Apostolic
Having to do with the 12 apostles or their teachings. This term is also sometimes used in Catholic circles as a synonym for “papal,” as the Pope is seen as the successor to the Apostles.
Papacy
The Roman Catholic Church’s system of government led by the Pope, or the political influence of this system.
Ecumenism
Unity and cooperation across faith or doctrinal boundaries based on shared spiritual experiences.
Papal
Having to do with the Pope or the Roman Catholic Church.
Ut unum sint
Here is an excerpt from Pope John Paul II's encyclical Ut unum sint (May 25, 1995), in which he states that unity between denominations will occur only through acceptance of papal primacy and doctrine:

It is already possible to identify the areas in need of fuller study before a true consensus of faith can be achieved:
1) the relationship between Sacred Scripture, as the highest authority in matters of faith, and Sacred Tradition, as indispensable to the interpretation of the Word of God;
2) the Eucharist, as the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, an offering of praise to the Father, the sacrificial memorial and Real Presence of Christ and the sanctifying outpouring of the Holy Spirit;
3) Ordination, as a Sacrament, to the threefold ministry of the episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate;
4) the Magisterium of the Church, entrusted to the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him, understood as a responsibility and an authority exercised in the name of Christ for teaching and safeguarding the faith;
5) the Virgin Mary, as Mother of God and Icon of the Church, the spiritual Mother who intercedes for Christ's disciples and for all humanity.
The Vatican II Council
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: Pope John XXII called the Vatican II Council in 1962, continuing the work of reversing the effects of the Reformation.
 
This article is part of a series. We recommend that you first read: Unity at All Cost?, Unity after the Reformation.
 

Prior to 1960, the Catholic Church was still regarded with suspicion by many, and the ideas of the reformers remained in the minds of many Protestants.

History had made it abundantly clear that the Catholic Church was not friendly to anyone that opposed her. Anyone refusing to accept Catholic doctrine or to submit to Catholic rule had been seen as a heretic. People still felt that Roman Catholics believed that salvation was only to be found within the Catholic Church.

But in 1962, Pope John XXII called the Vatican II Council. This ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church did not revoke any of its doctrines or statements:

FIRST QUESTION
Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?

RESPONSE
The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.i

However, the Council did declare that salvation was not restricted only to Roman Catholics, but could be found by all who live according their consciences. This seemed like a huge concession on the part of the Roman See, but in reality, it was only a half-truth, as the Papacy maintains that only the will of the Pope and the doctrines of the Catholic Church are acceptable for any good Christian. Note these statements from Vatican II:

This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.ii

We believe that this one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spreading it abroad among all men.iii

Ecumenism and Vatican II

In the meantime, the reformed churches had been moving towards ecumenism. And the Counter Reformation was doing its work. Jesuits, who according to their oath have no problem posing as anything including another denomination, had been working hard to introduce doctrines contrary to the Reformer’s teachings into Protestant churches.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) had formed in 1948, embracing most of the Protestant Churches, but excluding the Orthodox and Catholics. However, in 1965 the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC created a Joint Working Group to “discuss issues of common interest and promote cooperation.”iv The Roman Catholic Church also works with the WCC’s inter-religious dialogue and cooperation program. This move on the part Roman Church positioned them more favorably with Protestant denominations.

However, the principles of the ecumenical movement spelled out at Vatican II showed that the focus of the entire ecumenical effort was to solidify the Pope’s supremacy. In order for churches to unite, they would have to recognize the Pope as their leader.

 

 

Priest J. Cornell said, "The final object of ecumenism, as Catholics conceive it, is unity in faith, worship, and the acknowledgment of the supreme spiritual authority of the Bishop of Rome."v In 1995, Pope John Paul II showed that this belief still stands when he claimed in his encyclical Ut unum sint that recognition of the primacy of the Pope and Catholic doctrine was essential for church unity.

Catholic newspaper Our Sunday Visitor explains the Pope's attitude this way:

The pope doesn’t want everyone to become Latin Catholics...To achieve unity, for example, does not mean that everyone has to celebrate the Eucharist the same way. With Eastern churches, especially, you’re talking about a great diversity liturgically, and that’s just fine. The Pope does use the term ‘hierarchy of doctrine’...Obviously, some teachings are more important than others, and there has to be agreement on those essential points, while leaving considerable latitude on other points that are less essential to the faith (emphasis added).vi

The Lasting Impact of Vatican II


Somehow, Protestantism seems blissfully unaware of the compromise of faith it has to contend with in order to accept papal authority and unity of churches under his authority. However, the Catholic Church sees Vatican II and its ecumencial purposes as a pivotal step towards a new world order:

Vatican II, affirmed John Paul II, "remains the fundamental event of the life of the contemporary Church...fundamental for the fecundal contact with the contemporary world in a prospective of evangelization and of dialogue on every level with all men of attentive consciences."

The Council laid down the premises of the new walk of the Church in contemporary society. Even being the same as yesterday, the Church lives and realizes in Christ its "today," which took flight especially from Vatican II(25). It "prepared the Church for the passage from the second millennium to the third millennium after the birth of Christ" (emphasis added).vii

Learn about the Vatican II Council's emphasis on the importance of the Sunday assembly in Catholicism and the world.

 


 

This article is adapted from Truth Matters by Professor Walter J. Veith, an international speaker who has studied Biblical issues in-depth in his quest for truth. His popular series Genesis Conflict brings the debate between Creation and evolution to a new climax as he dissects the arguments with a scientific eye. His highly-acclaimed series Total Onslaught sheds light on the state of the world today as we move to a one-world government and an anticipated apocalypse.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article and website are not intended to accuse individuals. There are many priests and faithful believers in Roman Catholicism who serve God to the best of their ability and are seen by God as His children. The information contained herein is directed only towards the Roman Catholic religio-political system that has reigned in varying degrees of power for nearly two millennia. Under the influence of its successive popes, bishops, and cardinals, this system has established an increasing number of doctrines and statements that clearly go against Scripture.
 
It is our sincere desire to lay the clear Word of God before you, the truth-seeking reader, so you may decide for yourself what is truth and what is error. If you find herein anything contrary to the Word of God, you need not accept it. But if you desire to seek for Truth as for hidden treasure, and find herein something of that quality, we encourage you to make all haste to accept that Truth which is revealed to you by the Holy Spirit.
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