jan 242008
 

I gårsdagens audiens tok pave Benedikt (selvsagt) opp temaet om kristen enhet – siden dette temaet alltid står i sentrum denne uka i januer. Paven snakka om de 100 års historie denna markeringa har, om Den katolske kirkes plass i dette, og en hel del om Vatikankonsilets dokument om kristen enhet. (Noen lesere av denne bloggen er fryktelig negative til økumenikk, og de bør lese det paven her skriver grundig.)

Nedenfor følger hele pavens tale i engelsk oversettelse:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which comes to an end Friday, Jan. 25. This day marks the conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. Christians from various churches and ecclesiastical communities come together at this time in unanimous prayer to ask the Lord Jesus for the re-establishment of unity among his disciples.

It is a unanimous plea made with one soul and one heart in response to the Redeemer’s own desire, who turned to our Father at the Last Supper and said, “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (John 17:20-21). Asking for the gift of unity, Christians join in Christ’s prayer and commit themselves to work actively so that all of humanity welcomes and recognizes Christ as our only Shepherd and Lord, and thus experiences the joy of his love.

This year the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes on a special value and meaning, because it celebrates its 100th anniversary. From its beginnings it was a truly fertile intuition. It began in 1908: Father Paul Wattson, an American Anglican, founder of the “Society of the Atonement” (community of the Brothers and Sisters of Atonement), together with an Episcopalian, Father Spencer Jones, launched the prophetic idea of an octave of prayers for the unity of Christians. The idea was welcomed by the archbishop of New York and the papal nuncio.

In 1916 the call to pray for unity was then extended to the entire Catholic Church, thanks to the intervention of my venerated predecessor, Pope Benedict XV, with the papal brief “At Perpetuam Rei Memoriam.”

The initiative provoked much interest and was gradually established everywhere, perfecting its structure with time, and evolving also thanks to the contribution of Abbé Couturier (1936).

Later, when the prophetic wind of the Second Vatican Council blew, the urgency of unity was felt even more. After the Conciliar assembly the journey continued for the patient quest for full communion among all Christians, an ecumenical journey that year after year has found one of its most defining and beneficial moments in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

One hundred years after the first call to pray together for unity, this Week of Pr ayer has now become a consolidated tradition, preserving the spirit and the dates chosen by Father Wattson. Indeed he chose them for their symbolic meaning. According to the calendar at that time, Jan. 18 was the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, which is a strong foundation and guarantee of unity of the people of God, while on Jan. 25, as in present times, the liturgy celebrates St. Paul’s conversion.

While we give thanks to the Lord for these 100 years of prayer and of common engagement among many disciples of Christ, we remember with gratitude the author of this providential spiritual initiative, Father Wattson, and with him all those who promoted and enriched it with their contributions, making it something all Christians own together.

I was just telling you that the Second Vatican Council had dedicated a great deal of time and attention to the subject of Christian unity, especially in its decree on the Church (“Unitatis Redintegratio”) in which, among other things, the importance of prayer in promoting unity is particularly emphasized. Prayer is at the very heart of all church life. “This change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement” (UR, 8).

Thanks to this spiritual ecumenism — sanctity of life, conversion of heart, private and public prayer — the joint pursuit of unity has made great strides forward in the last decade and has diversified in many initiatives; from getting acquainted with and meeting members of various churches and church communities; to conversations and collaboration among various branches that become increasingly friendly; to theological discussions on concrete ways in which we can join together and collaborate with each other.

That which has given, and continues to give, life to this journey toward full unification for all Christians first and for emost — is prayer. “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17 ) is the theme of this year’s Week of Prayer. It is at the same time an invitation that never stops resonating in our communities, because prayer is the light, the strength, the guide for our footsteps as we listen humbly to our God, the God of us all.

Secondly, the Council emphasizes common prayer, joint prayer between Catholics and other Christians directed toward the only celestial Father. To this end the Decree on Ecumenism affirms: “These prayers offered in common are doubtless a very effective means to beseech for Christian unity” (UR, 8). In common prayer Christian communities unite before the Lord, they become aware of the contradictions generated by division, and they show the will to obey the Lord’s will, faithfully turning to him for his omnipotent help. Furthermore, the decree adds that such prayers are “a genuine manifestation of the links with which Catholics continue to be joined to their separated brothers” (ibid.).

