We offer here in two parts an SiSiNoNo review (featured in the February and April 2005 issues) of a book written by German professor at Mainz, Fr. Georg May, on the problems of false ecumenism, entitled The Ecumenism Trap. Though the book is currently not available in English, the article gives a good overview of its contents and its important conclusions.
The Snare of Ecumenism: a book review
Whether it's the Catholic priesthood or religious orders, marriage or the happiness of children, attendance at Mass or the reception of the sacraments, all are in shocking decline. Ecumenism, established by Vatican II, promoted by the pope and bishops, is one of the principal causes for the ongoing self-destruction. In acts of unparalleled blindness and mindlessness, the standards of conduct regarding contact with those who have separated themselves from the Catholic Church have been discarded to the great harm of the Church's life. Declaring it a matter of survival for the Catholic Church, Fr. Georg May desperately sounds the alarm in The Ecumenism Trap to return to sound practices of dealing with non-Catholics.
Fr. Georg May is a German priest (ordained 1951) who was professor of canon and ecclesiastical law and history of canon law at the University of Mainz (1960-94). He has written many critical essays on the post-conciliar Church. This review is of his latest book The Snare of Ecumenism (not yet available in English), which is a denunciation of the ecumenism now professed by the Catholic hierarchy. The first of its seven chapters addresses the "scope and orientation of the ecumenism issuing from Vatican II." The central part of the book makes an effective synthesis of the doctrines of the Protestants, Orthodox, and non-Christian religions, both on their own terms and in relation to ecumenism. The last chapter dwells on the effects of ecumenism on the Catholic Church. Fr. May's condemnation of ecumenism is irrefutable. He writes to conclude his book:
Ecumenism destroys the Catholic Faith. Ecumenism deals a deadly blow to the Catholic priesthood. Ecumenism drains the marrow from the bones of believers. There is a clear sense that, as a consequence of ecumenism, the Church has become Protestant. Ecumenism is a sickness, and furthermore a mortal sickness, the cancer of the Church, the metastasis of which has reached virtually all its members. The Church may die of ecumenism; she cannot live with it. It must be done away with as soon as possible and in the most radical possible way." (Emphasis added)
These last words reflect a characteristic aspect of this work. The author does not limit himself to a diagnosis of evil; he asks that the cause be done away with as soon as possible. The survival of the Church demands it. A sense of exasperation is apparent from the book's analyses, which are impeccably set forth with many concrete examples and theological and canonical arguments, providing an unequivocal demonstration of the heterodoxy of contemporary ecumenism. While the author criticizes the clergy, especially bishops, for their complicity, neither does he spare the faithful, the majority of whom apparently find the current drift advantageous:
For the great mass of post-conciliar Catholics of today, nothing is more pleasing than interconfessional practices [such as the mortal liturgical embrace with the Protestants and Orthodox]. It must be said: ecumenism flourishes because truth has become a matter of indifference for most people. It flourishes, because most find the Protestant form of Christianity [above all on the moral level] more convenient and therefore preferable to that of the Catholic Church." (p.240)
This is most apparent in Germany where Protestants and Catholics live side by side, as in other countries where this is the case: the UK, Ireland, and the US. It is hard to deny that Catholics these days, as a consequence of the "reforms" imposed by Vatican II, perceive the Faith and live it in a manner like that of Protestants, heretics, and schismatics. How many Catholics today accept the authority of the Magisterium in morality and dogma?
Furthermore, it must be said that a Magisterium that has disqualified itself by refusing to condemn error—because it preaches doctrines infected by modern thought hostile to Christ, because it has renounced the only mission that justifies its existence, that of converting souls to Christ-lacks the moral authority to impose its institutional authority.
The trap of ecumenism is deadly
Adherents of ecumenism err gravely. Ecumenism is founded on a Utopian vision.
