Charlie Brown, Pope Francis and Political Economy

Remember the teacher’s voice in the Charlie Brown cartoons “Wah, wah, wah”?

That’s what I hear when I listen (most) clergy talk about economics and business.  You know it’s not uncommon for clergy to hold forth about these matters even while professing no particular expertise on the subject. As a result what they usually offer is a pretentious muddled folly that seeks to justify itself by falsely claiming to be a brave prophetic stance. Continue reading

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Syria, the Pope, China: A Conversation with Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion

Quote

RUSSIA_-_VATICAN_Pope+Fancis+Hilarion+VolokolamskMoscow (AsiaNews) – The concern for the fate of Christians in Syria , where ” extremist forces aim to completely destroy Christianity “, the signs of a possible “normalization of worship for Orthodox believers in China ” ; dissatisfaction in the field of theological dialogue with Catholics, but the “amazing results ” in the common work on moral and the social values ​​. In an interview with AsiaNews , Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk , Head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Relations, tackles the main “foreign policy” themes of the Russian Orthodox Church and also focuses on the internal situation in Russia, where – he says – the much- criticized law against homosexual propaganda should be taken as a model by Western countries , which instead by favouring homosexual unions are heading towards “certain death .”

The situation is dramatic is Syria, what is the Russian Orthodox Churches‘ view of this conflict?

The situation in Syria deeply troubles us. This armed conflict has been going on for some time now. I would not term it a civil war, because I believe that it is a case of a struggle between diverse states in the territory of a third State, and very often the armed groups , which some call the opposition , are actually composed of foreigners, fighting with foreign money .

What concerns the Moscow Patriarchate most?

What worries the Russian Orthodox Church most of all is the fate of the civilian population and that of the Christians. It is clear that the extremist forces seeking power have set themselves the goal of the complete and total destruction of Christianity in Syria. And if they take power, even temporarily, the Christian population will be eliminated or driven out from their lands and their churches will be destroyed. We have repeatedly expressed……

Read more at asianews.it

h/t: Free Republic

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Building a Common Front in Defense of the Faith

Quote

Religion & Liberty Executive Editor John Couretas interviewed Hilarion in October 2012 at the Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Nashotah, Wis. He was at the Anglican seminary to receive an honorary Doctor of Music degree. noted composer as well as an accomplished Orthodox Christian theologian, he delivered a talk at Nashotah titled, “The Music of J.S. Bach as a Religious Phenomenon.” In the interview, the Russian bishop talks about the situation in the Middle East, the Balkans and North Africa, and ecumenical relations. You can read the whole interview here.


R&L: I’d like to close with a question about ecumenical relations. You spoke earlier here at Nashotah House about your warm feelings for traditionalist Anglicans, but also about the drift away from tradition as you see it in the wider Episcopal Church. How would you describe the state of inter- Christian relations with Protestants and Roman Catholics vis-a-vis the Moscow Patriarchate?

Metropolitan Hilarion: I think the whole field of ecumenical relations can be divided into two major sectors—for us at least. One is the relations between the Orthodox and the Catholics. And another one is the relations between Orthodox on the one hand and the Protestants—Anglicans, Baptists, and others. And here I see two very different tendencies. With regards to Orthodox-Catholic relations, I see that generally, on the worldwide level, these relations are constantly improving and that there is a sense of rapprochement between the two traditions. We more and more realize that we are not competing structures but that we are allies in the process of evangelization and the mission. We don’t have many common missionary projects, but we have a similar missionary strategy and I think we, in spite of certain differences in theology, essentially are united on all social and moral issues. And this provides us with the possibility to form a common front to defend traditional Christianity, in particular against the challenges of militant secularism and atheism.

