Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Francis tells Vatican security their mission is...

...to combat gossip!

"The worst bomb inside the Vatican is gossip"

Another one from you can't make this stuff up file in the absurd box!  Francis lives in a world of his own imaginings.

Pope launches alarm, tells Vatican security force to be 'gossip police'
By Carol Glatz 

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The biggest threat facing the Vatican isn't a bomb or bullet from the outside, but the insidious work of mischief-makers within, who plant discord and resentment, Pope Francis told the Vatican's security force.
"There are bombs in here, very dangerous bombs in here," he told security personnel. "Please, keep your eyes open, because in the darkness of so many wicked lives, the enemy has sown weeds," he said in his homily.
To help celebrate the Vatican security service's patron saint, St. Michael the archangel, the pope celebrated Mass for security personnel in the chapel of the office governing Vatican City State Sept. 27. The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published excerpts from the homily Sept. 29, the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
The pope told his own "guardian angels" that their vocation is "to safeguard this state" so the church and the pope "can be free" to carry out their mission.

In addition to the more colorful Swiss Guard, the Vatican's other security body is its own police force, the gendarme corps. The corps of about 130 men is responsible for papal security, crowd control in St. Peter's Square and safety, law and order within the Vatican.
The pope said a good guardian, like the archangel, "has the courage to get rid of demons" and has the intelligence to be able to pick them out from the crowd. "He can't be, excuse my terminology, an idiot; he has to be quick on the uptake and alert."
He said he knows their job is to be like sentinels, keeping watch and guarding entrances, "doors and windows so no bombs get in."
But, "I want to tell you something a bit sad; there are bombs in here" and it doesn't matter if it's "a homemade bomb or an atomic bomb," every single one is "dangerous" and "there are many."
"The worst bomb inside the Vatican is gossip," which "threatens the life of the church and the life of (the Vatican) every day," he said, because it "sows destruction" and "destroys the lives of others."
While there are many religious and laypeople in the Vatican who are "sowing good seed," the devil is still getting his way by using others "to sow weeds."

Even the pope is not immune to this temptation, he said; it's a danger "for me, too," because "the devil gives you that yearning."
So in addition to looking for the usual security threats, the pope told the security guards to also crack down on backstabbing and courageously call people out.
Stop them in their tracks and say, "Please sir, please ma'am, please father, please sister, please your Excellency, please your Eminence, please Holy Father, don't gossip; that's not allowed here," the pope said.
Whatever gripes or problems people have, they should take them directly to the people involved without also complaining to the world, he said.
The sower of weeds meets a bitter end, he said, in "burning furnaces" and condemned to "disgrace and eternal abomination."
But thanks to the security police's added vigilance and help, "the final word written about our lives will be, 'He was a good person. He sowed good seed,' and not, 'He was dreadful, he planted bombs of discord' -- that would be very sad."

Monday, September 29, 2014

Francis supports the goals of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation

"There is only one thing worse than Auschwitz itself...
and that is if the world forgets there was such a place."

The Vatican has pledged 100,000 euros ($125,000) towards preserving the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz in southern Poland, the site's museum said Monday.

"Given our limited resources, the amount is small," Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin told AFP. "But it is an expression of our full support for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation" that oversees the upkeep of the former camp, where the Nazis gassed hundreds of thousands of prisoners in occupied Poland during World War II.

The Vatican is the 31st state to donate to the foundation, which has received 102 million euros in pledges, including 60 million euros from the
German government.

Wartime pope Pius XII has long been accused of remaining silent in the face of the Holocaust and the mass murder of millions of Jews.

But Pope Francis defended him in June, saying he did not know why everyone "picks on" Pius XII and the Church.

The pontiff also criticized Allied forces for failing to bomb the railway lines that led to the camps.

Auschwitz-Birkenau has become a symbol of Nazi Germany's genocide of European Jews, one million of whom died at the camp in the city of Oswiecim from 1940 to 1945.

More than 100,000 others including non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and anti-Nazi resistance fighters also died there, according to the museum.

More than one million people visit the museum each year.

“Considering the significance of the goal of the Foundation and the support it received from the Polish government, the decision to send support in the amount of 100 thousand Euro has been taken. This sum is so modest due to the limited possibilities. However, this is an expression of full support for the project of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation,” wrote cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.

