Other than any other religion Christians have a tendency to calibrate to different faith. From the past two decades it seems we lost than we earn due to this tendency. In fact making Christianity to other practices is dangerous. Ecumenism aims to bring about “unity” among all those who claim the name of “Christian.” As long as Catholics believe that Catholic Church is the only one true church and body of Jesus Christ, a true religious unity is possible only by conversion of non- Catholics.
“Such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little, turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.” –Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos, par. 2, January 6, 1928
Full communion of course will have to come about through the acceptance of the whole truth into which the Holy Spirit guides Christ’s disciples. Hence all forms of reductionism or facile “agreement” must be absolutely avoided. [Ut Unum Sint, 36, Pope John Paul II]
Ever since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has been committed to ecumenism. In the 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia, the word “Ecumenism” does not even appear. In the 1965 Catholic Encyclopedia, however, no less than seven pages are devoted to the “Ecumenical Movement’: Ecumenism is, therefore, a twentieth century phenomenon. In the short span of sixty years, ecumenism as we know it today, has come from a state of non-existence, to being the integral fabric of the “New Theology of the Church.”
So is really anything wrong in ecumenism? The great danger of ecumenism is that it places all religions on the same footing. The catechism of catholic church: 848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.” A few elaborated this as salvation is possible without a union with the Catholic Church and even being practicing their own religions. In fact Vatican Council doesn’t conclude that the different religions are different paths to salvation. There is further clarification of this in Vatican II’s Declaration on the relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (see paragraph 3 relating to Muslims). Basically this document states that the plan of salvation includes not only practicing Catholics, but also those who acknowledge the Creator and who strive wholeheartedly to live up to His decrees like Jews and Muslims. There is still the same problem of mortal sin and the goal of salvation for those who follow those faiths is extremely limited because of the absence of the graces that flows from the sacraments instituted by Christ and that such salvation does not come from the false salvation as spelled out by their other-than-Christian- faiths. Their salvation without water baptism is possible through the “baptism of desire” but after affirming the legitimacy of “baptism of desire” Pope Pius XII writes in 1943 , On the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ: concerning those who do not belong to the body of the Catholic Church but who are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer by a certain unconscious yearning and desire, and these he by no means excludes from eternal salvation, but on the other hand states that they are in a condition “in which they cannot be sure of their salvation since they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church.
Another trap in ecumenism is calibrating Christianity to other religions. In fact there is nothing in common for Christianity and other religions. There is nothing to discuss on it. “But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God”. 1 Corinthians 1:23. And we have nothing to add or amend: “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished”. Matthew 5:18.
Cultural adoption in liturgy caused decomposing of real Christian traditional images. Many new churches avoid a cross without a Christ in Altar. And church becomes the only religion in the world without their own symbols including church music. Different cultures basically attached to different religions, for example, Indian culture to Hinduism, Arabic culture to Islamism. By adopting the local music and instruments we lost the true Christian cultural music itself. Imagine if we accept pizza for holy communion..!
Ecumenism in itself is not bad if it implemented carefully. But starting of a Mass in tune of Takbir or in Mantras wont help the Christianity. Basically and ultimately Christianity has anything in common with other religions. Unity will be in a Biblical God and in one church. Anything far from that is not acceptable by devoted Christians.
There are reasons to fear whether there will be a church at the end of ecumenical realization. So let us pray:I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen