patricius said…
"'Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.'"

I think that the key word in that sentence is "alone". It is a very important qualification and were it not there I'd have no difficulty in agreeing with you.
Paul C. said…
"And what if the one I am dialoguing with utters something which is, according to the Church, patently false?"

Then it will be false. Nothing in what the Pope says means that everyone we dialog with will possess nothing but truth. All he indicates is that we should expect that:

(a) the one we dialogue with has some real, valid, truth -- not only us;
(b) we do not possess the only truth with value.

Points (a) and (b) are not the slightest threat to the truth of all that the Church teaches.
Anonymous said…
Dear Mr. Laurence,

I agree completely with you.

The Bones said…
'Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions.'

Absolutely, but with the qualification that they are not our own ideas or traditions. We are not persons of ideas, and certainly not our own, but the truth of a Person, Jesus Christ, Whose Church speaks His Truth in Her Magisterium.

...but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.'

This requires some clarification and is surely a dangerous statement to make. Is Jesus the Son of God? Was Our Lady immaculately conceived? Is the use of artificial contraception wrong?

This comment requires some context. Yes, I agree, there are times when the Muslim and the Christian can see eye to eye. The Christian and the atheist can see eye to eye on some matters, but on a wide range of issues there will be fundamental disagreements.

It just strikes me that the overwhelming message is that peace and fraternity is secured through dialogue that is not really worthy of the name. One in which peace is secured through compromise.
The Bones said…
There are certain points on which the Church ALONE is correct while all others (except perhaps the Orthodox) are wrong.

The Divinity and Humanity of Christ
The Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven
The Immaculate Conception
The Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady
Divorce, Remarriage and the Sacraments

The Pope's statement is too 'blanket'. For surely, the Pope can not hold that there is never a time in which the Church 'alone' is correct while all others err.
Anonymous said…
Why critize the Pope? Instead lets pray for him. After all he will not be there for ever. He needs our prayers and not our criticism.
If some people are willing to pay money to hear Pope Francis or to manipulate opinion, I think it is totally wrong.
Why so much intellectual arrogance?
This is material for confession.
May St Michael the Archangel protect Pope Francis from all attacks in the coming months!
St Anthony of Padua come to our aid...!
All Saints in Heaven please intercede for Pope Francis!
mgl said…
It's certainly true that if you carefully parse the Holy Father's words and draw precise distinctions, you can just about derive an orthodox statement of the Faith from what he said. And if Fr. Mark and Paul C. are correct about their interpretations, then it's time well spent.

But are they correct? If we were faced with an uncharacteristic verbal slip from a pope who was otherwise clear (as with Benedict's remarks about condoms), we should certainly refrain from drawing alarmist conclusions. But with Pope Francis, that grace period passed sometime in the late spring of last year, after several such events. Since then, he has continued to issue a steady stream of remarks that often require verbose clarifications, precise distinctions, recourse to the finer points of the Catechism, and the occasional wild conjecture about what the Holy Father could possibly have meant. Rather than endlessly striving to put the Holy Father "in context", we should maybe acknowledge that confusion and obscurity is the context of this papacy.

What's more, the great bulk of "clarifications" seem (as here) to be aimed at providing an orthodox rebalancing of a seemingly heterodox remark. The Holy Father's ambiguities ring alarm bells among orthodox Catholics because he so often employs jargon and phraseology closely resembling that of the liberal and modernist Catholics who staff our diocesan administrations and direct our liturgies. You don't see these people trying to spin or contextualize Francis, and that's because he's speaking their language.

So sure, if you squint long enough and tilt your head just so, you can interpret these remarks in an orthodox fashion. And you can do the same for many of his previous remarks, though by a strange coincidence these efforts always seem to require putting an orthodox spin onto apparent heterodoxy. (Have we ever had to soften or contextualize an overly rigorous or Jansenist remark by Pope Francis?)

