This conference was given on October 7, 1986 at Post Falls, Idaho by Fr. Francois Laisney, at that time the USA District Superior. It was subsequently serialized in 3 parts in the May, June and July 1987 issues of The Angelus magazine.
What is ecumenism?
It presents itself as a search for unity among all Christian denominations, and even among all religions.
At first sight, this seems a praiseworthy goal: unity is good. Our Lord prayed for unity and so ecumenism seems good, and many engulf themselves in this movement without looking further.
Unfortunately for them, there is a true unity and a false unity. In order not to be misled, it is useful and necessary to contemplate the unity of the Church, as Our Lord has made it, as God has made it. It will then appear clearly that the unity of the Church has existed since the beginning of the Church—it is not to be made, to be searched for—it already exists! Secondly, it will appear that the unity of the Church is a divine, supernatural unity, not a humanist unity. Thirdly, it will appear that the unity of the Church is the fruit of divine and supernatural means, not of human means.
Thus we shall understand that the spirit of the Church is a missionary spirit, fruit of a living faith, incorporating souls into the unity of the Mystical Body of Christ; it is not an ecumenical spirit, dialoguing with all religions on an equal footing unto a humanistic union of all religions.
Unity of the Church
Let us first see the unity of the Church. What is the unity of the Church? To answer this question, we have to contemplate the nature of the Church. What is the Church? Well, if you read the epistles of St. Paul, especially his epistle to the Ephesians, you will see that St. Paul makes two comparisons. First, he says Christ is the Head and the Church is His Body, the Church is the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ; and the second comparison is that of a marriage. Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride. In both cases there is a unity and a certain mystery of charity, a mystery of love.
In order to understand deeper this unity of the Church, we have to go to its model. The model of the unity of the Church, which one is it? You have to lift up your eyes over all that is created, lift up your eyes in the very bosom of the Most Holy Trinity: the unity of Three Persons in One God.
Unity in the Holy Trinity
What is God? God, my dear people, Deus caritas est—God is charity. This little word is apt to give us an insight into the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity is so much above our frail human understanding that our human words are very inadequate. They are unable, inept, in adequately describing such a sublime mystery. However, God deigned to reveal Himself to us, and these words of St. John—Deus caritas est—will help us to understand a little more this mystery of charity.
What is charity? Charity is the love of God. What is love? Well, St. Thomas gives us two characteristics of love. The first one is to give, to give oneself to another, to give up self. The second characteristic is to make union. In a marriage, true love is a continual relation of giving oneself as much as one can; that makes for true unity in a marriage; true love of husband and wife makes a good, united marriage. But marriage is just at the human level, and the divine level is so much above! God the Father gives to His Son everything, communicates to His Son all His divine attributes; there is nothing that God the Father has that He does not communicate to His Son. Our Lord says: "The Father has life in Himself, and He gave to His Son to have life in Himself." You see, He not only gave Him life, but He gave Him to be the source of life, to have Life in Himself.
And Our Lord said again: "All that the Father hath are Mine." There is nothing that the Father did not communicate to His Son, there is not one divine attribute that belongs to the Father and not to the Son; all the divine nature that the Father has, He gave to the Son, so that the Son is perfectly equal to the Father. And again, the Father and the Son still communicate their divinity to the Holy Ghost without any reserve. The mystery is complete with these two communications of the Divine Nature, the Father giving His divinity to His Son, and the Father and the Son giving the divinity to the Holy Ghost. These gifts are so perfect that the Three Divine Persons are absolutely equal. God is Charity. These communications of the Divine Nature in the bosom of the Holy Trinity belong to the very nature of God. Thus, the first aspect of charity is the gift of self.
The second aspect of charity is making union. St. Thomas says: "Amor est vis unitiva—love is a unifying power." In God the love of God, the divine charity, makes such a union between the Three Persons that there is One God, one Divine Substance. Three Persons in One God: mystery of perfect gift and mystery of perfect unity—that is the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
Our little human words, as I said, fail because when we use the word "giving" it implies a certain freedom. We are free to give or not to give, but in God, God the Father is not free to communicate His divinity to His Son, it is a communication that is above freedom, it is the very nature of the Father to give His nature to His Son. A man is not a father unless he has given humanity to his son, and so God the Father is Father because He has given His divinity to His Son; it is the very nature of the Father to give to His Son His divinity.