[It] follows a chimera, based on the illusory expectation of seeing Orthodox and Protestants in agreement with the doctrine and order of the Catholic Church and visibly united with her. Ecumenism founders on the insuperable contradictions of doctrine. One cannot pretend to overcome the problems posed by the truth of the Faith with the maneuvers of ecclesiastical politics. One must have the courage to say it: from a human perspective, it seems that Christianity will still be divided when the Lord comes to judge the living and the dead." (Emphasis added, p.241)
There is only one authentic ecumenism, that established by Pope Pius XI (1926) in the encyclical Mortalium Animos. It postulates the "return" of "separated" Christians to the house of the Father which they have culpably abandoned (ibid.). Contemporary ecumenism is therefore a deadly trap which dissolves the Catholic Church. The majority of the current hierarchy seems to take no heed of this. The author does not refrain from criticizing either Walter Cardinal Kasper (the center of all ecumenical overtures) or the reigning pope, who has made ecumenism the trademark of his pontificate. Pope John Paul II considers himself the faithful interpreter and executor of Vatican II from where is derived today's perverse ecumenism.
Ecumenism and Vatican II
By dedicating part of his first chapter to the relationship between ecumenism and the Council, Fr. May sets the tone for his overall analysis. In a 1987 essay, he wrote:
I consider ecumenism to be the worst decision taken by the Council; with this decision an axe was laid to the root of the tree of the Church. All the developments brought forth by post-conciliar ecumenism have their roots in the Council."
In the work under review he points out that “the conciliar decree Unitatis Redintegratio(UR) sought to establish the ‘Catholic principles of ecumenism.’” This document
contains things just and worthy of consideration, but also things that are false and dangerous. Here the Church began that vertical descent the end of which is not yet in sight. Its affirmation (UR §4) that the ecumenical movement began 'under the inspiration of the grace of the Holy Ghost' is unacceptable, because the Holy Ghost is a power that produces clarity, not confusion."
It was not the Holy Ghost at work, but the Secretariat for the Unity of Christians that, accepting the suggestions of the so-called "separated brethren," inserted them into that decree (UR) and other conciliar documents. This was possible because the Secretariat enjoyed a significant power of censorship over all the texts submitted for a vote, revising them in conformity with the principles of ecumenism (pp.7-8).
The Church of Christ and the Catholic Church
The Council proposed to re-establish the unity of Christians (UR §8), in particular with the so-called Orthodox (UR §18). But this unity is understood as the result of a “reconciliation” meaning “a unity to be restored” (UR §§15-16) with differences in customs and usage remaining in place (UR §16). This terminology, Fr. May notes, is not conducive to true unity (p.8). UR proposes that the unity of Christians should be realized in the one Church, which "subsists" in the Catholic Church (UR§4). Accordingly, Fr. May says that "it is stupefying to assert [as UR §8 recommends] that Catholics ought to assemble to pray for this unity" (ibid.). The Catholic Church herself already possesses this unity by definition! Indeed, the document states that Christians must reconcile themselves in the one and only Church of Christ (UR §22). Though keeping in mind Lumen Gentium §8 (containing the infamous “subsistit in”), it must be admitted, says Fr. May, that for the Council the Church of Christ is unique because numerically it is one and one only. But, this can only be understood in the sense that the Catholic Church and only the Catholic Church is the Church of Christ (pp.8-9).