And of course, the wider world--including most Catholics--will yet again understand the Holy Father according to the plain, everyday meaning of his words, which is that there's my "truth", there's your "truth", and there's that guy's "truth", and there's really no overarching reality which can make sense of them all. No, that's not what he said, but that's what it looks like he said and that's a huge problem coming from Peter.
I'm so utterly confused about ecumenical issues that downplay Catholicism as the one true church. My father is coming to the end of his time on this earth. He is a non-practicing Lutheran. Recently I brought him to a mognsenor down here in Texas, as I did research on emergency first communion and confirmation. My dad goes to a local Catholic parish down here with my mother, and we all decided that an emergency confirmation would be best for him. He accepts all of the Catholic dogma and moral tradition as true. Yet after meeting with the priest down here, I was horrified. The mognsenor told us both "ever since Vatican II, and pope Francis is making it even better, there is not a need to be Catholic to get to heaven. As long as you have good will, heaven will be assured. I wont confirm because when you pass away, heaven is in reach as long as your of good will. Pope Francis is making things so much better."
What?! So now, thanks to this modernist priest from San Antonio, mydad will soon pass away bbelieving all religions or non religions are the same and we will all be saved?
I'm so angry... mea culpa
Lynda said…
Relativism demands obedience exclusive of the Catholic Faith.
Anonymous said…
"Ideas" and "traditions" are not absolute, so technically, the Pope was not saying the official teachings of the magisterium are subject to error. The Flaggelant.
Ken said…
If there is absolute truth, does it necessarily follow that only one can hold it? I think not. Francis reminds us that as we dialog with our separated brethren ( remember that part about brethren) we should not approach as the only holders of truth to the exclusion of all others. But do not conclude that truth lies somewhere in the middle ground, only to be found by mutual discovery after mutually discarding what we brought to the discussion. The Catholic Church is the repository of Truth. Remember to teach gently that a Truth shared by another brother, separated though he may be, is nevertheless a Catholic truth, not something found somewhere in between. My Protestant friends enjoy ecumenical discussions where they try to find what they hold in common before they erupt into argument about their differences. It's helpful to remember that when they hold some Truth, it's a Catholic Truth they're holding...whether they believe that or not. Truth is absolute, but we Catholics are not its only holders.
Nicodermus said…
As usual, Neo-Cons will rush to his rescue and say that he merely might be suggesting what Vatican II taught that good can be found in the great religions of the world and that elements of salvation exist outside the visible confines of the Church. I guess that's the beauty of liberalism, unlike conservatism, which defines things in a singular way, liberalism takes ambiguity which can serve both God and mammon at the same time with little difficulty.
viterbo said…
the spirit of papal-apologetics is blossoming, the direction of which is often at odds with Catholic apologetics.

Fr Mark, would you include such a contradiction in your homily, that is "to bring [people] the Gospel, Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us from sin and death [but only in a spirit of] renouncing...the claim that [Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us from sin and death] alone is valid or absolute?

The Bones said: Dialogue does not demand that we renounce the doctrines of the Church or entertain the idea that we might be wrong because the doctrines are not from us, but THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

this is the big issue. it's sad that the false faiths have a belief and committment in their lies that puts our committment to the unyeilding absoltue Truth to shame.

@paul. it's duplicitous for someone with the Truth to approach lies in a spirit of compromise. one of the Popes said if you put truth and error on the same footing, error will always rule.

St Francis de Sales went to extreme lengths to draw back into the fold wayward Protestants and he was very successful. These days he would be an utter affront to the spirit of 'Catholic' compromise. as 'The Bones' said, it's not a matter of we are right. Christ is right. God wants people to know this.
viterbo said…
@ Salvelinus fontinalis: will remember you and your dad at Mass. this 'there's no need' catechesis about sums up the new catholic 'bliss' of contrived ignorance.
Nicolas Bellord said…
Sorry but this is a straight forward mistranslation of what the Pope wrote.

The Spanish version reads:

la pretensión de que sean únicas y absolutas

which means "putting forward that [our ideas and traditions] are the ones that alone are absolutely true".

What he is suggesting surely is that people outside the Church may be possessed of other truths of which we, individually, are not aware. I cannot see any problem with that.

The Italian version is similar to the Spanish.

Lynda said…
This is not the language of the Tradition of the Church, of Christ. This is the new language adopted for the new secular (and false) concepts.
The Bones said…
"putting forward that [our ideas and traditions] are the ones that alone are absolutely true".

In various instances, this is indeed the case, that only the Church's view is the true one.
Nicolas Bellord said…
Well I think he might have been clearer by adding something like:

"Others may have truths that we can profit from so long as those truths do not conflict with the teaching of the Church."
Jacobi said…
@Nicolas Bellord

Thank you for that translation, and the implicit point you make. I think it goes to the heart of the matter with this Pope, which is why my earlier comment was subject to, what the Pope actually said.

