Peter Davidson

Whatever happened to the Reformation? It seems that the pursuit of ecumenism at any cost has resulted in the total suppression in our "mainstream" (pardon the expression) Catholic media of any honest discussion about the origins of the divisions among the Christian churches.

Yet I cannot see how any genuine unity can be achieved by a denial of the past and the pretence that we all believe, more or less, in the same things. We must be honest about our differences.

The post-Reformation churches owe their very existence to the total repudiation of the "blasphemous fable" of the Mass and the most fundamental Catholic belief that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ at the moment of Consecration.

Following the Reformation, former Catholic churches were stripped of altars, tabernacles, statues and every vestige of Catholic belief and practice, and the Mass could only be said in secret under penalty of death. For hundreds of years it remained so, and Protestantism, as its name implied, defined itself more in terms of what it did not believe than in any clear doctrine of faith.

Growing up in England, I often visited these cold, empty shells of churches where the Mass had once been celebrated. Their ministers were known as vicars or parsons, never priests, and nothing resembling a Mass was ever celebrated in those churches.

While Christian unity is a worthy goal, it is a fanciful notion that we can have genuine unity among those who disagree on the most fundamental beliefs. True unity of belief from a Catholic viewpoint would need to involve an acceptance of the whole Catholic faith by all concerned, especially its sacramental life and the Mass - beliefs which set Catholics apart from Protestant Christians.

Ashgrove, Qld

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