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Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury must not be afraid to argue

April 4th, 2013 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Ecumenism, Pope Francis Comments Off

by Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald

The ecumenical process will be enlivened by the Pontiff and archbishop having some spirited rows

There can be little doubt that the new Pope and the new Archbishop of Canterbury will get along very well. The two men share an admirable concern for the poor and the disenfranchised. They have similar styles when it comes to meet-and-greets and, perhaps most significantly, there is considerable harmony when it comes to the taproots of their spirituality. Welby, the Anglican who has sought spiritual advice from Catholics, is also a fan of Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Pope’s order. Francis, the Catholic who knows the value of grassroots initiatives, will have been impressed by Welby’s pre-enthronement “prayer pilgrimage”.

The similarities can be exaggerated, of course. That puzzling word “evangelical” has been mentioned a lot in recent weeks, but there is room for caution. An evangelical Catholic (and we might as well go by George Weigel’s detailed, but still rather hazy definition) is not the same as a Protestant Evangelical, and I can’t imagine that Francis would be terribly impressed by everything that transpires at Holy Trinity Brompton. Still, there is a lot of common ground, and this is marvellous. There was a time when popes and Archbishops of Canterbury spat anathemas at each other and traded accusations of heresy. It is good that we are past all that: sending congratulatory messages is much healthier for the Christian commonwealth than burning martyrs at the stake or indulging in continent-blighting religious wars. This doesn’t mean, however, that there should be no tension between Rome and Canterbury. It should always be a respectful but slightly awkward relationship, and there must always be an opportunity to articulate profound differences of opinion. This serves to make both communions stronger and lends moments of genuine agreement much greater significance. With some audacity I urge the Pope and the archbishop to bear this in mind whenever they share a pot of tea.

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Orthodox fear for ecumenical future

November 29th, 2012 Jill Posted in Ecumenism, Women Bishops Comments Off

Metropolitan Hilarionby George Conger, CEN

WOMEN BISHOPS, gay marriage and other innovations of doctrine and discipline will end meaningful Anglican-Orthodox relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR) has warned.

At a 26 November meeting in Moscow, Ambassador Tim Barrow and second secretary James Ford met with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to the official press statement, “Metropolitan Hilarion greeted the Ambassador and shared his reminiscences of his student years in Oxford and his impressions of the recent visit to London where he attended celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Sourozh diocese.”

They also discussed the situation of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, the role the Russian Orthodox and Polish Catholic Churches had played in reconciling the “peoples of Russia and Poland” and the state of “Orthodox-Anglican relations at present” – which the Moscow Patriarchate said were at a nadir.

On 13 November, Hilarion wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury designate, Bishop Justin Welby, offering his greetings upon the Bishop of Durham’s appointment as 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

However, Hilarion said meaningful Orthodox-Anglican ecumenical dialogue had all but died, and it was the Anglicans who have killed it.

In a carefully worded letter, Hilarion stated Moscow expected Bishop Welby to discipline the liberal wing of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Welby had been “entrusted with the spiritual guidance of the entire Anglican Communion, a unique union of like-minded people, which, however diverse the forms of its existence in the world may be, needs one ‘steward of God’ the guardian of the faith and witness to the Truth.

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Westminster Abbey choir sings for Pope Benedict

June 30th, 2012 Jill Posted in Church of England, Ecumenism, Pope Benedict, Roman Catholicism Comments Off

Westminster Abbey’s Choir sang for Pope Benedict XVI, with the Cappella Musicale Pontificia ‘Sistina’, the Sistine Chapel Choir, at the Papal Mass marking the Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul in St Peter’s Basilica, Rome, on Friday 29th June, a historic occasion of great significance for Anglican-Catholic relations.

The service was broadcast live across the world and was the first time in its 500-year history that the Sistine Chapel Choir had sung alongside another choir during a service.

The Abbey Choir was invited to Rome by Pope Benedict XVI, following his visit to the UK in September 2010, during which he attended an ecumenical service of Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey. This reciprocal visit is a further fruit of the Pope’s visit to Great Britain and is a powerful symbol of the communion already achieved between the Anglican and Catholic churches.

The Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend Dr John Hall said: ‘It is not hard to detect behind this invitation from His Holiness a papal project to restore some of the Church’s musical tradition to the liturgy. The experience of participating in these liturgies in Rome has enriched the Abbey and its Choir and the Anglican tradition of worship.’

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We will all be changed

January 26th, 2012 Jill Posted in Church of England, Ecumenism, Women Bishops Comments Off

From Ancient Briton

A further drop in Church of England attendance has been reported. Average Sunday attendance fell from 944,400 in 2009 to 923,700 the following year, continuing the long-term downward trend. Hardly the result one might have expected after the church decided to make itself more relevant to society by becoming ever more secular.
In an unhelpful Blog article for the Guardian on the prospect of women bishops in the CofE, Andrew Brown writes: "The Church of England's fudge on female bishops is breathtaking". He concludes with the comment: "It may be possible to fudge questions about the nature of a communion wafer in this way. But I don't think it will do for a matter of employment law." So the Body of Christ can be fudged but Its administration by the sacred ministry is something that should be determined by employment law! No wonder so many churches are for sale with plenty more to come as attendance dwindles.

The theme of this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is 'We will be changed'. From the Churches Together site:
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Joint Implementation Commission, Moving Forward in Covenant: Interim Report 2008-2011

June 16th, 2011 Jill Posted in Church of England, Ecumenism Comments Off

From The Church of England Website

New recommendations for Anglicans and Methodists in Covenant – The Methodist Church and the Church of England should work more closely together in their local communities, according to a new report from representatives of both Churches.
The Joint Implementation Commission, set up under the Anglican-Methodist Covenant of 2003, is recommending that the two Churches should share their mission and ministry more widely. Its new interim report Moving Forward in Covenant, due to be considered by both the Methodist Conference and the General Synod in July, urges Methodists and Anglicans to join forces on the ground in a more far-reaching way than ever before.
Professor Peter Howdle, Co-Chair of the Joint Implementation Commission, said: "Moving Forward in Covenant contains some significant material. First, it summarises where both our Churches currently are regarding their 2003 Covenant and states where further progress needs to be made in order to move towards closer communion. Secondly, it includes an important development by proposing the establishing of 'Covenant Partnerships in Extended Areas'.
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Archbishop of Canterbury issues ecumenical Christmas letter

December 16th, 2010 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Ecumenism Comments Off

From ICN

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued his ecumenical Christmas Letter to the heads of other Churches and Christian world communions yesterday. In the letter he urges Christian leaders to affirm their faith in God's action and presence, and to offer support and advocacy to fellow Christians, as well as people from other faiths.

The Archbishop speaks of the significance of international events leading to a renewed awareness of the Body of Christ:

"In early November we had shocking news of atrocities against Christians in Iraq, and the whole Christian world prays and grieves with that small and courageous community living in daily danger. Regular reports reach us in the West of terrible atrocities against children in the war-torn lands of Congo, Sudan and other places. Every time such an outrage occurs, we are recalled to the reality of our involvement in the Body of Christ; when any member suffers, the whole Body suffers (I Cor 12.26)"

He also speaks of the importance of unity when faced with oppressive and dangerous circumstances, encouraging relationships between believers of all faiths to be strengthened through shared experience:

"We are called to daily involvement in prayer and advocacy for all our fellow-Christians in situations of oppression and danger – and all their neighbours too, of whatever belief, since the evils of violence and tyranny are not felt by Christians alone, nor can their sufferings be isolated from those of their neighbours. We are called to discover all the various ways in which we may express that solidarity. And we are humbled and gladdened by the fact that their courage and generosity in witness is God's gift to all of us; their clear and brave service to the faith, even to the point of death, helps us grow and become firmer in our own faith. "

The Archbishop concludes his letter by urging solidarity with those facing adversity, drawing parallels between modern life and the time of Christ:

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Pope visit: Anglicans and Catholics can share a mission

September 13th, 2010 Jill Posted in Ecumenism, Pope Benedict Comments Off

Bishop of Guildford Christopher HillBy Christopher Hill

Opposition to the Pope's visit, intellectually, represents an attack on all Christians, indeed on faith, writes Christopher Hill, The Bishop of Guildford

[.....]   My hopes as an Anglican bishop are twofold. Pope Benedict is a formidable philosopher and theologian. He has spent much of his ministry analysing the ebb-tide of faith in modern Europe. This is also a matter Archbishop Rowan Williams has devoted much attention to.