Frankly, we have a real language problem with the present Holy Father, whether it stems from deficient language skills, confusion of thought, or just plain carelessness.

Time and again, I have come across “reported” sayings, some of which are frankly difficult to comprehend and some, just plain silly e.g., “existential peripheries”.

Up to a point this can even be amusing, but sadly the enemies of the Church, and they are there in their legions, are waiting for just this sort of thing so they can attack, misinterpret and diminish the Mystical Body of Christ, The Catholic Church.
Genty said…
@Salvelinus fontinalis. This is a very sorry tale. If I can be of practical help, I'd suggest you contact the FSSP, a traditional group who I'm sure would give you a sympathetic ear and some good advice. They have a website and a list of churches in the USA, four in Texas dioceses: Irving TX 75060, Tyler TX 75706, Fort Worth TX 76104, Houston TX 77084, all with contact numbers. None of them may be easily reachable by automobile, but a telephone call may help you see a way through. The FSSP are also likely to know the names of other traditional priests who you could get to. Prayers to Our Lady for all of your family.
Fr Mark said…
viterbo - I certainly wouldn't say your quote because it's garbled and doesn't make sense.

There appears to be much confusion in the comments here. Yes the church teaches that it holds and offers the fullness of truth but it also teaches that it does not hold a monopoly on the truth. Yes there is a tension in these two statements but they do not necessarily contradict each other. Consider the joint statement of the Catholic and Lutheran churches on our understanding of the concept of justification (which was developed and signed off by Cardinal Ratzinger). Basically the statement confirms a joint understanding of this concept born from dialogue. Previously both parties condemned each other but through dialogue it became clear that we substantially believed the same although it was expressed differently in language.

Believing that the Catholic Faith hold the fullness of the truth is not the same as saying the other is always wrong. Remember the Galileo affair, the church held it was right and justified this through a literal interpretation of scripture - but science proved the opposite which the church has since come to accept. rather than condemning Galileo, the church would have been better listening and engaging with him (ie dialogue).
The Bones said…
Galileo is a bit of a canard.
His discoveries did not alter one jot of Church teaching on Faith and Morals.
JB said…
Father Mark, there's really no confusion at all. It's obvious that the Church does not lay claim to all truth in many areas of human existence, e.g., mathematics, science, economics, nuclear physics, etc. The pope was not talking about "dialoguing" with mathematicians or social scientists to learn valuable truths in their fields. We all knows this.

What he was talking about was ecumenical and inter-faith discussions. (why the word "dialogue" all the time also? I don't dialogue with people, I converse with them). We now have a pope positively affirming muslims in islam, and his rabbi friend in pre-Christian judaism. There is no call, not even a suggestion, of conversion to the fullness of truth. That's troubling.
Lynda said…
Fr Mark has misrepresented the true story of Galileo, presenting the false, anti-Catholic version. The true story is summarised by Joe Carter on the Firsf Things website.
Fr Mark said…
You may discount the Galileo affair example if you wish but I also gave the example of the doctrine on Justification where dialogue had a very positive effect.

Lawrence - you say that the Galileo affair did not affect one jot the church's teachings on faith or morals which is true (in retrospect). But at the time, the church was violently opposed to this scientific discovery precisely because it believed it opposed scripture and therefore undermined it's teachings on faith and morals.

Lynda - First Things interpretation of the Galileo affair is rather incredible and few people would agree with this re-interpretation of history. If the Church was not at fault then why did JP2 publically apologise for it's failings in this matter?
viterbo said…
Thanks for replying Fr Mark. I think it is garbled and doesn't make sense either. At least there are some in the Church who want to stand for clear truth.
viterbo said…
It was my understanding that Galileo simply failed to supply good reasoning (and some of his science is now known to have been wrong) for his support of the Copernican model. And when people wouldn't bow down to his brilliance he ticked off enough of the wrong people to end up having some his freedoms to promulgate his arrogance curtailed for a while. He recanted before he died, and I think we should take his last word on it. Or are we still believing that the Church, like Fry tells us, is simply a force for evil?

heliocentric or geocentric, both models are still used. NASA uses geocentric calculations for various things for instance.

There's a movie coming out called the Principle 'investigating' how scientists view the whole 'are we are the centre or aren't we'? question. I'm no scientist so I don't know how much 'quote mining' (which the movie is being accused of) is going on to misrepresent a school of thought, but it would be interesting to see.

p.s. called the Principle because of the Copernican 'principle' being the dogma of scientific belief for four hundred years.

p.s. when did the Church ever declare belief in heliocentrism to be a dogma of the faith?

