Ecumenism 101: Finding allies in odd places

Áåñåäà ïðåçèäåíòà ÐÔ Âëàäèìèðà Ïóòèíà ñ Ïàïîé Ðèìñêèì Èîàííîì Ïàâëîì Ï

Jesus said: “For whoever is not against us is for us.”

I’m not really a ‘kumbaya’ kind of guy.

For a guy like me, original sin and fallen human nature, spiritual warfare and the reality of evil, are so obvious that I stumble on it every day. Of course this is true because of my own personal sin as much as it is unfortunately true from my experience growing up in a neighborhood full of vandals, bullies, drunks, and assorted other New Yorkers.

This is also true growing up as a Catholic in the ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.’

I fully believe that the Catholic Church is the apostolic Church instituted by Jesus Christ. But I believe it through the many personal failures of Catholics like me, hypocrites at times, and the failures of institutional Catholicism, particularly on the diocesan level. For I have learned that some of my greatest allies in this American spiritual war, a battle for the nation’s soul, are not always ‘Catholic.’

And the ones that are, really are!

Let me explain.

I went to the Rice School for Pastoral Ministry, a diocesan Pastoral Ministry school, part of the Diocese of Venice in Florida. I graduated with a diocesan diploma, through five long years of liberal drivel. There I had to endure a ‘Jesus seminar’ approach to our Lord and Savior. In this ‘catholic’ school, Jesus’ gospel birth narratives were debunked. In this ‘catholic’ school, the devil was only a ‘literary device.’ In this ‘catholic’ school, Pope John Paul II was a misogynist, and Joseph Ratzinger was an ‘orthodox bully.’ In this ‘catholic’ school, any talk of the priestly sex crisis avoided any talk of a homosexuality problem, and all talk of the priesthood for women was theologically sound. Tradition was mocked, and innovation was idolized.

Thankfully, I went to Ave Maria University where I received sound, Traditional spiritual and theological teaching, earning a ‘Master of Theological Studies’ degree from the Institute for Pastoral Theology.

In all of this educational, spiritual pursuit, I learned a simple lesson. My allies in the pursuit of true evangelization wear many different robes. Catholic no longer means catholic to me unless it is truly Catholic. Like St. James I say, prove it! Obey the teaching of the Church! Get off the cafeteria line. Stop being so pop, and listen to Papa! Stop being so progressive, and listen to Mama. Pray, go to Mass, confess, and confess again if you have to, but start walking the Catholic talk.

I’ve also learned that in this American spiritual war, allies come from other faiths, and no faith at all!  Oddly, I’ve found atheists more respectful of the positive influence of religion on society than that found in liberal ‘catholics.’ Oddly, I’ve found Protestants more on fire for Jesus Christ than ‘catholics’ who have the Real Presence of Jesus in their Church. Oddly, I’ve found agnostics, and quasi-Christians more alert to the dangers of the ‘culture of death’ than a ‘legion’ of cafeteria catholics, who burn with passion solely for the progressive, Democratic movement.

In summary, I have found that the true disciple of Christ is both a Traditional Catholic, and an unwittingly Traditional Catholic, walking the flesh as an agnostic, an atheist, or within another faith altogether.

Pray for me if my theology is faulty.

But for me, my true ally in this spiritual war is baptized more in good will, and less in a family religious affiliation. In other words, I share a foxhole with real Catholics, and unsuspecting victims of the Love of the Holy Spirit.

I feel most safe there!

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