And then it is the very nature of the Father and the Son to communicate their divinity to the Holy Ghost; it is their very nature and it is above freedom, it is impossible that the Father does not communicate His divinity to His Son, it is impossible that the Father and the Son do not communicate their divinity to the Holy Ghost. And also it is impossible that the Father does not love His Son, the Father loves His Son, this love is above freedom. The Father and the Son love the Holy Ghost and this love is above freedom.
You see, even the saints in Heaven, where hopefully you will be, when you see God as He is, you will no longer be free to accept or reject Him. You will know God above freedom, you will be so captivated by the Divine Infinite Goodness that it will be impossible for you not to love God, that is what makes this union with God eternal. So, this is the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the mystery of complete perfect, divine, infinite communication, the mystery of perfect, divine, infinite, absolutely simple unity of the Three Persons in One God.
Unity in the Incarnation
Now this wonderful mystery that all our human words are so inept to describe, God decided to manifest, to glorify. Thus God manifested His giving love, by giving being to all creatures, by giving life to plants, animals, and men, by giving a spiritual life to men and angels, but there is one creature that God loves above all other creatures, one that He has loved so much that He has united it with Him in the unity of One Person; it is the humanity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. You know that in Jesus Christ there is One Person and two natures, the divine nature and the human nature.
The divine nature of Our Lord is uncreated and exists from all eternity. The human nature of Our Lord was created in the most pure womb of the Blessed Virgin, but there is no human person in Our Lord Jesus Christ, there is only One Person, and it is the Son of God, the Eternal Divine Person. Here again you can see a mystery of giving, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, gave to this human nature, "a Name that is above all names," the Name of Jesus, of the Son of God.*
*[This gift of a "Name which is above all names," is called "grace of union." It is a "grace" because it is much above the requirements of the human nature, it is a gift (gratia = freely given). However, this grace of union is "substantial" and much above the "sanctifying grace" which is an "accident."]
But you might say,
Father, in this mystery of gifts I can see the Divine Nature giving to the human nature its Divine Person, all truth, all perfections above all other creatures, but what did the human nature of Our Lord give to the divine nature?"
Well, it is true that the human nature of Our Lord gave only what He had already received from the divine nature, but what is the gift? Our Lord gave His life to restore the honor of His Father, He gave His life in the Sacrifice of the Cross completely and He did not keep anything for Himself, but He gave all. All His human nature was given for the glory of His Father and was sacrificed for the glory of His Father. When "the Word was made flesh," charity came from God to man; when Our Lord offered His Sacrifice and said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit," this is the return of charity from mankind to God.
By the Sacrifice of Jesus, we returned to God the charity He had for us. This shows how essential the Sacrifice is in our holy religion. This is the second mystery of our faith, the Incarnation, the Divine Nature giving to the human nature to be united to the Word and God, and the human nature given in Sacrifice to the Divine Nature, the mystery of giving and the mystery of unity, two natures in One Person.
Unity in the Redemption
But this mystery of love, mystery of gifts, mystery of unity, did not stop at the human nature of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him, it is extended to many souls, and this is the Church, my dear brethren, this is the mystery of the Church! All those who are united with Our Lord Jesus Christ, who have received from Him all grace and truth, and who are united with Him in one body, in one Mystical Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that is the mystery of the Church.
Our Lord gave Himself to His Church. St. Paul says it:
Christ loved the Church and delivered Himself up for it, that He might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish."
Our Lord gave Himself to His Church; in return, the Church (that is, every one of you, my dear brethren), and of all the members of the Church, must give themselves to Him. We must give God the due honor and mostly by the sacrifice of self-offered in union with the Sacrifice of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. Christ giving Himself to us, we in return giving ourselves to Him. This mutual gift is performed in the unity of one Mystical Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the unity of the Church? As I said, it is the unity of the Mystical Body of Our Lord, all His members sharing His life. Divine Life is coming to us through Our Lord, through His human nature. This life, as I explained in the sermon on faith, is the life of faith and charity. Here you have the unity of the Church, as St. Paul describes it, saying: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism."