Common prayer is therefore not a voluntarist or a purely sociological action, but an expression of faith that unites all disciples of Christ.

As the years have passed, active collaboration has been established in this field, and since 1968, the then Secretariat for Christian Unity, which became the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Ecumenical Council of Churches, together prepare the guidelines for the Week of Prayer for Unity, which are then divulged to the world reaching areas that would have not been covered without this collective work.

The conciliar decree on ecumenism refers to prayer for unity when, toward the end, it affirms that the council knows that “this holy proposition to reconcile all Christians in the unity of the Church of Christ, the one and only, surpasses all human forces and gifts. Therefore, it places all its hope in the Christ’s prayer for th e Church” (UR 24).

It is the knowledge of our human limits that drives us to abandon ourselves to the hands of the Lord with complete trust. We see only too well the true meaning of the Prayer Week; to rely on the prayer of Christ, who continues to pray in his Church so that “all may be one … so that the world may believe” (John 17:21).

Today the truth of these words really hits home. The world suffers from the absence of God, from God’s inaccessibility; it strives to know the face of God. But how could the men of today meet the face of God in the face of Jesus Christ if we, Christians, are divided, if one set of teachings is against the other?

Only united are we really able to show to the world — that needs it — the face of God, the face of Christ.

Although the dialogue and all we do is very necessary, it is also obvious that it is not through our own strategies that we can achieve unity. What we can obtain is our availability and capability to welcome this unity when the Lord grants it to us. Here is the sense of prayer: to open our hearts, to create in us the availability that opens the road to Christ.

In the liturgy of the ancient Church, after the sermon the main celebrant — the bishop or the president of the celebration — used to say: “Conversi ad Dominum” (turn to the Lord). Then he and everybody else stood up and turned themselves toward the East. All wanted to look toward Christ. Only if converted, only through this conversion to Christ, in this common look at Christ, can we find the gift of unity.

We can state that it was prayer for unity that enlivened and accompanied the various stages of the ecumenical movement, especially since the Second Vatican Council. In this period the Catholic Church got in touch with the various Churches and ecclesial communities of the East and the West with various forms of dialogue, facing with them the theologi cal and historical issues that had risen over the centuries and had established elements of division. The Lord has allowed such friendly relations to improve reciprocal knowledge and to intensify communion, at the same time giving a clearer perception of the problems that still exist and are the causes of division.

Today, during this week, we give thanks to God who has sustained and guided the journey thus far; a rich journey that the conciliar decree on ecumenism described as “emerged by the grace of the Holy Spirit” and “growing more ample every day” (UR, 1).

Dear brothers and sisters, let’s accept the invitation to “pray without ceasing” that the apostle Paul extended to the first Christians of Thessalonica, a community that he himself founded. Because he knew that dissent had started, he implored them to be patient with everyone, to not repay evil with evil, but to look for the good between them and everyone, and to be happy w hatever the circumstances, happy, because the Lord is near us. St. Paul’s sermon to the Thessalonians can guide the behavior of Christians in their ecumenical relations today.

Above all he says: “Live in peace among yourselves.” And then: “Pray without ceasing, and in all circumstances, give thanks” (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:13-18). Let us also welcome this entreaty from the apostle both to thank the Lord for the progress achieved in the ecumenical movement, and to appeal for full unity.

May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, make it possible for all the disciples of her divine Son to live in peace and reciprocal charity, as a true example before the whole world, and make the face of God accessible in the face of Christ, who is God-with-us, God of peace and unity.

