Friday, April 15, 2011

More indifferentism from the Catholic "leadership" on Staten Island

The pastor at St. Teresa's recently hosted his annual indifferentism-fest at his church, in which Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Protestants, Hindus and Unitarians took part in a Jewish Seder and then exchanged awards and mutual congratulations. The pastor called this gathering a "little Assisi," referring to the vile, pantheistic worship service Pope John Paul II originated in 1986, in which Buddhist idols were placed on the altar of St. Francis' shrine, and the successor of Peter prayed with animists, witch doctors and other assorted pagans. Indeed, this spiritually destructive ceremony at St. Teresa's was a miniature of the abomination of desolation at Assisi. I wonder how many souls were damaged or lost by this secular humanist ritual. How many children and adults came away with the impression that there is no difference between religions, that all paths lead to God, that there's really no reason to be Catholic, besides a sentimental attachment to a cultural heritage? This isn't what Father O'Hara was ordained to do. The Great Commission of Christ was to convert the entire world to Faith in Him, not to promote feel-good indifferentism and to bring Him down to a level of false equality with false gods. After all, Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except through Him. That's a pretty clear and unambiguous statement. What exactly does Father O'Hara do to convert these people to the True Faith, and thus save their souls? I think we all know the answer to that question.

As an aside, I wonder again why this event always involves us participating in a Jewish seder? Why don't we invite the Jews to a Stations of the Cross, or to Easter Sunday Mass, if the purpose of this organization is mutual understanding?


Dave said...

My comment isn't regarding this incident per se (although I do agree it was very wrong). Rather, I need to address what you said about Pope John Paul II about Assisi. Let me make it clear that I don't agree with it; it could very well have given the wrong impressions on many levels. I also think what happened there went way beyond what the pope had intended (more about that in a moment). A couple minor points first -- the Buddhists in question were actually asked to remove the statue. Second, His Holiness didn't pray with any pagans -- every group prayed separately.

As for Assisi itself, while I don’t agree with it, I nevertheless feel the need to play “devil’s advocate” here. Now, Holy Mother Church’s purpose on earth is to lead all men to knowledge of Jesus Christ and His Truth, which can only be found in the Church. But how does she (the Church) do that? Maybe you think that she should shout something like, “Convert or burn in hell!” over and over again. But that doesn’t normally attract anybody to the Church; for most people it would drive them even further from Catholicism. So she often begins with something both parties agree on and works from there. Archbishop Fulton Sheen, for example, has said that the only way to convert Muslims is through Our Lady of Fatima. He said, “In any apologetic endeavor, it is always best to start with that which people already accept. Because the Moslems have a devotion to Mary, our missionaries should be satisfied merely to expand and to develop that devotion, with the full realization that Our Blessed Lady will carry the Moslems the rest of the way to her Divine Son” (The World’s First Love, page 204).

(to be continued)

Dave said...

(continued from above)

That’s what John Paul II intended at Assisi. All the world’s religions attempt to promote peace (but of course, true peace can only be found in Christ). So he wanted to have a dialogue with the folks at Assisi and invited them to pray for peace (as opposed to actually praying WITH them). Why? Because he wanted to soften their prejudice and dialogue is needed for it. And the Church actually DOES NOT condemn that. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange once said, “It might be expedient for such to associate commonly with pagans and Jews in order to forward the work of their conversion, at least negatively, by softening of prejudice” (The Theological Virtues: Volume One On Faith, B Herder Book Co [1965], page 417). So while communicating with unbelievers should be done cautiously, it’s not necessarily evil. Besides, His Holiness managed to sneak in the Gospel too! When he spoke to the guests at Assisi, he said, among other things, “I profess here anew my conviction, shared by all Christians, that in Jesus Christ, as Savior of all, true peace is to be found, ‘peace to those who are far off and peace to those who are near’” (Cf. Eph 2.17) and “His birth was greeted by the angels’ song: ‘Glory to God in the highest and peace among men with whom He is pleased’ (Cf. Lk. 2:14). He preached love among all, even among foes, proclaimed blessed those who work for peace (Cf. Mt 5:9), and through His death and resurrection He brought about reconciliation between heaven and earth (Cf. Col.1:20). To use an expression of Paul the Apostle, ‘He is our peace’” (Eph.2:14). He was trying to teach them that true peace is only found in Jesus Christ. Many people have the false idea that Catholicism is nothing but hellfire and condemnation, but John Paul II wanted those at Assisi to know that Catholicism is much more than that – it’s also a good and peaceful religion!

