Ecumenical & Inter-Faith Events: Should Catholics Engage in Public Protests?

Ecumenical & Inter-Faith Events: Should Catholics Engage in Public Protests?

The following report about Catholics in Argentina who publicly voiced objections to an inter-faith event in a Catholic cathedral raises interesting questions about the means – if any – open to concerned Catholics who object to Catholic churches and cathedrals being used for ecumenical and inter-faith gatherings.  Read on, and then share your thoughts. Is public protest in the context of ecumenical and inter-faith events something in which Catholics should engage?  Should we be asked for our opinions on the way ecumenism and inter-faith meetings are conducted, as we’re being asked for our opinions about the way the Church deals with the divorced and remarried, cohabitation, same sex unions?  The Scots bishops have just launched their questionnaire on these topics, in preparation for next year’s Synod on the Family, so is it time for a Synod on Ecumenism & Inter-religious dialogue, in order that we may offer our opinions on the use (or misuse) of our churches and cathedrals?

Buenos Aires rosary protest: the facts

November 13, 2013                    
District of the US


In reaction to some inaccurate reporting by the Associated Press on a demonstration during an ecumenical inter-religious event in the Catholic cathedral of Buenos Aires in Argentina, SSPX.ORG interviewed Fr. Christian Bouchacourt, District Superior of South America, to offer some clarifications on the matter, which we make available here.

Demonstration in Buenos Aires Catholic cathedral — the facts

The Jewish community has played an important part in Buenos Aires since the city’s foundation. In 2012, Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis), hosted in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires an inter-religious prayer ceremony that includes representatives of the Jewish community as well as Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches to commemorate the 1938 Kristallnacht and the deportment of Jews into concentration camps. During the first ceremony held in the Catholic cathedral and organized by the Jewish group, B’nai, B’rith, Rabbi Alejandro Avruj joined the ceremonies, lighting the menorah with Bergoglio and presenting him with a siddur.

The Argentina cathedral once again hosted the inter-religious ceremony on Tuesday, November 12th, during which a small group of around 50 Catholics prayed the Rosary before the evening’s ecumenical event began. One of the men also took the opportunity to use an open microphone to denounce the inter-religious act in a Catholic cathedral.

In reaction, some members of the audience stood up and repudiated the rosary-praying Catholics to their face, even spitting on them. Buenos Aires Archbishop Mario Poli attempted to appeal for calm in the cathedral saying: “Let there be peace. Shalom,” while urging everyone to retake their seats for the inter-religious ceremony that would be led by Rabbi Abraham Skorka.

The police eventually arrived, at which point the protestors calmly left the cathedral while singing the Salve Regina. Archbishop Poli also said:

Dear Jewish brothers, please feel at home, because that’s the way Christians want it, despite these signs of intolerance. Your presence here doesn’t desecrate a temple of God. We will continue in peace this encounter that Pope Francis always promoted, valued and appreciated so much.

In response to some questions during the interviews with Radio La Red and with cn23tv, Fr. Bouchacourt made some very pertinent points about the Catholic motive behind the cathedral protest:

The protesters have a right to feel outraged when rabbis preside over a ceremony in a Catholic cathedral.

We recognize the authority of the pope, but he is not infallible [in everything he does] and in this case, he does things we cannot accept.

This wasn’t a desire to make a rebellion, but to show our love for a Catholic church, which has been built for the Catholic Faith.

A Mass isn’t celebrated in a synagogue, nor in a mosque. The Muslims don’t accept it. In the same way, we Catholics cannot accept the presence of another faith [practiced] in our church.

The churches are built for Catholic worship and historically, the Church condemned those who allowed other religions to celebrate in Catholic churches. …This is a reaction of faithful who are scandalized. ….The popes in the past have always condemned this type of [inter-religious] meeting. This is a violation of a Catholic church.

Fr. Bouchacourt later published a press release on the South America District website which we reproduce below.

See video of demonstration (this is not an SSPX video) [YouTube] >

Press Release of Fr. Christian Bouchacourt, SSPX District Superior for South America

The Society of St. Pius X recalls the Catholic doctrine taught in the Encyclical Mortalium animos of Pope Pius XI, as it can be found on the official website of the Vatican:

2. …For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission.

Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule.

Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.

Without any kind of resentment against any other religious community, the Society of St. Pius X adheres to this immutable doctrine and firmly disapproves of the planning of any interreligious ceremony in Catholic churches.