Instead of slogans on buses pressing an atheist cause, or the reverse, I hope the visit will promote real dialogue between those of faith, those in doubt and those who deny.
Secondly, Pope Benedict will meet his bishops and the Church of England bishops at Lambeth Palace. Anglican and Catholic bishops regularly meet but doing so with the Bishop of Rome will, I believe, reinforce and further encourage our common mission. Differences will remain but what we have in common far outweighs them.
Our meeting will signal that our future mission must be in common to a society not quite as secularised as we sometimes imagine and which is searching for the rumour of what is good and beautiful for humankind. And in searching together for what is good and beautiful we find God.
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Pope’s Cyprus visit ‘may lead to summit with Russian Orthodox Church’

May 21st, 2010 Jill Posted in Ecumenism, Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism Comments Off

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill by Richard Owen, Timesonline

There is growing speculation that the Pope’s visit to Cyprus next month for talks with Orthodox leaders could lead to a long-awaited summit between the pontiff and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill I to heal the 11th-century schism between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity.

In a move toward reconciliation today Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, the head of external affairs for the Moscow Patriarchate, delivered a message of greetings from Patriarch Kirill at a concert of Russian music in the Vatican attended by the Pope.

Chrysostomos II, the Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus, said this week that he hoped to arrange a summit and offered Cyprus as a possible venue. His previous attempts to arrange a papal meeting with the late Patriarch Alexei II were unsuccessful.

However, diplomats said that the death of Patriarch Alexei and the succession of Patriarch Kirill had given the reconciliation process “new impetus”.

Metropolitan Hilarion said that there were still outstanding issues between Rome and Moscow, including tensions over the role of Greek Catholics in western Ukraine. “The theological dialogue still has a long way to go,” he said. However a summit meeting was “our desire, it is a hope, and we must work for it”, he said, adding that “People and times have changed”. Read here

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Anglican Global South Attracts Major Potential Ecumenical Partners

April 23rd, 2010 Jill Posted in Ecumenism, Global South Comments Off

From Christian Post

Though it has been struggling with an internal crisis, the worldwide Anglican Communion is still attracting positive attention.

Casting sights on possible ecumenical partnerships with the Communion are the registered Protestant Church in China and Coptic Orthodox Church.

This is mainly due to the rise of the Anglican Global South.

Representatives of both church bodies were invited to the fourth Anglican Global South summit held this week in Singapore.

The church leaders have expressed an interest in deepening their relationship with the Anglican Communion.

“I hope that the Chinese Church and the Anglican Global South can expand their cooperation,” said Elder Fu Xianwei.  Read here

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Archbishop Nichols praises papal decree for encouraging Catholic-Anglican dialogue

January 27th, 2010 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Arcic, Ecumenism, Roman Catholicism Comments Off

From CNA

The president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said this week that the publication of the apostolic constitution allowing Anglicans the option of entering into full communion with the Catholic Church “will have important consequences” in England.

The apostolic constitution, “Anglicanorum coetibus,” was issued by Pope Benedict last November.

In an interview with Vatican Radio in Rome, where the archbishop is with other English prelates for their ad limina visit, Archbishop Nichols said, “The reaction to this document is, in a certain sense, measured. There was a strong reaction at first, which was inflated by the media. Now we are in a phase of evaluation, reflection and prayer.”

In order for there to be a “complete assessment of the Pope’s initiative,” the archbishop said, “one must consider the important announcement of the start of the third phase of ARCIC talks, the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission.  In my opinion, the two are related.”

“The response of the Holy Father has given a positive stimulus to ARCIC's debates,” he continued adding that the coinciding of the launch of ARCIC III and the apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum coetibus" is not a coincidence.”

