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Pius XI on Religious Unity

Pius XI on Religious Unity

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Published by rojelio
Pope Pius XI on Religious Unity
Pope Pius XI on Religious Unity

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Published by: rojelio on May 19, 2011
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05/19/2011

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Mortalium Animos
Encyclical of Pope Pius XIon Religious Unity January 6, 1928To Our Venerable Brethren the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries in Peaceand Communion with the Apostolic See. Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.Never perhaps in the past have we seen, as we see in theseour own times, the minds of men so occupied by the desireboth of strengthening and of extending to the commonwelfare of human society that fraternal relationship whichbinds and unites us together, and which is a consequence of our common origin and nature. For since the nations do not yet fully enjoy the fruits of peace—indeed rather do old andnew disagreements in various places break forth intosedition and civic strife—and since on the other hand manydisputes which concern the tranquillity and prosperity of nations cannot be settled without the active concurrence andhelp of those who rule the States and promote theirinterests, it is easily understood, and the more so becausenone now dispute the unity of the human race, why manydesire that the various nations, inspired by this universalkinship, should daily be more closely united one to another.2. A similar object is aimed at by some, in those matterswhich concern the New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord.For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of allreligious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to havefounded on that belief a hope that the nations, although theydiffer among themselves in certain religious matters, willwithout much difficulty come to agree as brethren inprofessing certain doctrines, which form as it were acommon basis of the spiritual life. For which reasonconventions, meetings and addresses are frequentlyarranged by these persons, at which a large number of 
 
listeners are present, and at which all without distinction areinvited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind,and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen awayfrom Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny Hisdivine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts cannowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on thatfalse opinion which considers all religions to be more or lessgood and praiseworthy, since they all in different waysmanifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, andby which we are led to God and to the obedientacknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who holdthis opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting theidea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turnaside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which itclearly follows that one who supports those who hold thesetheories and attempt to realize them, is altogetherabandoning the divinely revealed religion.3. But some are more easily deceived by the outwardappearance of good when there is question of fostering unityamong all Christians.4. Is it not right, it is often repeated, indeed, even consonantwith duty, that all who invoke the name of Christ shouldabstain from mutual reproaches and at long last be united inmutual charity? Who would dare to say that he loved Christ,unless he worked with all his might to carry out the desiresof Him, Who asked His Father that His disciples might be"one."(1) And did not the same Christ will that His disciplesshould be marked out and distinguished from others by thischaracteristic, namely that they loved one another: "By thisshall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have loveone for another"?(2) All Christians, they add, should be as"one": for then they would be much more powerful in drivingout the pest of irreligion, which like a serpent daily creepsfurther and becomes more widely spread, and prepares torob the Gospel of its strength. These things and others thatclass of men who are known as pan-Christians continuallyrepeat and amplify; and these men, so far from being quitefew and scattered, have increased to the dimensions of an
 
entire class, and have grouped themselves into widely spreadsocieties, most of which are directed by non-Catholics,although they are imbued with varying doctrines concerningthe things of faith. This undertaking is so actively promotedas in many places to win for itself the adhesion of a numberof citizens, and it even takes possession of the minds of verymany Catholics and allures them with the hope of bringingabout such a union as would be agreeable to the desires of Holy Mother Church, who has indeed nothing more at heartthan to recall her erring sons and to lead them back to herbosom. But in reality beneath these enticing words andblandishments lies hid a most grave error, by which thefoundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.5. Admonished, therefore, by the consciousness of Our Apostolic office that We should not permit the flock of theLord to be cheated by dangerous fallacies, We invoke, Venerable Brethren, your zeal in avoiding this evil; for Weare confident that by the writings and words of each one of  you the people will more easily get to know and understandthose principles and arguments which We are about to setforth, and from which Catholics will learn how they are tothink and act when there is question of those undertakingswhich have for their end the union in one body, whatsoeverbe the manner, of all who call themselves Christians.6. We were created by God, the Creator of the universe, inorder that we might know Him and serve Him; our Authortherefore has a perfect right to our service. God might,indeed, have prescribed for man's government only thenatural law, which, in His creation, He imprinted on his soul,and have regulated the progress of that same law by Hisordinary providence; but He preferred rather to imposeprecepts, which we were to obey, and in the course of time,namely from the beginnings of the human race until thecoming and preaching of Jesus Christ, He Himself taughtman the duties which a rational creature owes to its Creator:"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke intimes past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in thesedays, hath spoken to us by his Son."(3) From which it follows

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