According to the director of the Auschwitz Memorial Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński, who is also the President of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, the Vatican support is a very important signal. “In it, I see a deep belief about fundamental role of experiencing Auschwitz and the Shoah for the contemporary man, for his choices, problems, and responsibilities. I see hope that our current look into the past may bring us distinct ethical instructions for the future,” said Dr. Cywiński.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Dello Sarto AG was liquidated?


What has uber-Zionist Max been up to?

Dello Sarto AG was to be liquidated 12 September 2014

Remember the company Dello Sarto AG?  It was part of the Krahgate story.  Well, this FSSPX company is to no longer, as it was liquidated.  Did Bp. Fellay, Krah, and company find another way to transfer the Gutmann inheritance into their control?  Who knows what intrigues have happened since the original story broke some years ago on the  internet?  Click here to go to Money House to see more information and documents.

Swiss document announcing the liquidation.

Back to our favorite uber-Zionist, Max Krah, doing what he does best...

Max wishing all his Talmudic Jewish friends a Happy Rosh Hashanah!
And congratulating Oren Heiman & wife Tal on the birth of their first child!

A photo above from the evening, Max is on the right.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Francis autographs a baseball!

Francis signs a baseball for the Koeppels for
Saint Edwards Church - Palm Beach - Florida

The action is from 1 minute 44 seconds to 2 minutes 24 seconds.

If there was ever a doubt that Palm Beach is the center of the universe, it can be dispelled. The baseball signing heard around the world has a Palm Beach connection.

It turns out, it was the Koeppel family of Palm Beach that hit a home run Wednesday on a family trip to Rome when Pope Francis signed a baseball thrown to him from the crowd.

The 77-year-old pontiff urged an onlooking fan, who turned out to be part-time resident William Koeppel, to throw him the New York Yankees baseball during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square. The ball bounced in the pope’s right hand before falling to the ground, where it was retrieved by his security detail. The leader of the Catholic Church then signed and returned the ball.

“We were so ecstatic,” said Koeppel. “It was like winning the World Series.”

What will happen to the ball? The family plans on donating it to St. Edward Catholic Church — which helped him secure the VIP tickets to see the pontiff — for its annual dinner Dec. 10 at The Breakers, where it will be auctioned off. Proceeds will benefit the church’s annual toy drive.

Koeppel, after discussing the idea with friends in New York before the trip, came prepared. He yelled to Pope Francis to sign. When Pope Francis asked for the ball, Koeppel’s 11-year-old son, Chase, gave his father a ball, who then tossed it to the pontiff. His other son, Harrison, 14, threw the pope a pen. On a side note, Harrison was confirmed Sept. 7 and his confirmation name is Francis.

The family had hoped to have two other balls signed — one for Palm Beach Day Academy and one for the New York Athletic Club — but were only able to get one autographed. Harrison is president of the Day Academy student council, which also counts Chase as a member. The senior Koeppel is on the admissions committee of the club.

Francis the humble peacock...

...lectures about vanity!

An excerpt from Francis homily this morning posted at Casa Santa Marta on the Radio Vaticana website:
“But the vain man [says]: ‘Look, I’m giving this cheque [check] for the work of the Church’ and he shows the check; then he scams the Church from the other direction. But this is what makes the vain man: he lives for appearances. ‘When you fast,’ the Lord says to this, ‘please do not be melancholy, sad, so that everyone will notice that you’re fasting. No, fast with joy; do penance with joy, so that no one will notice.’ This is vanity: it is living for appearances, living to be seen.”
“Christians who live that way,” he continued, “for appearances, for vanity, seem like peacocks, they strut about like peacocks.” They are the people who say, “I am a Christian, I am related to that priest, to that sister, to that bishop; my family is a Christian family.” They boast. But, the Pope asked, “what about your life with the Lord? How do you pray? Your life in the works of mercy, how’s that going? Do you visit the sick? Reality.” This, he added, is why “Jesus tells us we must build our house – that is, our Christian life – on the rock, on the truth.” On the other hand, Jesus warned that “the vain build their house on sand, and that house falls, that Christian life falls, slips, because it is not able to resist temptations”:
“How many Christians live for appearances? Their life seems like a soap bubble. The soap bubble is beautiful, with all its colours! But it lasts only a second, and then what? Even when we look at some funeral monuments, we feel it’s vanity, because the truth is returning to the bare earth, as the Servant of God Paul VI said. The bare earth awaits us, this is our final truth. In the meantime, do I boast or do I do something? Do I do good? Do I seek God? Do I pray? Substantial things. And vanity is a liar, a fantasist, it deceives itself, it deceives the vain, because in the beginning he pretends to be [something], but in the end he really believes himself to be that, he believes. He believes it. Poor thing!”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Enthronement of the Sacred Heart

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart

O, Sacred Heart of Jesus, * Who didst make known to St. Margaret Mary Thine ardent desire to reign over Christian families, * behold us assembled here today * to proclaim Thine absolute dominion over our home. 

