Tag Archives: ecumenism

Catholics and Orthodox need to preserve the good of the dialogue for unity

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Back on 31 October 2012, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk

delivered a lecture dedicated to the past and present of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue at Villanova University (Philadelphia, PA). The 46 year old Metropolitan earned a doctorate from Oxford University and was ordained a bishop in 2002. In addition to being a residential bishop he is also the head of the Department of the External Church Relations since 2009. He is a widely published author and an excellent musician of international repute. The two Churches share the same concerns, though there are nuances to be made but that is a conversation for another time. 

I think it is apropos to give a few extracts from the Metropolitan’s talk that pose some points for reflection on the unity of Christians. Remember we beginning the octave of Christian Unity on the 18th.

“The teaching of the holy fathers of the first millennium, when the Churches of the East and the West abided in unity, although at times this unity was subjected to serious trials, is the sure foundation upon which dialogue between Christians can develop successfully and fruitfully. It is my profound conviction that fidelity to the Christian tradition, the preservation of continuity in the teaching and life of the Church is the proper means for the restoration of unity among Christ’s disciples.

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Justin Welby appointed 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin and Caroline Welby.JPGThe 77 million Anglican Church has a new Archbishop of Canterbury with the appointment of Bishop Justin Welby, 57, as the 105th Ordinary of Canterbury, and successor of Saint Augustine. He was joined by his wife Caroline and his family, including he two-month old grand-daughter.

Spiritually formed by Ignatian and Benedictine spiritualities and makes the claim to have a Benedictine monk as a spiritual director, Justin Welby also says he’s been formed by Catholic Social Teaching. In the Anglican world Welby is an upper-class Englishman who attended Holy Trinity Brompton Church, an posh evangelical community that’s been highly influential in the CoE; educated at Eton College, and Trinity College, Cambridge.

He’s only been a bishop since 2011 and bishop of Durham, the 4th diocese of importance in England. Welby succeeds Archbishop Rowan Williams who is stepping down to pursue an academic appointment as Master of Magdalen College, Cambridge University.
Archbishop Justin Welby’s press release is noted here.
The posistion of Archbishop of Canterbury is vetted by a committee, approved by the Prime Minister of England and promoted by the monarch. The Canons of the Canterbury Cathedral will have to formally elected Welby as archbishop in January.
Some have said that Welby is just another face of the left-leaning establishment of the Church of England who seeks to “update” the Church with women clergy, a liberal approach to economy, and support for LGBT causes, and other matters of social concern. It must be noted Justine Welby says he’s not in favor of same sex marriage. The same commenters say that there’s really no change at Lambeth.
Archbishop Welbly will be enthroned in March. Cardinal Kurt Koch will be the Holy See’s representative. It is expected that shortly thereafter he will pay a visit to Pope Benedict XVI.
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Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Walsingham St Louis Abbey.jpgSeptember 24th is the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. She has had greater recognition in the past few years by Catholics in the USA due to an increased interest in ecumenism and the establishment of the personal ordinariats that offer Anglicans to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. The prayer, though, is prayer not just for ecumenism but for Our Lady to be present to us in mercy. We pray…

O blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Walsingham, Mother
of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon us, our
parish [our monastery], our country, our homes, and our families, and upon all
who greatly hope and trust in your prayers, (especially…). By you it was that
Jesus, our Savior and Hope, was given to the world; and He has given you to us
that we may hope still more. Plead for us your children, whom you did receive
and accept at the foot of the Cross, O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our
separated brother and sisters, that with us in the one true fold they may be
united to the Chief Shepherd, the Vicar of your Son. Pray for us all, dear
Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may be made worthy to see and
praise God, together with you in our heavenly home. Amen.

Image above is from the Oratory Ss. Gregory and Augustine, the Benedictine oratory at St Louis Abbey.

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Fr. Carrón gives tribute to Cardinal Martini, calls Communion and Liberation to live differently with the bishop

The President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation,
Father Carrón’s, said the following in tribute to Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini in a September 4th editorial in Corriere della Sera

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“And like Archbishop Montini, who initially confessed that he did not understand
Fr. Giussani’s method, though he did see its fruits, Cardinal Martini also
encouraged us to go forward. I am still moved by the words that he addressed to
Fr. Giussani in 1995, during a meeting of priests, when he thanked ‘the Lord,
who gave Msgr. Giussani this gift for continually re-expressing the core of
Christianity. ‘Every time that you talk, you always return to this core, which
is the Incarnation, and – in a thousand different ways – you propose it again.'”

The full text of the editorial: Julian Carron Letter on Carlo Martini’s death.pdf

This text is a brief, honest and yet key reflection not only on the life and influence of Cardinal Martini, perhaps an excellent synthesis of Christian life and how it is extroverted in a human being. There are some very tiresome reviews of who the Cardinal was, and what he meant to the Church too often in political language. To my mind those authors who evaluate a man such as Martini in this manner does not abide with the Gospel and faith.

The letter of Father Carrón acknowledges the fact that Communion and Liberation has significantly neglected the various opportunities of collaboration with Cardinal Martini that presented themselves over the years. This admission to members of CL should help all of us to reassess how we live and breathe in our given ecclesial context. This is a serious point that we can’t pass off to circumstance. That is to say, we who claim to be faithful members of CL need to work more diligently with the Diocesan Ordinary “in giving reasons for our hope” in concrete ways so that we are witnesses as the Servant of God Pope Paul VI said (cf. the letter).

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To the roots of communion

You can count on a delegation from the Ancient See of Constantinople visiting Rome and the Holy Father on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. Most years a small of group of bishops and archimandrites designated by the Ecumenical Patriarch descend on Rome to pray at the Tombs of Peter and Paul, to attend the Mass with the Pope and those receiving the pallium and to exchange ideas with the Pope. Lunch in the Apostolic Palace is regular. In an editorial by L’Osservatore Romano,  Pope Benedict talks more openly about the goal of these ecumenical exchanges. Eucharistic sharing is still impossible, but the hope and identifiable goal is that one day –and one hopes it happens in the next 50 years– that we can be in full visible communion. The editorial is below with my emphasis.


The Second Vatican Council, the 50th anniversary of whose opening is to be celebrated next 11 October, has marked “a new and important phase in relations” between Catholics and Orthodox. In recognizing this the Pope expressed the hope that “progress may also be made in the current phase“, while waiting “to arrive soon at the blessed day when we will be able to share in the Eucharistic banquet“.

The traditional meeting with the Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, received in audience on Thursday morning, 28 June, on the eve of the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, was an opportunity for Benedict XVI to recall the importance of the Council in the development of ecumenical dialogue. It was also an opportunity to remember, in particular, the “passion for the unity of the Church” which inspired the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and the Pontiffs, John XIII and Paul VI, who “made themselves champions of courageous projects that paved the way to renewed relations between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Catholic Church”.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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