The unity of the Church is a unity of faith ("one faith"), unity of government ("one Lord"), unity of sacraments ("one baptism"). This unity of faith is from the beginning of the Church till the end. Faith cannot change. It is now the same as the faith that the Apostles had, that the saints have had, and that we want to have, and that all the good members of the Church will have until the end of the world. One Faith! Here in America, in Rome, in France, in Australia, in India, wherever—one Faith!
"One Lord," one government with Our Lord Jesus Christ as the Head, the pope as His vicar, the bishops and priests and the faithful, and within the family, the father who is the head of the family, the mother who is subject to her husband, and the children who are subject to their parents.
"One baptism," unity of sacraments; in the history of the Church there has always been seven sacraments, and wherever you are in the world, the Catholic Church has these seven sacraments, whether you are with the Roman Rite, or with the Syrian Rite or the Byzantine Rite—there are seven sacraments.
The unity of the Church is not to be made
This is the unity of the Church, my dear brethren, unity of one life of faith coming from Our Lord through one set of sacraments: "One Faith, One Lord, One Baptism." That unity has always been in the Church. Unity of many members in one Mystical Body, one Body of Jesus Christ. This unity is so great, my dear brethren, that Our Lord will say on the Last Day to those who will go to Heaven: "Come to Me, blessed of My Father. Inherit the kingdom that has been prepared for you from the beginning of the world." Why?
Because I was hungry and you gave Me to eat. I was thirsty and you gave Me to drink. I was homeless and you received Me. I was naked and you clothed Me. I was sick and you visited Me. I was in prison and you came to Me."
And the Just will say to Our Lord, "But, Lord, when did we see You sick and in prison, and hungry and provided for You?" And Our Lord will say: "Amen, amen, I say to you, whenever you did these to the least of Mine, to Me you did it."
That is the unity of the Mystical Body of Our Lord! When we do something good for our fellow Catholics we do that to Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, for the member of His Mystical Body. When we hurt a member of Our Lord, it is the Head, it is Our Lord Himself who says, "to Me you did it." Our Lord will say to those on the left:
Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels, because I was thirsty and you did not give Me to drink, I was homeless and you did not receive Me, I was hungry and you did not give Me to eat, I was naked and you did not cover Me, I was in prison or sick and you did not visit Me,"
and the wicked will say to Our Lord: "When did we see You hungry and did not feed You, and so on," and Our Lord will say to them: "Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you did not do to the least of Mine, to Me you did not do it."
This is the same mystery of the unity of the Mystical Body of Our Lord. Again, when St. Paul was persecuting the Church before his conversion, he went on the road to Damascus. A light shone and threw him to the ground and he heard a voice, "Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute Me?" And Saul said, "Oh, Lord, who are You?" Our Lord answered, "I am Jesus whom you persecute." By hurting the first Catholics, he hurt Jesus Christ Himself, because they were the members of His Body. Certainly it was because of this word of Our Lord to St. Paul that St. Paul taught this doctrine of the Mystical Body of Our Lord. He understood it because he was converted by these very words. So the unity of the Church is not made for it has been given in the very beginning by Our Lord Jesus Christ to His Church.
When Our Lord prayed for unity in the Church, His prayer was granted. The Father always grants the petitions of His Son. It is inconceivable to think that such a beautiful unity, made by God, would be destroyed by man. When a heretic breaks from the Church, he cuts himself off like a dead branch falls from a tree, but the tree retains its life and unity intact.
Who belongs to the Church?
St. Thomas Aquinas explains who belongs to this unity, and the diverse degrees of belonging. The most perfect degree is that of the saints in Heaven, united with Christ forever in heavenly glory. May Our Lord lead us there!