Henceforth, we purpose to lead a life like unto Thine * so that amongst us may flourish the virtues * for which Thou didst promise peace on earth, * and for this end * we will banish from our midst * the spirit of the world which Thou dost abhor so much.

Thou wilt reign over our understanding * by the simplicity of our faith. * Thou wilt reign over our hearts * 
by an ardent love for Thee; * and may the flame of this love * be ever kept burning in our hearts * by the frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist.

Deign, O Divine Heart, * to preside over our meetings, * to bless our undertakings both spiritual and temporal, * to banish all worry and care, * to sanctify our joys * and soothe our sorrows. * If any of us * should ever have the misfortune to grieve Thy Sacred Heart, * remind him of Thy goodness and mercy * towards the repentant sinner.

Lastly * when the hour of separation will sound * and death will plunge our home into mourning, * then shall we all and every one of us * be resigned to Thy eternal decrees, * and seek consolation in the thought * that we shall one day be reunited in heaven, * where we shall sing the praises and blessings of Thy Sacred Heart * for all eternity.

May the Immaculate Heart of Mary * and the glorious Patriarch St. Joseph * offer Thee this our consecration * and remind us of the same all the days of our life. Glory to the Divine Heart of Jesus, * our Redeemer and our King! Amen

For more information on the the Enthronement Prayers and how to Enthrone the Sacred Heart in one's home, please click on the link below:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Francis the freemason returns from Albania!

It doesn't matter to this freemasonic clown if you are Muslim, 
Orthodox or Catholic, to him we're all 'brothers'.

"The Albanian is not tolerant; he is a brother. He has the capacity of fraternity: and more than that. This is witnessed in the coexistence, in the collaboration between Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics."

Vatican City, September 22, 2014 (Zenit.org)

Here below is an English translation of the transcript of Pope Francis' press conference given on the flight back from Tirana yesterday evening.


(Father Lombardi) – Well, now: We are very grateful to the Holy Father for being with us, even at the end of such a demanding day. He wished to be at our disposition for some questions, but a few, on the trip. And so we adopted as criteria to have questions of our three Albanian colleagues, who made the whole trip with us: they came to Rome precisely to travel with you, and now they are also returning to Rome to conclude their experience with you. They are from three Albanian television channels. We begin with Mrs. Mira Tuci, who is from Albanian National Television.

(Journalist) – Your Holiness left with an idea in mind for the Albanians, for Albania -- how Albanians have suffered, but they are also tolerant. Did you find some other quality in Albanians, which you have been able to see? Are these qualities the right ones to make the eagle return to the nest?