Fr. Christian Bouchacourt, Buenos Aires on November 13, 2013


Comments (41)

  • Lionel (Paris)

    Let us be clear:
    pendant plus d’un demi-siècle les Autorités de l’Église ont agi sans égard pour la sensibilité des fidèles, lesquels ont été à juste titre scandalisés et, pour la plupart, ont déserté les églises, tandis que les autres plus assidus ont été précipités dans le schisme… Or, ces Autorités sont indubitablement responsables de la situation et devront donc rendre des comptes.
    C’est triste à constater, mais après de tels comportements, la crédibilité du Magistère a été durablement mise à mal et ceci pourrait bien nous conduire à douter de la fiabilité et même de l’existence de l’infaillibilité pontificale… Ce serait extrêmement grave, probablement plus encore que les frasques et tribulations du passé!…
    Comment pouvons-nous faire confiance à des personnages qui nous ont trompés pendant si longtemps?
    For more than half a century, the Church Authorities acted without regard for the sensibility of the faithful who were rightly scandalized and mostly deserted churches, whilst the others most assiduous were precipitated into schism… Now, such authorities are undoubtedly responsible for this situation and will have to be accountable.
    It is sad to see, but after such conduct, the credibility of the Magisterium has been durably undermined and this could lead us to doubt the reliability and even the existence of papal infallibility… It would be very serious, possibly even worse than the antics and tribulations of the past!…
    How can we trust personages who have deceived us for so long?

    November 17, 2013 at 9:01 am
  • Josephine

    Lionel (Paris)

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. The use of our churches for these pagan events is an utter scandal. The answer to you question at the end as far as I’m concerned is “I don’t trust the deceitful authorities.”

    The only explanation for such deceit is that they have been deceived themselves by the devil. That’s all I can think of to excuse what has been going on. Not really “excuse”, more “explain”.

    November 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm
    • chardom

      Anti Semitic bigotry: no more to be said except REPENT

      November 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm
      • Lionel (Paris)

        Ah, bon! it is possible… only God knows

        November 18, 2013 at 12:04 am
      • editor


        You can do better than that, surely? Come on!

        November 18, 2013 at 12:28 am
    • Lionel (Paris)

      The problem is that the Magisterum is a creation of Jesus Christ and the papal infaillibility just a dgogma… Hence, we are snared!

      November 19, 2013 at 9:23 am
    • Lionel (Paris)

      The problem is that the Magisterum is a creation of Jesus Christ and the papal infaillibility just a dogma… Hence, we are snared!

      November 19, 2013 at 9:27 am
    • Lionel (Paris)

      …I also was thinking of the canonization of conciliar Popes planned in April next year:
      July 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm
      (1) Lionel (Paris) says:
      Canonization of John XXIII and of John Paul II this year:
      my concern has nothing to do with a lack of Charity.
      I do not deny that John XXIII and John Paul II may be Holy – only God knows – and I sincerely hope that they are; however, I think that it is a useless, controversial, absurd and damaging project, the introduction in the Church of an additional cause of division…
      Ultimately, it is the reform of Vatican II which is celebrated throughout this festival of precipitate beatifications and canonizations…
      They canonize their fatal reform. It is a way to lock it so that no one can question anymore.
      If their intentions were really good and without mental reservations, they would have beatified in priority personages as deserving and distinguished as Cardinals Mindszenty and Slipyj; yet it did not happen…
      Please, let me know what are the good fruits of Vatican II and of the Popes who were pushing for this devastating Council and promulgated its decrees, while sanctioning the faithful Catholics?
      Certainly, no one, but God, knows who is holy or is not.

      November 19, 2013 at 9:59 am
      • catholicconvert1

        The reasons great Primates such as Mindszenty and Slipyj were not beatified is because they were traditionalists of the old order, and were staunch anti-Communists, who rejected the Ostpolitik of Paul VI. Mindszenty was humiliated by Paul VI when he was stripped of the Archbishopric of Esztergom-Budapest and sent of Vienna in 1973, where he died.

        November 19, 2013 at 10:44 am
      • catholicconvert1


        Maybe you can clarify something. Is it correct to say that the majority of practising Catholics in France are traditionalists?

        November 19, 2013 at 10:45 am
      • Lionel (Paris)

        Honestly, I cannot answer to your question. I simply do not know.

        November 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm
      • Lionel (Paris)


        November 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm
      • crofterlady

        Catholicconvert, I think this is true. I have even seen the statistics somewhere. Certainly, when one attends Mass in France, there are very few attendees except in the “charismatic” and traditional chapels. Also, the Chartres chaptre of the mainstream church is small whilst the traditional one is huge.

        November 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm
      • crofterlady

        Eh? Can you elaborate please?