Anonymous said…
Ah sure dialogue.

To dialogue with Lutherans about theological matters would be rather a pointless, timewasting endeavour in my view, as they depart from Catholicism on all the central points of our Faith - and we know what a monster their founder was -

They should only be told the truth. There - that is good dialogue. And Our Lord will be pleased as they get the opportunity to come back to the one true fold under the one true Shepherd ...

Savonarola said…
A man died and went to heaven. Going around he saw zillions of people of all different races, colours and creeds. Then he came to a high wall and wondered what was on the other side. Getting a ladder he climbed up to look and saw another set of people all kneeling and praying devoutly. He asked a passerby who these people were. The passerby said, "Sh! Be quiet, don't disturb them. They're the Catholics, they think they're the only ones up here."
If God is the God Catholics believe him to be it must be his desire that all people should be saved, so that other faiths, no faith, can be means to salvation. The operative word in the quotation from Pope Francis is "alone."
The Bones said…

"I would not believe in the Gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not influence me to do so."

Against the letter of Mani, 5,6, 397 A.D.
Philip Totten said…
Barbara - what you suggest is not dialogue but lecturing someone else. Remember that Luther did not initially seek to separate from Rome just to correct various abuses. It was because Rome would not accept and correct these unsavoury practices (many of which were actually heretical) that Luther was pushed into a more extreme position. Today Lutherism certainly does not depart from Catholicism on ALL central aspects of our faith. That is hyperbole and gross exaggeration. All recent Pope (including Benedict) disagree with you about dialogue with the Lutheran church.
Fr Mark said…
Galileo may well have had an unfortunate manner but upsetting the roman curia is hardly justification for being declared a heretic by the inquisition. At his trial it was accused of undermining the doctrines on matter and transubstantiation. Of course they didn't but that is what was claimed. At the end of the day, Galileo was substantially correct and is recognised as the father of modern science for his methods. He was condemned for many reasons but the central charge was that he was a heretic (ie undermining the church's teachings on faith and morals).
Anonymous said…
Dear Philip,

Luther was a heretic - in fact - THE HERETIC - see what he wrote on the Holy Mass (the sum of the Faith) and verify for yourself.
You are right though all the post-conciliar Popes have similar attitudes to yours towards Lutheranism and the protestant sects which would contradict all pre-concilar Popes' teachings on the matter.

Where does that leave us?

I, for one will not follow the warm fuzzy wuzzy teaching by the the post council popes (much as I love Pope Benedict) for the reason above - it contradicts the previous magisterium.

Popes make mistakes you know - even really good ones.

It is not hyperbole at all what I write as I have read many things well-documented by great Catholic authors who explain the Lutheran heresy very clearly

I shall try and find an essay I found about this written by a good priest and link you to it if it's alright with Mr. Laurence.

Ah yes, how wonderful it would be to hear a Holy Pope LECTURE all the heretics on the beauties of our glorious Catholic Faith as the only means to salvation in the true ecumenical sense! What a day that would be! The martyr's crown he might attain, though...

But there have been many other precedents...

Lynda said…
Lumen Gentium 16. All in heaven are members of the Church.
Anonymous said…
Philip, this is where I found that essay which had quite an impact on me and so I put in my computer files. It is also not too long and covers all the important points.


Anonymous said…
Dear Philip,

Sorry, I got confused ...this is the one about Martin Luther:

although the other one is excellent reading too.

Take care and God bless,

Thanks, Mr. Laurence.
Philip Totten said…
Barbara Rotare Caeli are a bunch of SSPX schismatics and their rantings are hardly objective. I suggest you find more reliable sources of information.

I am well aware of Luther's writing but you miss my point. In the beginning it was not Luther but Tetzel who was heretical. He went far beyond the church's legitimate teaching on indulgences. It was these corrupt practices among others that Luther rightly objected to and he spoke out for reform of the church and papacy. Most of the reforms he advocated were later acknowledged and acted upon by the Council of Trent but too late to stop a split. Luther was pushed into a more extreme position because of the papacy's reluctance and intransigence towards reform. The church's response was to try and silence him by death. If Rome had responded differently then a schism could have been avoided and he would not have moved towards heretical positions.

