Last week I entered into a mini-engagement with the Archdiocese of Saint Louis’ Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs over some joint hoe-down at a local Buddhist temple. It was a fairly fun and charitable exchange, particularly since I entered into it in the combox with my usual, ahem, tact. I think I said that the above ecumenical office should be “razed to the ground and sown over with salt.” 🙂
They responded with kindness, I apologized, and we had a pleasant exchange (Story of my life? But I digress.). They were nice. As a friend said, part of the problem is that very niceness. Too nice to worry about offending any other creed by standing by the truth of the faith that would bring the errors of other creeds into focus.
Why is it kinder to leave someone with the notion that they don’t need the Catholic faith? Why isn’t every single effort of any Catholic “ecumenical” or “interreligious” office one that is made with the design of conversion to the true faith? Well, the answer is that either the Catholic effort lacks charity, by knowingly leaving our fellow-men in error, or it lacks faith, in that we don’t REALLY believe it ourselves.
Of course we see that this milquetoast approach– to the faith given to us by Christ Himself– is one of the major causes of the emptying of Churches, the swift decline of morality, and all the rest. “Oh, you commit serial sodomy? One of the gravest of matters that cries out to heaven for vengeance? No problem! I affirm you, keep going. Um, as Cardinal Dolan would say, ‘Good on’ you!” Oh, you want me to worship at your Buddhist temple? Great, we can learn from each other!”
Our Lord issued a stern warning to the lukewarm– that He would begin to vomit them out of His mouth. Charity demands not only that we approach our brother with love (instead of a rude condemnation) but also that we not confirm his errors. Why? Not because we believe the faith, but because it is the faith itself.
So, long way around, here is a link to a helpful post at 1P5 discussing the issue, with sources new and old.