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Anglican Leader & Pope Pray Together

Mark Stabinski

On March 10, 2012, Benedict XVI and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams prayed together and lit candles at San Gregorio Magno al Celio in Rome following Vespers service. The service marked the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Italy's Camaldolese community, which is characterized by a hermit life lived in community.

Williams prays alongside with Benedict XVI

Benedict and Williams prayed together in St. Gregory Chapel
Although Williams officially only “assisted at” the Vespers and preached a homily, to which the Pope humbly listened from his chair, the media organs were quick to report that the Anglican leader and the Pope “prayed together.” Even from Vatican came this report: “The Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Benedict XVI jointly prayed for the unity of Christianity in a rare gesture on Saturday despite simmering resentment over the Catholic Church's move to recruit Anglicans.”

A “rare gesture” certainly does not adequately portray the post-conciliar Popes ecumenical meetings with schismatic and heretical sects. The ecumenical encounters have been anything but “rare.” In Assisi we have witnessed periodical inter-religious meetings during the pontificate of JPII and we still have in our memory the sad events of last October meeting at that Basilica where Benedict gathered with all kinds of false religions.

In fact, the March 10 Vespers marks the third time in recent history that a Pope and an archbishop of Canterbury have prayed together at San Gregorio. John Paul II held ecumenical prayers with Anglican archbishops Robert Runcie in 1989 and with George Carey in 1996. In a public audience at the Vatican in 2003, JPII even went so far to kiss the hand of Rowan Williams, known for his support of homosexuality in the clergy and episcopate and women priests.

JPII kisses the hand of Rowan Williams

JJPII kisses the hand of leader of Anglican sect
In his homily at the Vespers service, Benedict XVI stressed the ecumenical character of the service first by quoting JPII’s words that “choosing God also means humbly and patiently cultivating, according to God’s design, ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.” Further on, he linked the ecumenical spirit to the “modern Camaldolese spirit,” different from the original “non-modern” spirit.

Benedict reaffirms that God's "designs" since Vatican II include such ecumenical prayer services, in contradiction with the prior teaching at Vatican I, which firmly states dogma cannot change “under the pretext or in the name of a more profound [e.g. 'modern'] understanding.” (Session 3; Chapter 4; Canons 13-14)

A frontal clash with the prior Magisterium

The practice of meeting and praying with heretics was firmly and strongly condemned by the pre-Conciliar Popes and Church Magisterium. Instead of re-affirming that healthy past teaching, the conciliar Popes contradict it with their ecumenical actions, giving the impression that there is no error in praying with Protestants.

Catholics should remember that this conciliar ecumenism clashes frontally with Scriptures, the writings of Church Fathers and Saints, and the decrees of Councils and Popes.

The Holy Ghost inspired these words in the Holy Writ:
  • “I beseech you, brethren, mark those who made dissensions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them.” (Rom 16:17)

  • “A man who is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid; knowing that such a man is subverted and sins, being condemned by his own judgment” (Tit 3:10-11).

Third century Church Father and Martyr St. Cyprian warned about those outside the Church, affirming, “Whoever is separated from the Church must be avoided and fled from; such a man is a sinner and is self-condemned” (The Unity of Christians, nn.17, 23).

JPII and Robert Runcie give a blessing together

JPII & Robert Runci bless the congregation at Canterbury Cathedral in 1982
The Ecumenical Council of Constantinople gave us this firm teaching: “If any ecclesiastic or layman shall go into the synagogue of the Jews or to the meeting-houses of the heretics to join in prayer with them, let him be deposed and deprived of communion. If any bishop or priest or deacon shall join in prayer with heretics, let him be suspended” (III Council of Constantinople, 680-681, Sacrorum Conciliorum, Thomas Florentiae: 1759, vol. I, p. 635)

The Council of Carthage issued this decree: “One must neither pray nor sing psalms with heretics, and whosoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the Church communion, whether clergy or layman: let him be anathema” (Council of Carthage: PL 56:486).

Did St. Margaret Clitherow needlessly shed her blood for not being "tolerant" and "ecumenically minded"? Consider her words: “I will not pray with you [heretics], nor shall you pray with me; neither will I say ‘Amen’ to your prayers, nor shall you to mine” (Attwater, Martyrs, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1965, p.122) .

Changed sentiments

Today’s Catholics should be outraged and scandalized by public gestures of honor and homage paid to heretical clerics and destroyers of souls, which contradict the Catholic Magisterium just mentioned.

Sadly, the teachings of Vatican Council II have frontally opposed all the past Magisterium and transformed public ecumenical acts into "normal" events in the daily life of the Progressivist Church. One can only wonder how many human souls are being lost in direct consequence of such an orchestrated changes in doctrine.


Posted March 14, 2011

Tradition in Action


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