JP2 acknowledged that there was fault on both sides. I am also reminded by Benedict's quote about the terms of heresy are no longer useful in this modern age since it does not reflect the original meaning and intention.
Nicolas Bellord said…
Philip: You say Luther made some valid points and JPII said there were faults on both sides. Could not the same be said of the SSPX? I in no way endorse their schism but I have found there are, at times, interesting things to be found on the Rorate Coeli site in the same way that one would have found useful stuff on Luther's website if he had one. So we should not dismiss them quite so easily.

Going back to the original point though I still find it very difficult to understand what exactly Pope Francis meant - particularly his use of the word "absolute". One can put a positive spin on it but I just find him very confusing at times. I thought of making a New Year resolution not to read anything by him but just wait and see what happens. I did not though!
Anonymous said…
My goodness Phillip you are getting a bit hot around the collar here. But if you insist on throwing insults at third parties at least get your facts straight. Some things:

1.The SSPX is NOT IN SCHISM. You should inform yourself better before launching scathing attacks. The excommunications of the 4 bishops were lifted by Pope Benedict himself in 2009 . They had some discussions with Rome which came to a dead end. BUT they are not in Schism – they are in an irregular canonical situation. They recognize the present pontiff.

2.Rorate Caeli is not affiliated with the SSPX if anything they are more FSSP (ECCLESIA DEI Priestly Fratenity of St. Peter). They may have sympathies with the SSPX (as I do – but I am not involved with them – I was happy I discovered Mons. Lefebvre though – a saintly wonderful Catholic Bishop). The comment box at Rorate was frequented by many traditional Catholics of all bents hence there may have been fiery (just like yours) expressions on the part of some. They no longer have the open forum – unfortunately – as I loved that part of the blog, fireworks and all - it helped me so much.

3.May I ask you a question without any malice on my part? Did you actually read the articles I linked you to? Your prejudicial attitude towards Rorate and the SSPX would make me wonder. If you did, can you contest the points made by the author of the Luther essay 1 by 1 - ? Besides there are many other Catholic writers who would confirm what Don Pietro wrote – you can find them for yourself if you so desire.

4.You say you know the writings of Martin Luther – OK – so why do you defend him so? The man was and will always be a heretic who brought havoc to Christendom even if no doubt he was used by the political powers of his time to break away from Rome. But it is even enough to read what he wrote about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to make you sick to your stomach never mind the rest of his stuff on sola scriptura, the Sacraments, sin. Etc. The historical personalities’ deeds or misdeeds might have aided the HERETIC on the slippery slope to the abyss – but he didn’t have to go along with them. The corruption of churchmen is a poor excuse to break away from Peter. Someone who truly loves Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church He founded would never have done it. And the consequences of Luther’s actions have been utterly disastrous – visible for all to see.

Well Philip, you are pretty determined to defend Luther the Heretic at all costs but an attempt at ‘dialogue’ was worth the try anyway.

Sincere regards,

Thanks again to our dear host Mr. Laurence. Sorry this was a bit long.
Philip Totten said…
Barbara, I have no wish to get into an argument with you about Rorate Caeli but I stand by my comment. I'm not hot under the collar but let's clearly call a spade a spade here.

As regard the SSPX, the excommunications were removed for illegally ordaining bishops without papal mandate against canon law but they remain in de facto schism because they do not submit to the Pope and place themselves outside the church's hierarchical structures (hence why they are in an 'irregular canonical position'). I believe Cardinal-to be Muller recently clarified so much but it is a matter of historical record if you care to read non-SSPX sourced information. Yes they try to twist and deny it but despite their smokescreen and mirrors it is a historical fact.

BTW - yes I skim read your links to the lack luster non-academic articles but my point was that Luther initially did not take a heretical position, in fact he stood up against heretical practices (eg indulgences and simony) and the corruption of the papacy (selling of bishoprics and cardinal hats) which fostered them. He was forced into later more extreme heretical positions because of the actions by Rome to silence him and put him to death (without due process or trial) rather than initiate much needed reform.

Nicholas Bellford - no the SSPX position is not similar to Luther. The SSPX do not accept a legitimate ecumenical council hence why they are in schism.
Nicolas Bellord said…
Philip: I am not quite sure what point you are making. I can accept that the SSPX are in schism but was not Luther also at some stage in schism?
Lynda said…
No Catholic is bound to submit to the Pope per se, but the Magisterial teaching of the Church, and the Pope insofar as what he demands is in conformity to the unchanging doctrine of the Faith.