(Pope Francis) – I will say that I have adjusted somewhat those things that you say, but the suffering that you Albanians have had I’ve seen closer up. As for tolerance … I change the word. The Albanian is not tolerant; he is a brother. He has the capacity of fraternity: and more than that. This is witnessed in the coexistence, in the collaboration between Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics. And they collaborate but as brothers, no? And then, something else struck me from the beginning: the youth of the country. When I made this comment, I was told that it’s the youngest country in Europe. But Albania has, in fact one sees, a superior development in culture and also in governance, thanks to this fraternity.
(Journalist) – Your Holiness, moving on the central boulevard of Tirana, under the portraits of clerics martyred during the Communist regime, in a country in which atheism of State was imposed up to 25 years ago, what personal emotion did you have? 
(Pope Francis) – I have been studying somewhat for two months that difficult period of Albania to understand it. I have also studied the beginning to a degree. But you have most beautiful cultural roots, and strong, of great culture, since the beginning. I have studied this period and it was a cruel period: the level of cruelty was terrible. When I saw those photographs, not only of Catholics but also of Orthodox, even Muslims, … and when I thought of the words addressed to them “But you must not believe in God” – “I do believe!” – boom, and they did so <publicly>. Therefore I say that all three of the religious components gave witness of God and now give witness of fraternity. 
(Journalist) – Your Holiness, you visited Albania which is a country of Muslim majority. However, the visit happened at a precarious moment given the global situation. You yourself stated that the Third World War has already begun. Is your message of the visit only for the Albanians or does it go beyond? 
(Pope Francis) – No, it goes beyond. Albania has made a journey of peace, of coexistence and of collaboration that goes beyond; it goes to other countries that also have diverse ethnic roots. You have said: “It’s a Muslim country in the majority.” Yes, but it isn’t a Muslim country. It’s a European country. This was a surprise for me. Albania is a European country, in fact, because of its culture – the culture of coexistence, also because of the historical culture it has had. 
(Journalist) – You have now made this trip to Albania, which is in Europe. What are the next ones? 
(Pope Francis) – Yes, I can’t change the geography. The next trips will be November 25, Strasbourg, the European Council and the European Parliament, both, – and, then, the 28th – perhaps – Turkey, to be there for the feast on the 30thof Saint Andrew, with Patriarch Bartholomew. 
(Journalist) – Holiness, we have understood that you have a vision of Albania that is somewhat different from that of Europeans, that is, we look at Europe almost as the European Union. You have chosen, as the first country of Europe to visit, a country of the periphery that does not belong to the European Union. What can you say to those who look only at the Europe of the “powerful”? 
(Pope Francis) – That my trip is a message, it’s a sign; it’s a sign I want to give. 
(Journalist) – We all saw you, I believe, weep, for the first time, you were very moved in that meeting: I think it was the most moving moment of the trip. 
(Holy Father) – To hear a martyr speak of his own martyrdom is intense! I think that all of us who were there were moved, all of us. And those witnesses spoke as if they were speaking of another, with naturalness, with humility. This did me good! Thank you so much and good evening. 
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]

the Babylonian superstition,Tashlikh

In a previous post, Ronald S. Lauder to spend evening of Rosh Hashanah with Francis, we wrote about the Talmudic/Kabbalistic holiday of Rosh Hashanah.  Some blogs and media outlets, which we choose not to name, referred to our post and informed their readership that Call Me Jorge... didn't know what they were talking about.  They all claimed Rosh Hashanah was an Old Testament holiday as celebrated today.  This is laughable.   To demonstrate to the contrary we do know some about the Tamludic/Kabbalistic holiday of Rosh Hashanah we include some information posted on the World Jewish Congress' facebook page.

This pre-war drawing shows a group of men practicing Taschlich, the custom involving going to a river or creek on Rosh Hashanah and casting a piece of bread into the river symbolizing the “casting off” of sins. Are you ready for the new year 5775? Shana tova!
source: facebook page of the World Jewish Congress

So Christians, get a hunk of bread, go down to the river, transfer your sins to the hunk of bread, and throw it into the river.  Why go to a priest as instituted by Christ, when you can do it the Talmudic way?

An unexpected coincidence or prank?

Short 1990 video.  A C-SPAN analyst discussion on Israeli intelligence from 1990 discusses how other intelligence services refer to the Mossad.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bergoglio's cardinals & Bergoglio's love of muslims

Francis reaching to touch a picture of the Albanian Saint Mother Teresa.

Today we link to two entries at the Public Vigil Blog. One entry covers Francis' dream of peaceful co-existence with the Muslim religion and an interesting news report on the city of Rotherham. The second entry discusses the connection between 'New-Agers' and the cardinals Francis has appointed to important positions in the Novus Ordo church.

Francis with his super-group of cardinals.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

the Talmudizing of Francis' priests

Shalom from Israel! As Pope Benedict Leaves Office, Latin American Priests Study In Israel! A delegation of young Catholic Priests from Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are now in the midst of week-long Jewish-Christian educational mission in Israel. The seminar is the result of a new partnership between the World Jewish Congress, the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel and the Latin American Jewish Congress. The goals of the project are to study the authoritative post-Second Vatican Council Church teachings about Jews and Judaism, and to introduce the young priests to the people of Israel and Israeli life. "As Pope Benedict XVI leaves the papal office today, his legacy of building bridges between Jews and Christians will continue in these young priests," said CJCUC's Founder and Chancellor Rabbi Shlomo Riskin."The World Jewish Congress, having long established good relations with the leadership of the Catholic Church for decades, is proud to be involved in this endeavor, together with Latin American Jewish Congress. These developing friendships will become increasingly important to both Israel and Latin America," said Betty Ehrenberg, Executive Director of WJC, North America.
The program will feature a number of seminars each year and will set the stage for educational programs for Catholics and Jews that will foster a greater understanding of Judaism and Israel in the Latin American communities, through friendship and dialogue.
source: facebook page of World Jewish Congress