Even if we were to take the “subsistit in” in a manner conforming to Catholic Tradition (a premise not altogether well-founded as we will see), the fact remains that UR’s depiction of Protestants and Orthodox is false. The affirmation (UR§4) that through baptism the “separated brethren” are brought to or in some way united with the Church is ambiguous, and “does not permit us to maintain that they are members of the Church” (p.9). Thus the affirmation at UR§1 that “almost everyone, though in different ways, longs for the one, visible Church of God” is mistaken. It derives from an unfounded optimism. Protestants and Orthodox do not seek this unity, and are for the most part possessed of a radical aversion to Catholicism. It is in their interest to profit from the situation and to win Catholics over to their sects. They are more aptly called “heretics” and “schismatics,” which the Council scrupulously refrains from doing (pp.9-11). As a final example of the confusion introduced by UR, Fr. May observes:
It is not possible to separate the people of God from the Body of Christ, as though one could belong to the people of God [through baptism] while not (fully) belonging to the Body of Christ. But this seems to be the sense of UR §4, when it speaks of 'separated brethren' ['joined to the Church by baptism, yet separated from full communion with her...']. This would mean that non-Catholics belong in some way to the people of God and yet are still awaiting full incorporation in the Church of Christ. But the people of God and the Church of Christ have the same extension. Who belongs to the people of God is also part of the Body of Christ [the separation of non-Catholics from 'full communion' thus appears to contradict the conception of the Church as the 'people of God']. One should recall that UR§3 does not maintain that baptism makes non-Catholics part of the Body of Christ, as the German translation has it, but that they are rather 'incorporated into Christ.' It is difficult to understand how all these declarations can be reconciled with one another." (p. 11)
UR§3 affirms a falsehood
The statements contained in LG §15 and UR §19 that non-Catholic religious communities are to be considered as "Churches and ecclesial communities" is "inappropriate and deceptive" (p. 11). Father writes:
A religious community that lives from Christian elements [cf. LG §8] does not thus become 'Church,' although the Council ascribes this name to it. There is but one Catholic Church.... Expressions such as 'Churches and ecclesial communities' must be corrected. Unfortunately this manner of speaking has become established...". (pp. 11-12)
The Council sowed confusion everywhere. On some points, however, it speaks with clarity. In UR §3 it is affirmed that “the means of salvation” in non-Catholic religious communities receive their efficacy “from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church” (p. 12). This is a traditional formulation that was well-expressed already by St. Augustine. Baptism validly administered by a heretic is efficacious because it is that of the Church, administered “according to the intentions of the Church,” not because it has been performed by a heretic. It thus is valid notwithstanding the fact that it has been performed by a heretic. It is valid because of the grace of Truth that the Holy Ghost accords the Catholic Church and to her alone. But this incendiary particle of orthodox doctrine is isolated, in UR §3, in a passage that maintains that the separated “Churches,” notwithstanding their “defects,” are used as such by the Holy Ghost as “means of salvation.” The text is unambiguous. Fr. May does not mince his words:
But the Council then says of these 'Churches and communities' that the 'Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation' (UR §3). This statement is certainly false. Determined to revalorize non-Catholic religious communities, the Council fell into a grave [doctrinal] error. Non-Catholic communities, as confessions and institutions, cannot in and of themselves be means of salvation in any way. The individual Christian may indeed be saved in a separated community, but not through it [i.e., thanks to belonging to it and thus by its merit]. The Holy Ghost works in individual persons, not in separated Christian communities as such, which do not procure salvation for their members." (Emphasis added, pp. 12-13)
The new definition of the Church
An analysis of the connection between the Council and ecumenism must consider the importance for the latter of the new definition of the Church that appeared with Vatican II. The Church is defined as the “people of God,” in which the Church of Christ “subsists.” Fr. May addresses this question. He recalls how previous popes always maintained the traditional teaching: the Catholic Church is the Body of Christ: only the Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. Pope John Paul II himself, in his encyclical Novo Millennio Ineunte, recalled that the Catholic Church is the one and only Church of Christ (p. 129). Nonetheless, May shows how confusion was introduced at Vatican II, a confusion that subsequent declarations of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have failed to eliminate (p. 130). From recent declarations, the following premises can be established, says Fr. May, but together they render one confused:
1) The invisible Church is realized in the visible Church, which is the Catholic Church.
2) The Church of Christ is unique: “Vatican II does not admit a plurality of ‘Churches.’”
3) The Church is the universal communion of particular churches, in which are also included "non-Catholic Christian communities which have maintained apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist." But this inclusion on one side of "separated brethren" in "particular Churches," the author argues,
is unfortunate and a source of confusion, since Catholic particular churches and non-Catholic particular churches are different from one another by nature. It is hazardous to think of including these latter under the rubric of particular churches, since they refuse to obey the successor of Peter, not to mention many other differences in belief. The idea that the Church of Christ is an ensemble of churches and ecclesial communities is false." (Emphasis added, pp.130-131)
4) The notion of “sister churches” applies only to individual churches that are within the Catholic Church, their mother (p. 131).
