On a Facebook comment somebody coined the phrase, “Teddy Bear Ecumenism”
Surely this means the huggy type of ecumenism where everyone gets together and ignores the huge problems that exist and make gushing noises to each other and then go away and fuhgeddoudit.
Now far be it from me to rain on anybody’s parade, but it seems to me that the public impact of teddy bear ecumenism has an inverse relationship with its actual impact. In other words, the good that it does is, errm negligible.
So why do so many liberal Catholics keep on playing Huggy Bear with Anglicans and Lutherans? Come on. They now have women bishops, endorse same sex marriage, have active homosexual clergy, endorse abortion and euthanasia, are moving to remove “patriarchal language” from the liturgy completely etc. etc. etc.
When they finally remove “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” from the baptismal formula they will be invalidating even their Christian baptism according to Catholic doctrine.
So to get this straight, they have already thrown out the authority of the Catholic Church, the sacraments, the inspiration of the Bible, the miraculous (excuse me “mythological”) dimension of the faith, apostolic succession, historic understanding of marriage. When they start baptizing in the name of “Creator, Redeemer Sustainer” do we then pull the plug and say, “We’re sorry. We don’t recognize you as Christian anymore.”
Would any Catholic professional ecumenists have the guts to do that?
I don’t think so, and here’s why: Most Catholic ecumenists continue their work because they already agree more with the liberal Protestants than they do with the historic Catholic faith. They think the Protestants are the pioneers, and just as they first put the liturgy into the vernacular and we did 500 years later, we will also eventually follow them into the brave new world of women priest, gay marriage, non-gender specific language for God and the whole shebang.
Meanwhile, I ask myself who in the non-Catholic world I have most in common with and I have to admit that it is the Bible believing conservative Protestants. They don’t like Catholics much, but they say so and I understand them.
Sometimes ecumenism with them might be more like two grizzlies fighting, but there’s something going on there. There is a discussion between people who really believe what they believe–not between sugar talking agnostics looking for a shared purpose.
Is there any progress made in this more confrontational approach? I think so, and the book I wrote with David Gustafson about the Blessed Virgin Mary is, if I may say, an example of such a dialogue. If you don’t know about it, go here.