How Ecumenism Is Vanquishing the Culture of Death

Ecumenism has established a productive dialogue about the truths of the Natural Law resulting in Evangelical movements like Quiverfull

SSPX has for now rejected reunion with Rome, citing Ecumenism, Collegiality, and Religious Liberty as non-doctrinal compromises with modernity that trouble them.

Vatican II essentially endorsed Populism as a legitimate form of governance and one in which Catholics could participate and in which the Church could exist with a clear conscience.  There is no question that the modern Populist State envisioned by the Declaration of Independence forswears any theological expertise beyond its belief in a monotheistic God who bestows Natural Rights and Natural Laws.  Unlike Christendom, the State has no theological expertise with which, for example, they could prosecute heretics.

As a result, such a State must of necessity have Religious Liberty.  Furthermore, its self-proclaimed ignorance of theology forces the State to respect the Church as having a deeper understanding of those aspects of Natural Law which pertain to a man’s relationship with God.  However, the State undertakes to understand and comply with Natural Law as it relates to man’s relationship with man.  Natural Law teaches that every man must teach every other man as an end in himself.  Because the State views its own understanding of Natural Law as limited compared to that of the Church, the State within Populism naturally turns to the Church to gain deeper insight into matters of Natural Law.  The Populist State relies on having an accurate understanding of the Natural Law.

Until 1930, every Christian denomination in the United States had an unquestioned commitment to the Natural Law.  However, in 1930, at the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Church endorsed contraception as a moral option and thereby rejected the Natural Law.  This created a crisis in the Protestant Churches.  One by one, they all rejected the idea that sex requires unconditional love.  This rejection of the truth made them increasingly blind to the truths of the Natural Law.  By the 1970, virtually every Protestant denomination in the United States had endorsed legal abortion.

In 1971, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest and most influential Evangelical denomination issued the following resolution:

“WHEREAS, Christians in the American society today are faced with difficult decisions about abortion; and

WHEREAS, Some advocate that there be no abortion legislation, thus making the decision a purely private matter between a woman and her doctor; and

WHEREAS, Others advocate no legal abortion, or would permit abortion only if the life of the mother is threatened;

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that this Convention express the belief that society has a responsibility to affirm through the laws of the state a high view of the sanctity of human life, including fetal life, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”

The SBC, along with Evangelicals and Mainline Protestants across the nation, was lobbying for radical liberalization of abortion law.  If a mother can kill her unborn baby due to her emotional health, then abortion on demand is essentially the law of the land.

Although Protestant denominations are very decentralized and hard to pin down theologically, it is safe to say that in 1970, 5 years after Vatican II, Catholics were the only truly pro-life Christian denomination of any size or influence.

The pro-life movement was made up only of the Catholics true to the  their Faith.

Ecumenism served the purpose of reaching out and creating a dialogue with the two other significant branches of Christianity — Protestantism and Orthodoxy.  The Orthodox have a special emphasis on staying true to the ancient tenets of the faith.  As a result, they were less tempted by the idea that truths change over time and morality evolves with the age.  They have been stalwartly committed to the Natural Law espoused by early Christians.  In fact, it is very difficult due to their structure for them to hold any dialogue with the modern world because dogma-setting ecumenical councils have not been called since the fall of the Byzantine Empire.  Without an Emperor, they have had no Councils since 1351.

In dialoguing with the Catholic Church, Protestants became increasingly organized in their Theology.  Evangelicals internally began to seriously tackle the issue of Natural Law.  In 1980, the Southern Baptist Convention had passed a Resolution condemning legal abortion.

Since then, the Evangelical Movement has increasingly embraced Natural Law.  This is the role that the Catholic Church must play in the Populist State — wielding the influence necessary to lead faith denominations to jointly find a correct interpretation of Natural Law.  However, most Evangelicals still accept contraception as a moral decision.  However, Evangelicals increasingly are coming around on the issue of contraception.  The movement Quiverfull started in 1985 with Evangelicals who condemn contraception.

Since 1980, the pro-life movement has increasingly featured a Catholic-Evangelical alliance.  Together, Catholics (24%) and Evangelicals (26%) make up the majority of Americans.  The failure of Mainline Protestantism to dialogue with  the Natural Law has resulted in deterioriation (18%) in membership and a corresponding surge among religiously unaffiliated (16%).