5) The Catholic Church was endowed with all the truth revealed by God and by all the means of grace (UR §4); there is no ecclesial reality outside of her the absence of which she perceives as a deficiency.
6) We now come to the question of “subsistit in.” The identification of the Body of Christ with the Catholic Church found in Humani Generis was not reaffirmed by the Council. In place of “est” the Council placed the “subsistit” of LG §8 which states that the Church of Christ "subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him." The choice of the word “subsistit,” Fr. May says,
has been a manifest disaster. In the last decades this term has been used indiscriminately and has provoked a noteworthy chaos: it would be better not to use it. Whatever the sense that has been imputed to it, one thing is certain: it doubtless weakens the unity of the Catholic Church with the mystical Body of Christ. If it did not have this function, its use would be altogether superfluous. For Protestants it represents a 'spontaneous relativization' of the Catholic Church. A Protestant writer understands it as 'a break in the theological ranks of the Catholic pretense to being the unique Church of Christ.' The Anglicans also have seen in this language a point of rupture." (pp. 131-132)
How do things stand now? Fr. May cites Cardinal Ratzinger who “has attempted several times to interpret the fatal language in such a way as to render it innocuous” (p.132). In 1985, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith specified that
the Council chose the word 'subsistit' precisely in order to clarify that there is but one 'subsistence' of the true Church, while outside its visible structure only 'ecclesial elements' exist that, being elements of the Church herself, tend to lead to the Catholic Church." (LG §8) (AAS, 71 , pp.785-789)
Fr. May comments: “This interpretation is surely correct. If the one Church of Christ (merely) subsists in the Catholic Church, it is also excluded that she also subsists in other ‘Churches’” (p. 132). Is then the phrase “a single subsistence of the true Church” equivalent to the “is” always professed by the Magisterium in the past? Apparently. We say apparently because the text does not expressly say that this "subsistence" is that, and only that, of the Catholic Church. It would seem to imply that conclusion in a manner that [is] tortuous, not to say obscure. The Father observes that,
all the same, Ratzinger has not maintained a univocal interpretation. In the declaration Dominus Jesus he interprets the 'subsist' as though it meant that the Church of Christ 'subsists fully only in the Church of Christ' (DI§16). This type of expression is at the least unfortunate. If the Church of Christ maintains itself "fully" only in the Catholic Church, that authorizes us to conclude that it may also exist in another manner, albeit not 'fully.'" (pp. 132-133)
The notion of the full existence of the Church of Christ in the Catholic Church is a notion which, though seeming to confirm Catholic doctrine, denies it because it implicitly admits the "not full" or "less full" existence of the Church of Christ outside the Catholic Church. This false notion can already be found in the texts of the Council in its notorious articles on ecumenism. In UR §3 we read that “means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church,” it is clearly stated that “separated” Churches and communities are also “means of salvation” although without possessing the “fullness” of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, “it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation be obtained,” meaning only the “fullness” and not the unique means of salvation, which are understood to be found also elsewhere (albeit less fully) amongst those who are in a less full communion with the Catholic Church. In UR §4,
the divisions among Christians prevent the Church from realizing the fullness of catholicity proper to her in those of her sons who, though joined to her by baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all its aspects." (Emphasis added)
These two texts of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are mutually contradictory. If by force of will we make the declaration of 1985 to mean that the "subsistence" of the true Church is only that of the Catholic Church, Dominus Jesus, a more recent document, maintains that such subsistence is “full” only in the Catholic Church [i.e., “full” but not “unique"—Ed.]. While the concept of uniqueness presupposes the absolute lack of the named "subsistence" among non-Catholics, that of the “fullness” of such subsistence implies the existence of a less full or imperfect subsistence among non-Catholics, given that they suffer from "defects." Today's political correctness describes these heretical and schismatic sects as being in a visible, imperfect communion with the Church. The Council did not teach this directly, but indirectly. Doubt remains. May concludes:
Outside of the Catholic Church there are many elements of sanctification and of truth, that are the true gift of the Church of Christ. But also in this manner of speaking one observes a revaluation of the fragments of the Church found in non-Catholic confessions. Before the Council it was possible to speak of the vestigia Ecclesiae, the vestiges of the Church. The word 'vestiges' expresses a very tenuous relation with the reality in question. Such vestiges may intimate or even evoke the Church, but they are not constitutive elements of the Church. In speaking of elementa ecclesiae Christi, however, the Council suggested a stronger connection. The expression 'elements' of the Church suggests as it were constitutive parts of the Church to which they belong, which however find themselves torn from their context." (p. 133)
The Church according to non-Catholics
Fr. May sketches the conception of the Church held by Orthodox and Protestants. This outline helps the reader understand the absurdity of the current ecumenical dialogue.