With regards to Anglican and Protestant communities, of course the situation is very different. In many Protestant communities of the West and of the North, the process of liberalization has gone very far. And we can no longer regard these communities as representing the authentic church tradition. On the contrary, we see that theological teaching, moral teaching, as well as church order is gravely affected in these communities by liberal trends. And with some of them we have to break relations. For example, we had to break the dialogue with the Episcopal Church of the USA in 2003 in spite of the fact that we had been in dialogue with this church for over 30 years. We had to suspend this dialogue because of the unacceptable events happening in this church, in particular the ordination of an openly-practicing homosexual into the episcopate. And we are now more involved in dialogue with the conservative wing of the Episcopal Church, in particular with the newly formed Anglican Church of North America, with the representatives of whom I met here at Nashotah House. And I believe that we will continue to support them.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Pope to Priests: “Go to the outskirts!”

Quote

Source Whispers in the Loggia.

From the beauty of all these liturgical things, which is not so much about trappings and fine fabrics than about the glory of our God resplendent in his people, alive and strengthened, we turn to a consideration of activity, action. The precious oil which anoints the head of Aaron does more than simply lend fragrance to his person; it overflows down to “the edges”. The Lord will say this clearly: his anointing is meant for the poor, prisoners and the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone. The ointment is not intended just to make us fragrant, much less to be kept in a jar, for then it would become rancid … and the heart bitter.

A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed. This is a clear test. When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news. Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with “unction”, they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the “outskirts” where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith. People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes. And when they feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: “Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem”, “Bless me”, “Pray for me” – these words are the sign that the anointing has flowed down to the edges of the robe, for it has turned into prayer. The prayers of the people of God. When we have this relationship with God and with his people, and grace passes through us, then we are priests, mediators between God and men.

We need to “go out,” then, in order to experience our own anointing, its power and its redemptive efficacy: to the “outskirts” where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters. It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord: self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others, giving what little ointment we have to those who have nothing, nothing at all.

A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little – I won’t say “not at all” because, thank God, our people take our oil from us anyway –misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, “has already received his reward”, and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”, shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men. True enough, the so-called crisis of priestly identity threatens us all and adds to the broader cultural crisis; but if we can resist its onslaught, we will be able to put out in the name of the Lord and cast our nets. It is not a bad thing that reality itself forces us to “put out into the deep”, where what we are by grace is clearly seen as pure grace, out into the deep of the contemporary world, where the only thing that counts is “unction” – not function – and the nets which overflow with fish are those cast solely in the name of the One in whom we have put our trust: Jesus.

Dear lay faithful, be close to your priests with affection and with your prayers, that they may always be shepherds according to God’s heart.

Dear priests, may God the Father renew in us the Spirit of holiness with whom we have been anointed. May he renew his Spirit in our hearts, that this anointing may spread to everyone, even to those “outskirts” where our faithful people most look for it and most appreciate it. May our people sense that we are the Lord’s disciples; may they feel that their names are written upon our priestly vestments and that we seek no other identity; and may they receive through our words and deeds the oil of gladness which Jesus, the Anointed One, came to bring us. Amen.

FROM THE HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS HOLY THURSDAY CHRISM MASS ST PETER’S BASILICA 28 MARCH 2013.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Table time: Pope discusses, prays, dines with Orthodox representatives

Quote

Source Catholic News Service.

By Cindy Wooden


VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pastors and theologians involved in ecumenical dialogue emphasize the importance of “table time” — sharing meals — along with serious theological discussions, shared prayer and joint action.

Pope Francis spoke about his ecumenical vision March 20 and prayed with delegates from Orthodox and other Christian communities at his inaugural Mass March 19.

Since March 17, he’s also had breakfast, lunch and dinner with the Orthodox representatives who came to Rome for his inauguration. Pope Francis is still living at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican guesthouse where the Orthodox delegates also were staying.

They all eat together and greet each other in the common dining room.

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Tarasios of Buenos Aires and South America was one of the delegates who shared meals and prayers with the new pope. In fact, he’s been doing that since then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio attended his enthronement in Buenos Aires in 2001.