The next degree is that of the pious faithful here below living in the state of grace, united with Christ by Faith, Hope and Charity. They are living members of Christ. May Our Lord keep us always in His love, obedient to His Commandments!
The next degree is that of the faithful who still have the virtue of faith, but have lost charity and sanctifying grace by mortal sin; they are dead members of Christ; they make Our Lord suffer, and are a shame for the Church. May Our Lord give them true repentance and forgive them their sins.
Now since man is not only a soul, but also a body, this interior union with Christ has to be manifested outwardly, and this is done by the exterior profession of faith, reception of the same sacraments, under obedience to the Vicar of Christ, whose office and duty is precisely to be the Guardian of the Faith.
The Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of St. Peter not that might make known new doctrine by His revelation, but rather that by His assistance they might religiously guard and faithfully explain the revelation or deposit of faith that was handed down through the Apostles" (Vol. I, The Church Teaches, "On the Infallibility of the Pope," p.101).
Thus the visible belonging is necessary for salvation, at least in voto.*
*[Baptism of desire is precisely this: to have received sanctifying grace, with Faith, Hope and Charity by a special mercy of the Holy Ghost; and since chanty necessarily includes the will to do all that God commands, this includes the sincere will to receive the Sacrament of Baptism as soon as possible. Anyone dying with such dispositions and who did not yet receive it without any negligence on his part would still be saved; this is as a "miracle of grace," since it is without the normal means of sanctification. Thus no one can rest on such a possibility to be saved.]
It may happen that some persons who have lost the Faith retain this merely exterior link with the Church, still claiming to be Catholic. But their profession of faith is merely with their lips, their heart is far from it; and their obedience to the Vicar of Christ, Guardian of the Faith, is merely with their lips: such persons are hypocrites! There are unfortunately too many of them in our times.
Those who live here below, without the true Faith, nor even this exterior union with Christ, are not united with Christ "in act," but merely "in possibility," that is, they may become members of Christ. Everyone here below can become a member of Christ, since God wants the salvation of all, and Christ shed His Precious Blood for all; we must despair of the salvation of no one: Our Lord's Precious Blood is sufficient for all. However, many refuse to receive Him: "He came in His own, and His own received Him not."
Then there are those who can no longer become members of Christ: the damned in Hell! After having refused or neglected the merciful love of Our Lord Jesus Christ here below, they will receive, from His Justice, the punishment due to their stubbornness forever.
Ecumenism looks for a humanistic unity
This beautiful unity of the Church is demanding: it requires our subjection to Our Lord in all things, especially in the highest part of our human nature: the subjection of our intelligence to Christ by Faith. St. Paul even says: "…bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ." O blessed captivity, that opens the doors of Heaven to us!
Now modern man wants to be "free," especially in his thoughts. Modern man wants "to believe what he wants," regardless of what Our Lord Jesus has taught.
Until Vatican II the Church was faithful in preaching the fullness of Catholic doctrine, and there were many conversions every year. But some liberal Catholics dreamed of an adulterous union of the Church and the world, of a recognition by the Church of the revolutionary principles of 1789. Since modern man refuses to bow his intelligence to the Eternal Wisdom, Jesus Christ, these liberal Catholics looked for other grounds to dialogue with modern man. Thus their concern was no longer the promotion of the true Faith, but the promotion of human rights; they no longer yearned for the everlasting peace of Heaven, but peace on earth.
Thus the unity they preached was no longer that of the Catholic Church but a humanistic unity of mankind, based not on the sharing of the life of Christ, but on our mere human nature. These liberal Catholics colored their preaching with religious words such as "praying together," not paying attention to what false divinity was prayed to! As if in prayer who is praying is more important than to whom the prayer is addressed. This is giving to man more importance than to God.
This unity is very well manifested by a press conference given by Cardinal Etchegaray, a French cardinal who was Bishop of Marseilles and is now at the Vatican in charge of the Commission for Justice and Peace. He was the person in charge of the preparation of the meeting at Assisi. At the press conference he said, "Don't worry, we will not have common prayer at Assisi, but we will be all together to pray."
