Statement from Bishop Bernard Fellay
concerning the interdenominational day of prayer
Assisi on 24th January 2002
John Paul II is inviting all the major religions of the world, the muslims
in particular, to a great prayer meeting in Assisi, in the same spirit
of the first meeting for peace that took place there in 1986. We are
deeply distressed by this event and condemn it totally.
it offends God in His first commandment.
it denies the unity of the Church and Her mission of saving souls.
Because it can only lead the faithful into confusion and indifferentism.
it deceives the unfortunate unfaithful and members of other religions.
problem does not lie in the object of the prayers for peace. To pray
for peace and to seek to establish and strengthen peace between peoples
and nations is a good thing in itself. The Catholic liturgy is full
of beautiful prayers for peace. We pray these prayers with all our hearts.
Moreover, given the fact that the angels announced, on the birth of
Our Lord Jesus Christ, peace on earth to men of good will, it is totally
fitting to ask the faithful to implore the One True God to grant us
a gift of such great value at this stage in the year.
The reason for our indignation lies in the confusion, scandal and blasphemy
that result from an invitation from the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
sole mediator between God and man, to other religions to come to Assisi
to pray for peace..
has been stated that to avoid any syncretism, those attending will not
be praying « together », but that each religion will pray
in separate rooms in the Franciscan convent at Assisi.. Cardinal Kasper
went so far – and rightly so – to affirm that "Christians cannot
pray with members of other religions." (Osservatore Romano,
5 Jan 2002). However, this affirmation is not enough to dissipate the
dreadful uneasiness and confusion caused by the event; it cannot be
denied that all kinds of religions will be praying "each in their
own camp" to obtain from these prayers said at the same time, but
in different locations, the same result: peace. The fact that all have
been invited to pray, at the same time and in the same town, for the
same intention is clear proof of the desire for unity. On the other
hand, the fact that the prayers will be offered in separate locations
betrays the contradictory and impossible nature of the project. In reality,
the distinction is false, even though, thanks be to God, it avoids a
direct communicatio in sacris. However, the syncretic nature
of the operation is obvious to all. Recourse to deceitful words has
made it possible to deny the painfully obvious reality. But words do
not mean anything any more: we will be going to Assisi, not to pray
together, we are going there together to pray … no syncretism etc.
establishment of civil (political) peace between nations by congresses,
discussions, diplomacy, with the intervention of influential persons
of different nations and religions, is one thing. It is another to claim
to obtain the gift of peace from God by the prayer of all (false) religions.
Such an initiative is completely inconsistent with the Catholic faith
and goes against the first commandment.
is not a question of individual prayer, that of one man, in his own
particular relationship with God, whether as creator or sanctifier,
but the prayer of different religions, as such, with their own particular
rite addressed to their own particular divinity. Holy Scripture, (both
the Old and the New Testaments) teach us that the only prayer pleasing
to God is that of He, Whom He established as sole mediator between Himself
and men, and that this prayer can only be found in the one true religion.
God considers an abomination all other religions, especially idolatry,
the summum of all superstitions.
Moreover, how can one hope to claim that religions that fail to recognise
the one true God can possibly obtain anything from Him? Saint Paul assures
us that these false gods are fallen angels and demons. “But
the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and
not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils.
You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord, and the chalice of devils:
you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and of the table of
devils.” (1 Cor. 10: 20-21)
these religions to pray is inviting them to make an act that God reproves,
that he condemns in the first commandment, one sole God shall you adore.
It is leading the members of such religions into error and condoning
their ignorance and misfortune.
Worse still: this invitation implies that their prayers might be useful,
or even necessary, in order to obtain peace. Almighty God made it perfectly
clear what He thinks of this, via the words of his apostle Saint Paul
: “Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation
hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful
with the unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with
idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God saith: ‘I will
dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they
shall be my people.”(11Cor. 6: 14-16)
will never fully understand the struggle between the good and the wicked
throughout history, as long as we do not see it as the personal and
unyielding battle for all time between Satan and Jesus Christ.” wrote
Archbishop Lefebvre in all his wisdom. (Spiritual Journey
Tradiffusion, Bulle, 1991, p 54) This fundamental truth, as far as war
and peace are concerned, would appear to have been totally forgotten
in the thinking behind the initiative in Assisi.
one point during the day, everyone will be gathered together. When, then, will the participants hear the cry of the first Pope, St.
Peter “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other
name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts
4:12) The same Jesus Christ, sole Saviour, is also the sole author of peace.
But will anyone dare point out these elementary truths to guests who
are strangers to Christianity? Fear of hurting their feelings will mean
that this absolutely essential condition for true peace will be overlooked
or reduced to a purely subjective belief ("for us Christians, Jesus
Christ is God" etc.)
