ROME – Pope Francis’s recent trip to Iraq will undoubtably have a lasting impact on the country in ways that only time will tell, however, in the immediate aftermath, a few significant developments can already be seen. Click Here to learn more
This blessed place brings us back to our origins, to the sources of God’s work, to the birth of our religions. Here, where Abraham our father lived, we seem to have returned home. It was here that Abraham heard God’s call; it was from here that he set out on a journey that would change history. We are the fruits of that call and that journey. God asked Abraham to raise his eyes to heaven and to count its stars (cf. Gen 15:5). In those stars, he saw the promise of his descendants; he saw us. Today we, Jews, Christians and Muslims, together with our brothers and sisters of other religions, honour our father Abraham by doing as he did: we look up to heaven and we journey on earth. Click Here to learn more
When Pope Francis joined 6,000 people in Rome on June 8 for the launch on Pentecost eve of a new Vatican body to serve the 115 million charismatic Catholics around the world, they made sure to perform his favorite Latin-American “praise” song, “Vive Jesús el Señor” (“The Lord Jesus lives”) (pp 18-23) . Click Here to learn more
Pope Francis on Saturday denounced the “murderous indifference” that has allowed violence to consume the Middle East and drive tens of thousands of Christians from their homes, calling out global powers for seeking power and profit at the expense of the region’s people during a remarkable gathering of Orthodox patriarchs and Catholic leaders. Click here to learn more
June 21 one-day trip is being styled as an ‘ecumenical pilgrimage’ Click Here to learn more
Pope Francis Visit to Geneva, update
The French Catholic magazine La Croix International published an interview of a World Council of Churches (WCC) leader on May 31, to update their readers on Pope Francis’ June 21 visit. Pastor Martin Robra, co-secretary of the mixed working group between the World Council of Churches and the Catholic Church, “credits Pope Francis with ushering in a new springtime for ecumenism.” This working group, set up in 1965, is the answer to the continually discussed challenge of the Catholic Church formally joining the WCC. Click Here to learn more
Encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus radically transformed the life of Saint Paul. Henceforth, for him, the meaning of life would no longer consist in trusting in his own ability to observe the Law strictly, but rather in cleaving with his whole being to the gracious and unmerited love of God: to Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. Paul experienced the inbreaking of a new life, life in the Spirit. By the power of the risen Lord, he came to know forgiveness, confidence and consolation. Nor could Paul keep this newness to himself. He was compelled by grace to proclaim the good news of the love and reconciliation that God offers fully in Christ to all humanity. Click Here to learn more
I joyfully welcome all of you, members of the Ecumenical Delegation, who have come as pilgrims from Finland to Rome on the occasion of the feast of Saint Henrik. I thank the Lutheran Bishop of Turku for his kind words… in Spanish! For more than thirty years, it has been a fine custom for your pilgrimage to take place during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which calls us to draw closer to one another anew through conversion. True ecumenism is based on a shared conversion to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Redeemer. If we draw close to him, we draw close also to one another. During these days let us pray more fervently to the Holy Spirit so that we may experience this conversion which makes reconciliation possible. Click Here to learn more
When Pope Francis announced the Jubilee of Mercy, on April 11, 2015, he spent two long paragraphs
describing his view of Vatican II. Consider prayerfully the following… Click Here to learn more
In baseball, a triple play is rare. It occurs when the team in the field can eliminate three opponents in one play, and that team
wins the inning. They may not win the game, but it certainly helps. Click Here to learn more
In over fifty years of studying papal documents, I have never come across one as unique as Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, The Joy of the Gospel. Here I hope to sketch its importance in our search for unity with other Christians. In a future article, I hope to indicate its ground breaking value in our dialogue with our Jewish older brothers and sisters. Click Here to learn more
(RNS) “The prosperity gospel seems to be fundamentally opposed to the message that Francis has been spreading. But he has shown that he’s willing to meet with just about anyone,” said Michael Peppard, a professor of theology at Fordham University. Click Here to learn more
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.
Personal contact is so important for Christian unity. Pope John Paul II’s personal contact with Jewish people during his youth and his friendship with Billy Graham; and Pope Benedict XVI’s contact with Lutherans during his military service, have shown us that all ecumenism begins at home.
An article in the evangelical magazine Christianity Today quotes Argentinian evangelicals’ view of Pope Francis as “Answer to Our Prayers” (3/14/2013, website only). He “played a central role in Argentina’s CRECES (Renewal Communion of Catholics and Evangelicals in the Holy Spirit) movement over the past 10 years.”
Regarding the Eastern Orthodox, on Wednesday, March 20, the day after his inauguration, he received several dozen representatives of the various Christian Churches and other world religions who had attended. Vatican Radio, on its website, showed him embracing Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, and calling him “My brother Andrew,” after the Apostle Andrew, who is venerated as the founding apostle of Constantinople. Bartholomew was the only one to accompany Francis to the tomb of St.Peter the day before. Vatican Radio also reproduced the text of his discourse on March 20, in which Pope Francis assured his listeners of his “firm wish to continue on the path of ecumenical dialogue.”
In his inspiring inaugural homily, he asked the help of all to “protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest.”
May Christians see more than ever the need we have of each other to accomplish this.
Pope Benedict gave Pope Francis an unexpected legacy in Christian Unity. Click here for the photo and one page summary from the latest edition of Foreign Affairs. My thanks to Seamus Finn OMI for sending me this item.