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Saturday, 24 September 2011

That we all may be one.

As Pope Benedict's visit to his German homeland draws to a close, this screen grab of Mass being celebrated in the Olympic Stadium illustrates how insignificant we appear from above. Despite that, the intensity of debate continues as we strive for unity. Lutherans in particular had been hoping for a gesture to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. The Pope acknowledged that there had been talk that his visit would produce an 'ecumenical gift' but said that it was a 'political misreading of faith and of ecumenism.'  Emphasising the point he said, "A self-made faith is worthless.  Faith is not something we work out intellectually and negotiate between us.  It is the foundation for our lives."

Compare that statement with the report of his meeting with Orthodox Christians when Pope Benedict said, "the Orthodox are theologically closest to us; Catholics and Orthodox both have the same basic structure inherited from the ancient Church. So we may hope that the day is not too far away when we may once again celebrate the Eucharist together".

So where does the Anglican church stand? The position is neatly summed-up in this Blog but undeterred, the Anglican church has chosen relativism over unity. Depressing though it is, all is not lost. Closing his homily for electing the Supreme Pontiff, the then Cardinal Ratziger said, "At this time, however, let us above all pray insistently to the Lord that after his great gift of Pope John Paul II, he will once again give us a Pastor according to his own heart, a Pastor who will guide us to knowledge of Christ, to his love and to true joy. Amen." Unbeknown to him, that prayer was to be answered in Benedict XVI himself and in answer to Christ's prayer for unity the Ordinariate will be his legacy for Anglicans, hopefully to be followed by communion with the Orthodox church, God willing.

1 comment:

  1. Ancient Briton might also with profit reflect on the Holy Father's address to Muslim community leaders in Berlin. See Full text: Pope speaks to Germany’s Muslim leaders

    Note in particular, this passage: “The Catholic Church firmly advocates that due recognition be given to the public dimension of religious adherence. In an overwhelmingly pluralist society, this demand is not unimportant. Care must be taken to guarantee that others are always treated with respect. Mutual respect grows only on the basis of agreement on certain inalienable values that are proper to human nature, in particular the inviolable dignity of every single person. Such agreement does not limit the expression of individual religions; on the contrary, it allows each person to bear witness explicitly to what he believes, not avoiding comparison with others.”

    There is also passage at the end of the address in which the Holy Father indicates an intention to return to the subject of interfaith encounter and says:

    “This is another reason why I think it important to hold a day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world, as we plan to do on 27 October next, twenty-five years after the historic meeting in Assisi led by my predecessor, Blessed Pope John Paul II. Through this gathering, we wish to express, with simplicity, that we believers have a special contribution to make towards building a better world, while acknowledging that if our actions are to be effective, we need to grow in dialogue and mutual esteem.”

    Words in a papal allocution are carefully chosen. The expression “we believers” is particularly apt to encompass the three great monotheistic strands of belief: Jews, Christians and Muslims.