FOR OBLATES OF MARY IMMACULATE AND
ALL PEOPLE OF FAITH
"The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. But afterwards very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and ambition to want to do something." Pope Francis to Eugenio Scalfari, editor of La Repubblica, Oct. 1, 2013.
The miracle of unity has begun....I've never
seen God begin a miracle without finishing it well. For the entire
7 minute video, go to the Pope Francis page.
There are two tendencies to avoid as we witness to the love of Jesus.
One tendency is
described in the very short article below by Catholic
missiologist/ecumenists Stephen Bevans, SVD, and Roger
Schroeder, SVD, as they review
Ralph Martinís book Will Many Be Saved?
Martin wants to restore to our witness the wrath of God and the
narrowness of salvation which he thinks Vatican II neglected.
Your reaction to Bevans and Schroederís rejection of this is
welcome. To see the article please
To see the article please click here
Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew,
in the chapel adjacent to the Sepulchre of Jesus, May 25, 2014
The words above are Latin and Greek for "So that they may be one," from St. John's Gospel 17:21. The explanation given on the official website: "This is to commemorate and renew the commitment to unity expressed by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople 50 years ago in Jerusalem."
Very importantly, for all Christians, the authors continue: "This gives expression to the desire of the Lord at the Last Supper: 'I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one (bold in original)....so that the world may believe that you sent me'" (20-21).
The authors then explain the symbolism: The two brothers, Peter and Andrew are "the first two disciples called by Jesus in Galilee. Saint Peter is the patron of the Church in Rome and Saint Andrew is the patron of the Church in Constantinople. In Jerusalem, in the Mother Church, they embrace. The two apostles are in a boat that represents the Church, whose mast is the Cross of the Lord. The sails of the boat are full of wind, the Holy Spirit, which directs the boat as it sails across the waters of this world."
THE ADDRESSES OF PATRIARCH AND POPE, IN THE BASILICA OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE, MAY 25, 2014
After both kissed the tomb where Jesus lay, they proceeded to the adjacent chapel. The Gospel account of the Resurrection of Jesus from John was chanted in Greek, and the Patriarch gave his address in English. He cited Jo. 17:21 in Latin (which the official translation doesn't notice). His address deserves to be carefully studied, especially his rejection of religious fanaticism and fear of the other. Click here.
The Gospel account of the Resurrection from Matthew was read in Latin next, and the Pope gave his address in Italian, including in Greek the Easter greeting "Christos anesti!" (Christ is risen). Click here.
It seemed that each went out of his way to praise the Church of the other. When Bartholomew finished his address and returned to his chair next to Francis, Francis reached for his hand, kissed it and then Bartholomew bent over and warmly embraced him. When Francis finished his address, Bartholomew stood and embraced him warmly.
It was evident that the 77 year old Francis was having difficulty rising and going down steps; the 74 year old Bartholomew assisted him. As I watched the live broadcast, the example of these two leaders was even more expressive than their startling addresses.
Their two addresses and their Common Declaration are being thoroughly examined by Christians, Jews, Moslems, People of Other Faiths, and All People of Good Will. As the authors of the Motto and Logo express it: "the unity of Christians is a message of unity for all humanity, called to overcome the divisions of the past and march forward together towards a future of justice, peace, reconciliation and fraternal love."
So the Common Declaration of May 25 states that in a time "marked by violence, indifference and egoism, many men and women today feel that they have lost their bearings. It is precisely through our common witness to the good news of the Gospel that we may be able to help the people of our time to rediscover the way that leads to truth, justice and peace" (#9). Click here for the Common Declaration.
As committed Christians, we know that Christ is the only way. True to the New Evangelization, we do not hit people over the heads with that truth.
Oblates of Mary note how the Common Declaration and the Address of Pope Francis conclude by commending us to Mary.
The Pope and Patriarch met four times during the weekend visit. The scheduled one from 6:15-7 on May 25 went 45 minutes longer. So we will continue in future items to examine this most crucial development for New Evangelization, Ecumenism and Dialogue.
No one knows how long the official website with all the addresses, with photos, and with so much material on the background of the trip, will stay posted. Examine it now: www.popefrancisholyland2014
Mission-Unity-Dialogue: No.3, Third Series, Oct. 2005
Mission-Unity-Dialogue: No.5, Third Series, Dec. 2008
Mission-Unity-Dialogue: No.6 Third Series, Dec. 2009
Mission-Unity-Dialogue: No. 1, Fourth Series, Aug. 2010