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Francis meets with another Communist

Francis met earlier today with Alexis Tsipras a communist and head of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) in Greece.  Tsipras is a Greek MP and the Leader of the Opposition.  According to Wikipedia, 

His domestic partner is Peristera Batziana, an electrical and computer engineer. The two met in 1987 at the Ampelokipoi Branch High School and both became members of the Communist Youth of Greece. They live together with their two sons.[15] Their youngest son's middle name is Ernesto, a tribute to Che Guevara. Tsipras is an avid football fan and, having grown up near the stadium, supports Panathinaikos, attending every home game that he can.[4]

The SYRIZA party is a coalition of democratic socialists, leftie green groups, Maoists, Trotskyites, and euro-communist organizations.  The SYRIZA platform includes, an increase immigration to Greece, introducing hate-crime laws, legislating queer "marriage", ending the deportation of illegal immigrants, and reducing the Greek armed forces significantly.  

It has been reported that Francis and Tsipras met to discuss a "crisis of values."  The values they talked about included measures to help prevent deaths in Mediterranean Sea of the crossing illegal Muslim immigrants from Africa, global warming, achieving peace in the Middle East, and how they could save not only the banks of Europe but also the people.  Protothema News has the rest of the official story, 

Moreover Pope Francis asked Alexis Tsipras to send his regards to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew adding that he was looking forward to meeting him at the Phanar in Istanbul during the celebration of Apostle Andrew’s day.

“We had the opportunity to discuss about the economic crisis, which is primarily a crisis of values” said Alexis Tsipras after the meeting, adding that they talked also about “the need to have peace in the world”.

“We asked him to continue fighting and speaking for the human rights and dignity and to take the initiative for finding a solution for the Middle East crisis”, said Mr. Tsipras adding that he “told him about the dramatic situation of Greece, which after four years of strict austerity is still in deep recession”.

No word has come out, if the two discussed their favorite passion football or if jerseys were exchanged.  One cannot make stuff like this up.  Less than seventy years ago, it would have been unfathomable to have a communist to the Vatican as a guest unless it were to chew the man out and he would have been brought in through a back door, not as a guest!  With Francis however this is becoming more of an every day occurrence.  Recall what Francis was reported to have said in June by Reuters,

"I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel," he said, citing Biblical passages about the need to help the poor, the sick and the needy.

"Communists say that all this is communism. Sure, twenty centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: 'but then you are Christian'," he said, laughing.

And don't forget when Francis was asked what it felt like to be called a "Marxist" by Andrea Tornelli in an interview he answered,

“The Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”

Which lead us to ask is the Leninist ideology correct, maybe Stalinism, perhaps Gramscism, or is it Neo-Gramscism?  Dear reader, also notice how Francis doesn't come out and condemn communism in the above statement, just Marxism.  Michael Voris and his ilk will tell you Francis is surrounded by a "super-force" of evil bishops who are thwarting his ever move.  How about reporting on the un-Catholic actions carried out by Francis for a change Mike?

Francis meets with communist from Greece

"If people call me Christian, not from the standpoint of religion but from the standpoint of social vision, I declare that I am a Christian." 

Ronald S. Lauder to spend evening of Rosh Hashanah with Francis

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the World Jewish Congress' website, Francis is to meet with 40 delegates from the World Jewish Congress (WJC) including Jack Terpins, Chella Safra, a number of Jewish community heads, and senior WJC officials in honor of the Talmudic/Kabbalistic holiday of Rosh HashanahThe delegation is to be headed by Ronald S. Lauder and will meet with Francis at his residence in the Vatican City during the evening to discuss several topics.  One wonders what Talmudic traditions will take place in the Vatican?  Will a cantor sing the Alenu?  Will Francis blow the shofar and will "Torah" scrolls be paraded around a Vatican apartment?  Will they practice the Babylonian superstition, tashlikh, and throw crumbs into water to mark the occasion? 

