William (aka Bill the Godfather)

William (aka Bill the Godfather)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Benedict XVI &The Spirit of Assisi

It's hard not to notice when the Pope shows up. And you can sometimes say the same when he doesn't. Last fall, Pope Benedict XVI was a notable no-show at a September ceremony to mark 20 years since John Paul II had hosted a groundbreaking gathering of world religious leaders in Assisi, Italy. Some viewed the Pope's absence as a slap to those working for inter-faith dialogue, both inside and outside the Catholic Church,. On Sunday, however, Benedict will be center stage at the most lavish, and well-attended inter-religious ceremony of his papacy, organized by the same Sant'Egidio community that helped launch Assisi. What has changed? Why is Benedict marking 21 years since "the spirit of Assisi" was uncorked, after skipping out on the 20th anniversary?
Read the rest here.
(Hat tip to T-19)

On a practical level I understand why he is doing this. But I really do wish he wouldn't. Unfortunately I have read too much about the history of Islam and the way it works to entertain any serious hope for an understanding. My feeling is that we should extend to them the same level of tolerance that they extend to Christians in predominantly Muslim countries, except for the killing them part. I do draw the line there. Beyond that I think they should stay in their part of the world until they learn to play and get along well with others.

With respect to discussions within Christendom, I think my feeling is what is the point? Protestants are Protestants and are not gong to change. The only exception might at one time have been the Anglicans but they reached a fork in the road back in the 70's. Their choice was go Catholic or Protestant. They have clearly made that choice, and they are realistically way past the point of no return. The dream of Anglican-Catholic reunion is dead (with the possible and intriguing exception of the TAC). The sooner Rome grasps this, the better for all concerned. Among Christians the only ones Rome really has any business holding serious talks with are the Orthodox.

The Christian world is fast dividing into two camps, the apostolic churches on one hand and the theological flavor of the moment groups on the other. Sorry if that offends some readers. But from the Roman / Orthodox perspective that’s really what it comes down to. I am perfectly OK with talking to other groups in order to promote improved understanding and mutual tolerance (which I do think is extremely important). But ecumenism for the sake of getting that cheap warm fuzzy is not a good idea. There has been enough dilution of truth. I have something less than zero use for groups like the NCC and the WCC. My profound albeit respectful theological disagreements with the Roman Church notwithstanding I think B-16 is the best thing to hit their side of the Tiber in a LONNNGGG time. The man calls it like he sees it. I may not agree with him all the time. But I have never failed to respect him. Truth is NOT relative.

6 comments:

Athanasius said...

Well, one also wishes that the Ecumenical Patriarch would give this a miss. . . .

I too admire Pope Benedict. Were I a Roman Catholic, he's probably the one I would have wanted for the job. I just read his fine little book Jesus of Nazareth (he's kinder to the historical-critical method than he should be, but he does challenge many of its assumptions). The first Assisi gathering seemed to assert almost explicitly that all religions are the same (remember the infamous Buddhist statue placed on the Catholic altar?). Of course, Benedict's predecessor was much less cautious about such things, and one hopes that this new gathering will avoid such excesses.

In any event, I agree with you that all this, as well as dialogue with Protestants, is basically useless.

A Simple Sinner said...

I think the net effect of this sort of event is pretty much a big zero, but I think I have some understanding of the purpose of it.

Sadly these efforts have been miscontrued as a sort of indifferentism. More than anything, I believe it is an effort that strives to demonstrate the possibility that peacible co-existence is out there.

Unfortunately too many people think that "we come together to pray" means "we come to pray together". In fact, that is not the point, but it is certainly spun that way.

Woodrow said...