“In our joint declaration,” Archbishop Nichols stated, “the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and I have said that this move by the Holy See will end a period of uncertainty, and consider this to be a positive contribution to a wider dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole, which will have important consequences for the country.”

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Scottish Churches enter into new partnership

January 24th, 2010 Jill Posted in Ecumenism Comments Off

By Brian Hutt, Christian Today

The Scottish Episcopal Church, Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church in Scotland entered into a new covenant with one another on Saturday.

The partnership was sealed by the denominational leaders at a special service at St Ninian’s Episcopal Cathedral, Perth.

Signing the agreement on behalf of the URC was Primus the Most Rev David Chillingworth, who welcomed the formal coming together of the Churches.

He said: “I am delighted to take part in the signing of this covenant agreement. Our General Synod has whole-heartedly affirmed this covenant and welcomed this developing relationship with our partner churches."

The covenant was also signed by the Rev Lily Twist, Superintendent of the Methodist Church in Scotland and Rev John Humphreys, Moderator of the United Reformed Church, National Synod of Scotland.

The covenant reflects the work being undertaken jointly by the Churches already in areas like training and mission development.

The Churches will also share their resources, education and development opportunities for clergy and congregations.

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Russian Church is likely to suspend its dialogue with German Lutherans

November 12th, 2009 Jill Posted in Ecumenism, Orthodoxy, Women Bishops Comments Off

Archbishop HilarionFrom Interfax

The Russian Orthodox Church is ready to suspend the dialogue with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany after woman bishop Margot Kaessmann has become its leader.

“We planned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our dialogue with the Lutheran Church in Germany in late November or early December. The 50th anniversary of the dialogue will become the end of it,” head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk was quoted as saying by the Kommersant daily on Thursday.

Archbishop Hilarion reminded that Orthodoxy did not accept female priesthood.

“We can develop the dialogue, but there raise lots of simple protocol questions. How will the Patriarch address her or meet with her?” the Russian Church representative said.

Kaessmann, 51, a divorced mother of four daughters, was elected head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany, which unites over twenty Lutheran and Reformed Churches, during the Synod held on October 28.

Russian Lutherans supported the Moscow Patriarchate official’s statement and agreed that female episcopate is a sign of crisis in the Western society.

“We don’t have women bishops as introducing such an institute is not a Biblical action,” general secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria (Russia) Fr. Alexander Prilutsky said.


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Benedict’s Gambit

October 27th, 2009 Diana Posted in Ecumenism, News, Pope Benedict Comments Off

by Ross Douthat, Op-ed New York Times

Ross DouthatThe Church of England has survived the Spanish Armada, the English Civil War and Elton John performing “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Diana’s Westminster Abbey funeral. So it will probably survive the note the Vatican issued last week, inviting disaffected Anglicans to head Romeward, and offering them an Anglo-Catholic mansion within the walls of the Roman Catholic faith.

But the invitation is a bombshell nonetheless. Pope Benedict XVI’s outreach to Anglicans may produce only a few conversions; it may produce a few million. Either way, it represents an unusual effort at targeted proselytism, remarkable both for its concessions to potential converts — married priests, a self-contained institutional structure, an Anglican rite — and for its indifference to the wishes of the Church of England’s leadership.

This is not the way well-mannered modern churches are supposed to behave. Spurred by the optimism of the early 1960s, the major denominations of Western Christendom have spent half a century being exquisitely polite to one another, setting aside a history of strife in the name of greater Christian unity.

This ecumenical era has borne real theological fruit, especially on issues that divided Catholics and Protestants during the Reformation. But what began as a daring experiment has decayed into bureaucratized complacency —

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Methodists Say No to Lutheran Gay Clergy

August 30th, 2009 Jill Posted in Ecumenism, Homosexuality Comments Off

By Lillian Kwon, Christian Post

Lutheran ministers who are in same-sex relationships will not be allowed to serve as clergy in United Methodist congregations despite the new full communion agreement between the two denominations.

Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, made clear on Wednesday that UMC’s ban on noncelibate gay clergy still stands.