Rabbi Claudio Eppelman who will be part of the visit said, 

"We want to share with the pope our message of peace and prosperity for the New Year."

We at Call Me Jorge... smell something very fishy.  Why are all these non-Christians always meeting with Francis at the Vatican?  Are the WJC:  
  • giving Francis his marching orders,  
  • telling Francis to support Israel's wars in the Middle East, 
  • simply celebrating the eve of a Talmudic/Kabbalistic holiday with a fellow brother, 
  • or just dropping in to say hello to their old friend?

For more on what might be discussed and Francis relationship with the WJC see,

The official (for public consumption only) clip of last year's visit by the WJC delegation 2 days before Rosh Hashanah

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's with all the Francis tattoos?


Francis has managed to transform the Papacy into another tired old brand. Whether it's Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse, Pixar, Nike, the Kardashians, or Francis, all it amounts to, these days, is a fashion accessory. Misha Collins, star of the television show Supernatural, has capitalized on the Francis fad by including him in a game he co-founded and he runs. The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen (GISHWHES) has over 14,000 participants each year. One of the challenges in this year's GISHWHES is to “Have an image of Pope Francis permanently tattooed on yourself.” Unbelievably, to us at Call Me Jorge..., are the number of people who have spent their hard earned money to have Francis' likeness tattooed on themselves.  

In a world without the sacred, there is only the profane.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

early interfaith relations

In mid-20th-century Oklahoma, when I was finishing high school and starting college as the Second Vatican Council unfolded (1962–65), Catholics represented only 2 percent of the population. There was a steady stream of televised Protestant services, and I remember vaguely a local Sunday broadcast that featured a panel of Protestant ministers. The panel became interesting when, unexpectedly, one of our few Catholic priests appeared on it wearing a Roman collar, when clergy of other denominations usually did not. The visual message was clear—though other Christians are similar to us, we Catholics are different.
All this changed with the council. We need not stand apart. We were actually closer to other Christians, the council explained, than we had imagined. Vatican II’s 1964 “Decree on Ecumenism” summarized it this way, “For those who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect.”
Despite a healthy preoccupation at Christ the King, my home parish, with liturgical participation and sermons on justice and civil rights in the decade before the council, ecumenism was not on the agenda. Our priests’ liberalism extended only so far. Annually they railed against parents who enrolled their children at the prestigious Episcopal Cassady Day School. Chapel was required at Cassady, and for Catholics that presented a problem. Our priests resisted our parishioners’ attending services regularly in other churches. The “Decree on Ecumenism” undid those reservations and even encouraged Catholics to join other Christians regularly in prayer, especially for unity.
In Oklahoma, most of our neighbors, acquaintances and business associates were not Catholic, and the few ecumenical initiatives took place among Protestants. Nationally, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America was organized in 1908, which in 1950 gave way to the National Council of Churches of Christ. While the religious freedom created by such Protestant diversity allowed Catholics to flourish, warnings would periodically arrive from the Vatican reminding us to hold discussions of faith and morals apart from Protestant ecumenical efforts.
These warnings began arriving as early as 1895, with an expression of displeasure to bishops over Catholic participation in the 1893 Parliament of Religions in Chicago. In 1928, shortly after the ecumenically planned first Faith and Order assembly in Lausanne, Switzerland, Pope Pius XI issued an encyclical warning the whole church about “pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches” but whose ecumenical effort “tends to injure faith.” Another warning arrived in 1948 anticipating the organizational assembly of the World Council of Churches that year in Geneva.

