One of the plagues in the Church today is the predominant modern notion of "ecumenism." It is a false ideology that concerns itself with "making nice" with those outside the Church. Discussion is often focused on finding commonalities between the Catholic Church and groups who are outside the Church so as to appeal to them on a superficial level. Generally the discussion usually ends on supposed common beliefs, and an agreement to work for the improvement of our society, with those common beliefs in mind. Although these false ecumenists espouse that there is a difference between "ecumenism" and "inter-religious dialog" the result of the two is often the same. There is usually no urgent desire by Catholics for the conversion of those outside the Church, rather it is the idea that both the Catholic Church and those outside the Church need to converge together to find the real "Catholic faith." So the idea is twofold. By acknowledging commonalities all "Christian" groups are working together in dialog in order to converge together in a one true "catholicity."
This type of mentality is readily observed by the former head of ecumenism Cardinal Walter Kasper, appointed by John Paul II, who said on several occasions, “The goal of ecumenism cannot be conceived as a simple return of others to the bosom of the Catholic Church.” This pernicious error is now running rampant through the Catholic Church. What else is the goal of ecumenism, if not for the return of others to the Catholic Church? It is convergence, as we shall soon see. Kasper and those like him espouse noxious nonsense such as, “it is not a question of a simple return of the others to the sheepfold of the Catholic Church, but a mutual convergence” This is a heretical statement that was clearly condemned by several popes, yet this mentality seems to be common now among the Catholic hierarchy. Even Pope Benedict XVI said, "On the other hand, this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one's own faith history. Absolutely not!...I would also like in this context to remember the great pioneer of unity, Bro. Roger Schutz...I think that we must listen to him, from within we must listen to his spiritually-lived ecumenism and allow ourselves to be led by his witness towards an interiorized and spiritualized ecumenism." As a result of this mentality Pope Benedict gave Schutz communion knowing full well that he formally denied the Catholic faith since he remained a Reformed pastor until his death. If you think that I am reaching in addressing Pope Benedict's bad ideas on ecumenism, in 2010 he specifically upheld Kaspers false "ecumenical" ideas. "and I am especially pleased to thank Cardinal Walter Kasper, who led the dicastery, with competence and passion, over the last 11 years."
In Pope Pius XI's encyclical 'Mortalium Animos' the Holy Father saw this mentality creeping into the Church and society, and he clearly and emphatically declared it as an "evil." Pius XI addressed those in his day who were looking to find a common ground among all "Christians" with the idea that they may band together to fight a common cause in society, which was irreligion. "We should not permit the flock of the Lord to be cheated by dangerous fallacies, We invoke, Venerable Brethren, your zeal in avoiding this evil" He also denied that there could be any idea of unity between Protestants and the Catholic Church. The ideas that Pius XI condemned were of the same mindset of the Cardinal Kaspers of our time. At that point in time it was being advanced by primarily by those outside the Church, yet the pope writes that he was concerned that many in the Church were being influenced by it. Now however, since few have followed Pius XI's teaching, these false ideas are now common in the Church in our time. This is what Pius XI said in the beginning of his encyclical, "These things and others that class of men who are known as pan-Christians continually repeat and amplify; and these men, so far from being quite few and scattered, have increased to the dimensions of an entire class, and have grouped themselves into widely spread societies, most of which are directed by non-Catholics, although they are imbued with varying doctrines concerning the things of faith. This undertaking is so actively promoted as in many places to win for itself the adhesion of a number of citizens, and it even takes possession of the minds of very many Catholics and allures them with the hope of bringing about such a union as would be agreeable to the desires of Holy Mother Church, who has indeed nothing more at heart than to recall her erring sons and to lead them back to her bosom. But in reality beneath these enticing words and blandishments lies hid a most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed."
Indeed those like Kasper have not sought to bring others into the Church because they believe that those who are joined to Protestant heretical sects and schismatic churches have no need to convert. For example Kapser says concerning some of the Eastern Orthodox, "Despite a separation of 1500 years and all the differences, which are more cultural than dogmatic, these Churches have preserved the fundamental apostolic structure of the Church we have ourselves” Yet as we know, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, they have apostolic succession, but more importantly they deny many core dogmatic teachings of the Church, which cannot be viewed as simple trivial side issues. Dogmas such as the papal infallibility, the Assumption of the Blessed Mother and the Immaculate Conception are very serious dogmas, and one who denies these truths separate themselves from the Church in a very serious manner.
