Classic FM is the biggest radio station for classical music on the planet. It is listened daily by more than 5 million people. As it is fitting for such a broadcasting heavyweight, they have their own news team.
Unfortunately, this news team sounds like the lovechild of the “Guardian” and the “Independent”; so much so, that I generally switch away before the news as there’s nothing worse than beginning the day by being infuriated by those people.
This morning, I imprudently omitted to do so and therefore I heard that the Pope would held today 1) an ecumenical ceremony 2) in a “show of unity with the Anglican church” (the very words! I kid you not!).
I almost had my caffellatte going down the wrong pipe. Besides the obvious absurdity of the “show of unity” with an ecclesial community of which the Church doesn’t even recognise the validity of the order (and which, by the way, goes to show the extent of wrong information and utter tosh spread even by national media outlets), I was not at all pleased at hearing that still another “ecumenical encounter of the wrong kind” would take place. The words led me to assume that it would be a mass, which would be unsurprising by people thinking that this would be a “show of unity”; but honestly I do not remember the exact words now as the “show of unity” bomb and the caffellatte took all my attention.
Can you imagine Pius IX having an ecumenical Mass with the so-called archbishop of Canterbury? Pius X perhaps? Pius XI? What about Pius XII?
There is a reason for this. Whatever the theological gimmicks used to justify such exercises, every ecumenical Mass engenders the idea that there be no big difference whether one is Catholic or Anglican, whether his communion is the Real Presence or a fraud, whether the celebrant is a priest or a layman, a Catholic or a Heretic.
This cannot be right and in fact it isn’t. Every old doctrinal text or booklet will tell you that a Catholic is supposed not to pray together with members of other faiths, let alone participating to ecumenical masses.
Therefore, after succeeding in sending my caffellatte down the right pipe and as I felt the usual adrenaline surge of such occasions, I thought that this was a very bad mistake.
Thankfully, though, the website of the papal visit seems to give a different view. The program merely mentions a “fraternal visit”, with the Evensong. The papal visit website doesn’t even say whether it will concelebrated. It might be that the Pontiff merely listens, I do not know yet.
Bad as this is, this not an ecumenical mass, which softens the blow considerably. Still, I do think that this is a mistake and that the Papal visit should have sent a stronger message in defence of Catholicism and should have paid more attention in order to avoid any confusion between the Only Church and the rest. You can be diplomatic without being ambiguous after all.
How inappropriate this Evensong is, is showed by the likes of Classic FM, for which this largely diplomatically motivated encounter becomes “a show of unity”. One could say that the Pontiff is not responsible for the superficiality of utterly ignorant liberals and one would be right; but once again we are in front of the importance of sending a clear message.
A lot of people inform themselves only superficially; the Church should, if you ask me, help even superficially informed people not to have any doubt about what is what.