Apologies at the Service of Ecumenism

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In
1964, the eminent English writer Evelyn Waugh, disillusioned by
the progressive orientation of Vatican II, complained that Paul
VI was a Pope who preferred Italian literature to apologetics.1

Today
we have a Pope who prefers apologies to apologetics.

Asking
forgiveness has been called the leit-motif of John Paul's
papacy. By 1998, the Pope had spoken publicly of alleged "mistakes"
and sins of Christians in connection with, among other things, the
Crusades, the Inquisition, persecution of Jews, etc., at least 94
times.2

On
March 12th, within the post-Vatican II framework of creative
liturgy, Pope John Paul II delivered an unprecedented sweeping
apology for what he called "wrongdoings" of Catholics
throughout the past two thousand years. Wearing purple vestments,
the Pope sought "pardon" for seven categories: general
sins; sins in the service of truth; sins against Christian unity;
against the Jews; against respect for love, peace and cultures;
against the dignity of women; and against fundamental rights of
the person.3 Seven Vatican prelates
participated in the ceremony.

Apology
to Whom?

This
apology raises numerous questions, all of which cannot be addressed
here. The first question that comes to mind, however, is to whom
exactly is the Pope apologizing?

According
to official Vatican statements, in so many words, the March 12th
mea culpa is an apology to God for the sins of Catholics long dead.4
This explanation is not only ludicrous, it also does violence to
traditional Catholic teaching and practice.

In
one sense, an individual can only ask forgiveness for himself. I
can't go to confession for anyone else, and no one can go to confession
for me. Further, I cannot "apologize" to God for the sins
of my ancestors, even if my great, great, great, great grandpapa
Vennari happened to be the terror of the neighborhood in Calabria.
Any Catholic now dead has already been judged, has either been forgiven
or condemned, and is now receiving his just desserts in heaven,
hell, or purgatory.

By
contrast, Catholic teaching encourages us to make reparation
for the sins of those now living, but this is to appease God's wrath
and for the salvation of souls. Our Lady of Fatima said, "Many
souls go to hell because there is no one to pray and make sacrifices
for them." Catholics may also pray for the relief of souls
suffering in purgatory. This too fits the framework of the Fatima
Message. Sadly, prayers of reparation for sinners now living, or
prayers for the souls in purgatory were nowhere to be found in the
March 12th "apology".

Further,
the category of "sins" enunciated seemed designed to accommodate
the most trendy subjects of the day; "marginalization of women",
"intolerance", "anti-Semitism", etc.

Thus,
all official protestations to the contrary, it seems the true "target
audience" of the apology is not God, but the world.

How,
then, has the world reacted?

From
reading dozens of news reports on the subject by writers of various
persuasions, and from numerous other sources, I've found three prevailing
responses.

The
first is that of those non-Catholics who say "we always knew
that you Catholics were hypocritical dirt and it's high time you've
admitted it".

The
second comes primarily from rabbis who claim the apology was "not
enough". Israel's chief rabbi said he was deeply frustrated
by the Pope's failure to mention the Holocaust and described the
service as a "severely warped view".5
The official response from the Anti-Defamation League voiced similar
dissatisfaction: "Pope John Paul II has missed an historic
opportunity to bring to closure Christian responsibility for specific
sins against the Jewish people over the past 2,000 years."6
Predictably, there are no reports of rabbis offering reciprocal
apologies to Catholics for the teaching contained in the Jewish
Talmud that describes Jesus Christ as a fool, a seducer, an idolater,
and a magician.7

The
third group comprises those who are hooting and laughing over the
entire event. For example, I know of a senior editor at a large
secular newspaper who stated at a recent meeting that John Paul's
apology had given him an idea. He said he planned to write all his
sins onto paper, place it in a sealed envelope and leave it to his
children so that his descendants can apologize for his sins 150
years from now. This statement set off a chain reaction in the boardroom
of all types of jabs and jokes at the "great apology".