The Protestants cannot be viewed in any sense as being part of the Church. They have no apostolic succession and they deny almost every major dogma of the Christian faith! Yet these modernist ecumenical theologians view the Protestants as a part of the Church, forming a type of federation of believers. For example in 2007 when Kasper was gloating of the great success of ecumenism in the Church, he said, "The most significant - and most gratifying - result of ecumenism over the past few decades is not the various documents, but the recovery of fraternity, the fact that we have rediscovered that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, that we have learned to appreciate one another and have begun together the journey toward full unity." However this implies that both sides are moving towards one another as if each were on a journey to reconcile themselves to one another. This idea is clearly erroneous. Kasper falsely claims for example, "from the Reformation of the 16th century; these have developed an ecclesiology of their own, on the basis of Sacred Scripture." Any Catholic of good faith knows that the Protesters do not have, nor have ever had, an ecclesiology based on Sacred Scripture! The papacy is based on Sacred Scripture, which they emphatically reject!
Now let us look at what Pius XI said of the this "federation" mentality. I think that this part of the document is worth quoting at length. "These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment "Love one another," altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ's teaching: "If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you."For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful? For example, those who affirm, and those who deny that sacred Tradition is a true fount of divine Revelation; those who hold that an ecclesiastical hierarchy, made up of bishops, priests and ministers, has been divinely constituted, and those who assert that it has been brought in little by little in accordance with the conditions of the time; those who adore Christ really present in the Most Holy Eucharist through that marvelous conversion of the bread and wine, which is called transubstantiation, and those who affirm that Christ is present only by faith or by the signification and virtue of the Sacrament; those who in the Eucharist recognize the nature both of a sacrament and of a sacrifice, and those who say that it is nothing more than the memorial or commemoration of the Lord's Supper; those who believe it to be good and useful to invoke by prayer the Saints reigning with Christ, especially Mary the Mother of God, and to venerate their images, and those who urge that such a veneration is not to be made use of, for it is contrary to the honor due to Jesus Christ, "the one mediator of God and men."How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not; that unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians. But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion or indifferentism and to modernism, as they call it."
Pius XI here makes it clear that those who deny core teachings of the Catholic faith are not of the same faith. This is why the Church has always forbid Catholics to worship with Protestants. Yet we see this happen all of the time in our age. Now we actually invite Protestants to come into our Churches and hold their own heretical "services" profaning God's temple! Likewise many Catholics today go to "ecumenical" gatherings and pray together. We even see Catholics working for Protestant organizations that promote Protestant heresies, thinking that they are working for a common "good." What did Pius XI say about these actions? He said the very opposite of what Kasper says, "So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it,...it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ. Shall We suffer, what would indeed be iniquitous, the truth, and a truth divinely revealed, to be made a subject for compromise?"
In meditating on Pius XI's encyclical we must conclude that the ideas we have today being conveyed in the Church which concerns "ecumenism," is erroneous. Those saying that we are not for the "ecumenism of the return" are in complete and total opposition to Pius XI, not to mention many other popes such as Pius IX, Pius X, Leo XIII, and Pius XII to name a few. We must as faithful Catholics make every effort to make the conversion of those outside the Church a priority, based on the truths of the Catholic faith. An idea that both the Catholic Church and those outside of it must move towards a common truth is an idea that must be emphatically rejected. The Catholic Church is the only Christian Church that truly exists as Christ established it, and alone uniquely proclaims the entire undiluted Gospel to the world, not as one voice among many seeking reconciliation with others, but as one voice that calls all others outside of her to her bosom! No other endgame concerning ecumenism is an acceptable one!
"Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls? Alas their children left the home of their fathers, but it did not fall to the ground and perish for ever, for it was supported by God. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, "the Mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful"? Let them hear Lactantius crying out: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind." Pius XI Mortalium Animos
I encourage you to read the entire encyclical by Pius XI and then really think about what we have going on in the Church today.