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From January 2004 Catholic Family News
by John Vennari
Catholic Family News reported last month on the interreligious Congress at Fatima: “The Present of Man, the Future of God, the Place of Sanctuary in Relation to the Sacred”. I attended this Congress in Portugal which was held from October 10-12, 2003.1
Speakers at the Congress, including Father Jacques Dupuis and Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, told delegates that Catholics should not seek to convert non-Catholics to the Catholic Church. This is because, according to the new, ecumenical system, non-Catholics are already part of the “Reign of God”, and do not have to convert to the Catholic Church for salvation.
On the subject of “no salvation outside the Catholic Church”, which is a defined dogma that Catholics must believe in order to remain Catholic, Father Dupuis said in disgust, “There is no need to invoke here that horrible text from the Council of Florence.” Father Dupuis also said that the purpose of dialogue is to help “the Christian to become a better Christian, and the Hindu a better Hindu”.
The Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, Fatima Shrine Rector, Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, and Apostolic Delegate all applauded Dupuis’ speech wherein, among many other outrages, he denounced a defined doctrine of the Church.
The next day, the Vatican’s Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald told the audience, “Father Dupuis yesterday explained the theological basis of the establishment of relations with people of other religions”. In short, Archbishop Fitzgerald praised Father Dupuis’ heresies.
The Sunday session at the Congress included testimonies from representatives of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism. At this session, Father Arul Irudayam, Rector of the Catholic Marian Shrine at Vailankanni, India, boasted that, as a further development of ecumenical comradery, Hindus now perform their heathen rites inside the Catholic Church. The conference delegates, including Archbishop Fitzgerald, were delighted that this Marian Shrine was now used for idolatrous rituals. How long before the Shrine at Fatima is desecrated in a similar manner?
The November 1 Portugal News published that this Congress was part of a plan to turn Fatima into an Interfaith Shrine. The Notícias de Fátima, a bi-weekly newspaper of Fatima, also reported on the event. It splashed the headline in bold red type across the front page of its October 24 edition: “Sanctuary of Various Creeds”. Page 8 of the same Notícias de Fátima ran the story, “Sanctuary Opens Itself to Religious Pluralism”, followed by the sub-heading, “The Shrine of Fatima assumes a universalist and welcoming vocation towards different religions”.
Both Portugal News and Notícias de Fátima featured the statement, “The future of Fatima must pass through the creation of a shrine where different religions can mingle”. Notícias de Fátima printed these words as a front page photo caption, and the Portugal News attributed these words to the Fatima Shrine Rector, Monsignor Guerra.
A little more news has arrived from Portugal on Fatima’s new pan-religious venture, this time from the Fatima Shrine’s own journal, Voz de Fatima. The November 17 issue of this newspaper ran two short pieces about the Congress, both of which give the appearance that the pan-religious program at Fatima is the way of the future. The alleged plan to turn Fatima into an “Interfaith Shrine” received no mention; neither confirmation nor denial. Yet tragically, the journal spoke in glowing terms about the Interreligious Congress, and about Fatima’s new ecumenical orientation.
The first article entitled “Specialists Point Towards Sanctuaries as Examples of Growth in Faith”, summarized the closing remarks of the Fatima Congress. Voz de Fatima said, “The example of the presence of representatives of several religions at this meeting was highlighted ... by the organizers, considering that ‘interreligious dialogue is not a favor or a yielding up of something, but rather a necessity of faith itself’.”2
This is extremely grave. Here the Fatima Shrine’s official newspaper tells its readers that the novel concept of pan-religious dialogue, which by the Congress’ own definition means that we do not try to convert non-Catholics to the Catholic Church, is a “necessity of faith itself”.
How could it be a necessity of “faith itself” that Catholics no longer attempt to convert to the true Faith those who are in the darkness of false religions?
Voz de Fatima then writes, “Msgr. Luciano Guerra, Rector of the Fatima Shrine, expressed the same opinion comparing dialogue to bridges, in this case between different religions. ‘We intend to analyze the foundations of the bridges to find out if we can count on them in the future’, he affirmed. In his opinion, Fatima plays an ‘essential role’ in the strengthening of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.”
This statement is similar to what Notícias de Fátima attributed to Msgr. Guerra, where he said, “It’s the first step. We are like the engineers in Portugal who begin by examining the structures of the bridges to see if we can trust them in the future”.
We may assume that despite Msgr. Guerra’s alleged “caution” about “testing the structures”, the Fatima Shrine, according to the Shrine’s official journal, is now embarked on the ecumenical program.
