It’s not “a” denomination; it is “the” Church

This kind of “ecumenism” frightens me a little:


Cardinal Sean O’Malley (Archdiocese of Boston) receiving an “anointing” of “baptismal reaffirmation” from Methodist pastor Rev. Anne Robertson on January 12, 2014. Photograph links to the Archdiocese’s Flickr Photostream

According to this HuffPo article, which quotes the blog of Methodist Rev. Anne Robertson, the Cardinal asked to be anointed during the ecumenical interfaith prayer service he attended last Sunday. She wrote on her blog: “The divorced, Scotch Protestant clergywoman anointed the Irish Catholic Cardinal in front of a pew of Catholic clergy and a Catholic Bishop, any one of whom would probably have given their eye teeth to have the honor. I choked back sobs all the way to the overflow room.”

Good-faith ecumenical gestures are important actions in promotion of Christian unity. But the Catholic Church does not exist on a plane of equality or parity with other denominations. It’s not “a” denomination; it is “the” Church. To the extent that Protestantism sets forth serious doctrinal and theological errors, any “ecumenism” that legitimizes Protestantism as an acceptable alternative to the One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is not true ecumenism.

I’m sure the cardinal had very good reasons for doing this, perhaps even a prompting of the Holy Spirit (and we do not yet know the fruits of this action), and I acknowledge that as a bishop it was probably within the exercise of his prudential judgment. So I am not openly criticizing the decision. I am only saying a picture like this frightens me a little…


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