Wednesday, January 27, 2016
A picture paints a thousand words
What thousand words is this picture saying?
++David Moxon's own report is here, but I suspect Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox might have their own thousands of words to say.
Pope Francis is really pulling out all the stops to reach out, beyond the strict literalness of Roman law (which, for instance, declares Mr David Moxon to be a layperson) and previously expressed papal views (that, saving the Eastern Orthodox) other Christians belong to "ecclesial communities" and not to actual, real churches. So here he includes Archbishop David Moxon in a shared blessing of thousands of Christians gathered at the end of a week of prayer for Christian unity.
But, wait, there is more.
Pope Francis has also said these words in his homily on the occasion. Words which are full of extraordinary grace and hope for real progress to be made towards actual Christian unity:
""As Bishop of Rome and pastor of the Catholic Church, I want to ask for mercy and forgiveness for the behavior of Catholics towards Christians of other Churches which has not reflected Gospel values. At the same time, I invite all Catholic brothers and sisters to forgive if they, today or in the past, have been offended by other Christians. We cannot cancel out what has happened, but we do not want to let the weight of past faults continue to contaminate our relationships. God’s mercy will renew our relationships."" (from the same link above)
Note that Pope Francis is crystal clear: he talks of "other Churches" (not, "ecclesial communities").
Let me put that in another way: other Churches.
And in case I have not clearly pointed out to you the expression he used, it was: OTHER CHURCHES.
Actually, even more important than such recognition, is the recognition that Catholics have erred. But so have Protestants and I think the "ball" of confession, forgiveness and repentance has been lobbed into our church courts. Who will make reply?
We are living in a new ecumenical era. The wave is flowing, will we catch it or miss it?