Dutch Bishop Puts Hammer Down on False Ecumenism
Edit: as usual Father Gero Weishaupt is a great source for things happening in the old country. He presents the following story about a priest being disciplined for liturgical abuses with a just penalty and the cancellation of an Ecumenical service involving “intercommunion”.
Not Ecumenism in Feeling, But in Faith
(kathnews) ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NL). In an open letter to the parish communities of the Dutch villages of Someren and Lierp, to which belong the Diocese’s-Hertogenbosch laying in the Province of Brabant, the Diocesan Vicar General has taken a position on the importance and the manner ecumenical celebrations should take. The Bishop reacted to it immediately and spoke out in a letter to the Pastor of serious Liturgical abuses and offenses against Ecumenism in its Catholic sense. The Pastor concerned was informed of penal consequences. After that the Pastor cancelled the event. Many parish members showed a lack of understanding of the manner of the Bishop’s proceeding.
Letter of the General Vicar
Now the General Vicar of the Diocese, Dr. R van de Hout, briefly laid out the position of the Catholic
Church on Ecumenism in a letter. Here is the basic text of the letter in an English translation:
“Dear parishioners of Someren and Lierop and all interested believers elsewhere in the diocese!”
Concern for the catholicity of the parishes in the diocese
From the reactions of many of them it is clear that it will be difficult to understand why the bishop at a recently proposed ecumenical ceremony in Someren and Lierop must intervene. The confusion seemed to be still larger basis of statements of the Pastor, the non-Catholic minister and the parish council of Lierop, in which, according to the Bishop was accused illicit action. The Bishop must awaken people to the Catholic faith and take care that the Catholic parishes in his diocese to remain in communion with the universal Church. Only then can our faith and the Church have their importance to the people and their happiness.
Commonality and Boundaries
The Catholic Church promotes ecumenical contacts with Protestant communities. We need to get to know one another, to develop active common social ties. Together we can listen to God’s Word and pray together. But it is not permissible to celebrate the Eucharist / Communion. This prohibition has been repeated by the Pope, but always by the Dutch bishops as well.
Why such celebrations are unlawful? Because Supper and Eucharist, although reference is made to both the creation and the command of the Lord, are not the same. The Roman Catholic Church believes that in the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ is sacramentally preset at the cross and that the bread and wine are transformed and really substantial in the Body and Blood of Christ. The Eucharist is – in the words of the Second Vatican Council – the source and summit of ecclesial life. According to the Catholic view, only a valid ordained priest transform the Eucharist. Protestants have no validly ordained priests. Protestants do not believe in the real transformation of bread and wine and have a more symbolic understanding of this sacrament. [It can't be a sacrament at all, actually] That is the reason why the Church does not allow a joint celebration. The Church also prohibits that non-Catholics receive the Eucharistic Communion or that Catholics participate in Protestant communion. Thus confusion is with regard to this sacrament, for us Catholics, the heart of the faith, to be avoided.
Harmful to Unity
Superficial ecumenical acts like the common celebration of the Eucharist / Communion Service are harmful to the unity and don’t bring ecumenism even a step further. On the contrary, the unity is only then no unity in the faith, but a unity in feeling. It’s about discovering that we as a church or religious community and not as a single parish or community through common reflection, discussion and study to learn what the Lord wanted it with his church and with his sacrament of unity.
Prayer for Unity
Meanwhile, we pray in the parishes and communities for the assistance of the Holy Spirit. He alone can bring about real unity step by step. Moreover, ecumenism is much wider than the unity between the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant ecclesial communities. It also relates to our relationship with the Orthodox Churches of the East. … “(Translation: Gero P. Weishaupt)
What does canon law say?
Concelebrated (intercelebration) with ministers of ecclesial communities which are not in full communion with the Catholic Church, according to canon law, one of the very serious offenses in the sacramental-liturgical field, the – is treated by the Glaubenkongreation (see – such as sexual abuse of minors . Liturgical Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, No. 172 c).
The Code of the Catholic Church (CIC/1983) reads:
“Catholic priests are forbidden, together with priests or ministers of Churches or ecclesial communities which are not in full communion with the Catholic Church to concelebrate the Eucharist”
(Canon 908). “Who is guilty of illicitly worshiping in community is to be punished with a just penalty”
(Canon 1365). By law, the bishop or the professor for sanctioning. In the diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the bishop could refrain from sanctioning because the responsible minister had taken after a canonical warning from his plan distance.