The second article in Voz de Fatima quotes the Vatican’s Archbishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Fitzgerald was also a speaker at the Congress, and praised Father Dupuis’ heretical speech wherein Dupuis denounced the Council of Florence.
The article entitled, “Dialogue Between Religions Progressed Much with John Paul II”, opens: “The President of the Council for Interreligious Dialogue, during the proceedings of the International Congress at Fatima, praised the actions of John Paul II in opening up to other religions, pointing out that Catholicism has changed its manner of viewing them.”
“The missions still remain and we announce Jesus Christ but the manner in which we do so is different”, now that the Church is beginning to “recognize signs of the sacred in other religions, points of discussion that, before John Paul II and Vatican II, were not raised.”
Archbishop Fitzgerald goes on to applaud Pope John Paul II’s novel, ecumenical initiatives. He says that in a “common search” for the sacred, the religions should “reconcile forces to confront the secularization of a world becoming ever more godless”. He also admitted that there are those in the Church who do not accept this new interreligious effort.
“There are people who cling very tightly to their way of comprehending tradition," said Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald. “There are people who are critical of these steps, but our response has to be dialogue with all, even those who oppose us.”
I agree with Archbishop Fitzgerald that “there are people who cling very tightly to their way of comprehending tradition”. But those who do this are not traditional Catholics, but the ecumenists themselves. It is the post-Conciliar ecumenists who have distorted tradition from its true meaning in order to make way for a “living tradition” which includes novelties such as pan-religious activities. They ignore Pope Saint Pius X who warned, “far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty”.
Pope Saint Pius X wrote in his Encyclical Against Modernism on the duty to maintain tradition:
“But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nice, where it condemns those ‘who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind ... or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church’. … Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV and Pius IX, ordered the insertion in the profession of faith of the following declaration: ‘I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church’.”3
And the Second Council of Nice teaches infallibly,
"If anyone rejects any written or unwritten tradition of the Church, let him be anathema.”4
Ecumenism “derides ecclesiastical tradition” as well as defined Catholic doctrine. It takes pride in pan-religious activities which have been condemned throughout the entire history of the Church.5 In the name of ecumenism, today’s Church leaders have “invented novelties”, such as the pan-religious “Spirit of Assisi” which places the one true Church of Jesus Christ on the same level with false creeds. These leaders also “reject written and unwritten traditions of the Church” as they attempt to “change” Catholicism’s “way of viewing” non-Catholics.
A clear example of this was mentioned earlier. Father Jacques Dupuis at this Fatima Congress, openly called a defined dogma of the Council of Florence a “horrible text” that must be rejected in order to make way for the new ecumenical religion. Archbishop Fitzgerald not only praised Dupuis’ speech, but later scorned those Catholics who rightly adhere to Tradition as defined by Pope Saint Pius X and by the Second Council of Nice. Thus we see that it is the ecumenists themselves who “cling very tightly” to their modernist “way of comprehending tradition”.
Before we discuss how the post-Conciliar Church has “changed its manner of viewing” non-Catholics, we must first address Arch-bishop Fitzgerald’s statement that ecumenical Church leaders are open to dialogue with those Catholics who challenge the new ecumenical policy.
We have, in fact, a sampling of such “dialogue”.
An exchange took place at the Congress between a group of young people from the Society of Saint Pius X and the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, Jose de Cruz Policarpo. The young people were there because Father Danjou, Prior of the Society of Saint Pius X in Portugal, organized the distribution of 35,000 pamphlets in Fatima denouncing the ecumenical event.6 He also organized two ceremonies of reparation. The young people from the M.J.C.F. (Catholic Youth Group in France), came especially from south east France to help distribute the flyers.
Some of these young people attended the Congress. The following interview, published by DICI,7 took place between members of the M.J.C.F. and Cardinal Policarpo after his speech on Saturday afternoon.
M.J.C.F.: Your Eminence, I would like to have some precision. In your speech you said that “each religion when practiced with sincerity was leading to God”. Yet Sister Lucy of Fatima in Os Apelos, commenting upon the First Commandment, says that “there is only one God who deserves our adoration, the other divinities are nothing, are worth nothing and can do nothing for us”. How are we to reconcile those two visions of God?
Card. P.: But, my boy, such a vision is outmoded. What are those divinities Sister Lucy is talking about? We Christians, Muslims, Jews, we all have the same God.
M.J.C.F.: (Silent, aghast, wide-eyed.)
