Apologia: The Fullness of Christian Truth

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

"Ecumenism" as a Virus

I just have to pass this on because I think the analogy is a brilliant one: in the book "The Great Facade" by Christopher A. Ferrara and Thomas E. Woods, Jr., concepts such as "ecumenism" and "dialogue" are compared to viruses which have infected the Mystical Body of Christ. Below is how Ferrara and Woods explain what they mean with regard to ecumenism:
"...a virus is not in itself a living thing, but rather a mere particle of RNA or DNA. This particle cannot reproduce unless it finds a living cell whose machinery it can employ to make copies of itself. A virus contains just enough information to reproduce itself by finding cells to infect and turn to its purpose. In fact, the only purpose of a virus it self-replication.

"By analogy, then, we maintain that certain verbal 'viruses' have infected the Mystical Body of Christ. These viruses are pseudo-concepts, which, like actual viruses, have minimal informational content. Just as a virus hovers between life and non-life, these pseudo-concepts hover between meaning and non-meaning. They seem to mean something, but upon close examination, we find no real meaning... These viral pseudo-concepts in the Mystical Body of Christ, like actual viruses, exist only to reproduce themselves, which they do by infecting the understanding of genuine concepts with precise meanings -- namely, the perennial teachings of the Magisterium.

"We contend that by introducing 'ecumenism,' 'dialogue' and various other 'viral' pseudo-concepts into the Mystical Body, Satan has found a means to confuse, divide and wreak havoc upon the human element of the Church, without the Church ever having taught an actual error of doctrine, which is impossible. Quite the contrary: the pseudo-concepts in question cannot be called doctrinal errors as such, because they are not reducible to a proposition whose words would signify the formal contradiction of an existing Catholic doctrine. Indeed, the terms 'ecumenism' and 'dialogue' contain nothing in themselves that contradict prior Church teaching; like actual viruses, these terms remain inert until they come into contact with something they can infect. That is why when neo-Catholics say that traditionalists 'dissent  from ecumenism,' for example, they are unable to articulate precisely what it is about this notion that requires our assent. That is because this notion does not involve any intelligible Catholic doctrine.

"This is easily demonstrated. Any Catholic doctrine will fit nicely into the template phrase 'X means that...,' where X is the Catholic doctrine in question. Thus, the Immaculate Conception means that from the first moment of her conception, the Blessed VIrgin Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin. Likewise, transubstantiation means that at the moment of the Consecration the substance of the bread and wine are miraculously changed entirely into the substance of Christ -- Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity -- so that nothing of the bread and wine remains, but only the appearances of these.

"Applying our template to 'ecumenism,' however, we immediately encounter an intellectual dead end. The phrase 'ecumenism means that' cannot be completed, just as the phrase 'an elephant means that' can't be completed. Ecumenism, like an elephant, cannot be defined as an abstract concept, but only described or indicated, as in: that is an elephant. Ecumenism, like an elephant, is a thing, or rather a collection of things known as 'ecumenical activities.' Ecumenism certainly is something, just as an elephant is something. Ecumenism is, so they say, 'a movement for Christian unity.' But movements are by their nature contingent and ever-changing things, and no Catholic can be obliged to believe in a 'movement' as if it were a definable Catholic doctrine....

"...Article 4 of Unitatis Redintegratio states that 'The Sacred Council exhorts, therefore, all Catholics to recognize the signs of the times and to take an active and intelligent part in the work of ecumenism.' What are the signs of the times that one is exhorted to recognize? UR does not say. And what is 'the work of ecumenism,' given that ecumenism itself is not defined? No answer is given.

"To this day Catholics have been given no clear idea of what 'the work of ecumenism' is. In Article 6 of UR we are told that 'the participation of Catholics in ecumenical work is distinct from preparation and reception into the Church [of those who] desire full communion.' That is, ecumenism is something other than evangelization or catechesis, but UR does not explain precisely what that something is. We are told only that Catholics must now engage in the ill-defined "ecumenical movement" which involves ill-defined "ecumenical work." Such nebulous directives have no parallel in any prior conciliar or papal document at any time in Church history....

"...UR nevertheless employs the term [ecumenism] repeatedly, as if it had always had definite meaning: 'Sacred theology must be taught with due regard for an ecumenical point of view." What is an ecumenical point of view?'"

Snippets from the 1970 Directory on Ecumenism refer to:

'General principles and aids to ecumenical education.' -- Although Catholics at large had never heard of ecumenism before the Council, they are now informed that there must be 'ecumenical education' only a few years after the Council.

'The ecumenical dimension of religious and theological education.' -- What is an 'ecumenical dimension,' given that there is no definition of ecumenism itself? No effort is made to explain the term.

'The ecumenical aspect in all theological teaching.' -- All theological teaching must suddenly acquire an "ecumenical aspect." But what is an 'ecumenical aspect,' given that 'ecumenical' is not defined?

More examples like this are listed in the book, which goes on to say:

"The virus of ecumenism spread so rapidly throughout the Body of Christ that by 1995 Pope John Paul II could say in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint that ecumenism 'is not just some sort of appendix which is added to the Church's traditional activity [my note: which shows that it is something other than traditional activity]. Rather, ecumenism is an organic part of her life and work, and consequently must pervade all that she is and does...' Although Ut Unum Sint is devoted entirely to 'ecumenism,' nowhere in its 110 pages is the term defined. One will search 2,000 years of Church history in vain for another example of an undefined neologism pervading all that the Church 'is and does.'"

The book continues:

"In paragraph 16 of Ut Unum Sint, the Pope notes that he specifically approved issuance of the 1993 Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism. This document calls for nothing less than the 'ecumenical formation' of every man, woman and child in the Catholic Church -- from the highest prelates to the smallest child in catechism class. This is to be accomplished by, among other means, 'workshops and seminars for the ecumenical formation of both clergy and laity, for the appropriate realization of an ecumenical dimension to all aspects of life...' It should come as no surprise that neither the terms 'ecumenical formation' nor the term 'ecumenical dimension' is defined. How there can be 'an ecumenical dimension' to all aspects of life is left to one's imagination. But, amazingly enough, a notion unknown to Catholics at large before 1964 is now presented as something integral to their very existence. In physics, the search is on for a Theory of Everything. In the postconciliar Church, ecumenism has become a kind of ecclesial Theory of Everything, even if no one can explain the theory with any clarity."

So, there we are. The nonsense of "ecumenism" (whatever it is) is pushed on us from the top down, but it has no meaning whatsoever in itself. We know what it isn't : bringing people into the one, true Church; simply showing basic Christian charity to all human beings, having a "Religions of the World 101" understanding of each other, etc. But what the heck is it? What is this pseudo-concept that has no meaning but is leading Catholics, from His Holiness himself to the typical priest and layman, to say things, do things, and believe things that would've made Pope Pius X excommunicate the whole lot of us?

It is this kind of ambiguous nonsense that corrupts the post-Conciliar Church. It's razzle-dazzle that dazes and confuses, invading the Body through ambiguous language and loopholes and "extraordinary circumstances" allowed by our Bishops Conferences -- razzle-dazzle that signifies nothing in itself, but destroys everything in its wake. "Virus" is a good word for it.

Folks, do yourselves a favor. Get a copy of this book. Then get a copy for every layman and priest you know! See The Great Facade (will open in new browser window).

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