Is ecumenical dialogue possible? That’s kind of the implication of RLP’s post. (Yes, I’m still steamed about it.)
On the one hand, there are things we share. But on the other hand, if we can’t even agree about what creed we recite, how can we discuss anything? For instance, some non-denominational Protestants feel that they’re going back to a more authentic mode of Christianity. When we hear that, we think they’re joining RCIA. We think that the Church was established through Peter and that the Pope is heir to this. They don’t. They think salvation is something you can choose based upon a condition of accepting Jesus. We think it’s entirely up to God, and the whole notion of accepting Christ is moot, since why would you call yourself a Christian, if you didn’t believe in Christ? They think personal relationships with God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit is important and an important facet of worship. We think that such things are important, but that worship is entirely corporate–when it’s time for Mass, private revelation doesn’t factor into it and shouldn’t, since the highest form of communion is the Eucharist.
And so on. I mean, look at the issue that’s inter-denominational communion. Personally I don’t have a problem with a Protestant who, reverently, receives the Eucharist, so long as they accept what we believe it to be. I don’t know that he/she didn’t need that grace. I do, however, have a problem with those who receive in our Church because they think they have a right to, and essentially turn the Eucharist into a political football. Why should they have a right to sacraments, to which we don’t have a right? As we say in the liturgy, “Lord I am not worthy to receive You…”
I think if there’s to be any true ecumenical dialogue, then it must account for differences as well as similarities. Self-loathing is not ecumenicism. I love my Church. If I didn’t, do you think I’d stick around throughout all the post-Vatican II crap? It’s pretty insulting to both parties to say that we’re all the same because there are things within each of our denominations that make our traditions (note the lower-case “t”) unique and rich. For instance, I’d get grief from my stepfather’s family for not going to their worship services, because they insisted that it was all the same. Well, no, it isn’t. I’m not going to Mass because I’m too good for theirs (Yes, this accusation was leveled at me), I’m going because this liturgy represents the fullness of Truth as I’m able to see it.