"Our Book of Discipline on that subject did not become null and void when they took that vote," said Palmer, according to the United Methodist News Service. "It still applies to United Methodist clergy."

Palmer was referring to the highly publicized vote last week by the chief legislative body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to approve a resolution allowing gays and lesbians in "life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships" to be ordained.

The controversial vote took place a day after ELCA delegates overwhelmingly adopted a full communion agreement with The United Methodist Church.

Full communion is not tantamount to a merger, church officials said. Instead, under the pact each church acknowledges the other as a partner in the Christian faith, recognizes the authenticity of each other’s baptism and Eucharist, and is committed to working together toward greater unity.

The two denominations also express mutual recognition of ordained ministers for service in either church, according to the agreement. Some UMC leaders have already expressed eagerness to share clergy in underserved areas, as reported by the United Methodist News Service.

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PLANO, TX: “I am Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America”

June 26th, 2009 Jill Posted in Anglican Church in North America, Ecumenism Comments Off

Bishop Robert DuncanBy David W Virtue, VOL

Announcing to all the world that he is now the Archbishop of the newly formed Anglican Church in North America, The Most Rev. Robert Duncan told a press conference that the church he now leads will "reunite a significant portion of our Anglican Church family here in North America."

"We are uniting 700 congregations, (and 28 dioceses) and more importantly committed Anglican believers, in the north (Arctic) and in the south, on the west coast and the east coast. We are oriented toward a hopeful future again. We are not turning back to the hurts of our past. We are moving forward together in Christian mission. The main thing is Jesus Christ."

Duncan drew a wide net saying that God isn’t just bringing Anglican Christians together, "across the church people are re-embracing Scripture’s authority. Christians are rediscovering the grace of our 2,000 year-old tradition."

Alluding to the Metropolitan Jonah’s Orthodox outstretched hand to the newly formed church, Duncan said "that we are not as far apart as we thought."

Earlier the Patriarch of All America and Canada and leader of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), told the conferees and delegates that he is calling for a "full…intercommunion" with the Anglican Church in North America. "What will it take," he asked, "for a true ecumenical reconciliation? That is what I am seeking by being with you today."

What would it take for this reconciliation to occur? "Full affirmation of the orthodox Faith of the Apostles and Church Fathers, the seven Ecumenical Councils, the Nicene Creed in its original form (without the filioque clause inserted at the Council of Toledo, 589 A.D.), all seven Sacraments and a rejection of ‘the heresies of the Reformation."

His Beatitude listed these in a series of ‘isms’; Calvinism, anti-sacramentalism, iconoclasm and Gnosticism. The ordination of women to the Presbyterate and their consecration as Bishops has to end, if intercommunion is to occur.

The Russian Orthodox Church broke off ecumenical talks with The Episcopal Church over the consecration of Gene Robinson, an openly non-celibate homosexual to the episcopacy.

Duncan said the desire of the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church to re-establish the dialogue with Anglicanism was "extraordinary ecumenical news."

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Harsh Words for Episcopalians. Miami Archbishop Shows the Limits of Ecumenism

June 7th, 2009 Jill Posted in Ecumenism, Roman Catholicism, TEC Comments Off

Father Alberto CutiéFrom California Catholic Daily (Hat Tip: Virtueonline)

STATEMENT from John C. Favalora, Archbishop of Miami, about Father Alberto Cutié’s separation from the Roman Catholic Church. Miami, May 28, 2009

I am genuinely disappointed by the announcement made earlier this afternoon by Father Alberto Cutié that he is joining the Episcopal Church.

According to our canon law, with this very act Father Cutié is separating himself from the communion of the Roman Catholic Church (c. 1364, §1) by professing erroneous faith and morals, and refusing submission to the Holy Father (canon 751). He also is irregular for the exercise of sacred orders as a priest (canons 1041 and 1044, §1) and no longer has the faculties of the Archdiocese of Miami to celebrate the sacraments; nor may he preach or teach on Catholic faith and morals (cannon 1336, §1). His actions could lead to his dismissal from the clerical state.