Card. P.: Of course, the faith must be Christocentric, but the other religions are in progress towards Christ, each is more or less advanced, that’s all!
M.J.C.F.: Yet we do not have the same religion as the Muslims or the Jews. Then, how can one say we have the same God?
Card. P.: You know, I did a lot of studying when I was young. If you’re a Christian, as you say you are, it’s a question of culture, that’s because you were taught so. For the Muslim, it’s just the same.
M.J.C.F.: But, Your Eminence, how far will ecumenism go?
Card. P.: Each religion has something to teach you. Experience of other religions is very important, we’ve got a lot to learn from them.
M.J.C.F.: But yet it is written in the Koran: “Do not take the Christians or the Jews for your friends”.
Card. P.: You’ve read the Koran, my boy?
M.J.C.F.: Yes, twice!
Card. P.: In Arabic?
M.J.C.F.: No, but our religion is based on Revelation. Could the so-called prophet Mohammed truly have received a part of Revelation?
Card. P.: You must have read a bad translation. Islam has a lot to teach you.
M.J.C.F.: In the Apocalypse, the apostle St. John warns us to beware of false prophets. Is Mohammed a false prophet?
Card. P.: (he was getting nervous) Young man, I leave you the full responsibility of the answer!
The Cardinal brushed them aside to go, but one of the young people held him back slightly.
M.J.C.F.: Your Eminence, you did not answer my question, I believe?
Card. P.: It may be said that in the time of Jeremias, Mohammed would have been considered a false prophet.
The Cardinal then went away, pushing the young people aside and without saying goodbye.
Notice, we are supposed to be in the age of smiling post-Conciliar prelates who “love the youth”. Yet these young people at Fatima were not the vapid, defrauded rock’n’rollers who show up at World Youth Day, but Catholics who knew their religion and who respectfully challenged the Cardinal that today’s ecumenism conflicts with perennial Catholic teaching and practice. There were no smiles from the Cardinal for this group of youth, but only contempt, derision, and the refusal to answer directly the questions they put to him.
The next day, the entrance was guarded by three people, and the young people of M.J.C.F. had to give two proofs of identity each, in order to be allowed inside.
A priest then called after them at the door: “You may not enter!”
M.J.C.F.: “But we have an authorization.”
The priest: “OK, but then not a single question!”
The priest then stayed behind them during the whole conference to assure that these young people did not ask any awkward questions.
Now, these young people only tried to engage the Cardinal in dialogue. They only hoped, the next day, to engage other members of the Congress in dialogue. But because they asked hard questions, based on perennial Catholic truth, they were pushed aside, silenced and policed.
It is clear from this exchange that the new ecumenical religion cannot handle an honest critic. It is a house of cards that collapses when it confronts the Catholic Faith of all time. So when Archbishop Fitzgerald says that he is willing to “dialogue” with those who oppose the new ecumenical spirit, the above interchange between the M.J.C.F. and Cardinal Policarpo gives us an idea of how this “dialogue” will proceed.
Archbishop Fitzgerald claims that Catholicism has “changed its manner of viewing” non-Catholic religions. He also claims that the Church still “announces Jesus Christ, but the manner in which we do so is different”.
How is it different? And how has the “Church” changed its “manner of viewing” non-Catholics?
The answer is found in the new policy of “Dialogue and Proclamation” which is now said to be part of the Church’s program of “Mission and Evangelization”. “Evangelization” and “Mission” no longer strictly mean that we work to convert non-Catholics to the one true Church. As with many other elements in the post-Conciliar Church, our progressivist leaders have redefined the terms.
The true meaning of Evangelization and Mission comes from the mandate that Our Lord gave to His apostles. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. 28:19) “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned.” (Mark 15:16) Holy Missionaries since the founding of Christianity went to their deaths for the conversion of non-Catholics.
But today? No! We don’t do that any more. We just read Cardinal Policarpo who called this “an outmoded vision”, and said that we all worship the same “God”. So we dare not try to convert non-Catholics. Rather we engage in pan-religious dialogue with members of false religions; a dialogue that tells non-Catholics that it is perfectly acceptable to God for them to remain within their man-made creeds.
This is the new notion of “Evangelization” and “Mission”. It is part of the new ecumenical policy of “Dialogue and Proclamation”, which is the name of a 1991 Vatican document on Interreligious Dialogue. Here is how the new system works. We proclaim the Catholic Faith to non-Catholics, because we believe Catholicism to be the best religion, as it has the “fullness of the truth”. And we hope that those to whom we proclaim it to will also think it is the best, and choose to become Catholic also.