The Populist State needs to understand Natural Law.  Before Vatican II, Catholics engaged in no dialogue with Protestants or Orthodox.  As a result, the Left established increasing influence over the Protestant denominations via the Anglican Church.  Now, the influence of the Left over Christianity is deteriorating within Christianity.

The pro-life movement is ascendant thanks largely to Ecumenism.

With diligence and determination, victory may be close at hand.

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The Sad Truth: SSPX, the Doctrinal Preamble, & Populism

SSPX Superior General Bernard Fellay has rejected the Doctrinal Preamble on Vatican II

Yesterday the news agency of the Society of Saint Pius X, the schismatic traditionalist group released an interview with Bishop Bernard Fellay well worth reading  The group is (unjustly) best known for the incendiary remarks of one Bishop — Richard Williamson — to the effect that there were no gas chambers in the Holocaust, 9/11 was an inside job, and modern Jews suffer a peculiar collective guilt for the death of Christ.  Bishop Fellay, the Superior General of SSPX has since placed Bishop Williamson under a virtual gag order.

A few months ago, the Vatican proffered a yet-unpublished Doctrinal Preamble that helped to define those aspects of Vatican II (which contains much objectionable to traditionalists) that must be accepted to be in communion with Rome.  The interview revealed that SSPX rejects the Doctrinal Preamble but is planning a doctrinal counter-offer to the Vatican.

Vatican II was the first Council ever that did not issue doctrinal pronunciation (as, for example, the Council of Nicea did in promulgating the Nicene Creed as a set of beliefs that must be fully adopted in order to be Catholic) but was instead strictly a pastoral council.

What is the significance of a pastoral Council rather than a doctrinal one?

Pastoral issues are concerned with promoting prudent and moral courses of action.

If Vatican II was simply a pastoral Council, it has no real teaching authority, does it?

This is radically false.  A pastoral action teaches people how to apply Catholic doctrine.

Pastoral action can be restrictive, declaring a certain course of action immoral and a violation of the teaching of the Catholic Church.  An example would be Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, a document published in 2003 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by then-Cardinal Ratzinger.  This document reiterated Catholic dogma on same-sex relations and explained that any legal recognition was a violation of the correct application of that dogma.  It proclaimed endorsement of same-sex civil unions or same-sex marriage as not Catholic.

Pastoral action can also be expansive.  Vatican II essentially admitted Populist modernity and Christendom as two different but morally acceptable applications of Catholic dogma.

Within Christendom, the State conflated Natural Law with the Revealed Law of the Catholic Church.  Catholics, no matter what era of history they live in, are required to believe that Natural Law and Revealed Law are one and the same.  In Christendom, the State itself recognized this and could (and did) prosecute people for heresy.  The State, although committed to Revealed Law, did not make every immoral action illegal.

Within Populism, the State has a self-limiting level of insight into Natural Law.  Natural Law calls for mankind to reach their teleological end in God.  However, the State forswears any theological expertise and merely builds its law within the boundaries set by the demands that Natural Law places on man’s relationship with man — namely that every human being must treat every other human being as an end in themselves.  As in Christendom, the State does not seek to make every violation of the Natural Law illegal.  It also grounds its governance philosophy on protecting mankind’s God-given Natural Rights.

The Populist State does base its existence on a monotheistic God who grants Natural Law and Natural Rights to mankind.  However, by forswearing any additional theological expertise, such a State necessarily has Religious Liberty.  By acknowledging only a limited level of Natural Law expertise, the State inherently defers to the expertise of the various Churches.  However, only its Catholic citizens recognize the Catholic Church as the authority on Natural Law.  Therefore, the Catholic Church has a duty to practice Ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue to make sure that authentic Natural Law is defended by the various faiths permitted by religious liberty.  In order to effectively manage to shape the understanding of and the respect for Natural Law in the public square, it is necessary for the Bishops to practice Collegiality with each other.  From this collegiality springs the USCCB, the state Catholic Conferences, and so forth.

But hearken to Bishop Fellay’s quote:

“When people renounce their errors and join the Catholic Church, are they now required to profess their faith in religious liberty, ecumenism or collegiality?  As for us, the spiritual sons of Archbishop Lefebvre, who always refrained from setting up a parallel Church and always intended to be faithful to Eternal Rome, we have no difficulty in adhering fully to all the articles of the Creed.”