The Orthodox see the Church above all in its mystical and charismatic aspects. From the point of view of the Church as an institution, they are divided into separate “national churches” under their own direction [called “autocephaly”—Ed.]. The strict connection with the national, popular, and state-directed elements impedes the growth of the Church, promotes the subjection of the Church to the State, and favors "instrumentalizing" of the Church. Orthodoxy is the totality of the independent, autocephalous "churches." The patriarchate of Constantinople does not possess any jurisdiction over the many Orthodox communities. What unites the Orthodox is their hostility towards “Rome.” The Orthodox do not have a hierarchy like the Catholic one, even apart from the pope. They deny that Christ could have a universal vicar for the whole Church. From them there is no primacy by divine right.
For Protestants, the Catholic doctrine of the Church is “altogether irrelevant” (p. 133). Beyond their own internal divisions, they all share the following doctrine: “One must distinguish the visible from the invisible Church.” The Church is, in its hidden essence, invisible. It consists only of true believers and is known only to God. Through the preaching of the Word of God and the administration of the sacraments, it becomes the visible and empirical Church. The Church of Christ exists in the historical “Churches.” The Church is where the Word of God is properly preached and the sacraments are correctly ministered. That is enough for the Church to exist. The priesthood (in the Catholic sense) is not essential for the Church. The only authority in the Church is the Word of God (contained in Scripture). There is no episcopal succession as a constitutive element of the Church. Protestants consider their religious communities to be Churches in the fullest sense. They define themselves as “evangelical Churches.” The individual Churches that now exist are only individual Churches that make up a part of the Church of Christ. The latter does not identify herself with any particular Church. All participating “Churches” have a share in the one Church of Christ. They claim to recognize the equal value of the Christian “sister Churches.”
For the Protestants, the Catholic Church is an ecclesiastical organization like any other. Since for them it is enough to have the Word and the sacraments for the Church to exist, the structure and constitution of the Catholic Church seem irrelevant to them and even contrary to the faith. The Protestant communities consider that they are in competition with the Catholic Church.
The Catholic ecumenists try to give top billing to Protestant religious communities as “Church entities.” Cardinal Kasper describes them as “a new type of Church.” He rejects the view that they are not, strictly speaking, “Churches.” For him the Protestant communities are not Churches in the Catholic sense, but they are in another sense. (pp.134-136)
For Protestants, the hierarchical structure of the priestly ministry is only a contingent historical construction. For them, no hierarchy of divine right can exist in the Church. Their ministers are only preachers of the Word and dispensers of the sacraments. They are elected by their communities. From the Protestant perspective, the service of preaching the Word and of administering the sacraments are of divine right (as ordained by Our Lord in Scripture), but are not sacramental ministries. Protestants recognize neither the sacrament nor authority of orders by which only clergy can perform certain actions, nor a power of jurisdiction, capable of imposing obedience and discipline. The power exercised by the Protestant ministry is conferred and revoked by the community. Protestantism does not recognize any ecclesiastical authority which can pronounce on the faith in an infallible manner (p.137).
The conception of the Church here is open and democratic, built from the bottom up. The Church is reduced to a community of laymen, lacking priests, authority, altars, sacrifice, or any transcendental foundation. By abolishing the priestly ministry, rejecting the centuries-old Tradition of the Church, declaring that every baptized person is a priest and capable of understanding Scripture by the private revelation of the Holy Spirit, Luther opened the path to religious anarchy.