        November 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm
      • crofterlady

        Sorry catholicconvert, the question (can you elaborate?) is directed at you because of this post of yours:

        “The reasons great Primates such as Mindszenty and Slipyj were not beatified is because they were traditionalists of the old order, and were staunch anti-Communists, who rejected the Ostpolitik of Paul VI. Mindszenty was humiliated by Paul VI when he was stripped of the Archbishopric of Esztergom-Budapest and sent of Vienna in 1973, where he died.”

        I greatly admire this Archbishop and read the story of his imprisonment. I also saw the emotion displayed when he knelt to greet the new Pope, John Paul 2. Indeed, he was betrayed, but I don’t know anything about the humiliation you mention so I’d be grateful for any information.

        November 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        I doubt that Mindszenty ever met John Paul II in his capacity as the Pope, because the Cardinal died in 1975 in Vienna. Although that doesn’t mean that Mindszenty didn’t meet Cardinal Wojtyla. At the end of the day, we can deduce from the Cardinal’s basic human qualities, that after serving the Hungarian Church for 30 years as Archbishop etc, and resisting the intrisically evil forces of Communism, and then to be unceremoniously stripped of his See in 1973 by the Communist Paul VI as a sacrificial lamb for Paul’s new Ostpolitik, he would have been pretty humiliated. I would have been.That being said, Paul VI did not replace him until a year after he died with Laszlo Lekai, who was more than compliant when it came to working with Communists. Gone are the great Church leaders of old.

        November 19, 2013 at 8:38 pm
      • catholicconvert1


        Do you attend St Nicholas Du Chardonnet?

        November 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm
      • Lionel (Paris)

        Not actually, I frequent the Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmarte. I am just at 15 minutes from the Sacré Coeur.
        I would certainly rather attend the Tridentine Mass.

        November 30, 2013 at 10:33 pm
    • Lionel (Paris)

      Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum est

      November 30, 2013 at 11:38 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    I am shocked by this inter’faith’ event in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires. In fact, I am not only shocked, I am scandalised. I have no problem with praying FOR Jews (or people of other religons) that they may convert, but I consider inter’faith’ events to be damnable gatherings, notably those in Assisi, that lead the faithful into sin. The sins of indifferentism and relativism were condemned by every Pope throughout history prior to Vatican II, because they encourage the faithful to believe the sinister and erroneous creed that we are all ‘equal’ and that all religions are paths to God. Hence the decline in Mass attendance…and all of this can be traced back to Vatican II, Paul VI, the Koran kissing, praying for the coming of the Jewish Messiah and receiving blessings from voodoo and Hindu witch doctors.

    That being said, the Jewish religion is divinely inspired, but modern Rabbinical Judaism is false and manmade, whilst Catholicism is the sole successor to the Temple. All forms of inter’church’ and inter’faith’ meetings are morally objectionable.

    I strongly applaud the actions and words of Fr. Bouchacourt and his cohorts, and hope all sane Catholics in Argentina and worldwide will continue to oppose these heinous and Satanic gatherings. Fancy that, getting thrown out of a Catholic Church for praying the Rosary. The world is a crazy place.

    God bless our brother, Lionel, from France, and he is earnestly in our prayers, so that he will win more souls for the true Church.

    St. Louis IX, St. Jeanne D’Arc, St. Denis and St. Genevieve- Oremus!!!!

    November 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm
    • chasdom

      Anti semitic bigotry: no more to be said except REPENT

      November 17, 2013 at 11:35 pm
      • Lionel (Paris)

        Can you imagine, Chasdom? they have acted in such a way for more than half a century!

        November 18, 2013 at 8:40 am
      • catholicconvert1

        Would you celebrate Mass in a Synagogue? No. It is a Catholic Church, which means Jesus is truly present and therefore only Catholic Priests can lead prayers directed towards Christ and in His Name. Jews etc reject Jesus, so therefore they should not be allowed to lead prayers in a Catholic Church.

        If it is bigotry or anti-Semitism to oppose these events…then…you got me!

        Luv ‘n’ stuff

        November 18, 2013 at 10:51 am
      • Lionel (Paris)

        “Luv ‘n’ stuff”
        Please, can you let me know what it means?
        Thank you, Catholic convert!

        December 1, 2013 at 11:38 pm
      • editor


        “No more to be said except ‘repent'”

        Except – gerragrip. Have you nothing to say on any of the topics, except nasty personal remarks about the bloggers. If so, speak up. If not, go away.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:46 pm
    • chardom

      CatholicConvert1 ‘I have no problem with praying FOR Jews………..that they may convert’!!!!. Would you be gracious enough to ensure you pray for the conversion of Jesus, a Jew , born, lived and died as one.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm
      • editor

        Oh puleeeeeeeese ! Don’t be daft, Chardom.

