Tuesday, April 19, 2005

pope benedict xvi on orthodox anglicans



Originally uploaded by gwbrark.
Do you remember? Former Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a letter of solidarity to the folks gathered at the Plano meeting. It pleases me. Here it is:

October 9, 2003

From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

The Vatican, on behalf of Pope John Paul II

I hasten to assure you of my heartfelt prayers for all those taking part in this convocation. The significance of your meeting is sensed far beyond Plano, and even in this City from which Saint Augustine of Canterbury was sent to confirm and strengthen the preaching of Christ's Gospel in England. Nor can I fail to recall that barely 120 years later, Saint Boniface brought that same Christian faith from England to my own forebears in Germany.

The lives of these saints show us how in the Church of Christ there is a unity in truth and a communion of grace which transcend the borders of any nation. With this in mind, I pray in particular that God's will may be done by all those who seek that unity in the truth, the gift of Christ himself.

With fraternal regards, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger


Thanks to Fr. Harmon, as often.

14 comments:

fantababy said...

nice blog!

Anonymous said...

I bet one of his secretaries wrote that Plano statement. Pope Benedict XVI has consistently referred to Protestants as "spiritually deficient."

I sometimes think it is funny when liberal protestants start to talk about ecumenism. Yesterday, in one of my courses, people were complaining about how this "setback" the ecumenical movement. I have found that those who appeal to the ecumenical movement are often synonymous with people like certain Episcopal Bishops who talk about "reconciliation" but actually use their power to persecute true Christians within their own diocese (Smith clearly believes he can wield power for orthodoxy, why can't Ratzinger).

I think ultimately it comes down to the fact that Catholic thought and hierarchy will not surrender to modernity. While other churches (like the UCC) feel that it is this submission to modernity that will ensure their survival, one need not look at church numbers of Unitarians and other dying liberal traditions to see that this idea is pure fallacy. As many evangelical churches have found, if you challenge people with the gospel they will come back. One does not need to change the gospel for church growth.

Newman

Johnny Awesomo said...

Of course protestants are spiritually deficient. That's why the demand of ecumenism is conforming to the catholic faith. That's why Ratzinger was so pleased with Plano. Kind of ironic how the "fundamentalist extremists" are the ones who are carrying on the ecumenical dialogue while those who devote all of their time and thought and energy to it are failing miserably.

Anonymous said...

Liberals always talk about "tradition" and "reason," without reading the later or understanding the former. Believe it or not, the Catholic Church is not going to become a haven for secular humanism because of the ecumenical movement.

Ecumenical Movement: Become Protestant and give up everything you believe because it would be more rational.
Benedict XVI: No
Ecumenical Movement: You are a fundamentalist.

J-Tron said...

How exactly does calling people names and insisting on your own spiritual superiority equate to true ecumenism while discussion amongst Protestant groups equates to true fundamentalism? I can't even begin to wrap my head around such a non-sequiter. Maybe that's my deficiency, for which I apologize. But it seems to me that the underpinning of ecumenism is honest dialogue between Christian groups in the hopes of breaking down barriers and maybe one day achieving unity. It requires people to be honest about who they are, not wishy washy, but it does also require a certain amount of tact and openness to the leading of the Spirit. Ratzinger has maintained that the only acceptable dialogue is one in which those outside of the Roman Catholic Church are assimilated. This is a fair position for him to take, but it is not ecumenism. One cannot say "I believe in dialogue, now shut up" and be truthful.

Anonymous said...

J-Tron,

That is why people like Ratzinger, because he believes in truth and not relativism. If Catholics want to be protestant (like you), we can join a protestant church and become postmodern. Thus, in my opinion, there is no real need for an ecumencial dialogue as you understand it.

Under Pope John Paul II, Catholics have begun to examine our own poor history in terms of toleration. Maybe, the church of east coast elitism should pursue this course instead of standing on a moral high ground shouting about the splendor of their moral superiority. Meanwhile, this contemporary "moral highground" has cost you any real sense of communion and the beginning of an Inquisition in CT.

John Henry Cardinal Newman

Anonymous said...

J-Tron,

That is why people like Ratzinger, because he believes in truth and not relativism. If Catholics want to be protestant (like you), we can join a protestant church and become postmodern. Thus, in my opinion, there is no real need for an ecumencial dialogue as you understand it.

Under Pope John Paul II, Catholics have begun to examine our own poor history in terms of toleration. Maybe, the church of east coast elitism should pursue this course instead of standing on a moral high ground shouting about the splendor of their moral superiority. Meanwhile, this contemporary "moral highground" has cost you any real sense of communion and the beginning of an Inquisition in CT.

John Henry Cardinal Newman

J-Tron said...

Respectfully, I have to wonder whether you take into account the millions of Catholics who responded to the reign of John Paul II by simply seeing the whole thing as untenable and staying home because of it. Most secularists are not diehard atheists or activists of any kind. They're people who have grown up to find that the symbols of religion shoved in their faces out of context with their actual lives no longer hold any meaning for them. So why bother? I don't think Roman Catholics in the west are going to leave in droves now to join Protestant denominations. I think they're going to do what they've been doing: stay home. Meanwhile Pentecostalism and American style evangelicalism will continue to grow rapidly in the third world.