What is the difference? And that is the idea of unity that they want: to have many people in one room, all together. They fit well together because they don't fight amongst themselves for their own dogmas. There is no unity of thought. One worships a Buddha put on an altar, another one worships Mohammed, another one worships African idols or whatever, and then another one says he worships Jesus Christ.
This is not the divine unity of the Church! It is just an external get-together in one room! The only interior agreement they have is their humanistic ideal, for earthly peace, without Jesus Christ as its center. It is the fraternity the Masons look for, humanist fraternity, and it is a fake charity. This fraternity is the unity that ecumenists are looking for. It is the only unity possible at the human level, without God. It is therefore a false unity.
Some want to give a theological justification for this ecumenical attitude. They recall the plan of God for mankind: "to restore all things in Christ," a plan in which all are called to Christ and thus, all are, at least, "oriented towards this supreme unity." This is true, and as St. Augustine says: "Thou hast made us for Thee, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee." Man cannot find rest and peace of heart until he enters this supreme unity of the Mystical Body of Christ.
However, in front of the unity in the Divine Plan, the differences among men, and especially the religious differences, are of the utmost importance. They are summed up in this word of Our Lord: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned." It is thus a difference between Heaven and Hell! Not to believe is a "human fact," but of the most grievous importance. It is man resisting the Holy Ghost. This cannot be by-passed or disregarded lightly. The only way to really overcome this is by a true conversion of the heart to the true Faith.
To consider these religious differences as of no importance, or as not being the obstacle to unity, is to look for unity other than the unity of the Church. It is to build a humanistic unity based on a common "religious feeling," "seeking in religion spiritual and transcendent values that respond to the greater questions of the human heart, despite the concrete divisions," as if the common "search" for these values was more important than the true answer to these "great questions": this is to give more importance to man seeking God, than to Jesus Christ, true God, who is the only true answer to this search.
How can those who are not members of the Catholic Church be a part of this divine unity? There is only one way: by conversion, by rejecting their heresies, by the abjuration of their heresies and by accepting the true Faith, the Catholic Faith and thus entering into the Mystical Body of Our Lord. St. Paul gives a very simple explanation in his epistle to the Romans: the people of God is like a tree. The root of the tree is Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the branches of the tree at the time of Our Lord were the Jews. Because of their unbelief they were cut off, and the Gentiles were inserted.
That is what happened to all the heretics: because they refused to believe this or that dogma of faith they were cut off the tree. They lost their unity with the tree, but the tree did not lose its unity. The tree does not die because one branch is cut off, but it is the branch that dies because it is cut off the tree. This is what happened to all the sects: they lost the divine life because they cut themselves off the Tree, i.e., the Catholic Church. The very word "sect" comes from the Latin, sectum, cut off.
St. Paul says that the pagans, the Gentiles, have been inserted in the tree by the Divine Mercy. They did not deserve it but God, in His Infinite Mercy, inserted them into the tree. And St. Paul continues:
Well: because of unbelief they were broken off. But thou standest by faith: be not high-minded, but fear. For if God hath not spared the natural branches, fear lest perhaps he also spare not thee. See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them indeed that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again" (Romans 11:20-23).
So it is for all the heretics; they can be grafted back into the tree by rejecting their heresies and accepting the Catholic Faith, the true life of the tree.
Ecumenism takes human means
Ecumenism is looking for this unity by human ways, not by divine ways. What is, my dear brethren, the great means promoted by ecumenism to obtain unity? One word sums it all: dialogue! To dialogue with Protestants, with Muslims, to dialogue with Jews, with pagans, with Buddhists—with everyone! That is not the means that Our Lord Jesus Christ adopted. He did not say to His Apostles, "Go, dialogue with all nations." He said, "Go, preach to all nations!"
There is a great difference between preaching and dialoguing. What is the difference? Well, when Our Lord preached, and after Him the Apostles and all the Church, He had the Truth, and He taught the Truth, He communicated the Truth, He communicated the Divine Truth to those who listened to Him. Some of those who listened accepted it and were converted and they became Catholics. Some refused it and were not converted: their very refusal of Truth condemns them.
From Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church and the missionaries have done this: they were sent to preach, not to dialogue. They went to preach because they had the truth—not of themselves—for they received it from Our Lord Jesus Christ. "He that heareth you, heareth Me." The Church has this Deposit of Faith, this treasure of the Divine Truth. The Church is thankful to Our Lord Jesus Christ who has given her this deposit of the Divine Truth and wants to communicate this treasure by preaching, not by dialoguing.
Dialogue is an "exchange of ideas, in a common search for truth." That is not the Catholic way. Jesus Christ came into the world to give us His Truth. He has nothing to receive nor to learn from us, but we have everything to receive from Him. He is the Divine Truth, "illuminating all men," but "the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not receive Him." He gave His Truth to the Church, who is thus not "exchanging ideas" with false religions, but has to communicate to them the Truth. The members of the Church have to learn this truth from the Church, from the Doctors of the Church, from the Saints of the Church, but not from heretics!
Dialogue is a human way to convince another man: Socrates was an expert in this art. But merely human ways do not lead to conversion. It is by the predication and as St. Paul says: "By the predication of the folly of the Cross" that conversions are worked out, not by dialoguing. Dialoguing is the human way towards a humanist unity. It is not the divine way of preaching to bring souls into the divine unity of the Church.
Ecumenism is at the expense of the Faith
This third point is very, very grievous: ecumenism is searching for a certain unity at the expense of faith. How is it? If you want to be united with non-Catholics, if you want to please non-Catholics, the best way is to take their ideas, to take non-Catholic ideas. That is why you have men, like Charles Curran, who teach all these diabolical, moral abominations; men like Hans Kung or Shillebeeckx, modern heretics—teaching Protestantism. That is the worst degree of ecumenism. The best way to be united with non-Catholics is to deny every dogma of our Faith! Some now deny the dogma of the physical Resurrection of Our Lord, some deny the dogma that Our Lady was always a virgin, some deny the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament; there is, in short, no dogma of the Faith not denied by modern heretics, the Modernists.
There is a second degree of ecumenism which is not as bad as this first: they do not deny any dogmas of the Faith but one. That dogma is "outside the Church there is no salvation." If you understand the mystery of the Church, the Mystical Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, it is impossible that outside this Mystical Body of Jesus Christ there be any salvation. What is salvation? It is to be united with God through Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ!
One cannot be united with God outside Jesus Christ; it is impossible, absolutely impossible. Buddhists, Jews, who refuse Jesus Christ in no way can go to Heaven unless they be converted and accept Jesus Christ. Our Lord said, "I am the door," and there is no other entrance to Heaven. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me." To be united with God can only be in Our Lord Jesus Christ, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, with Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His Mystical Body. Therefore, outside the Church there is no salvation.
Now, this is not opposed to the teaching of the Church on Baptism of Desire, which is in those who have received the grace of God with Faith, Hope and Charity before the actual reception of the Sacrament of Baptism; that can happen for devout catechumens. If someone is a catechumen, learning to become a Catholic, if guided by the grace of God, he changes his life, and leads a good and holy life following in the pattern of Our Lord, he is already believing all that the Church has taught him, he already has the grace. If he dies before the actual reception of baptism, without neglect on his part, he can go to Heaven. But you see catechumens already have the Catholic Faith.
You have other cases, where people have no occasion to know the Catholic Church, but by the grace of God, through an angel or a book, they get to know something of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and they accept it, they believe it, they adhere to the Divine Revelation inasmuch as they know it, and that is the Catholic Faith. That grace of Faith inclines them to believe in all the other points of Doctrine which they do not yet know. If they meet a missionary they will accept what he teaches them, completing their knowledge of Him in Whom they already believed. As St. Thomas teaches, those who have the Catholic Faith, Hope and Charity already belong to the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Catholic Church. But, outside the Church there is no salvation. So guard the true Faith, for without the Catholic Faith and Charity in the Mystical Body there is no salvation.
