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It is not easy to capture in words the gravity of the “ecumenical” atrocity I witnessed yesterday (March 13) beneath the famous Bernini sculpture of the Chair of Peter at the apse of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Perhaps it is easier to approach it from the perspective of a reductio ad absurdum.
Standing off to the side (of course, I could in no way participate in this non-Catholic liturgy), I endured the hour-and-a-half “historic” presentation of the Anglican “Evensong” on the sacred ground of one of the Catholic Church’s holiest shrines. Strictly speaking, this sacrilege — perpetrated by Anglican laymen in clerical costumes on the anniversary of Pope Bergoglio’s election — did not occur before the altar of Saint Peter. That is because the altar, in another act of sacrilege, was removed back in the 1990s, leaving the Chair hanging in midair with only an empty platform beneath it. That empty space is a fitting metaphor for the state of the Catholic Church today after nearly half a century of iconoclastic “renewal.”
The best word to describe what I witnessed, putting aside the sacrilege involved, is pageant. A pageant conducted by the members of an organization that not only rejects key doctrines of the Catholic faith but is even in rebellion against the natural law respecting adultery, contraception, abortion, and sodomy. A pageant that was nothing more than a simulation of divine worship by an “Anglican Communion” that has neither authority nor power from Christ to enact the divine mysteries.
And so, a superb choir composed of students at Merton College, Oxford sang the verses of Anglican hymnody set to arresting melodies, but the hymns were a hollow mockery in view of what the “Anglican Communion” stands for today. The Anglican “Archbishop” Emeritus David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, intoned a “General Confession” and “Absolution,” but these were mere words uttered by a mere layman participating in a mere pageant.
Also participating in the pageant, while assisting in the sacrilege, was Cardinal Pell, who bowed his head and joined in the prayers as directed by the faux Anglican Archbishop, going along with the pretense that underlies the entire disastrous ecumenical venture: that humanly founded denominations sunk in varying degrees of doctrinal and moral decrepitude are legitimate custodians of the Gospel.
The Catholic Archbishop Arthur Roche, no less than Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, contributed a sermon to the pageant, wherein he emitted the usual ecumenical blather about tearing down “walls of division” and persevering in the ecumenical “enterprise” rather than inhabiting “ecclesial microclimates,” as if the Catholic Church were to blame for the state of Anglicanism or as if the two entities were on the same level.
Roche thus blithely likened the one true Church founded by Christ, outside of which there is no salvation, to some sort of narrow precinct from which one must escape for the sake of what he dared to call the “holy work of ecumenism.” But anyone with eyes to see can discern that the “work of ecumenism” is not holy, but hellish — to the point of bringing grave sacrilege to the very spot where the bones of Saint Peter bear silent witness to the integrity of the immaculate Bride of Christ, no matter what the folly to which her wayward human members may descend.
Having defiled the memory of Saint Peter, the participants in this impious spectacle, Pell and Roche included, proceeded to defile the memory of Saint Gregory the Great by processing to his tomb behind the Anglican layman who thinks he is an Archbishop. And this after Roche had the audacity to compare the shameful event in which he was shamelessly participating to the great events in the life of Saint Gregory, a builder of the Catholic Christendom whose demolition Roche was at that very moment assisting.
The debacle concluded with a “blessing” from “Archbishop” Moxon, of no more weight than the words of a Hallmark greeting card to which, at least, neither sacrilege nor mockery is attached.
A seminarian who was observing the travesty recognized me and remarked what a “slap in the face” it was for Catholics who were once Anglicans but had abandoned the sinking ship of the “Anglican Communion” for the Barque of Peter. Many of them joined the ordinariates established by Pope Benedict for former Anglicans and their ministers, who have since been validly ordained as Catholic priests. Indeed, this entire charade was designed to conceal the reality the members of the ordinariates had the courage and humility to accept: that the “Anglican Communion” is a failed human organization without a valid priesthood or episcopate and that the only road to Christian unity is the road to Rome.
But what does it say about the state of the Church today that at the same time she offers the path of true Christian unity to some Anglicans, so many of her leaders cruelly pretend that Anglicans need only remain where they are and that “unity” with Catholics will somehow materialize in the hazy ecumenical future. The schizoid disorder of the human element of the Church today has no parallel in prior ecclesial crises.
“Ecumenism” is as fraudulent as it is meaningless. It is an elaborate continuing deception that Christian unity is possible without all Christians professing the same Faith that Christ and the Apostles revealed and that the infallible Magisterium alone has handed down intact for 2,000 years according to Our Lord’s one and only divine commission.
The title of this column is derived from the formula employed by Pope Saint Pius V to warn of the consequences for those who would dare to contravene his Bull Quo Primum, by which he codified in perpetuity the traditional Latin Mass as the normative liturgy of the Roman Rite. After fifty years of revolution in the Church, beginning with the sneak attack on the Latin Mass, can anyone doubt, especially in the midst of the Bergoglian tumult, that the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul is already upon us?
We must, however, place our trust, as always, in the intercessory power of the Mother of God. For as Our Lady of Good Success assures us: “To test this faith and confidence of the just, there will be occasions when everything will seem to be lost and paralyzed. This, then, will be the happy beginning of the complete restoration.” We will know that the restoration has begun when the Pope, whoever he may be at the time, undertakes at last the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.