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Actions Speak Louder than Words

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.
Published in The Remnant, January 31, 2002;
Daily Catholic website, January 31, 2002

I recently heard, third party, this very sad but not surprising story. A mother was speaking with her 10-year-old son about religion. The boy attends a “conservative” Catholic school where his parents assumed he was learning the Catholic Faith. Their discussion turned to the topic of no salvation outside the Church. To the great shock of the mother, her son told her quite firmly that “no one, not even the priests, knows the truth except God about which faith is the true one.”

Despite what catechism he may have been taught, the boy was simply arriving at a logical conclusion from the many examples that even an observant 10-year-old can see of the giddy celebration of inter-religious events in the name of ecumenism. Priests, Prelates, and yes, the Pope himself meet with high officials of the false religions and even participate in common services, as if there were salvation in all religions.

For example, just last month our 10-year-old boy would have been asked to fast and pray for peace on December 14, which is not even a Catholic holy day. The Pope chose the date to commemorate the last day of Ramadan, the Islamic “holy” month. Even some of the high-profile Italian priests in Italy balked at this one – and remember, Italy is the country, as the saying goes, where if the Pope sneezes the entire country catches cold. Fr. Gianni Bagget Bozzo, who advises Prime Minister Berlusconi, said he refused to fast in order not to confuse the Catholic Faith with that of Islam. Many other priests, he noted, felt the same but lacked the courage to say so. All the implications of the day of fast and peace were that two equal “religions” were joining arms and converging against a common enemy of violence.

I doubt our 10-year-old – or many others, for that matter – would have waded through the long message of His Holiness for the celebration of the World Day of Peace. But if he had, he might have felt justified in his claim that no one knows for sure which is the true faith.. The Pope’s message contained the following curious phrase: “Even when the truth has been reached – and this can happen only in a limited and imperfect way – it can never be imposed.”

Dalai Lama at Fatima with Bishop of Leira

The Dalai Lama at Fatima with the Bishop of Leira. A step toward his conversion? Or a disgraceful piece of theater?
Now, if no religion can possess the truth except in a “limited and imperfect way,” then it follows logically that this includes the Catholic Religion. The implication is there, and it is this ambiguous spirit that is permeating the air of ecumenism so that young minds lack certainty about the absolute truth of the Catholic Faith.

What else might our logical young man who is being so tidily accommodated to the false religions have seen last month? The quite shocking spectacle you see in the photo on this page. The Dalai Lama, the world famous Tibetan Buddhist leader, recently visited the Fatima shrine in Portugal to take part in a “peace meeting” of “religious leaders.” The Buddhist representative displays a pretended piety, his hands folded, his face bowed, for the public who will see his picture. But his back is turned to the statue of Our Lady. He is clearly more intent upon impressing public opinion than paying a sincere homage to the miraculous statue of Mary, who, by the way, does not represent anything to him.

He is welcomed by Bishop Serafim de Sousa Ferreira e Silva of Leira and Fatima, who stands uneasily in the background, overshadowed by the Buddhist. He is there, it would appear, more from a sense of obligation than any real joy to be receiving the Dalai Lama. At any rate, both are there to give the impression of a “progress” in inter-religious dialogue, and a step forward along the way of a pan-religious peace.

But what kind of peace is this? The peace that the Gospel preaches is the peace that can only be found in Our Lord Jesus Christ, who established the one true Catholic Church on earth so that man might be saved. The Dalai Lama denies even the existence of a personal God. That is why for a true peace based on Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, sometimes it is necessary to use the sword. There was a day when even a 10-year-old boy understood this and would dream of becoming a knight to win the Holy Land back from the infidels who defiled the relics of Christ, or to become a missionary and suffer every danger and privation to take the Gospel to pagans and heretics so that they might be baptized in Christ and saved.

Finally, our 10-year-old boy probably heard that the Pope had called for another “inter-religious day of prayer for peace” at Assisi on January 24 and extended a special invitation to Muslim leaders. The very term, “inter-religious,” as if all the other false sects and cults were religions in the same sense as the Catholic religion, contains an implicit message of religious relativism. Our 10-year-old can come to his own logical conclusions from this: It is not necessary to convert anyone — each one should realize that truth is a religious myth that corresponds to his own reality. For Catholics that reality is Jesus Christ. For the Mohammedan the reality is Allah, for the Buddhist it is Buddha. So each one should continue in the religion he prefers. If everyone will act in this way, the myth says, we can all co-exist in a tolerant convivium. But it is not the peace Jesus Christ came to give. It is not the peace Our Lady promised at Fatima.

All this supposes clearly that a person does not need to change his religious convictions. We can meet together and toast each other’s health at a grand pan-religious banquet table. This flies in the face of the Catholic dogma that there is only one truth, one single Faith, one true Church – the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, this used to be taught so simply and so clearly that even a 10-year-old boy would not be confused.

I don’t imagine that anyone has read to our young man from Pius IX’s Encyclical Qui pluribus: “Also perverse is the shocking theory that it makes no difference to which religion one belongs [religious indifferentism], a theory that is greatly at variance even with reason. By means of this theory, those crafty men remove all distinction between virtue and vice, truth and error, honorable and vile action. They pretend that men can gain eternal salvation by the practice of any religion, as if there could ever be any sharing between justice and iniquity, any collaboration between light and darkness, or any agreement between Christ and Bhelial.”

And even if they did, the next step would be to explain the contradiction between this post-Conciliar ecumenism and the teaching of Pius IX. This was a question that Atila Guimarães respectfully placed to the Holy Father in his book Quo Vadis, Petre? regarding the ecumenical events of the new millennium. One year later, the four authors of We Resist You to the Face also set forth facts that showed conflicts between post-Conciliar teaching and the past Magisterium of the Catholic Church. We then asked, courteously and in all sincerity as faithful Catholics, for an explanation. No explanation has come.

For the enemies of the Catholic Faith, the arms of the Catholic authority are wide open and they spare no effort to try to please them. For the true sons of the Church, there is not even one word, not even one gesture.

Two weights, two measures.

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