It is common to deny this dogma in our times. Modernists say, "Oh, there are good Protestants, there are good Muslims, good Jews and Buddhists, and they go to Heaven." That is not true, my dear brethren! The more Protestant they are, the more they protest against Catholic doctrine, the more they want (with Luther) "free examen" of the Bible, the less they can go to Heaven. They can go to Heaven only if they have nothing more of Protestantism than the name, and if they are in their minds and hearts Catholic, that is, with Catholic Faith, Hope and Charity, which is possible by the grace of God. For instance, a little child baptized in a Protestant church receives, if the baptism is valid, the grace of God with the Catholic virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. If he dies in such a state he goes to Heaven.
We must not deceive ourselves, nor deceive those who do not yet have the Faith. We have the duty to work for their conversion, by our prayers, example, and good works and words. Without the grace of God, it is impossible to live a good life. Some people sometimes do some good works out of pride and as a cover for other works not so good, or out of love of their own righteousness; this is not true charity and does not lead to Haven.
And there is a third degree of ecumenism which is not as bad, but is already bad. These are the Catholics who do not want to deny any dogma of our faith, but they do not dare to profess the Catholic Faith when they should. They put their light under a bushel and they are silent; they seem ashamed of Our Lord Jesus Christ. A journalist once asked me, "Oh, Father, what do you think of Charles Curran's condemnation?" I said to him, "That should have been done ages ago!" It's good to do it, but it should have been done earlier, for how many souls did he lead astray all these years? How many souls have gone to Hell because the condemnation was not made earlier? Such a delay lacks the profession of Faith, and many souls are lost as a consequence of this waiting.
Such is the third degree of ecumenism: a lack of profession of Faith. This is very common, my dear brethren. Let's take an example. In the new rite of the Mass (Novus Ordo) in Latin as it has been officially published, clear professions of the Catholic Faith that were in the traditional Mass have often been taken out. Let us take just one example in the Canon of the New Mass: the Signs of the Cross have been reduced from 25 to 2! The names of the saints are optional, and, in the Consecration itself there have been three changes, even in the first Canon.
First, the words "Mysterium Fidei," which are not in the Bible have been taken away. Why? Because Protestants said "Bible alone," [sola scriptura—Ed.] so if these words are not in the Bible, they do not want them in the Consecration. Thus they have put it outside the Consecration, disregarding the practice of all the saints of the Roman Rite who have used these words for hundreds and hundreds of years; most probably even St. Peter used these words and even Our Lord Himself. That it is not written in the Gospel does not mean that Our Lord has not said it. Many things are not written in the holy Gospels! With what authority do some members of the Consilium take away words from the Consecration, which is the most sacred and venerable part of the Liturgy?
Secondly, they have introduced the words "quod pro vobis tradetur—which shall be delivered for you," in the Consecration of the Body of Our Lord. These words are in the Gospel and precisely because they are in the Gospel, they said, "You must put all that is in the Gospel," according to the same Protestant principle. St. Peter and the Church never judged that it was not necessary to put it in; they had a reason not to put it because "to be delivered" means the sacrifice and the Sacrifice of the Mass is by the separate consecration. The first consecration is not sufficient to have the Sacrifice of the Mass, but when you have both the Consecration of the Body and the Consecration of the Blood of Our Lord, then you have the Sacrifice of the Mass. So they introduced these words—again to please the Protestants.
Thirdly, the first genuflection, the one right after the priest pronounces the words of Consecration, has been taken out, leaving only the genuflection after the priest has shown the Body and Blood of Christ to the faithful for their adoration. The first genuflection was a clear profession of faith that the consecration is performed by the power of the priest that he received at his ordination. The Body and Blood of Christ are present by the very power of the priest when he says the words of Consecration. Protestants refuse that dogma, while they are not so opposed to the second made after the general "approval" of the congregation; and thus this first genuflection was taken away.
Other examples could be taken from the Offertory, where the New Mass suppressed the beautiful prayer, Suscipe Sancte Pater,
Receive, O Holy Father, almighty and everlasting God, this Immaculate Victim which I, Thine unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my God living and true, for my innumerable sins, offenses and negligences, and for all here present, as also for all the Christian faithful living and dead, that it may be profitable for my own and for their salvation unto life everlasting."