Thus,
if the target audience of the great apology was the world, it failed.
The world either mocks, or complains "not enough". Yet
it is a predictable response whenever Catholic churchmen pander
to the world. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons why Our Lord
never commanded Peter to offer an apology for Judas.

Like Father
Like Son?

The
Pope's actions also set off a chain reaction among prelates who
decided to issue a mouthful of apologies themselves. The March 12th
Jerusalem Post reported of various Catholic prelates who
"followed the Pope's lead" in voicing sorrow for local
Catholics' alleged "sins against Jews." Cardinal Bernard
Law of Boston apologized for Boston Catholics' "past and present
sins against Jews, blacks, non-Catholics" and others. In Santa
Fe, Archbishop Michael Sheehan "sought pardon from non-Catholics,
American Indians," etc. Colorado Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
asked Jews to forgive Catholics for a "history of wrongs".
He also asks forgiveness for "the ignorance and prejudice which
still exist" against the Jewish people. Cardinal Roger Mahony
of Los Angeles apologized to groups including "homosexuals
and members of other religions".8

Yet
not all Catholic churchmen chose to follow the fashion. The March
12th Salt Lake City Tribune reported that none of Utah's
Catholic hierarchy or parish clergy planned to reiterate the Pope's
plea for forgiveness. "The bishop has not made any statements
on that matter," said Monsignor M. Francis Mannion, the diocesan
theologian, "whatever the Pope does does not have to be reflected
in each parish." Father Joseph Morris of Good Shepherd parish
commented, "I know that a mea culpa sounds newsworthy, but
I'm not sure it has any effect. We're always sorry for our sins.
What else is new? Every single Mass we're always confessing our
sins and lack of charity among our own people." When asked
if he would follow the Pope's example of asking pardon, Father Erick
Richest from St. Anthony of Padua said "Of course not. I don't
believe in apologizing for things one didn't do personally."9

Panders
to Historic Lies

Ever
since "asking forgiveness" became chic among modern Churchmen,
sharp Catholic writers have decried it as an affront to common sense
and Catholic history. Take, for example, the Pope's apology for
the supposed "marginalization of women". The eminent professor
Romano Amerio did not hide his annoyance when in 1985, he responded:

"Historic
truth forbids supporting this denigration of the Church, and indeed
obliges one to counterattack … In the face of all the ancient
civilizations that held women in subjection by their male despotism,
their u2018sacred prostitution' and their divorce more or less at will,
it was Christianity alone that freed women from a deplorable servitude
by sanctifying marriage and making it unbreakable, by teaching the
supernatural equality of man and woman, by raising the status of
both virginity and marriage and lastly by raising the human race
to a height it would have never imagined for itself, through the
recognition of a woman as the Mother of God."10

Similar
defenses of Catholic history could be enumerated demonstrating the
falsehood of the latest litany of alleged "sins". Rather
than discuss particulars, however, it is necessary to focus on the
true motive of today's avalanche of apologies.

The Program
of Vatican II

In
1998, Pauline Books and Media published When a Pope Asks Forgiveness,
The Mea Culpas of John Paul II by Italian journalist Luigi Accattoli,
a firm believer in the new program of apology.

The
book explains that the whole point of today's mea culpas is to advance
the novel ecumenism nurtured at Vatican II. Accattoli states "with
this project (of apologies) the Pope completes the work of the Second
Vatican Council and makes his Church take a step forward, possibly
a definite step for its full insertion into the ecumenical movement."11

The
author admits openly that today's papal apologies run contrary to
twenty centuries of papal practice,12
and he praises John Paul who pursues this new program "without
being intimidated by the statues and tombs of his predecessors".13

Accattoli
explains that these mea culpas are the brainchild of progressive
theologians and credits Hans Urs von Balthasar as "one of the
most influential promoters of a u2018confession' of sins committed by
the Church throughout the centuries."14
(CFN has published repeatedly that the modernist-leaning
von Balthasar was considered so theologically unsound that the Swiss
bishops did not allow him to attend Vatican II as an expert theological
advisor.)15