  7 Responses to “Kristne må be sammen – sier paven”

  1. Jeg er en av dem som er negative til mye(men ikke alt!!) av den økumenikken som drives idag. Grunnen til dét er først og fremst at det skaper et bilde av at alle “kristne” kirker ( det finnes bare to skikkelige kirker, hvorav en av dem er den sanne) og kirkelignende samfunn står på lik fot, som om de er like og jevnbyrdige. Det gir også inntrykk av at det ikke er frelsesnødvendig å konvertere til Kirken om man er klar over at Kirken er den sanne kirke, men at man tvertimot kan være der man er og at frelsen også finnes utenfor Kirken (forstått som det mystiske legeme)
    Man insisterer ikke lenger på at protestanter må konvertere og den nymotens Kasperlinjen med økumenikk fører slett ikke til massekonversjon. Det rare er at den “gamle” linjen med insistering på konversjon, førte til haugevis av konvertitter. Bare i USA var det opptil 100 000 i året. I England rundt 60 000.
    Tridentinerkonsilet og andre konsiler er smekkfullt av anatemisering av mange aktiviteter som foregår idag. Pavene har gjentatt og gjentatt dette budskapet. Det finnes 100 000 buller og encyklikaer som klarer svært klare ord om temaet, i motsetning til alle disse “tolkningskandidatene” vi får idag, med dobbeltspråk og en mening det nesten er umulig å finne. Har Kirken endret lære, eller? Er dogmene endret? Ingen skal kunne få meg til å tro at “nei” plutselig betyr “ja”. Lyspunktet har vært denne paven, som ser ut til å kunne gi klare ord for pengene.

    Da deformasjonen slo til på 1500-tallet, så møtte ikke Kirken det med ” Bli hvor dere er, kjære Luther, Calvin og Zwingli m/følge. La oss be sammen, dele gudstjenester og kirkebygg” Kirken gjenerobret også store deler av det deformerte området gjennom Motreformasjonen, som ikke akkurat utmerket seg med karer som Kasper og Etchegaray, men med gamle dagers jesuitter som brant av vilje og tro etter å konvertere de reformerte.
    I vår tid har vi hatt Assisifellesbønn med buddhister som fikk tildelt katolske kirker der de kunne foreta hedenske riter, hinduer som ofrer hedenske djevleriter på alteret i Fatimabasilikaen, oppfordring fra paver (JPII) om at animister fra Afrika må be sin guddom, “Den store Tommel” om verdensfred, katolske biskoper som under ritualer mottar hinduvelsignelser og hindu-yppersteprestklær (biskopen av Fatima-Léira og Msgr. Guerra ved Fatimahelligdommen).

    Om vulgærøkumenikken kan være en vei inn for noen, så er den en vei ut for flere. Om jeg hadde blitt utsatt for Kasper da jeg gikk i trosundervisning, hadde jeg nok ikke konvertert, for den lærdom jeg mottok gjelder visstnok ikke lenger, ifølge Kasper. Vi har jo også sett hvor ufattelig mange som opplever Kirken helt irrelevant idag, som om Hun er ett av mange alternativer. Ikke rart, når kirkemenn i gjerning og ord faktisk gir inntrykk av det.
    Jamfør f.eks disse to:
    “”The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia productive of eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” -Pave Eugenius IV- EX CATHEDRA i 1441.

    “In an interview given to the Italian newspaper Adista, Cardinal Walter Kasper, Prefect of Vatican Council for Promoting Christian Unity, stated that since Vatican II “we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a ‘return’, by which the others would ‘be converted’ and return to being Catholics.” (February 26, 2001)” – Kardinal Kasper.
    Kasper sier også at den gamle pakt frelser jødene……

    Paven ønsker at vi ber for kristen enhet og det gjør jeg gjerne. Men jeg ber for alle andre kristnes konversjon til den ene fold som finnes, den fold som er én, hellig, katolsk og apostolisk. “At de alle må være ett”, er slik sett på en måte oppfylt, men jo flere som er på avveie vi kan få med, jo bedre og jo større glede er det i himmelen over bortkomne får som vender hjem. Hele min familie er ikkekatolske kristne, noen av dem med svært sparsommelig oppfatning av hva de egentlig tror. Jeg ber for dem, at deres hjerter må bli åpnet, slik at de ser at Kirken er den sanne kirke og at de kommer hjem. Uten dette, er deres frelse enda mer usikker.
    Slik jeg forstår det paven oppfordrer til, så er det bønn om enhet, vennlig og praktisk samarbeide, samt samtaler om tettere bånd. Det er jo helt greit og attråverdig, så lenge hovedmålet er at “de andre” antar samme tro som oss etter hvert. Seriøs økumenikk ser jo også ut til å oppnå dette, som noen gamle poster her har vist.

