Oecumenismus sicut socialismus

On the website of Gość Niedzielny, a popular Catholic magazine, there has appeared an article of Marcin Jakimowicz with a telling title resounding a slogan from the justly bygone era: Nie ma odwrotu od ekumenizmu (There is no turning back from ecumenism). Despite the fact that the author used words of John Paul II, they resemble an utterance by gen. Jaruzelski (a rather controversial figure of the socialist Polish People’s Republic) who, declaring the introduction of martial law, said that “there is no turning back from socialism”. In that way, a saying popular in the tradicommunities – post-conciliardom is like socialism – makes more sense than ever.

The unfortunate title foreshadowed contents of similar quality and I can’t say that I was disappointed. The text is an example of typical ways how to combat “the enemy of the people” who, in this case, are individuals criticising certain post-conciliar aberrations of Church reality. There is, of course, a reference to the authority of John Paul II, with clear and numerous reminders of his sanctity which seem to work as a collateral against quoting previous popes who would cast the modern ecumenism into a deep pit, set on fire and fill with concrete. In the text one can also notice lack of differentiation between the idea of ecumenism and its realisation, which is a key factor to understand the arguments of the opponents of the common forms of dialogue with other followers of Christ. On the other hand, there are slogans galore concerning mutual enrichment – what the Church can give other Christian communities and what She can take from them, without any sign of reflection how it really functions.

Benedict XVI and Bartholomew on the balcony of the residence of the Constantinople Patriarchate, 30 November 2006.

It is not my aim to elaborate on ecumenism but to draw attention to a propagandist style of such articles which almost overtly concern traditionalists. All the references to John Paul II are, arguably, in vain: being right, when writing about necessity to gather all who believe in Christ into one fold, does not mean that he was free from error in every aspect of the notion. Hence, even pope Wojtyła’s deeds and words must be analysed through the prism of the whole Magisterium which includes works of previous bishops of Rome who also elaborated on the topic. One should remember that traditionalists are fierce proponents of returning all the errant to the unity with the Church; their refusing to perceive the modern ecumenical dialogue with the same hurrahoptimism that post-conciliarists show does not mean that one is allowed to see them as people who call striving to unity a heresy. It is also the case with the mutual enrichment: traditionalists do not exclude a possibility to adapt certain models from other Christian communities – they simply refuse to import practices going against the Catholic Faith. They are also most ardent proponents of Eastern respect and understanding of liturgy which was completely and recklessly abandoned with all the riches of Latin liturgical tradition.

In the context of the whole article it is understandable that the author quotes Benedict XVI who spoke of “a true ecumenism”, which allows to draw conclusion that the pope emeritus was also aware of the existence of a false ecumenism which in fact is a dead end, a field for fruitless meetings whose idea was summarised by their very members as patting each other’s backs over a cup of coffee.

Dear Editor, all in all I support your final appeal but let us not clutch to slogans from the era of the socialist Polish People’s Republic but to the integral teaching of the Church: there is no other way but full unity of all Christians within the Holy Church. On my part I appeal to you not to attack the straw man of traditionalism you stood up yourself.