We live in interesting times. The fog is
lifting. We can distinguish friend from foe with a clarity that has not been
possible for nearly half a century, and that is all to our advantage.
First, the Pope has fenced his table. On Maundy
Thursday he stated in the clearest possible terms that non-Roman Catholics have
no right to eat at his altar that Roman Catholics must stop attending
Protestant Communions. At the same time he reasserted the doctrine of the real
presence, that is transubstantiation. He also repeated that only priests in
the Apostolic succession may conduct a mass.
Why is this good news? It is good news because
ecumenism feeds on vagueness and fudge. Clear thinking and plain speaking are
fatal to its cause. The ecumenists have found it much more difficult than they
expected to persuade lay people to abandon their beloved churches and
denominations for an ecumenical mish mash. So the immediate goal of the
ecumenical movement has shifted to getting us all meet in a doctrinal fog at
one Communion Table.
The Pope’s announcement is a great set back to the
ecumenists’ hopes. The Luterans have reacted with ill-disguised anger. Others
have reacted with disappointment and some are just puzzled. Well, they will
Furthermore as Dr Gillis makes clear on the back page,
the Vatican has recently made plain that it despises Protestant churches (mere
‘ecclesial communities’, the product of ‘chance historical events’) while
holding out the right hand of fellowship to Islam and Judaism – what the Pope
calls the ‘Abrahamic faiths’.
So now the ecumenists know where they stand. Rome will not have their fudges. Give her Islam any day,
but not Protestants, ecumenical or otherwise.
And there is more to it. Rome
is in trouble. In the Republic of Ireland where 200 to 300 priests were ordained in a year, only one was
ordained two years ago. Her people are forsaking the mass and the
confessional. The priests prefer to go in plain clothes when they can, thanks
to the paedophilia scandal. The government now snubs the cardinal whereas
they obeyed his predecessor. In America the Roman Catholic laity have obtained the
sacking of a cardinal. There have been attempts to do the same in England.
So we are presented with an open door to preach Christ
and His blood as they only hope of individual sinners and of society.