    Pastor Moi skrev en gang at økumenikk er svært krevende…. Det tror jeg på. Det er et landskap det er lett å gå seg vill i.

  2. I can’t understand how one can advice to pray with the schismatics and the heretics.
    What the catholics of nowadays called “brothers and sisters” are in reality just “schismatics or heretics”. They deny some articles of the faith and therefore, as teached st Augustine, they don’t have the faith at all. Moreover they are not going to be saved (see the dogma “Outside the Church, there is no salvation”).
    So the catholics must pray for the conversion of all these poor schismatics and heretics to the only true Church of Christ : the catholic Church.
    Catholics must stop with this stupid and unproductive oecumenism. The true unity will b obtained ol when heretics and schismatics will go back to the Church… All other types of unity are not true unity but false doctrine.
    Worse than that, the Vatican has given up with the conversion of the Jews… But I’ll talk later on that topic.

  3. Trond
    Økumenikk dreier seg om at vi er sammen med ande kristne, om de tingene vi er enige om. Det betyr ikke at vi også kan påpeke de punktene vi katolikker mener vi har rett og andre har feil. Men i økumeniske samlinger vil det være upassende å fokusere for mye på det som skiller. (Forøvrig har kardinal Kasper ingen egen, personlig agenda eller linje; har fokuserer på økumenikken fordi det er hans oppdrag.)

  4. René,

    In the second quote of my former post, I referred to the public declarations of Cardinal Kasper regarding how “we” no longer (which by the way, implies that “we” in fact once did understand it that way!) understand ecumenism as a return to the Catholic fold (as opposed to how Pius XII defined the goal of true ecumenism) and later how the Old Covenant is supposedly still salvific for the Jews. Does this, then, imply a denial of the dogmatic truth that the Old Covenant was superseded by the New Covenant? If it does imply such a denial, can it then be said that such a statement also denies that only through Christ can we be saved? The post-temple Judaic religion effectively and most emphatically denies Christ. In fact, the Talmud blasphemes against Him repeatedly. How in the world can it then be said that the believing rabbinical Jews are saved? Has words lost their meaning?
    Can this religion, this false religion of post-temple rabbis, save anyone? Even the religion of Mohammed does not deny Christ (Issa=Jesus) totally, “only” His divine nature and that He is the Son of God and consequently reduces his status to that of “prophet”.

  5. Problemet med de to siste kommentarene (på engelsk) er at de forutsetter en motsetning mellom pave Pius XII (bl.a.) og pave Johannes Paul og pave Benedikt – som ikke finnes.

    Katolikker skal følge Kirkens leder, vår pave, og så blir det eventuelt (men her i praksis ikke) et problem for den nåværende pave å følge Kirkens kontinuerlige læretradisjon.

  6. Pastor,

    Jeg ønsker ikke å ta stilling til eventuelle motsetninger dem imellom. Det er ikke legfolks oppgave. Jeg har ikke en eneste gang nevnt pave Benedict XVI og jeg har en gang nevnt en av JPII’s handlinger, som jeg har all rett til å stille spørsmål ved i lys av Kirkens lære.
    Til og med Ratzinger gjorde det da han var kardinal. Han nektet blant annet å være med på Assisi-II.

    Fr. Georg Ratzinger, pavens bror, bekreftet også i et intervju i 30 Days Magazine ved Benedicts innsettelse, at det er sterke motsetninger mellom Benedict XVI og Kasper. Man skal ikke late som om “romanítas” ikke eksisterer.

  7. Trond
    Vi snakker vel her om hovedtrekkene i Den katolske kirkes syn på økumenikk; kan katolikker være sammen med andre kristne rundt det man er enige om, og kan man be og arbeide for større kristen enhet? På disse hovedpunktene er det selvsagt ingen ulikhet i syn mellom kardinal Kasper og pave Benedikt.

    Men det er noen mennesker som stadig trekker i tvil disse hovedtrekkene i Den katolske kirkes økumenikk, og mener at de er ukatolske (og siterer tidligere paver for å “bevise” dette). Det syns jeg er svært problematisk.

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