Ecumenism is not a movement to establish a false sense of fellowship and superficial mutual respect with Protestants based on a principle “Agree to disagree”. It is also not a form of watering down the Catholic faith in order to make it more appealing to non-Catholics. And most importantly it is not a point of negotiation wherein the Catholic Church accepts or tolerates beliefs that are contrary to the Gospel and allow non-Catholics to choose only which teachings of the Catholic Church they should accept and hold in order to develop unity with in the Christian religion.
Unfortunately, all these false notion of Ecumenism is what some Catholics hold. By not following the precepts and reason behind the Ecumenical movement as what the Church wants it to be, these liberal and modernist Catholics failed to correct the errors of Protestants and condemned it. They even come to a point in implicitly accepting the heresy of Protestantism and speak less of the Holy Catholic faith. What is wrong with these so called “Ecumenical experts” is that they failed to read and implement the precepts of the Decree of Ecumenism as prescribed by the Second Vatican Council.
The Council Fathers of the Second Vatican Council opened the document “Decree on Ecumenism”, with these words:
“The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council, Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only.” Decree on Ecumenism No. 1
The Council Fathers are unanimous is saying that the purpose of Ecumenism is the restoration of Christian unity because Jesus Christ personally and historically founded only one Church. Therefore, the council Fathers are telling us that such a unity among Christians can only be obtain if all Christians belong to one Church, the Church that Jesus Christ founded, the Catholic Church. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 16 verse 18-19 Jesus Christ said:
“Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19
The singularity of the Church that Jesus Christ founded is also expounded in the Epistles of St. Paul. In his letter to the Colossians 1:18 St. Paul called the Church as Christ’s body and Christ is its head. He also reiterated the same thought in his letter to the Ephesians 5:23 calling Christ as the head of the Church and its savior. Basing on these passages we have seen why the Council Fathers gave importance to the Ecumenical movement. And that is to bring people back into Christ’s body the Church. Agreeing to disagree is not the type of unity that the Council Fathers are speaking about, on the other hand, Ecumenical Expert’s notion of unity is that Catholics and Protestants would mutually hold and profess on shared beliefs and would not attempt to convert each other.
However, this type of unity is no unity at all, St. Paul’s letter to Ephesians 4:5 says “One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism”. How can false sense of fellowship have this kind of unity that St, Paul required among Christians? How can there be one faith when Catholics hold dear the Marian dogmas but the Protestants ridiculed it? How can there be unity when Catholics have the complete books of the Bible and yet Protestants deducted from it? Henceforth, the only way for Christians to achieve unity is when they convert back into the Catholic Church.
Furthermore, the Council Fathers also have said that the Catholic Church alone has the fullness means of salvation.
“For it is through, Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.” Decree on Ecumenism No. 2
This statement by the Council Fathers is no theological speculation or flowering words to give the Catholic Church a diving status and appearance. This is a dogma of faith Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus (Outside the Church there is no salvation) that all Catholics must believe and profess, including the Ecumenical experts! Liberals and modernists tried to provide a softer interpretation of this dogma because according to them this is damaging to the Ecumenical movement. But the Church is clear what this dogma meant. The Council Fathers in the document Lumen Gentium No. 14 they said;
This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved. Lumen Gentium No. 14
In the advent of modern technology and advancement in education it is really impossible to plead ignorance from the truth because all possible means to be informed is openly available to us. Knowledge of the truth that the Catholic Church is the true Church is Jesus Christ is enough to be charged of refusing to enter the Church or remain in the Church. Protestants are well aware of this claim by the Catholic Church therefore they are properly informed by this truth, yet they failed to accept it by refusing to enter the Church that Jesus Christ established.
If the Decree on Ecumenism is properly implemented “The results will be that, little by little, as the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion are overcome, all Christians will be gathered, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, into the unity of the one and only Church, which Christ bestowed on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time. (Decree on Ecumenism No. 4) The Church’s goal on Ecumenism is far more different than those who are so called “Experts in Ecumenism”.