Today religious anarchy has also infected Catholics, thanks to the religious “pluralism” championed by ecumenism. Pluralism entails the loss of the teaching of a single revealed Truth and leads to the adoption of a conception of the Church rather similar to that of the Protestants. It is the ruin of Catholicism:
Today a false conception of Christianity and of the Church of Christ is being diffused among Catholics. It consists in this: there is one invisible Church, in which all Christian communities participate. Christianity is divided in many 'Churches.' Each one of them has a portion of the truth. All together they form the Church of Christ. The unity of the Church thus need not be re-established, because it already exists. Since there is no visible unity of doctrine, cult, or teaching in the Church, the only real unity must be invisible. Many ecumenist Catholics advance these false ideas and even distinguish between the 'Church of the pope' and the Church of Christ. In the former are found only Catholics, in the latter all the baptized. The Catholic Church has been debased to the point of being one Church among many. While the Curia may explain the authentic sense of subsistit in as they like, the ecumenists control the discourse. Unperturbed, they continue to maintain the coexistence of many 'Churches” as legitimate, these Churches together constituting all together the “Church of Christ.”' Cardinal Walter Kasper himself sees a difference between the Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ. Such a concept is unacceptable for a Catholic who has the faith. The Catholic Church cannot be placed on the same level as other religious communities. It is impossible to unite the Catholic Church and the other Christian confessions as parts of a sort of Superchurch." (pp. 137-138)
Primary blame for the deviations among the faithful belongs to the hierarchy who in their conception of the "Church communion" include individual “Churches” of even non-Catholic Christian communities who have material apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist. This is the illegitimate extension Cardinal Kasper is attempting to enlarge so to include the Protestants. That is why he is questioning if Anglican orders may be indeed valid. This is trying to form a “Superchurch” that unites not only the other Christian confessions but also, prospectively, all religions and, in fact, all humanity.
False ideas of “unity”
Vatican II spread the notion that all Christians are nostalgic for unity. This is incorrect, partly because the different confessions understand unity in completely different ways in accord with their idea of “Church.”
Fr. May outlines the different conceptions beginning with the Catholic idea of “unity” expressed by several pontifical documents including some of Pope John Paul II. Unity, for the Catholic Church, is the full and visible unity of believers under Peter. For the Catholic, unity cannot be separated from the truth of the Faith—it is the visible unity of the truth of the teaching of the Church as maintained over centuries in its entirety, not limited to ecumenical councils. No dogma is less important than another, in the sense that it could be questioned in discussion with heretics.
Protestants do not speak of the “unity” of the Church but rather of “communion of Churches.” This is significant. Protestant religious communities do not look for visible and institutional unity of the “Churches,” because for them the communion of Churches does not signify the fusion of Churches, but rather their reciprocal recognition as a true expression of the one Church of Christ. This is so because the unity of the Church is for them invisible. It already exists through the work of God whence the one Church of Christ is constituted by all the Churches that profess themselves to be Christian. For them, “we are already united in Christ.” What is lacking is merely “agreement in the ecclesial image of this unity.” This means that, for them, unity exists only if “Churches of different confessions” reciprocally guarantee their “communion in the Word and in the sacraments,” that is to say, their peaceful reciprocal coexistence. Unity in the Protestant sense is nothing more than “a friendly commerce of confessions that remain separate.” So-called “unity in diversity”—the fixation of contemporary ecumenism—is a Protestant concept.
From this perspective it is not possible to reach a univocal understanding of the Gospel. It is enough to find consensus on certain fundamental questions. The “ecclesial communion,” understood in this way, implies “communion of the pulpit and the Last Supper, reciprocal recognition of ordinations, and the possibility of inter-confessional celebrations.” This means that, for the Protestants, it is possible to stand together without confronting the problems posed by the truth of the faith, holding separately to contradictions and errors.
Protestantism does not aspire to unity with the Catholic Church, but to this universal “communion of Churches.” It desires that, within the “communion of Churches,” the Protestant Churches should be recognized by the Catholic Church as they are. The Catholic Church should recognize the validity of their “ordinations” as guaranteeing the “communion of the Word and of the sacraments” as realized for them through various inter-confessional rites. The Protestants want to be recognized as a plurality of “Churches” perfectly equal in dignity to the Catholic Church.
