- Tuesday, 26 October 2010 11:35
The bishops at the Synod of Bishops for the Middle
East have given the Holy Father the following propositions for his
consideration and perhaps for him to act on when he issues a post-synodal
document. The Synod is now closed and the bishops are on their way home and now it’s time for the Pope and his consultors to do some heavy lifting. The publication of the propositions was approved by the Pope, though they remain unofficial. Some of the propositions are formal, pro-forma and many are so boring
that watching the grass grow is fun.
There’s a lot boiler
plate or what I take to be normal, e.g., financial transparency, providing
information in Arabic, being hospitable to immigrants, listening to youth, etc.
Also, what’ve given here you can get a sense of what the churches face in their
situation. What’s evident to a Westerner is that our context in North America is a bit
more advanced, dare I say, than the situation many Middle Eastern Christians face. We already have experience of good
education, dialogue, fruitful collaboration with other faiths, developed
canonical processes. The propositions do raise the point of concern for our sisters and brothers who are Christians in the Middle East.
What is missing is the
consideration for a common date for Easter and a better awareness of the role
of the sacred Liturgy in the life of the churches.
- Thursday, 21 October 2010 07:36
The Fraternity of Communion and Liberation sponsored a forum in which the Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches attended and spoke about matter pertaining to peace-building in the Middle East. Notable in attendance were the Mayor of Rome and Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Patriarch Gregory of the Melkites, one of the most out-spoken Catholic patriarchs, said that if the international community could create the State of Israel it should also work for peace there. The conflicts in Israel and Palestine are destroying the fabric of peace, culture and family. Freedoms are of religion and conscience are not universally respected in all the countries of the Middle East. It was noted that Saudi Arabia gives no freedom of worship and conscience to their inhabitants.
Pray for peace!
- Thursday, 30 September 2010 13:14
On 22 September 2010, a giant in the world of
ecumenism and Eastern Christianity died after living with illness. No one can
doubt the sentiment expressed by the Pope saying that Monsignor Fortino had a “generous
commitment with intelligence and passion at the service of unity.” The Pope
last saw Monsignor Fortino on June 28 with the delegation of the Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew I. A telegram was sent through his secretary of state,
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, honoring the life of the undersecretary (third in
charge) of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who focused
particularly on relations with the Orthodox Churches.
Read more ...
- Friday, 24 September 2010 12:13
In May, the announcement of a new rector was made that the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, a Jesuit work for the universal Church, Jesuit Father James McCann. The new rector is a member of the Chicago Province of Jesuits, is 61 years old and was ordained a priest in 1979.
The PIO was founded in 1917 and entrusted to the Society of Jesus in 1922.
Check the website noted above for the new norms governing studies.
- Thursday, 23 September 2010 11:01
barren one, who had not given birth; for the behold you have conceived clearly
the one who is the dawn of eh Sun Who was about illuminate the whole universe,
blighted with sightlessness. Shout in joy, O Zachary, crying in favor, truly,
the one to be born is a Prophet of the High. (Troparion, 4th tone)
Byzantine liturgical calendar, today is the feast of the Conception of Saint
John the Baptist. The Eastern Church, at least the Churches with a Greek
origin, keeps three conception feasts: Our Lord (March 25), Our Lady
(December 9) and the Baptist (September 23). The Latin Church only keeps two.
Calendar study will tell you that
only the Savior has a perfect 9-month gestation period; Our Lady is a day under
(September 8) and the Baptist, a day under (June 24). The liturgical calendar of
the Latin Church places the conception of Mary on December 8, the feast of the
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The theology for today’s feast is rooted in the biblical
narrative of Zachary and Elizabeth, a couple who had no children and therefore
in the eyes of the world plagued by divine disfavor. All of their lives Zachary
and Elizabeth begged God to send them a son. Providence heard their prayer and in His plan and mercy for
all, ordained that the dawn of salvation would be effected by the birth of John
through the agency of the barren Elizabeth. The Church calls John the Prophet
and Forerunner of Jesus, the Savior of the world.
Other significant divinely merciful
births to barren women who are a significant part of the Divine Plan of Salvation are Isaac son of Sarah and Samson born to the wife
of Manoah (Samson’s mother is not named in Scripture).