And that is the crux of the matter.  It is the pastoral endorsement of Populism along with the tools that the Church has granted to allow Catholics to work within Populism that SSPX rejects.  The Church believes that Catholics can believe either in Christendom or Populism.

SSPX sees loyalty to Christendom as the only authentic Catholicism and mistakenly views Populism as a form of heretical Modernism, rejecting the Church’s ability to embrace both simultaneously.

It is hard to imagine a bridge to span this gulf.

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Battling for the Legacy of Dr. King: Pro-Life v. “Gay Rights”

The Pro-Life and the 'Same-Sex Marriage' Movements Battle to the be Heir to MLK

The Civil Rights Movement — like the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Suffragette Movement before it — fought for the US to live up to the timeless ideals proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr won the last great victory for the Natural Law-Natural Rights principles articulated in the Declaration of Independence when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.

In his famous, “I Have a Dream Speech” in 1963, Dr. King said:

“In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

He said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

And Dr. King won, ending the “manacles of segregation.”

Two flagship organizations have subsequently adopted Declaration of Independence-type names and declared themselves to be engaging in the next great battle for Civil Rights.

They are the National Right to Life Committee and the Human Rights Campaign.

So the question is, what is the great civil rights battle of our time?

The fact that in many states same-sex couples cannot marry?

Or the fact that every day legal abortion takes the lives of more human beings than were lost in the September 11 attack upon the World Trade Center in New York?

It is easy to argue for “Gay Rights.”

“If two people love each other, then why should they be banned from getting married?”

There are two accurate counterarguments from the Declaration of Independence Natural Law-Natural Rights perspective:

The Natural Law answer: “The Natural Law forbids one person from using another person to fulfill some lesser desire.  Sexual love is intimate and must therefore be unconditional.  Accordingly, sexual love should incorporate free will (no outside pressure), understanding (no profound ignorance or deception), full self-gift (no polygamy or prenuptial agreement), permanence (no temporary love), and openness to life (no deliberately sterile love).  Any other form of sexual love is in some sense using the other person for some reason while holding back from the full power of the sexual act — whether for pleasure, for money, for societal status, or for some other reason.  Same-sex relations are inherently and deliberately sterile.  Therefore, no institution (such as ‘same-sex marriage’) can be built around endorsing it.  Human law should not be in violation to Natural Law.”

The Natural Rights answer: “Government is charged specifically with protecting Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness — in that order.  No lesser Right can trump a greater Right.  In the Natural Order, children are begotten and raised by their biological parents by virtue of their parents’ psychological, spiritual, and biological complementary called conjugality.  In the Natural Order, this conjugality bears fruit at conception in the child’s Life and at the raising of the child in the Natural launching pad for the child’s pursuit of Happiness.  Therefore, being raised by their biological parents is part of the child’s Right to the pursuit of Happiness.  The governmental recognition of voluntary conjugal marriage protects the child’s right to the pursuit of Happiness without infringing on the parents’ more fundamental right to Liberty.  Marriage is exclusively designed to protect the Natural Rights of children to be conceived and raised by their biological parents.  The government has no authority under Natural Rights theory to proactively recognize or endorse any other form of marriage, including but not limited to ‘same-sex marriage.'”

There is no question that most people find the articulation of such positions daunting.

Fortunately for social conservatives, the pro-life position is much easier:

“Why shouldn’t a woman be allowed to do what she wants with her own body and the parasitical fetus attached to it?”

Natural Law: “Thou shalt not kill.”

Natural Rights: “The unborn baby from the moment of conception is, biologically speaking, a human being, with a right to Life that cannot be infringed even in the name of Liberty.”

As a result, most social conservatives are more confident about arguing against legal abortion than against legal same-sex marriage.  Many of these social conservatives express optimism about the abortion debate and pessimism about the same-sex marriage debate.

The Left’s predictions of inevitable victory on LGBT issues are rattling social conservatives now just as those same predictions on abortion rattled social conservatives in the 70s.

This is misguided and dangerous.

There is only one question that needs to be resolved in the mind of the American public:

Who is the heir of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Declaration of Independence?

The Human Rights Campaign or the National Right to Life Committee?

Both social conservative issues will live or die as the result of the answer to this question.

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