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Catholics Should Not Collaborate
with Non-Catholics

In this post-conciliar era, we see Catholic Prelates everywhere promoting ecumenical initiatives in which members of different religions collaborate in social, cultural or ecological projects or to help the victims of some catastrophe. Even many 'Catholic' pro-life groups – especially for the youth – have become inter-confessional. St Pius X condemned this inter-confessional practice that was inaugurated by the Modernist movement of the Sillon in France. He wrote the Encyclical Our Apostolic Mandate condemning that movement. Among the points he censured is the tactic of common ground among Catholics and non-Catholics.

St. Pius X.

For the construction of the city of the future, all workers from all religions and all sects were convoked. Nothing other was asked of them but this: that they embrace the same social ideal, respect all creeds and bring with them a great supply of moral energy.

Admittedly, it was proclaimed, ‘The leaders of the Sillon ... ask everyone ... not to oppose each other on account of the philosophical or religious convictions that may separate them, but to march hand in hand, not renouncing their convictions, but trying to provide, on the ground of practical realities, the proof of the excellence of their personal convictions. Perhaps unity may come about on this ground of emulation among souls holding different religious or philosophical convictions.’ ...

Thus, a host of new groups – Catholic, Protestant, free-thinkers – at present apparently autonomous, are invited to set to work: ‘Catholic comrades will make an effort ... to instruct and educate themselves. Protestants and free-thinking democrats will do likewise on their side. But all of us – Catholics, Protestants and free-thinkers – will aim at arming the youth not for a fratricidal struggle, but for a disinterested emulation in the field of civic and social virtues.’

These declarations [of Marc Sangnier, leader of Sillon] and this new organization of the Sillonist action call for very serious remarks.

Here we have, founded by Catholics, an inter-denominational association that aims to work for the reform of civilization, an undertaking above all religious in character. ...

This being said, what are we to think about the promiscuity in which young Catholics will be caught up with the heterodox and unbelievers of all kind in a work of this nature? … What are we to think of this respect for all errors and of this strange invitation made by a Catholic to all the dissidents to strengthen their convictions through study to give them ever more abundant sources of fresh forces? What are we to think of an association in which all religions and even Free-Thought may express themselves openly and in complete freedom? For the Sillonists … certainly do not intend to prevent a Protestant from asserting his Protestantism, and the skeptic from affirming his skepticism. Finally, what are we to think of a Catholic who, on entering his study group, leaves his Catholicism outside the door so as not to alarm his fellow comrades. ...

Alas, yes, the equivocation is revealed: The social action of Sillon is no longer Catholic. The Sillonist as such does not work for a faction, and ‘the Church,’ he says, ‘cannot in any sense benefit from the sympathies his action may stimulate.’ A strange insinuation, indeed! ...

Even stranger, however, and at the same time unsettling and alarming, are the audacity and frivolity of men who call themselves Catholics and dream of re-shaping society under such conditions, and of establishing on earth, over and above the Catholic Church, ‘the kingdom of justice and love’ with workers coming from everywhere, of all religions or no religion, with or without beliefs, as long as they set aside what might divide them. ...

The end result of this promiscuity in process, the beneficiary of this cosmopolitan social action, can only be a democracy that will be neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Jewish. It will be a religion (for Sillonism, as its leaders admit, is a religion) more universal than the Catholic Church, uniting all men, finally become brothers and comrades in the ‘kingdom of God.’ [As they say,] ‘We do not work for the Church, we work for mankind.’

And now, overwhelmed with the deepest sorrow, We ask ourselves, Venerable Brethren, what has become of the Catholicism of the Sillon? Alas! this movement that once offered such promising hopes ... now is no more than a miserable tributary of the great movement of apostasy being organized in all countries for the establishment of a One-World Church, which will have neither dogmas nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of liberty and human dignity, would bring back to the world (should it triumph) the reign of legalized fraud and violence, and the oppression of the weak and all those who toil and suffer.

(St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Notre Charge Apostolique
Petrópolis: Vozes, 1953, nns. 30-33)

Posted on May 28, 2011
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