JHCN, you use a lot of buzz words in your post. "Postmodern" and "elitism" and the like. And that's all well and good. But I don't quite know who you think you're arguing with. I hear so much railing against postmodernism these days. I wouldn't know postmodernism from a turnip truck. What I do know is that my life only has meaning if I am a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. And with that comes a deep sadness about the sinful divides in the Church, the damage that we inflict on the Body of Christ with our schismatic impulses. And perhaps sometimes there's no way around that splitting, but I don't think that lessens the severity of it. As a Catholic who fled from Rome, I find it worrisome that a man who outwardly professes a lack of respect for his brothers and sisters in Christ is now leading one of the world's largest bodies of Christians. It's not that I want him to be wishy washy either. There's a difference between moral relativism and recognizing the reality of our current situation. The Body of Christ lies in pieces, whether we like that or not. Our choice is whether we will work towards unity or further tear at the wounds.

Your point is taken that supposedly "liberal" Protestant denominations can become just as guilty of parochialism as the "conservatives" they so criticize. Dialogue between Christians that does not have humility at its heart is doomed to fail, no matter who the players are.

I am trying desperately to be hopeful, however, since the Holy Spirit is much stronger and much wiser than I am (thankfully!). I pray that the Spirit is with Pope Benedict, that it guides him and guides the Church into the future.

Anonymous said...

J-Tron,

I find it hard to believe that you are unfamiliar with the idea of elitism or postmodernism. But, if you think it is cute to play coy, go right ahead.

I do find it odd that you are so sensitive about these issues. If I made posts on my website about how disapointing Bishop Spong is to Christianity, I would expect that you would talk about how people shouldn't call each other names( from above, How exactly does calling people names and insisting on your own spiritual superiority). But yet, on your website, you write an attack piece on the new Pope.

I don't think it is RC's fault people are turning to Pentecostalism. I think it is statistically proven that they are leaving liberal denominations. Many feel that the "mainline" has accomodated modern society too generously. RC numbers continue to increase at rates much larger than the Episcopal Communion or the UCC (despite their add campaign).

John Henry Cardinal Newman

Johnny Awesomo said...

Tron,
Welcome to the po-mo club, we're glad to have you aboard.

Giles

J-Tron said...

JHCN,

I'm sorry if my post on the new pope offended you. It was not my intention to attack him, but to express my personal sadness at his selection in light of what he has done in the past. It is a sadness that many of my Roman Catholic friends and family have shared with me. But I do not question the man's faith in Christ. My post was meant to express my personal feelings based on a set of facts which I laid out, not to demean or make false charges. But again, I realize that it could be read in a different way, and so I apologize if I offended you. (And for the record, I would not object to any sort of factually based expression of disappointment in the theology of +Spong, as I'd likely share in the disappointment).

Roman Catholicism grows faster than mainline protestantism at least in part by virture of its mammoth pre-existing size advantage and its sense of itself as global, the latter of which mainline protestantism would do well to learn from. But the Church's growth is not staggeringly high, by any stretch, when compared with the growth rate of radical Islam, Mormonism, Pentecostalism, and atheism/secular humanism. I don't blame the Roman Catholic Church for the growth of these other groups, but there is statistically a correlation between Roman Catholic decline in specific areas of the world and an increase in these other categories. Maybe the correlation is incidental and one thing has nothing to do with the other. But when one looks at Latin America in particular, one has to wonder what that phenomenon is all about.

peace of Christ,


Jonathan

Anonymous said...

J-Tron,

I have enjoyed your candor. I just don't understand your logic on the Church growth issue.

You seem to imply that people are leaving the Roman Church in Latin America because it is too liberal. It seems that you are arguing that the people there are moving towards more conservative groups due to the liberal nature of the Church (Mormon, Islam, etc.).

Is your prescription to become more conservative? That is what you certainly seem to imply.

I believe that in many issues the Church is already too conservative, and I am dismayed by this suggestion.

Newman

j-tron said...

I think that in the absense of spiritual practice that truly touches people's lives and makes sense in their own experience, they will reach for whatever extreme solution is most handy, be it a more extreme form of religion or secularism.

Anonymous said...

J-Tron,

I just think we have different ideas. Catholics believe in giving indigenous people a voice and ecclesiastical power. Acting as a body, I don't think it is fair to criticize our Latin American brothers for ministering the Gospel poorly. I doubt you have ever been to Latin America and can properly speak to the quality of the clergy. Just because the Church does not have WASP's in Latin America does not mean the Gospel is being preach poorly there. From my experience in Texas, I know that many Mexican and Latin American Catholics are very enthusiastic and pious.

If you want to preach American Episcopalianism in Latin America, go right ahead. Nonetheless, unlike your affairs in Africa, you will probably have to discard your paternalism/elitism and let the Latin Americans have power within your ecclesiastical body.

Newman