Feast of St. Paul of the Cross
The “High-Priestly” prayer of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they all may be one…, is being offered to be the justification for Vatican’s endorsement of that “Ecumenical Movement” spearheaded by the “World Council of Churches” (cf., “Our ‘Great Reversal’“). And the projected effect is like to this: Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths… I have chosen the way of truth… I have run the way of Thy commandments… Uphold me according to Thy word (Ps. 118. 105, 30, 32, 116).
Now, if we are to examine: first, the consistent adverse judgment of the Church, prior to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), against this initiative which has sprung among the “Bible-only” fundamentalists, this will recall the observation made by Pope Paul VI on the condition of the Church after Vatican II: the madness of “the Church attacking herself” (cf., our post “Our Lady and the Diabolical Campaign“) – the “New [Vatican II] Church” (as Hans Kung, the leading Vatican II ‘theological expert’, calls it; in our post “The Ultimate Delusion of Vatican II ‘Catholicism’“) ‘contradicting’ the “pre-Vatican II Church,” a fact seized upon by the Sedevacantists to excuse their other extreme form of mutant Catholicism [that of a visibly headless Constantinian-Tridentine ultramontane Church, cf., our post “On the Sedevacantist Position: A Reply (II)“]; to put it simply, the implication is that the “pre-Vatican II Church” got Jesus Christ wrong over the Johannine passage – the Church of the Constantinian-Tridentine ultramontane age against the desire of her Lord and Master; and, second, the context of the prayer of the Savior and its consistency with the other Scriptural passages, especially the Apostolic Epistles (cf., our reply to a comment below), dealing with those who wander out of the way of … the traditions[Gk: “paradosis”] … of the Apostles (Pr. 21.16; 2 Thess. 2.14; Ac. 2.42), then this would be madness much greater than in the first: Christ against His words and His Spirit Who spoke through the mouths of His Apostles.
From the context of the passage (Jn. 17.6-26), the object of Our Savior’s prayer is unity in the Faith (in truth) while the subject is the first group of His disciples (the words which Thou gavest Me, I have given to them… sanctify them in truth) and for them also who through their [the Apostles’] words shall believe in [Him] – that is, Our Lord’s prayer for that unity willed by God extends only therefore to the Church of all time, to those who will owe their faith to the traditions of the Apostles.
In fact, the Savior says I pray not for the world (v.9) which world refers here to that Scriptural sense of the world of sinners organized under the banner of Satan in opposition (whether this involves violent physical hostility or polemical attack) to God and His appointed Order of things under the dominion of Jesus Christ the King – the traditional Catholic order. For rebelling against the divinely constituted hierarchy of teaching authority in that Order of new creation in Christ, founded upon the Apostles (Eph. 2.20), the “Bible-only” fundamentalists, on the pretext that they would rather adhere to what they themselves would READ in the ‘Bible’, were only rightfully cast out into that erring world for they who will not HEAR the Church, let [them] be… as the heathen and publican (Mt. 18.17). In constituting the ‘Bible’ to be the pillar and ground of their ‘truth’ – the fundamental principle upon which is built the entire ‘Protestant’ opposition to Catholicism – these fundamentalists therefore contradict with a hard face the testimony of the tradition of the Apostles (through their word…): the Church… the pillar and ground of the truth (St. Paul in his first Epistle to Timothy (3.15).
In a passage in the Gospel of St. Matthew, we learn that the vineyard of the Lord can never be joined to those of self-appointed ‘apostles’ for the same High Priest Jesus Christ declares that every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up (15.13). And instead of affording the erring Christians an ecumenical condescension, the Good Shepherd bids thus: Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit (15.14). Hence the Holy See, prior to Vatican II, consistently refused to take part in the “Ecumenical Movement” that is sought to be terminated outside its sovereign dominion.
Moreover, Our Lord’s prayer is the most efficacious so that the grant of His desired unity of all those baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Mt. 28.19) is not something of an ideal still to be realized but rather has already become a divine mark of His true Church since its foundation, growth, and expansion. All these were persevering with one mind… in the doctrine of the Apostles (Ac. 1.14; 2.42) – one faith (Eph. 4.5); On the first day of the week… we were assembled to break bread [for] we have an altar (Ac. 20.7; Heb. 13.10) – one same traditional Rite of worship on the same altar; and, since then, one flock, one shepherd (Jn. 10.16), being subject to the ancients… [whom] the Holy Ghost hath placed ‘episkopos’ [bishops] to rule the church of God (1 Pet. 5.5; Ac. 20.17,28) – one divine governance, prefigured in the hierarchy of Old. Towards this ancient universal (Catholic) communion has the succession of visible chief shepherds of Christ’s flock consistently admonished the “separated brethren” in the words of Our Lord and Master and Prince of pastors: How often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not? (Mt. 23.27), mindful of the Good Shepherd in another instance: He that is not with Me, is against Me: and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth (Mt. 12.30).