Professor May's presentation shows how the “ecclesiology of communion” pursued in the “dialogue” of the contemporary Catholic hierarchy itself manifests the ecclesiology of the heretics.
For the Orthodox, the “communion of Churches” and the unity of Christians is of little interest since they consider themselves to represent the one true Church of Christ. For them the Church of Rome is heretical. To have dealings with Catholics is therefore a sin (Canon 45 of the Canons of the Holy Apostles). Their only concern is to maintain themselves and to expand, all the better if at the expense of Catholics.
The national-popular principle of Orthodoxy does not constitute a unity but a collection of national "Churches" that identify themselves with the people and identify the people as the Church and conferring on them the duty of defending Orthodoxy against foreigners. Catholics and Protestants are enemies of the homeland and of national unity. The Orthodox "Church" relies on the State to be maintained, beginning with the "canonical territory" it considers subject to its competence and jurisdiction. For the patriarchate of Moscow this "territory" coincides with the entire extension of the former Soviet Union. In this territory other "religious communities" have no right to exist. For this reason the Orthodox tenaciously oppose every effort of the Catholic Church to re-establish work in Russia (Chap. 3, “Orthodox and Uniates,” pp.117-119).
Pope John Paul II has abandoned the Uniates to themselves and officially renounced "proselytism." He has sacrificed missionary action to ecumenism. The result has been the spread of Protestantism in Russia, not Catholicism (p. 118). The Orthodox do everything possible to close opportunities to Catholicism and undertake proselytism against Catholics (p. 119).
In this connection let us recall that Pope John Paul II has given a church in Rome to the Greeks and another to the Bulgarians for the celebration of their schismatic liturgy, infected by heretical teachings on the Filioque and consecration by epidesis. He also offered a church to the Russians, who refused it to begin construction of the "greatest Orthodox cathedral in the West" in the shadow of St. Peter's. Russia is not converting to Catholicism, but Rome is being invaded by the forces of schism and heresy. This is another demonstration that the Pope has not performed the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Translated for Angelus Press from SiSiNoNo (Italian ed., Nov. 15, 2004); abridged and edited by Miss Anne Stinnett and Fr. Kenneth Novak. Part 2 of this book review will be published in the April 2005 installment of the Angelus Press edition of SiSiNoNo. An essay authored by Fr. George (Georg) May, "The Disposition of Law in Case of Necessity Within the Church" was published in Is Tradition Excommunicated?
1 George May, Die Krise der Kirche ist eine Krise der Bischofe (Kardinal Seper) (Cologne: Una Voce-Korrespondenz, 1987).
2 George May, Die Okumenismusfalle (Stuttgart: Sarto Verlag, 2004).
3 May, Die Krise, p.13. See also p.10 of the same work: “The Council promulgated the marching orders, which set the post-conciliar movement in motion. The post-conciliar catastrophe was made possible by the Council itself."
4 For the sake of clarity we quote the entire phrase:
It follows that the separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from the defects already mentioned, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church" (UR §3, emphasis added).
5 It seems that the subsistit in was inserted in the text of Lumen Gentium on the suggestion of the Protestants, as shown in the article "The Protestant Origin of the ‘Subsistit in’ of Article 8 of Lumen Gentium" SiSiNoNo, May 15, 2001, No.9, p.5.
6 On the obscurity of this “clarification” promulgated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, cf. Francis A. Sullivan, S.J., "Sussiste la Chiesa di Cristo nella Chiesa cattolica romana? " in Vaticano II. Bilancio e prospettive, venticinque anni dopo, ed. R. Latourelle (Assisi: Cittadella, 1987), 2, pp.812-824.
I must confess that I am not sure how one should understand the phrase 'only one subsistence of the true Church exists.' In fact, the notion of the 'existence of a subsistence' is not only a cumbersome formulation, but apparently a tautological one, because the existence of that which subsists is nothing different from mere subsistence, whatever the manner by which the subsistence is actuated." (p.820)