Yes, His Holiness allowed the attendees to pray according to their own religion. Of course, if a person has religious freedom in any land, he should have religious freedom on the Church’s home turf as well. John Paul permitted them to pray so that they could have a dialogue and he could preach the truth. This is because prayer itself is not wrong. No one knows or can control what a pagan, for example, will pray to. If he unknowingly prays to a false god, God Himself, being all-powerful and able to do whatever He wants, could perhaps answer the prayer if He wanted. John Paul DID NOT say, “Pray to your false god.” If he did, THEN he would have been preaching falsehood. But instead, he merely exhorted them to pray, which, again, is not wrong. If His Holiness had prevented it, it would more than likely have driven them further away from the Church.

Staten Pilgrim said...

Hi Dave- thanks for your thoughtful opinion. No, I wouldn't say that I want our Church to constantly go around shouting "convert or burn in Hell" (although that is really the choice, isn't it?). However, nor do I want to see our Church leaders elevating false religion to a level of equality with the Gospel, which is what I think the ceremonies at Assisi achieved. I'm sorry, but I think you're defending the indefensible here.

You say that the Pope invited all these people there to pray for peace. If that was so, then he was seriously deluded as to the efficacy of those prayers, for God's Word tells us that the gods of the Gentiles are_demons_. Even if we are to take that, and other similar Biblical passages, as merely metaphorical, then we still must believe that the false gods of the non-Christians do not really exist. So, if the other attendees were either praying to demons or to thin air, then of what benefit was that to the world? We did not bring them further towards Christ but only confirmed them in their error. Still worse, the Pope further degraded the Catholic Church's exclusive claim to divine teaching authority, promoted indifferentism, and created a MAJOR scandal among Catholics.

As for the Pope's supposedly cunning mention of Jesus in his address to the attendees, I'm not that impressed. No one expected the host to go the whole time without mentioning Jesus at the shrine of Assisi. That was to be expected. But did he say anything in his address that would have offended anyone? Not at all. All he did was make a few vague comments about how peaceful and loving Jesus was. The Protestants and the Orthodox could accept that. The Moslems believe Jesus was a holy prophet, so they could accept that. The Hindus have room for many gods, as do the animists and other pantheists. At best, all he did was state what Catholics believe; his audience could have found that in an encyclopedia. He did NOT explicitly say that Christ was God, that He is the One path to salvation, and that every soul on earth needs to acknowledge that and live accordingly in order to be saved. So, what this all amounted to was a big, feel-good photo-op that caused God-knows-how-many souls to be deceived or lost. Good review here:

If our hierarchy truly desires to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ (which I doubt) then they can do it without being either hateful or religiously indifferent. But proclaiming the truth must be their first duty, and to obscure it or downplay it should be unthinkable. Assisi should never have happened. I don't have a problem with Catholic representatives meeting with non-Christian representatives to achieve greater understanding or whatever. But to invite them to our holy place to pray is an infamy.

As for using our Lady to convert Moslems, I have heard that quotation before, and I question it. It's true to a certain extent, but I must ask why not use Jesus as a bridge as well, since Moslems also revere Him, if only as a prophet? That would seem to make more sense. In any case, I think that very many Moslems can be spoken to like adults and have the truths of our faith explained to them without resorting to tricks. Testimony seems to show that the experiences of Moslem converts to Catholicism are quite diverse. Here are some sites:

Anonymous said...

As to your last statement, there seems to be a serious problem with Catholics "taking part" in seders. The seder is a ceremony of the Old Law which looked forward to Christ. According to the Church's continual teaching beautifully expressed by St. Thomas Aquias (ST 1-2. q.103 a. 50)although you rarely hear it taught, it is a mortal sin for Catholics to take part in Jewish ceremonies as such. It implies a rejection of Christ. (
Simple presence and observation would be permitted; but never participation. Catholics should not take part nor encourage Jews to do these things which are objectively sinful (although it is important to point out that Jews who do not know Christ commit no formal sin in doing them).
Meanwhile, why not invite Jews to observe a solemn Mass. In that way, they'd see how the seder is fulfilled and transformed with reference to Calvary. Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta) herself attributed her conversion to hearing the Holy, Holy Holy and so mnay other examples of Old testament prayers at Mass.

Staten Pilgrim said...

Good points and links, Anonymous. You're absolutely right.