But if they do not become Catholic, then that’s fine too. They are perfectly acceptable to God in their false religion, since — as Father Dupuis said in his speech — Catholics and non-Catholics are “co-members in the Reign of God”. So, we simply dialogue with them, and work together in peaceful co-existence. Or to use Archbishop Fitzgerald’s words, we work with one another “to confront the secularization of the world” and “to bring about a greater peace and harmony among people of other religions”.
This is the new construct of “Dialogue and Proclamation” that constitutes the post-Conciliar Church’s notion of “Evangelization” and “Mission”. It is why Father Jacques Dupuis in his speech defined pan-religious practice and interreligious dialogue as part of the Church’s “Mission of Evangelization”, and he quoted a 1984 document from the Council of Interreligious Dialogue to bolster his claim.
Likewise, the 1991 Vatican document “Dialogue and Proclamation” places “proclaiming Christ” on an equal footing with “dialogue” with false religions. The document says, “Just as interreligious dialogue is one element in the mission of the Church, the proclamation of God’s saving work in Our Lord is another ... There can be no question of choosing one and ignoring or rejecting the other.”8 According to this 1991 Vatican document, we must not only proclaim Christ, but we must also “dialogue” with non-Catholics who have no intention to convert to the one true Church, and recognize their false religion as a valid way to God.
Do not be fooled, then, when Church leaders in the highest places use Catholic words such as “Mission” and “Evangelization” that they have invested with non-Catholic meaning.
The new program of “Dialogue and Proclamation” is a head-on collision with Church teaching throughout the centuries.
The Council of Florence defined infallibly that “Pagans, Jews, heretics and schismatics” are “outside the Catholic Church”, and as such, “can never be partakers of eternal life”, unless “before death” they are joined to the one true Church of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church.9
The Catechism of the Council of Trent, faithful to this truth, teaches, “infidels, heretics, schismatics and excommunicated persons” are “excluded from the Church’s pale".10 In other words, Protestants, Jews, Muhammadans, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., are not part of the Catholic Church, which is the Kingdom of God on earth.11
The Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X, centuries later, presents the same truth without change. It teaches, “Outside the true Church are: Infidels, Jews, heretics, apostates, schismatics and excommunicated persons”. It states further, “No one can be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church, just as no one could be saved from the flood outside the Ark of Noah, which was a figure of the Church”.12
Pope Pius XI embodied this doctrine in his Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This prayer, which was part of the Church’s official liturgy until Vatican II, reads: “Be Thou King of all those who are deceived by false opinions and whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism, and refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God.”13
This prayer, faithful to perennial Catholic doctrine, reveals that members of heretical and schismatic groups, such as Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy, are not members of the Church. And that those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry, such as Hindus and Buddhists, as well as Moslems, are not part of the Kingdom of God.
Countless other examples can be given, but the above quotations suffice to demonstrate the Church’s consistent doctrine throughout the ages about members of false religions. Yet it is this teaching which is unlawfully rejected, jettisoned, scorned, overturned by today’s “Civilization of Love” Catholics who construct a new ecumenical theology which abandons traditional teaching for the sake of their modernist dream.
In 1963, the eminent theologian Msgr. David Greenstock warned that during Vatican II, there were certain theologians who were trying to invent a new ecumenical theology to fit alleged “modern needs”. He warned that there can be no “new theology” of unity which in any way rejects the truth that non-Catholics must convert to the Catholic Church for unity and salvation. He wrote, “there should be no attempt to create a new ecumenical theology to fit the ecumenical situation”.14
Yet this is precisely what happened at Vatican II and in its aftermath. Archbishop Fitzgerald’s “new manner” of viewing non-Catholics is precisely the “new ecumenical theology” that Msgr. Greenstock warned against as a betrayal of the Council of Trent and of Vatican Council I.
In fact, Vatican I taught infallibly that even a Pope cannot change defined dogma, (such as “no salvation outside the Catholic Church”).
On this point, Vatican I taught, “The Holy Spirit was not promised to the successor of Peter that by the revelation of the Holy Spirit they might disclose new doctrine, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the Apostles and the deposit of Faith, and might faithfully set it forth.”15
The distinguished theologian Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton employed this text to explain: “Catholic dogma is immutable ... the same identical truths are always presented to the people as having been revealed by God. Their meaning never changes.”16
Thus, even a Pope cannot change doctrine, teach new doctrine, or interpret Catholic doctrine in a manner different from how it has been taught for 2000 years.