This means that Father Cutié is removing himself from full communion with the Catholic Church and thereby forfeiting his rights as a cleric. Roman Catholics should not request the sacraments from Father Cuité. Any sacramental actions he attempts to perform would be illicit. Any Mass he says would be valid but illicit, meaning it does not meet a Catholic’s obligation. Father Cutié cannot validly officiate at marriages of Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Miami or anywhere.

Father Cutié is still bound by his promise to live a celibate life, which he freely embraced at ordination. Only the Holy Father can release him from that obligation.

To the Catholic faithful of Saint Francis de Sales Parish, Radio Paz and the entire Archdiocese of Miami, I again say that Father Cutié’s actions cannot be justified, despite his good works as a priest (statement of May 5, 2009). This is all the more true in light of today’s announcement. Father Cutié may have abandoned the Catholic Church; he may have abandoned you. But I tell you that the Catholic Church will never abandon you; the Archdiocese of Miami is here for you.

Father Cutié’s actions have caused grave scandal within the Catholic Church, harmed the Archdiocese of Miami – especially our priests – and led to division within the ecumenical community and the community at large. Today’s announcement only deepens those wounds.

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White House “Comfortable” With Anti-Catholic Homosexual Activist on Faith Counsel

June 6th, 2009 Jill Posted in Ecumenism, Homosexuality, Politics Comments Off

By Peter J Smith, LifeSite News

The White House says the President is “comfortable” with a homosexual activist on his advisory counsel of faith-based initiatives, a man who has come under attack for having vilified the Catholic Church, calling the current Pope a “discredited leader” and the Knights of Columbus his “foot soldiers” in a “discredited army of oppression.” reported Tuesday that the White House has essentially shrugged at calls from Catholics that Harry Knox, the former director of the “religion and faith program” at the Human Rights Counsel, a homosexual lobby group, be removed from the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for his insulting and bigoted language toward the Catholic Church (see coverage).

Prominent Catholic figures, including House Republican Leader John Boehner, Catholic League President Bill Donohue, American Life League’s Judie Brown, and members of the Family Research Council, expressed their concern to Obama in a May 13 letter, citing Knox’s remarks as proof he is "unfit to serve" on an advisory board billed as fostering interfaith cooperation.

"As Catholics, we call on you to remove Mr. Knox from his position and to formally disassociate yourself from his militant anti-Catholicism," stated the letter, signed by 22 Catholic leaders. "Failure to do so will result in the tainting of your Faith-Based Council – and indeed, your entire administration – as anti-Catholic."

The letter also stated, “We do not know if you or members of your Administration were aware of Knox’s deplorable, abusive attitude towards the Church and Pope Benedict XVI when you named him to the Council. We assume you were not.”

The letter continued, “But since then, there have been numerous press reports on Knox’s loathsome and clearly bigoted rhetoric, so there no longer is any excuse for your failure to act. We can remain silent no longer.”

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Squaring the circle: the compatibility of Buddhism and Christianity

March 10th, 2009 Lisa Posted in Ecumenism, TEC, Theology Comments Off

More excellent material from Sarah Hey at SF, this time on the incompatibility of Christianity and Buddhism.

‘Sarah, with your indulgence, I’ll copy what I posted earlier in another post (with a few corrections), as this location is more appropriate. I hold an MA in Buddhist Studies and returned to the fold after quite a few years of believing (incorrectly) that I was both a Buddhist and a Christian (turns out I was always a Christian, never a Buddhist). I trust that the good Christian scholars at Stand Firm will correct any mis-statements of misunderstandings I have expressed about the Christian side.

Ways that Buddhism is incompatible with Christianity:

1. Buddhism not only doesn’t acknowledge the divinity of Christ, it does not recognize divinity at all as a serious category. “Worldly” gods who are born, live and eventually die (even though their time-frame is measured in eons) are the only kind of gods acknowledged, and they are rightly considered inferior and not of merit. The easiest to find reference source on this is “The Questions of King Milinda.” Therefore there can be no purpose to life or living, there is no teleology of developing the fullness God has planted in us. However, in the Third Turning school, it is said you do have inherently some Buddha-qualities that are god-like which are revealed when your defilements of mind are purged.