Early Interfaith Cooperation

Interaction between Catholics and Protestants and Jews, too, had to take place on the edges of formal church structures. Founded in New York in 1927, the National Conference of Christians and Jews (called the National Conference of Jews and Christians until 1938) was the world’s flagship interfaith organization. Yet Catholic priests had to justify any involvement in the conference. The Paulist John Elliot Ross, who served on the N.C.C.J. executive committee, was also the first priest to join a Protestant minister and a rabbi in cross-country speaking tours. Father Ross defended himself by distinguishing interfaith activities dedicated to eliminating prejudice and promoting the common good from discussions on Christian unity, faith and morals, which were banned.
With World War II the need for ecumenical and interfaith teamwork grew exponentially. The Jesuit John Courtney Murray, who later contributed substantially to the council’s “Declaration on Religious Liberty,” urged “intercredal co-operation” in 1942, appealing to the “Sword of the Spirit” initiative of Christian communions in besieged England. Military service also inspired greater mutual respect. In 1943 four U.S. military chaplains (two Protestant, one Catholic and one Jewish) went down arm-in-arm on the troop ship Dorchester after surrendering their life vests so that troops could survive. Later, stained glass chapel windows and a U.S. commemorative stamp honoring their shared heroism became symbols of a new era of what Father Murray called “Christian co-operation.”
By 1950 the Vatican gave qualified acceptance to the assignment by bishops of “trustworthy and sufficiently educated priests” to attend ecumenical meetings as observers. Even before that, in 1948, the bishops of Holland allowed Msgr. Johannes Willebrands to develop ecumenical relations there. In 1952 he and the Rev. Frans Thijssen formed the Catholic Conference for Ecumenical Questions, attracting Catholic ecumenists to follow the World Council of Churches agenda and other developments. Several of these theologians later served as officials or experts for commissions at the Second Vatican Council. One of these specialists was a young Paulist, Thomas F. Stransky, who had been sent by his superiors to Europe for graduate study in Protestant missiology. Attending liturgy at St. Peter’s Basilica on Pentecost Sunday in 1960, when Pope John XXIII announced the preparatory commissions for the upcoming council, he was surprised to hear that among them was a secretariat for Christian unity. He had no inkling that before summer’s end he would be among the four members of the secretariat’s initial staff.

First Steps

Pope John appointed the senior biblical scholar Cardinal Augustin Bea, a Jesuit, as the secretariat’s president, and Monsignor Willebrands as its secretary. Msgr. Jean-François Arrighi, a skilled veteran of the Roman Curia, and Father Stransky rounded out the original four. The Rev. Joseph Komonchak, a leading American historian of the council, has concluded that Vatican II represented the vision of this secretariat more than that of any other preparatory commission. Mauro Velati, the best informed historian of the secretariat’s early history, has identified its three documents on ecumenism, interreligious dialogue and religious freedom as “most central to the aggiornamento [updating] desired by John XXIII.” Only two years after the secretariat’s founding, as Vatican II was convening in 1962, Father Stransky described the secretariat as “an active symbol of Pope John’s loving concern to promote Christian unity.” Speaking in 2006 at Georgetown University, the Paulist recalled how the secretariat became “the trusted darling among the [council’s] bishops.”
The secretariat first gathered its bishop members, consultors and staff in November 1960. Only three of those who were present at that first meeting are alive today: Josette Kersters of the Grail Movement, whom Monsignor Willebrands had invited to help with secretarial work; Gregory Baum, then an Augustinian priest and now still active as a professor emeritus at McGill University; and Father Stransky. Father Baum was noticed because his doctoral thesis, published in 1956, scoured the works of the five popes before John XXIII for the slightest ecumenical inclinations. Father Stransky saw a copy of Father Baum’s book, marked prodigiously with reader’s notations, in Pope Paul VI’s private collection, which is now at the Instituto Paolo VI in Brescia. In November 2010 Professor Baum spoke at Georgetown University, marking the 50th anniversary of the secretariat’s first meeting. He reminisced that his thesis on “pre-ecumenical signs” would have been very different if he had written it only four years later, in 1960.
With regard to the eventual declaration on the Jews, or what became “Nostra Aetate,” Professor Baum remembered his impression after its first meeting that the secretariat was going to offer a post-Auschwitz reading of the New Testament, avoiding “any interpretation of a biblical text that could legitimate the humiliation of the Jews and justify their exclusion or marginalization.” The secretariat’s work reached fruition in three conciliar acts: on ecumenism in 1964, on the Jews and interreligious dialogue in 1965 and on religious liberty in 1965. In collaboration with the theological commission, the secretariat also contributed to the “Constitution on Divine Revelation” of 1965.