When they first saw each other March 17, they embraced.

“I said to him, ‘What have you done?’ He said, ‘Not I. They did it to me,’ pointing to the cardinals,” said the Orthodox leader, who was born in the United States. Continue reading

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Have We Lost Sight of the Truth of Faith?

Quote

Source: NCRegister.com.

Pope Francis to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: “My Brother Andrew”

The most beautiful of Benedict XVI’s lessons on ecumenism was probably the homily the pope emeritus delivered during the Mass that concluded the last Schuelerkreis meeting — the annual gathering of his former students that has met since the 1970s.

Benedict invited his pupils not to limit themselves to listening to the word of God; they must practice it.

This is a warning about the intellectualization of the faith and of theology. It is one of my fears at this time, when I read so many intellectual things: They become an intellectual game in which ‘we pass each other the ball,’ in which everything is an intellectual sphere that does not penetrate and form our lives, and, thus, does not lead us to the truth.

Can a theological debate lose sight of the truth of faith?

Between Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, it was so. Papal primacy and papal infallibility have been the most dividing topics of discussion between the Eastern and Western Churches — otherwise so close,

….

Dominican Bishop Charles Morerod of Switzerland [in] an interview with 30 Giorni magazine in 2010, … explained that the problem of papal infallibility for the Orthodox Church comes from its insistence on the fact that “faith is never the result of a poll with a prevailing majority,” and he noted that, from the Catholic side, “fair and understandable statements on this issue have been written in the document for the gift of the authority, drafted from the Commission for the Dialogue Among Catholics and Anglicans” in 1998.

That document states that “any solemn sentence pronounced from the chair of Peter in the Church of Peter and Paul can only express faith in the Church.” The document also acknowledges that the “bishop of Rome, in peculiar circumstances, has the duty to discern and make explicit the faith of the baptized in commnion, and only this,” and that the specific Petrine ministry of the universal primate is a “gift” that all Christian churches should accept.

….

[The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI] last month, however, shuffles the cards…. There has always been the possibility of a papal resignation. But it is also true that it had not happened for nearly 600 years. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415.

Most Orthodox criticisms of papal primacy were based on this: While in the first millennium the primacy of the bishop of Rome was exercised in a way that might be a model to now unify the separated Church, there has been a second millennium in which the primacy of the pope was interpreted and lived, in the West, in increasingly accentuated forms, far from the ones that the Churches of the East are willing to accept today.

With his resignation, Benedict XVI in fact made this contrast less accentuated, by making the bishop of Rome a primus inter pares, able to resign like other bishops. This is more acceptable for Eastern Churches. And with his own accentuation of his role as bishop of Rome following his election, Pope Francis also has indicated his aim to reach a fully ecumenical unity.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Ecumenical Patriarch to attend Pope’s Inaugural Mass

Asia News reports that the “Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I will attend Pope Francis’s inaugural Mass.” According to … this is the first time such an event occurs since the Catholic-Orthodox split in 1054″ and represents “an important sign for Christian unity.”His All-Holiness “will be accompanied by Ioannis Zizioulas, metropolitan of Pergamon and co-president of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church, as well as Tarassios, Orthodox Metropolitan of Argentina, and Gennadios, Orthodox Metropolitan of Italy.”  You can read the article here which includes a statement from Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Department for External Relations, who expressed “his hope that under the new pontificate ‘relations of alliance will develop and that our ties will be strengthened.’”

Let me say upfront that I think that this is good news. Yes, I understand that there are dogmatic differences that separate the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. We can add to these a host of other, lesser differences in pastoral and liturgical practice that, while not carrying the same weight as dogma nevertheless represent existential and practical obstacles to communion. Without getting involved in recounting the specific, secondary issues let me simply say that both Catholic and  Orthodox Christians have a long history of polemics and triumphalism directed against each other that can be accessed through a quick search on Google. Continue reading

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)