Added to this is the Oath Against Modernism that these men — the Fatima Shrine Rector Msgr. Guerra, Cardinal Policarpo, Father Jacques Dupuis, and even young deacons in the 1940s and 50s named Ratzinger, Kasper and Wojtyla — swore to God before their ordination. Part of that Oath reads:
“I sincerely hold that the doctrine of Faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another, different from the one which the Church held previously.”
At the end of the Oath, they swear before God:
“I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God, and these holy Gospels of God which I touch with my hand.”17
Again, Msgr. Fenton remarked in 1960 that any priest who promoted Modernism after taking the Oath Against Modernism would mark himself as a “sinner against the Catholic Faith and as a common perjurer”.18
Tragically, the men at this pan-religious Congress at Fatima, as well as clergymen and prelates even to the highest office in Rome, who swore the Oath Against Modernism, and who now promote the new ecumenical religion, which says that the Catholic truths of yesterday must be rejected or reworked to make way for the new ecumenical religion of today, have violated their Oath. They are, in the words of Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, “sinners against the Catholic Faith and common perjurers”.
They took a solemn Oath before God that they would not change the Catholic religion, and they changed it.
We must pray for these men, but we must not follow their bad example. Nor must we stand idle while they subvert the Shrine at Fatima, a place sanctified by Our Lady’s visitations, into their new interfaith religion. Thanks to these men and their ecumenical delusions, the pan-religious “Spirit of Assisi”, which desecrates everything Catholic that it touches, is now let loose in Fatima.
It is time to say “enough”! In the face of the outrage now underway at Fatima, we may not remain complacent. If we do not protest, if we do not resist, if we do not mount a forceful opposition to this blasphemy against Our Blessed Mother, then we are not fit to be called Our Lady’s children.
1. “Fatima to Become an Interfaith Shrine? An Account from One Who Was There”, J. Vennari, Catholic Family News, December, 2003. Also on the web at http://archive.fatima.org/news/newsviews/sprep111303.asp.
2. Both article from Voz de Fatima were translated into English by Joseph Cain.
3. Pascendi, emphasis added.
4. Cited from The Great Façade, p. 28. Emphasis added.
5. In 398 AD, the Council of Carthage taught: “None must either pray or sing psalms with heretics; and whomsoever shall communicate with those who are cut off from the Communion of the Church, whether clergymen or laic, let him be excommunicated.” coun. Carth. iv. 72 and 73. Cited from The Sincere Christian, by Bishop George hay, (James Duffy & Sons, Dublin — Imprimatur by G.J. Walsh, Archbishop of Dublin) p. 555.
6. At the same time, volunteers from Father Gruner’s Fatima Crusader were also at Fatima to distribute Chronology of a Cover-up booklets.
7. Documentation Information Cathoiques Internationales, November 29, 2003, (www.dici.org).
8. “Dialogue and Proclamation”, No. 6. Taken from the Vatican web page.
9. Bull Cantate Domino issued by Pope Eugene IV at the Council of Florence, February 4, 1442.
10. Catechism of the Council of Trent, McHugh & Callan Translation, (Rockford: Tan, Reprinted 1982), p. 101.
11. Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton explains that the word “Church” has a very definite meaning. It means, the Kingdom of God on earth, the People of the Divine Covenant, the one social unit outside of which no one can be saved. See “The Meaning of the Word ‘Church’,” American Ecclesiastical Review, October, 1954, republished in the November 2000 Catholic Family News. (Reprint #519 available from CFN for $1.75.)
12. The Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X, (first published in 1910, republished by Instauratio Press, Australia), pages 31 and 41.
13. Of the Jews, the consecration says, “Turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of that race, once Thy chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior. May it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.”
14. “Unity: Special Problems, Dogmatic and Moral,” Father David Greenstock, The Thomist, 1963. See the recent commentary on this article, “Vatican II vs. the Unity Willed by Christ”, J. Vennari, Catholic Family News, December 2000. (Reprint #537 available from CFN for $1.75 post-paid.)
15. Vatican I, Session III, Chap. IV, Dei Filius.
16. We Stand With Christ, Joseph Clifford Fenton, (Bruce, 1942), p. 2.
17. Oath Against Modernism, issued by Pope Saint Pius X, September 1, 1910.
18. “The Sacrorum Antistitum and the Background of the Oath Against Modernism”, Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton. The American Ecclesiastical review, October, 1960, pp. 259-260.