What is True Fraternity?

The authentic union among men can only exist in the one Church of Christ, who founded it for the salvation of all.  

Gaudium Press English Edition

Newsdesk (06/04/2022 7:28 PM Gaudium Press) Perhaps never before has so intense a desire taken possession of men’s hearts as today to strengthen and apply to the common good of human society the bonds of fraternity which unite us by virtue of our common origin and nature.

For since nations do not yet fully enjoy the gifts of peace, but on the contrary, new and old discords break out in various regions in the form of sedition and civil strife, and since so many controversies about the tranquillity and prosperity of the peoples cannot be settled without the joint effort and action of those who govern the states and promote their interests, it is easy to see, much more so when all agree in the unity of mankind, why there are so many who long to see the nations more and more united among themselves by this universal brotherhood.

The false doctrine of the common ground

Something very similar to this universal brotherhood some are striving to obtain concerning the ordination of the New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord.

Convinced that it is very rare to find men deprived of all religious feeling, they seem to cherish the hope that it will not be difficult to lead people, in spite of their religious divergences, to agree fraternally in the profession of some doctrines considered as a common foundation of the spiritual life.

That is why they usually organize meetings, conferences and congresses, with no small number of participants, and invite everyone indistinctly to the debates: Christians, infidels of all kinds, and even people who, by misfortune, have separated themselves from Christ or deny with obstinate pertinacity the divinity of His Person or His mission.

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Such undertakings can in no way be approved by Catholics, because they are based on the false theory that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy, because, although in different ways, they all manifest and signify the natural and instinctive feeling by which we turn to God and respectfully acknowledge His power.

In reality, all those who hold this opinion are mistaken and wrong; moreover, they reject true religion, adulterating its essential concept, and fall into naturalism and atheism.

From this it clearly follows that whoever adheres to such opinions and undertakings totally departs from the religion revealed by God. […]

Man must believe absolutely in Revelation

There can be no true religion outside of that which is based on the Word revealed by God. Beginning at the origin and continuing through the Old Law, this revelation was perfected by Jesus Christ Himself with the New Law.

Now, if God has spoken – and history proves that He has spoken – it is evident that man must absolutely believe God’s revelation, as well as render Him total obedience. And God’s only begotten Son founded His Church on earth so that we might well fulfill this double duty, with a view to God’s glory and our salvation.

[…] Without any doubt, this Church, so admirably founded, could neither end nor be extinguished by the death of its Founder and of the Apostles, its first propagators, for it had received the mandate to lead all men to eternal salvation, without distinction of time or place: “Go, therefore, and teach all peoples” (Mt 28:19).

In the uninterrupted fulfillment of this mission, would the Church lack strength and effectiveness, when she is perpetually assisted by Christ Himself who solemnly affirmed: “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”? (Mt 28:20).

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Therefore, the Church of Christ, besides necessarily existing today and always, must also be exactly the same as it was in apostolic times; unless one wishes to say – and we are very far from this – either that Our Lord Jesus Christ did not fulfill His purpose, or that He was mistaken in affirming that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (cf. Mt 16:18).

[…] This being so, it is obvious that the Apostolic See can in no way take part in such congresses, nor can Catholics support or favour such undertakings; if they did so, they would give authority to a false religion, entirely foreign to the one true Church of Christ.

The revealed truth does not admit transactions

Can we tolerate – this would be the height of iniquity – that truth, especially revealed truth, surrenders and enters into transactions? Well, in this case, it is a matter of defending revealed truth. To instruct all nations in the evangelical faith, Christ sent his Apostles to the whole world; and to preserve them from all error, he wanted the Holy Spirit to teach them all the truth first (cf. Jn 16:13).

Has this doctrine of the Apostles completely passed out of sight or at least ever weakened in the Church assisted, directed and guarded by God Himself?

If our Redeemer has expressly declared that his Gospel is intended not only for apostolic times but also for future ages, could the doctrine of the Faith have become so obscure and uncertain that even contradictory opinions must be tolerated in it today?

If this were true, one would also have to say that the Holy Spirit infused in the Apostles, as well as the perpetual permanence of the same Spirit in the Church, and even the preaching of Jesus Christ itself would have lost all usefulness and efficacy many centuries ago: a statement that is evidently blasphemous.

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The foundation of charity is an honest and sincere faith

It may seem that these “pan-Christians”, so intent on uniting the Churches, have the noble objective of promoting charity among all Christians. But how is it possible that charity can be detrimental to the faith?

Certainly, no one is unaware that St. John – the Apostle of Charity, who seems to reveal to us in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and who never ceased to inculcate in the minds of his disciples the new precept “love one another” – absolutely forbade any relationship with anyone who did not profess the complete and pure doctrine of Christ: “If anyone comes to you without this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him a greeting” (II Jn 1:10).

Thus, since the foundation of charity is an upright and sincere faith, Christ’s disciples must be united above all by the bond of the unity of Faith. […]

It is thus understood, venerable brethren, why this Apostolic See has never permitted the faithful to participate in the congresses of non-Catholics. This is because the union of Christians can only be fostered by striving to lead the dissenters back to the true Church of Christ, from which they have had the misfortune to depart; to the one true Church which all know for certain, and which, by the will of its Founder, must always remain just as it was founded by Him for the salvation of all.

Excerpts from: PIUS XI. Mortalium animos, 6/1/1928 – Translation: Heralds of the Gospel

Text taken from the Heralds of the Gospel, n. 231, March 2021

Compiled by Roberta MacEwan

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