Three Key Interlocutors

Contact with outsiders in 1960 also directed the secretariat’s work and affected the outcome of the council. On June 2, 1960, Monsignor Willebrands, by then the official ecumenical representative of the Dutch bishops, the first such national officer, was in Rome with Father Thijssen to report on C.C.E.Q. activities and plans. He records in his diary how Cardinal Bea told them that the pope would soon announce the secretariat and that he, Cardinal Bea, would be its president. He asked the Dutch priests to convey this confidential information to Geneva to another Dutchman, Willem A. Visser ’t Hooft, the first general secretary of the World Council of Churches. They were also to tell Dr. Visser ’t Hooft that Cardinal Bea wanted to meet with him soon, even if unofficially. Monsignor Willebrands and Dr. Visser ’t Hooft, already friends for several years, could mend any problem, conversing in Dutch.
A private meeting between Dr. Visser ’t Hooft and Cardinal Bea took place on Sept. 22, 1960, at a convent in Milan. The local archbishop, Cardinal Giovanni Montini, was in on the plan too. As Pope Paul VI, Montini would guide the council to completion after the death of Pope John XXIII in 1963. In hindsight, the requirement that the meeting be secret seemed “ridiculous,” as Dr. Visser ’t Hooft later noted, but he agreed that the delicate process of establishing relationships could easily have been complicated by public discussion at that point. Dr. Visser ’t Hooft’s first recommendation to Cardinal Bea was that the council must address religious freedom to ensure that future Catholic statements promoting Christian unity would be taken seriously.
More out in the open was the visit to Rome of Dr. Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, on Dec. 2, 1960. Monsignor Willebrands again served as an intermediary, conveying to Cardinal Bea Archbishop Fisher’s desire to stop for a meeting with Pope John after visits to Jerusalem and Istanbul. Anglicans and Catholics alike criticized Archbishop Fisher for wanting the meeting. Cardinal Domenico Tardini, the Vatican Secretary of State, toned down the visit—not allowing press coverage, photos or any official visit with Cardinal Bea. Again, good will prevailed over the awkwardness in establishing church relations. Archbishop Fisher reported that Pope John at one point read from an address, in which he referred enthusiastically to that time when other Christians could return home to Mother Church. The archbishop courteously corrected him: “Not return.... None of us can go backwards.” He then explained, “We are looking forward until, in God’s good time, when our two courses approximate and meet.” After a moment’s pause, Pope John replied, “You are right.” When the archbishop thanked him for establishing the secretariat, Pope John replied, “Yes, and this afternoon you shall see Cardinal Bea.” The reception was offsite at the college where Cardinal Bea lived.
Even more significant for the outcome of the council was the visit to Rome of Jules Isaac, a week and a day after Pope John had announced the secretariat. An official of the pre-war French government and a Holocaust survivor, Professor Isaac had lost his wife, daughter and son-in-law in the death camps. He had dedicated his remaining years to dissolving Christian anti-Semitism and the pervasive anti-Jewish theology that supported it. There were interfaith meetings at Oxford in 1946, in Switzerland in 1947, the establishment of his own French association of Christians and Jews in 1948—all with Catholic participation—and a less-than-satisfactory meeting with Pope Pius XII in 1949. Unsure but encouraged by his Catholic friends, Professor Isaac had an audience with Pope John XXIII on June 13, 1960, and with Cardinal Bea two days later. The professor proposed that the pope form a commission to look at the problem, and the pope confirmed he was thinking the same thing. Pope John’s assurances gave Professor Isaac more than he had hoped for.
In 1960 it came down to three 80-year-old men—a Holocaust survivor, a pope who had called a surprise council and a Jesuit cardinal and biblical scholar who headed the council’s most unanticipated commission. In September 1960, Pope John approved Cardinal Bea’s suggestion that a statement on religious relations with Jews could be written. By 1963, when the second session of the council got underway and the statement on the Jews was at last on its agenda, two of the three were dead. Cardinal Bea lived until 1968. Perhaps the greatest of his many achievements was guiding such a controversial statement as the “Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions” to completion.
The involvement of the Catholic Church in ecumenical and interreligious relations in the 50 years since Vatican II has been an enormously important factor affecting renewal of Christian life, ecumenical advances and greater interfaith mutuality. In his 1995 encyclical on ecumenism, “That They May Be One” (No. 78 and 84), Pope John Paul II acknowledged, perhaps more plainly than the bishops at Vatican II could have done in 1965, that the experience of ecumenism has enabled us to understand better how the Spirit is often able to pour out grace in extraordinary ways and how sublime is the mutual help Christians receive from one another in their search for the truth.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the place where Catholics represented only 2 percent of the population in the mid-20th century. It was in Oklahoma, not the entire United States.
John Borelli, special assistant to the president for interreligious initiatives at Georgetown University, is working with Thomas Stransky, C.S.P., as he prepares a full account of the genesis and development of the Second Vatican Council’s “Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions.”