Category Archives: Ecumenism

Benedict: Our divisions diminish our witness to Christ…The goal of full unityis a secondary victory but important for the good of the human family

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Dear brothers and sisters! It is with great joy that I extend my warm greetings to all of you who have gathered in this basilica for the liturgical Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, concluding the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, in this year when we are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, that the Blessed John XXIII announced in this very basilica on January 25, 1959. The theme offered for our meditation in the Week of prayer which we conclude today, is: “All shall be changed by the victory of Jesus Christ our Lord” (cf. 1 Cor 15.51-58).

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Pope explains the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

This week, as you know, is a period of time for prayer (and fasting, I hope) for the intention of Christian Unity. The intention in my mind, and I might say, in the mind of the Pope, is a non-negotiable: we need not only to pray but to actively work for unity among Christians. This week, therefore, is an invitation to beg the Lord for the grace of unity for the Church.

Pope Benedict speaks to the matter of our own conversion, a deep change of heart viz. unity. We need a united witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ today.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012

Week of prayer Christian unity 2012 logo.jpgThe theme of the ’12 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 Jan) is taken from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians “We will all be changed by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (15:51-58).

The Church prays for Unity among Christians

Make known in us, O Lord, the abundance of your mercy
and, in the power of your Spirit, remove the divisions between Christians, that
your Church may appear more clearly as a sign raised high among the nations and
the world, enlightened by your Spirit, may believe in the Christ whom you have

On the 25th, Pope Benedict will pray Vespers on the feast of the Conversion of St Paul at the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls with ecumenical partners. He’s been committed to this work of ecumenism and has worked to give the work a better and authentic focus. He’s called the “Pope of Christian Unity.” Let’s be united in prayer for the the intention of full, visible unity among Christians.

Protestant faith community unable to replace Catholic truth

From the point of view of truth, Ed Stannard’s article in today’s New Haven Register, “New Haven Church to Fill Spiritual Void” is a bit misleading when he fails to distinguish between the Church –meaning the Catholic Church– and the various ecclesial communities such as the Protestant types. He reduces the truth of being one, holy, catholic and apostolic, i.e., being authentically Catholic– to being opportunistic. No doubt there are opportunities for evangelization that the Catholics are unable to engage in now, but the presence of the Catholic remains solidly in New Haven and can never be replaced by a denomination, which the Catholics are not.

One should note, there is no one-to-one correspondence. One church community is not as good as another. They do not believe the same things (dogma and doctrine, the nature of the priesthood, Eucharist and apostolic authority) even though there are some superficial things that are the same (some liturgical practices). Hence, Catholicism is not on par –theologically or liturgically or justice-wise– with the Episcopal Church. And, the Rev. Robert Hendrickson knows this theology and ecclesiology well. What he is doing is poaching Catholics from the truth in a period when the Archdiocese of Hartford has been unable to assign young, vibrant priests and pastoral ministers to the area and frame their work as a call and mission from God and the Church.
While it is true that the Archdiocese of Hartford has not responded as best as it could to the religious needs of the people in the Hill section of town, the Catholic Church is still very present in this area of the city with the fact of Saint Anthony’s Church and the Catholic Worker House and with the people present.
Clearly, the new evangelization proposed by Benedict XVI needs to be enacted today.

Rowan Williams set to quit?

Rowan Williams Abp of Cant.jpgLots of speculation floating around these days about the retirement of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. If it happens, it’s expected after the Diamond Jubliee of Her Majesty, the Queen. Jonathan Wynne-Jones of London’s The Telegraph has an article, “Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams set to quite next year.” Say it ain’t so. I like Dr Williams, and I would be sad to see him leave the See of Canterbury. But may be if does, he can swim the Tiber, too.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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