As we have just pointed out :
only is there only one true God and “So that
they are inexcusable.” (Romans 1:20) but
there is also only one mediator (I Tim 2, 5), one sole ambassador authorised
by God, who intercedes ceaselessly on our behalf (Heb 7, 25). Religions
which refuse to recognise His divinity explicitly, such as Judaism and
Islam, have no chance of having their prayers answered, because of so
fundamental an error. “Who is a liar, but he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is Antichrist,
who denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the son, the same
hath not the Father. He that confesseth the Son, hath the father also.”
Despite monotheistic appearances, we do not have the same God, we do
not have the same mediator. Only the mystical bride of Christ (Eph 5,
32) has the prerogative of obtaining from God, in the name of, and through,
Our Lord Jesus Christ, any favours, in particular that of peace. Such
is the faith that the Church has taught and believed constantly, throughout
the ages and from time immemorial. This is, by no means, a question
of intolerance or of disdain for one’s neighbour, it is a question of
an unchangeable truth. “No one comes to the Father but through me.”
make gestures, or to get others to make them, that are not in keeping
with this truth, is to deceive oneself. It offends God, He in whom He
has place all His satisfaction (Mc 9, 7), Our Lord Jesus Christ,
and His Holy Church (Mt 16, 18)
can those who refuse this mediation - as do the Jews and Muslims explicitly,
in refusing to recognise His divinity – possibly hope to have their
prayers answered? The same goes for those who refuse to accept the Church’s
role as mediator.
Paul II has attempted to justify the prayer meetings in Assisi on several
occasions. In fact, one of his arguments is founded on the definition
of prayer. "All authentic prayer comes from the Holy Ghost who
dwells mysteriously in every soul". Inasmuch as one attributes
the correct meaning to the word “authentic”, one could accept the first
part of the sentence. But it is obvious that one cannot say that the
prayer of a Buddhist, before an idol of Buddha, of that of a witchdoctor
smoking the peace-pipe, or that of an animist, is authentic.
only authentic prayer is true prayer addressed to the true God. It is
totally wrong to qualify a prayer addressed to the devil as authentic.
Can the prayer of a fanatical terrorist, before crashing into the Manhattan tower:
"Allah is great" be called authentic?
he convinced that he was doing the right thing, doesn’t that make him
sincere? It is clear that a purely subjective way of looking at things
is not sufficient to make a prayer authentic.
second part of the sentence : "the Holy Ghost dwells mysteriously
in every soul", or in every man, is certainly false. The word
“mysteriously” can be misleading: in Catholic theology, as in Holy Scripture,
the dwelling of the Holy Ghost is directly linked to the presence of
sanctifying grace. One of the first formulae used in baptism consists
of commanding the devil to leave the soul in order to let the Holy Ghost
enter it. This demonstrates quite clearly that the Holy
Ghost did not dwell in the soul before baptism.
so, the justification for the interdenominational day of prayer at
Assisi is based on a false premice.
wishing to promote dialogue, which requires considering the other party
in a highly positive light, argue that there is much good in other religions,
and, given that God is the sole source of good, God is at work in other
religions. This is pure sophistry, based on the lack of distinction
between natural order and supernatural order. It goes without saying
that, when one speaks of the action of God in a religion, one implies
a work of salvation. This means God who saves by His grace. His
supernatural grace. On the other hand, the good
referred to in other religions, (non-Christian ones at any rate) is
merely natural; in such cases, God is acting as creator, Who gives being
to all things, and not as saviour. The determination of the Vatican
II Council to dispense with the distinction between the order of grace
and natural order bears, in this respect, its most poisonous fruits.
The result is the worst sort of confusion, that which leads people to
think that any religion can finally obtain the greatest favours from
God. This is a huge fraud, a ridiculous error.
is in keeping with the masonic plot to establish a grand temple of universal
brotherhood above all religions and beliefs, "Unity in diversity"
a concept so dear to the New Age and to globalisation. "We were
excommunicated by Clement XI in 1738 because of our interdenominational
principles. But the Church was definitely in error, if it is true that,
on 27th October 1986, the present Pope gathered together men of all
religious confessions in Assisi to pray for peace. What else are our
brothers looking for when they gather together in temples, than love
between men, tolerance, solidarity, defence of the dignity of the human-being,
considering themselves equal, above political and religious beliefs
and the colour of their skin?" (Grand Master Armando Corona, of
the Grand lodge of the Spring Equinox, Hiram – voice of the Grand
Orient of Italy – April 1987)
thing is certain : there is no better way to provoke the anger
This is why, despite our strong desire for the peace of God, we will
have absolutely nothing to do with this day of prayer on 24th January,
in Assisi. Nullam partem.
Bishop Bernard Fellay