2. Ditto for the soul or souls (I won’t go into the Classic soul/spirit continuum questions here) for that teaching I have the same source (Milinda) and many, many others. You are held to be a mere mental continuum that may be split into a variety of incarnations if circumstances are correct for that. In Buddhism, you don’t “reincarnate” exactly (as you don’t have a soul there’s nothing to “re” anything). Your mind-stream finds itself helplessly in another body. The personality in the subsequent body is not you, in fact you are not the same personality from instant to instant. Coherence as a being is what Buddhism says you are empty of.

3. The point of Buddhism is the attainment of enlightenment, an ontological category that is personal, though it can only be achieved through the accomplishment of heroic virtue and one must have the intention to help others. Only a very, very few are qualified to practice Buddhism seriously enough to accomplish this end, even though it is the stated goal of all Buddhists, whether of the Theravadin (Southern) or Northern Mahayana traditions. Many tens of thousands of years (or more) and possibly uncountable lifetimes are required to accomplish this goal. You have to be a hero. In Christianity, all who willingly accept the lordship of Jesus may be saved. Even if you’re not a heroic type.

4. In Buddhism, suffering is meaningless, except insofar as it it exhausts bad karma. The principle aim of Buddhism is to end pointless suffering. Contrast that with the refiner’s fire we willingly submit to. There is meaning in everything that happens not only to us, but to everything in Creation.

5. To properly be a Buddhist (as opposed to someone who pretends to be one), you must have three supreme refuges, forsaking all others: Buddha, Dharma & Sangha. This explicitly excludes Christ. God. The Bible, His Church, etc. Now, there are traditions that are vague on that point, but of late, for instance, Tibetan Buddhist teachers have been very, very clear about this (e.g. Dzongsar Khyentse’s “Who is a Buddhist?” –approx. title).’

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Ackerman Warns Of Anglicanism’s Deteriorating Ecumenical Relations

September 16th, 2008 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, Ecumenism No Comments »

Special to Virtueonline and The Christian Challenge

Revisionism within the Anglican Communion has caused a serious decline in ecumenical relations with Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and a range of other Christian bodies, Quincy Bishop Keith Ackerman told a gathering of conservative Anglicans on September 13.

Comments from ecumenical partners at the 2008 Lambeth Conference made it “obvious the ecumenical relationships are eroding rapidly in many places,” Ackerman told some 100 persons attending the Festival of Faith at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Bladensburg, Maryland.

The Quincy prelate, who leads Forward in Faith, North America, was joined at the day-long event by West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez, chairman of the panel that is formulating an Anglican Covenant designed to help ensure greater unity among historically autonomous Anglican provinces. (See a separate VOL/TCC story on Archbishop Gomez’s remarks.)

Ackerman said Anglican ecumenical relations have been impacted in part by the fact that, increasingly, there are people who call themselves Anglican who share very little, if anything, with traditional Anglicanism.

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Moscow in warning to Anglican Communion

August 25th, 2008 Jill Posted in Ecumenism No Comments »

By George Conger, Religious Intelligence

GAYS and women bishops could wreck relations between the Church of England and the Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Orthodox Church reports.

On July 28 Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria, the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative to European institutions met with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and his secretary Canon Jonathan Goodall during the Lambeth Conference to discuss the state of Russian Orthodox–Anglican relations.

In a report printed last week, Moscow said that its representative told Dr Williams of its distress over the July decision by General Synod not to provide legal safeguards for traditionalists opposed to the consecration of women bishops. The consecration of women bishops would be an “additional obstacle” to Orthodox-Anglican dialogue, Bishop Hilarion told Dr Williams, adding that such a move would exclude “even the theoretical possibility of the Orthodox churches acknowledging the apostolic succession” of Anglican bishops.

Moscow reported that Bishop Hilarion also shared his Church’s disquiet over the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. The 2003 consecration of Bishop Robinson had led the “total curtailment” of relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Episcopal Church after 150 years of dialogue.

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