You have three points of Faith in this little prayer that are denied by the Protestants: that the Mass is the true Sacrifice of a Victim, the fact that it is a propitiatory sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins and the fact that you can help even the dead. So that prayer was suppressed in the New Mass.
All these suppressions are a lack of a profession of Faith. If there is a moment when we ought to profess our faith in the Sacrifice of the Mass, in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, in the power of the priesthood, it is during the Mass itself! To hide our faith during these holy moments is done in order to please the Protestants, without counting all the scandals that have been added afterwards.
Conclusion: be missionary
Ecumenism is bad because it is in search of a humanist unity and not the divine unity of the Church, because it uses the human ways of dialoguing instead of divine ways of preaching, because it is at the expense of faith—either by denying many of the dogmas or by denying the dogma that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation, or by being silent, by being ashamed of the Faith. My dear brethren, it is important: if you do not profess your faith you will lose it! "For with the heart we believe unto justice; but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Ecumenism leads to the loss of faith, and many have lost it because of ecumenism. I told you how Renew was destroying the faith. It is just a product of ecumenism; it is making Catholics into Protestants. When one wants to please Protestants at all costs, one becomes Protestant!
Now, in the face of this program of ecumenism, what can one do? The first thing is to keep the Faith, begging Our Lord in His Divine Goodness that He deign to keep you in the true Faith, without changing your faith, without any diminishment.
Then live the Faith. St. Paul says: "The just man lives by faith," that is, everything he does is in the light of faith, obeying the Commandments out of love for Our Lord Jesus Christ.
You are the light of the world [by your faith]…so let your light shine before man, that they may see your good works [faith working through charity] and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
Then, communicate your faith to your children by giving them a good catechism, by providing for them a good school—(...)—by giving them a good example, by teaching the Faith to your children.
In order to teach the faith you have to learn the faith yourself! It is important for you to study your faith, to know Catholic doctrine. I would advise you to read excellent books such as The Catechism of the Council of Trent—beautiful books that will help you to feed your Faith. Some faithful have the tendency to read about all the scandals that are going on; that's not good. It's good to know a little bit in order to remind you how important it is to keep the Faith, but it is not good to read too much about the scandals; it is more important to learn the Faith. Don't spend too much time reading about scandals, but spend more time reading the doctrine of the saints, learning your Faith, and communicating it to your children, to your neighbors, to whomever. Whenever you meet someone, you might be able to bring them closer to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual things are not like material things: when you give material things, it is finished, you don't have them anymore; but, spiritual things, when you give them you don't lose them, you still have them. If there is a teacher among you, he understands. In a similar way, the more you communicate your Faith, the more you have it. Now if Faith and these spiritual treasures are of such a nature that the more you give them the more you have them, then it is a duty to communicate them by your prayers, by your good example, by predication, by all the means that Our Lord has shown to you. Any occasion can be good to profess your Faith. The good seed that you put in the ground might grow one day, and will render glory to God. You never know! So even though many people might laugh at you, might criticize you, don't fear to profess your Faith.
One of the best professions of Faith that you can make is to come to the traditional Mass, because that is a complete and full profession of the Catholic Faith. With the traditional Mass, it is clear: it is Catholic. So you must love the Mass! You have the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel, go and visit Him; organize some hours when there is always someone in the chapel; even better organize Perpetual Adoration: we owe this to Him! Come and visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament! You need Him to feed your souls in the Mystery of Faith, to strengthen your soul and bring many graces on you and on your family.
And if you love Our Lord, then you must love one another. St. Jerome said that at the beginning of the Church the pagans were looking at the Catholics and were saying: "Look how much they love one another." The example of charity among all of you is also a great testimony given for Our Lord! It makes the Faith warm and attractive to souls.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Guardian of the Faith, help you to keep the true Faith in her Divine Son Jesus Christ, to live it, to communicate it with the "meekness of wisdom" and charity. Amen.