Ecumenism Runs Amok
by Edwin Faust
June 9, 2010
A Protestant school of theology in California announced that it will expand its curriculum so that it may train Muslim clerics.
The Los Angeles Times reported on June 9 that the Claremont School of Theology, long identified with the Methodist sect, has decided to become the nation’s first multi-faith seminary. The school hopes eventually to offer clerical training for Buddhists and Hindus, according to the Times.
The school now has 275 students and offers master and doctoral degrees to those in various Protestant ministries. Although other seminaries and theological institutions offer courses in non-Christian religions, Claremont will be the first to offer training to non-Christian clerics.
The experiment will be closely watched by other seminaries. The move comes at a time when the Association of Theological Schools, the chief accrediting body for Protestant seminaries in the United States and Canada, has just initiated a study of how Protestant seminaries should present teaching about other religions.
Claremont’s action received an enthusiastic endorsement from David Roozen, the director of the Institute for Religion Research at the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut.
“We want to be able to facilitate love among our different traditions in order that we can begin to solve the big problems,” Roozen said.
Commentary: The Claremont School of Theology appears to have taken to heart the message of The Beatles' old song: “All you need is love.” But love failed to hold together The Beatles, who ended in a tangle of lawsuits and enduring animosity. It may be that all you need is love, but love itself is a loose word that requires grounding and definition. We can only love one another as Christ loved us — that is, with a love rooted in Divine truth. Our Lord told us that He is the way, the truth and the life. Where does that leave Buddha and the gods and goddesses of Hinduism? Whatever love can be realized through these traditions is not rooted in the truth and, therefore, not truly love.
Protestantism, of course, lacks creedal authority, which resides only in the Catholic Church. But Catholic seminaries have become increasingly like Protestant seminaries, just as the New Mass has become increasingly like Protestant worship. And the post-Vatican II Church remains regrettably and, according to some “irrevocably,” committed to ecumenism. What does this mean in practical terms?
Any drift in Protestantism tends now to draw the Catholic Church in its direction. The logical outcome of ecumenism, if logic can be applied to something inherently contradictory, is the equality of all religions and an indifference to truth as objectively unknowable.
Pope Benedict appears to be intent upon going in two directions at once. He has taken steps to restore Catholic tradition in worship and dogma, yet cleaves to the amorphous ecumenism that has made such a muddle of the Church these past 45 years.
We must all pray for the Holy Father. His comments during his recent pilgrimage to Fatima indicate that he is becoming ever more aware of the devastation wrought by the wrong direction the Church has taken since the Second Vatican Council and that he wants to correct it. He has told us that the Third Secret of Fatima predicted the passion of the Church in our time. Let us hope that the Holy Father will take the only course that will set the Church right again: the full revelation of the Third Secret and the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Love, rooted in Our Lord and Lady, is all we need. And the only “big problems,” contra Mr. Roozen, are those that deal with our salvation.