In
1965 just after the close of Vatican II, von Balthasar, whom Accattoli
admits is a "radical theologian"16 called
for a "full confession of sin." Von Balthasar said "Things
that were not only permissible, but even recommended under medieval
Popes seem, from the double perspective of Christ's own word and
our present state of knowledge, absolutely impermissible and even
gravely sinful." Von Balthasar concludes "the honest reaction
is not only an immediate recognition of sinful responsibility, but
also a full one that will emphasize the harsh tragedy of the past."17

Pope
John Paul has followed the plan of this "radical theologian"
exactly.18

Accattoli
explains that the mea-culpas play a key role in the "two elements
in the next development in the ecumenical movement", which
he describes as:

1)
"the purification of historical memory, facilitated by each
mea culpa will foster an encounter between ancient adversaries"

2)
"the adoption of a method of u2018confession of sin' as used in
the Churches of Reformation" (Protestant).19

Thus,
today's mea culpas are based on a Protestant model for the promotion
of inter-religious collaboration. Accattoli observes that "most
of (John Paul's) request for forgiveness are in the field of ecumenism."20

The Protestant
Model

Protestants
were the first to issue a "confession of sin" in the early
days of the Ecumenical Movement. The 1920 Anglican Lambeth Conference,
the 1927 Faith and Constitution Conference, the first Assembly of
the World Council of Churches in 1948, and the second Assembly of
the World Council of Churches in 1954 all issued statements confessing
their part in the "sin of division" for which "all
churches are responsible".21

The
Popes prior to John XXIII refused to play the game. On December
20, 1949, Pius XII's Holy Office warned Catholics against "confession
of sin" for religious divisions: "Do not turn history
against Catholics by exaggerating their faults, nor in favor of
the Reformers by concealing their faults. All things considered,
what constitutes the true essence of the events is the defection
from the Catholic faith."22 This
Instruction harmonizes with traditional Catholic teaching that kept
Catholics at a distance from the ecumenical movement.

Ecumenism
as practiced today is condemned both by Scripture23
and Tradition since it places the one true Church of Jesus Christ
on the same level with false creeds. Pope Benedict XV restated the
traditional teaching in 1919 when invited to take part in the ecumenical
movement, he refused. He stated that the Church of Christ, the Catholic
Church, was already one, and could not give the appearance of searching
for a unity that it already possessed.24

This
teaching was also reiterated forcefully by Pius XI in his 1928 encyclical
Mortalium Animos. The Pope warned that the "fair and alluring
words" of the ecumenists "conceal a most dangerous error,
subversive to the Catholic faith." He forbade Catholic involvement
with the ecumenical movement warning that this inter-religious activity
will "give rise to a false Christianity quite alien to the
one Church of Christ." In fidelity to the consistent teaching
of his predecessor, Pius taught that unity could only be realized
by a return of separated brethren to the Catholic Church.

Since
Vatican II, however, our Church leaders have abandoned the wisdom
of the previous Popes in favor of an ecumenical orientation which
no longer seeks conversion of non-Catholics to the one true Faith,
but a mutual cooperation of religions for the betterment of the
human family.25 This mirrors the "false
Christianity" warned against by Pope Pius XI.

Pope vs.
Pope

Today's
mea culpas also establish a contest between the Popes of the past
and the present. Whether he intended it or not, John Paul has undermined
his own integrity by pitting himself against his predecessors, thus
forcing Catholics to side with one or the other. Catholic journalist
Vittorio Messori observed: "If those past Popes had erred so
badly, how can I be sure the current one is not doing likewise?
Who can guarantee me that this Pope's successor won't be asking
pardon for what he has done?"26

Ironically,
the institution over which John Paul presides is a Church in ruins.
Modernist theologians destroy the faith of millions with impunity,
perverse sex-education pollutes countless Catholic schools, bishops
are no longer trustworthy, homosexuality stampedes throughout the
clergy, many good priests are persecuted, doctrinal, moral and liturgical
anarchy abounds, Catholic influence in society and social institutions
is non-existent, thousands of Catholic parents must shoulder the
great sacrifice of home- schooling because of the poisoned curriculum
in parochial schools. This has left many Catholics asking why John
Paul spends his time apologizing for the "sins"of his
predecessors when he can't keep his own house in order.