        What do you think Jesus meant when He instructed his first followers to “go out into the whole world, baptising them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”?

        As my old Irish grandfather once said: “Our Lord was born a Jew, all right, but He died a Catholic” !

        November 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm
      • catholicconvert1

        As you will doubtless be aware, Our Divine Lord fulfilled the Old Covenant and brought the New Covenant. Therefore He was not a Jew, because His Church, i.e the Catholic Church, legitimately succeeded the Temple. When I said Jew, I meant followers of modern day FALSE Rabbinical Judaism, with is not created by God. As I have said, we Catholic are the fulfilled Jews and the successors of the Temple, and that’s what matters.

        November 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    Does anyone have Fr. Bouchacourt’s email? I used the SSPX South America division email but it bounced back.

    November 17, 2013 at 8:22 pm
  • Lionel (Paris)

    Here it is, and it works :

    November 18, 2013 at 9:04 am
  • gabriel syme

    I agree that these events are unacceptable and damaging to the faith.

    Note that such events are always held within Catholic Churches, never mosques or synagogues.

    Participating in Catholic Churches allows Rabbis or Imams to garner positive headlines, for appearances sake, but they would never dream – for one second – of having a similar event inside their own building. never. Indeed if they even tried, they might find themselves parting company with their head in the near future.

    It reminds of ++Tartaglia and his obsession with having Protestants round to St Andrews Cathedral. He thinks they come because they respect and admire the Catholic Church, which they might consider joining one day. In reality they only go because being photographed with a Catholic Bishop makes them feel important.

    November 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm
    • catholicconvert1

      I agree, Rowan Williams didn’t half look smug when he met the Pope in 2012- like the cat who got the cream.

      November 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm
  • Clotilde

    All religions are equal in this year of Faith? Pick and Mix is the order of the day- (not too much salt and vinegar please)
    If all faiths are right then everyone can believe anything so that nothing is true..
    Did you hear that a new order or congregation of mixed religious faiths has been set up in London and approved by the Cardinal Murphy. I didn’t get all the facts but it was on the BBC radio news

    November 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm
    • catholicconvert1

      ‘Did you hear that a new order or congregation of mixed religious faiths has been set up in London and approved by the Cardinal Murphy. I didn’t get all the facts but it was on the BBC radio news’.

      Kyrie Eleison!!!

      November 19, 2013 at 10:46 am
      • crofterlady

        Is there not a longtime outfit on Iona? And how about L’Arche?

        November 19, 2013 at 7:10 pm
  • inquisitor234

    Here’s a better video of the event

    November 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm
    • editor


      Many thanks for posting that video – if only we could have read a direct English translation, that would have been the icing on the cake, but that said, it’s very clear what was going on.

      Thank God for the SSPX priest who led that powerful prayerful protest. It brings to mind Our Lord driving the moneychangers from the temple.

      When, in the 17th century, she foretold the crisis to come in our times, Our Lady told Mother Mariana at Quito to “pray that my Son will send a prelate to restore the priesthood”, I believe that prayer was answered with the launch of the SSPX by Archbishop Lefebvre. Priest leaders of the calibre and courage of Fr Bouchacourt are what we need today.

      I wish the Society would orchestrate such protests around the world, beginning here in Glasgow at the very next desecration of a Catholic church or cathedral by means of these crazy ecumenical and inter-faith events. Catholic Truth would be behind them all the way to the police station (where we would bail them out!) Seriously, such Catholic militancy is exactly what we need today. Preferably with priest-leadership.

      Again, thanks, Inquisitor – thank you very much.

      November 19, 2013 at 7:50 pm
      • Lionel (Paris)

        After the Samba, the syncretism!

        November 20, 2013 at 9:48 am
    • Lionel (Paris)

      Je n’en crois pas mes yeux!!!
      I am absolutely horrified!

      November 20, 2013 at 12:39 am
  • catholicconvert1

    Have you ever seen the charismatic Masses in Brazil? These are just Pentecostal under another name, and are dangerous towards the faith as they blur the lines between Catholicism and Protestantism. I saw one of Fr. Rossi’s Masses and just felt the life drain from me, saying ‘oh my godfathers’. They never took of anywhere else in S. America to my knowledge.

    Our Lady of Aperacida, Oremus.

    November 20, 2013 at 12:17 pm

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