Hello, I discovered this blog a short while ago, although I don;t remember how. Reunion with the Protestants. We Catholics who are converts to the Church from Protestant-Evangelical backgrounds hope for this, of course, but it is extremely difficult to see how it could come about. My Evangelical friends deny the logical consequences of sola Scriptura. You know, the whole idea that the Spirit tells ME what to believe even if it goes against 2,000 years of Christian understanding. One of the reasons I left Evangelicalism behind is the fact that its own foundational beliefs undermine its beliefs. In Evangelicalism, there is no authoritative way to denounce anything as heresy. This is why so many fall for the false Gospels of the mega-churches, the Word-Faith movement, etc. Since it will take a literal miracle for reunion to happen between the Latin Church and those groups who broke off from Her, I do pray for that miracle. And I also pray for the re-unification of the Armenian, Catholic, Coptic, and Orthodox Churches, too. May God grant that it be so soon!

Woodrow said...

Re: "Since it will take a literal miracle for reunion to happen between the Latin Church and those groups who broke off from Her, I do pray for that miracle."

I was referring to those groups who broke off during the so-called Reformation. Just wanted to clear that up.

a traditional Catholic said...

Father David,

Forgive me if this question has been answered in previous posts. How do the Orthodox feel about the revival of the Tridentine Mass? Is this more or less hopeful as regards reconciliation between East & West?

Johannim said...

AS A CONVERT TO THE CATHOLIC-CHRISTIAN FAITH FROM AN ANGLICAN/BAPTIST BACKGROUND AND FROM A CITY, WINNIPEG IN CANADA STEEPED IN ORTHODOX TRADITION A CITY WITH NO LESS THAN 4 EPARCHY'S AND AT LEAST ONe METROPOLITAN ARCHBISHOP I GREW UP TO APPRECIATE THE AWESOME BEAUTY OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH. AS A LATIN-RITE AND VERY TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC I PRAY FOR THE 1000 YEARS SPLIT BETWEEN CATHOLIC AND ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY END FOREVER. I ALSO BELIEVE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE POPE AND MEN LIKE PATRIARCH ALEXIS 1 OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND THE PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE WILL GO A LONG WAY TO A REUNION (AT LEST BETWEEN THE "TWO LUNGS OF THE CHURCH" IN EUROPE. AS FOR ANGLICANISM THEIR LITURGY (THAT OF THE ANGLO-CATHOLICS IN PARTICULAR IN THE TRADITIONAL BOOK OF COMMON PRAY CAN BE TRACTED BACK TO THE VENERABLE SARUM RITE) WITH MODIFICATION AND AFTER THE DISMAL FAILURES OF THE NOVUS ORDO MISSAE OF PAUL 6TH (AKA VENACULAR MASS) 1000 ORTHODOX ANGLICAN PRIESTS AT LEAST FOUR ANGLICAN BISHOPS AND 400.000 ANGLICAN LAITY SHOULD AND MUST BE WELCOMED BY ROME INTO THE FULLNESS OF THE CHURCH AND WITH THEIR OWN RITE (AFTER 500)YRS OF SEPeRATION. DON'T FORGET ENGLANDS ANCIENT TITLE OF THE "CRADLE OF MARY" AND THAT THE ENGLISH, SCOTTISH, IRISH, AND WELSH PEOPLE'S CHRISTIANITY GO'S BACK TO THE VERY EARLIEST CHRISTIAN CHURCHES, IT GO'S BACK AT LEAST TO THE 3RD CENTURY. ALSO AFTER THE LITURGICAL ABUSES OF THE LAST 40 YRS ANGLICANS CAN DEFINITLY RE-TEACH CATHOLICS HOW TO SING, ESPECIALLY THE PAPAL CEREMONIES IN THE VATICAN. IT IS BUT A MATTER OF TIME THAT THE SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS THE 10TH AND ROME RECONCILE AND HER PRIESTS (SSPX) WHO ARE SO BADLY NEEDED IN THE MAIN STREAM OF THE LATIN RITE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WILL BEGIN TO ASSIST THE HOLY FATHER IN THE REFORM OF THE LITURGICAL REFORM------SHALOM