These
apologies, however, can serve as a tremendous distraction to the
present turmoil. By focusing our attention on "sins" of
the past for which "we should apologize," and by promising
a "new springtime of evangelization" that's sure to emerge
in the future once we've "purified our memory", these
apologies can keep souls blind to the present disastrous state of
the Church. Further, the "new springtime of evangelization"
spoken of so giddily is actually a "new evangelization"
in which members of false religions are not taught they must convert
to the one true Church for salvation. In fact, appeasement of false
religions is the program for the future.

A New Direction

Now
that the great apology is accomplished, the next step in the ongoing
revolution is new policies to insure these alleged sins of the past
happen "never again."

The
Official Presentation document for the Vatican's "Day of Pardon"
stated, "Confessing the historic sins of Christians is not
however aimed solely at the purification of memory: it is also meant
to be an occasion for a change of mentality and certain attitudes
in the Church, as well as the source of a new teaching for the future,
in the consciousness that the sins of the past remain as temptations
in the present."27

An
example of this new "change of mentality" is a project
currently underway entitled "The Word Set Free, The Lectionary
Free from Anti-Judaism." It is a joint effort between the National
Council of Catholic Bishops and the Anti-Defamation League of the
B'nai B'rith to "purge" the Catholic Lectionary from anything
deemed to be "anti-Jewish". The formulators of this program
accuse the Church of two-thousand years of anti-Semitism in theology
and liturgy. They claim that this "teaching of contempt"
(as they call it) is found even in the Gospels. The end result of
this project will be a Lectionary where the Gospel is "deconstructed"
and then "reconstructed" so as not to offend Jews who
reject the Divinity and Messiahship of Jesus Christ. In short, it
is an ecumenically-sensitive, false gospel. The target of this new
Lectionary is every parish in the United States.28

Fatima
is Ignored

The
mea culpas are a radical departure from the plan outlined by Our
Lady of Fatima. At Fatima, Our Lady never asked the Pope to make
grand apologies for alleged "sins of intolerance", "sins
against women" or "sins of anti-Semitism" – apologies
that disgrace Catholics, pander to historic lies and give comfort
to the enemies of the Church. No, Our Lady commanded the Pope to
"consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary" so
that souls would be converted to the one true Catholic Church of
Her Divine Son – a direct command from Heaven which John Paul has
yet to obey.

Unlike
the novel program of Vatican II, the Message of Fatima is not a
modernist-ecumenical experiment, but an unequivocal Catholic solution.
As we await tearfully its fulfillment, there is one request from
Fatima that we must obey with increased zeal: that is Jacinta's
prophetic plea to "Pray, pray a great deal for the Holy Father."

Footnotes:

  1. Essays,
    Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh
    , Little Brown, 1983,
    p 629.
  2. These were documented in the 1998 book When
    A Pope Asks Forgiveness, The u2018Mea Culpas" of Pope John Paul
    II
    , Luigi Acaudal, St. Paul Media, (Daughters of Saint
    Paul), 1998.
  3. The full text of the "Prayer of Pardon" that includes
    the complete list of the "7 categories" is posted on
    the Vatican web page.
  4. Sins of the present were also included in the "Day of Pardon",
    but the main focus was a "purification of memory" of
    sins of Catholics throughout the centuries.
  5. "Pope says sorry for sins of Church." The Guardian
    (London), March 13, 2000.
  6. "Anti-Defamation League Reacts to Pope's Liturgy of Forgiveness",
    U.S. Newswire, March 12, 2000.
  7. The Talmud Unmasked, by Rev. I.B. Pranaitis, Imprimatured
    by Archbishop Kozlowsky, April 13, 1892. (See pages 30-38). The
    fact that the Talmud contains these horrendous teachings was confirmed
    by the eminent theologian Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton in his
    superb apologetics book, We Stand With Christ. He cited these
    teachings to demonstrate: 1) that Christ truly existed, (otherwise
    the Talmudic writers would not have written of Him) and 2) the
    reality of Christ's miracles. Fenton writes: "They speak
    of Jesus as a magician who went about performing wonders, and
    thereby indicate the reality of His miracles." (Bruce Publishing
    Co, 1942), p. 107.
  8. "Various US church leaders voice sorrow for local Catholics'
    sins against Jews", Jerusalem Post, March 12, 2000.
  9. "Utah's Catholic Hierarchy Not Planning to Reiterate Pontiff's
    Apology for Past Wrongs", Salt Lake City Tribune,
    March 12, 2000.
  10. Romano Amerio, Iota Unum, (Sarto House, Kansas City, 1995),
    p. 202-203. Amerio's response was to a May, 1979 "confession
    of sins against women" by John Paul and to similar statements
    printed subsequently in the L'Osservatore Romano.
  11. When
    a Pope Asks Forgiveness
    , p. xvi.
  12. With the lone exception of Pope Adrian VI who issued an admission
    of guilt of corruption in clergy that contributed to the Protestant
    Revolt, but this was a very specific admission, not an all encompassing
    " apology" for sins of Catholics throughout the centuries.
    (See Ibid., p. 6-7.) Paul VI issued an apology during Vatican
    II for the sake of the new ecumenical orientation in September,
    1963. (Ibid., p. 47.)
  13. Ibid. p. xix.
  14. Ibid. pp. 3-4.
  15. See the 7 part series presently running in Catholic Family
    News "Von Balthasar and the Miserablist Church"
    by Atila Sinke Guimaraes. See also the series on the "New
    Theology" by Si Si No No "They Think They Have
    Won" Angelus Press, Kansas City, MO.
  16. When
    a Pope Asks Forgiveness
    , p. 5.
  17. Ibid. p. 4
  18. Ibid. p. 5
  19. Ibid pp. xxi-xxii.
  20. Ibid. p. 47. Accattoli also quotes here, John Paul's Ecumenical
    Encyclical, Ut Unun Sint, #88: "I join my predecessor
    Paul VI in asking forgiveness."
  21. Ibid. Chapter II, "The Protestants Were First".
  22. Ibid. p. 14.
  23. See "Ecumenism Condemned by Sacred Scripture", Bishop
    George Hay (Catholic Family News, May, 1998) Reprint #292
    for $1.75.
  24. Catholic Encyclopedia for Home and School, Vol. 3, (McGraw-Hill,
    1965) p. 670.
  25. One recent example: "… An invitation to dialogue between
    the great monotheistic religions in their service of the human
    family," Pope John Paul II, "On Pilgrimage to Mt. Sinai,"
    Origins, March 9, 2000. See also Iota Unum, Chapter XXXV where
    Romano Amerio demonstrates that converting non-Catholics to the
    one true Church is not the aim of today's practice of ecumenism.
  26. "Pope Confesses 2,000 Years of Church Sins (But Makes No
    Mention of the Inquisition)," The Independent (London),
    March 13, 2000.
  27. "Presentation", Vatican Basilica, March 12, 2000, "Day
    of Pardon". Vatican Information Service. Emphasis
    added.
  28. I tell a more complete story on this new Lectionary in the audio
    cassette, "Save Yourselves from this Perverse Generation:
    Modernism and the Old Covenant" (#3) available from Oltyn
    Library Services, 2316 Delaware Ave, PMB# 325, Buffalo, NY 14216
    $7.99 post paid.

-
taken from the April, 2000 edition of
Catholic
Family News
MPO
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Niagara
Falls, NY 14302
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