Skip to comments.Pope Encourages Catholic-Orthodox Collaboration in the New Evangelization
Posted on 09/04/2011 7:11:37 AM PDT by Publius804
VATICAN CITY (EWTN News/CNA) Pope Benedict XVI is encouraging Catholic and Orthodox Christians to work together in re-evangelizing traditionally Christian countries.
For a renewed proclamation of the Gospel in the modern world we need evangelizers animated by the same apostolic zeal of (St.) Paul, the Pope said in a letter to mark the close of the 12th Inter-Christian Symposium.
Over the past four days, the symposium has brought together both Catholic and Orthodox scholars in the Greek city of Thessaloniki to discuss the topic of The Witness of the Church in the Modern World.
The Pope described the theme as very timely and central to his concerns and prayers for a New Evangelization of traditionally Christian countries where the practice of the Christian faith has declined in recent times.
Pope Benedict noted that although the Church has never ceased to proclaim the salvific mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the regions in need of re-evangelization are currently experiencing the effects of a secularization capable of impoverishing the most profound aspects of man.
People living in these regions seem to give a contradictory response to the Christian Gospel, the Pope said.
On the one hand, there is widespread disinterest, even a lack of sensibility towards transcendent things, and on the other hand, there seems to be a profound nostalgia for God that persists in the hearts of many, expressing itself in various ways.
Christianity was brought to the city of Thessaloniki by St. Paul in the first century. The Pope asked for his intercession that the talks between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches encourage a climate of fraternal charity and observed that the mutual understanding of our traditions and true friendship are already in themselves a contribution to the cause of Christian unity.
(Excerpt) Read more at ncregister.com ...
The calls for evangelism are a stunning admission of failure to “preach the good news of God’s Kingdom” and now the people themselves are being blamed for Orthodox and Catholic Church failures. Outstanding.
It's not a failure that orthodoxy has, since the time of Christ, preached to and converted the Roman Empire, Celts, Germanics, Slavs, Magyars, Middle Easterners, Asians,etc
the people themselves are being blamed for Orthodox and Catholic Church failures -- the Apostolic Churches ARE the people, not just the organization. The Church is the community of believers that continue with the orthodox faith through the centuries
If you say that just the Apostolic Church has failed then how come the big numbers of disbelievers are also found among various non-Catholic groups?
how come even as 'Westernisation' spreads, the number of disbelievers increase among Hindus in india and Moslems too?
These Church organizations are not the people at all as the hierarchy claims special power and privilege for it's self.
Special garb and lavish titles, claims of ontological change and exclusive ability to perform rites mark the hierarchy as their church and the laity is just along for the ride. Hardly “Apostolic”.
The laity, by being shunted off into an observer class, has been cheated of the privilege and obligation of being a preacher and disciple maker, a teacher of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
So who is going to be doing this “evangelization”?
BTW, Is it still illegal to proselyte in Greece?
“If you say that just the Apostolic Church has failed then how come the big numbers of disbelievers are also found among various non-Catholic groups?”
Have you never read and understood Jesus’ parable of the wheat and weeds?
There is nothing claimed that is not scriptural. The 'special garb' are no more than what was worn in the first centuries, from Apostolic Times, we do not change whichever way the wind blows, unlike those outside the Church.
And you have evidently never been to a Catholic/Orthodox community then you would see that many preachers and disciple makers are not ministers.
The "evangelization" is by the community -- whether laity or clergy
I've understood Jesus' parable and I see that in communities that have left the Church. While the Apostolic Church continues through 2000 years of adversity, strife, changes in "society", the weeds that have sprung up in the past few hundred years have died out or developed cancers or mutated way beyond Christianity. Think Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Unitarians etc.
The “evangelization” is by the community — whether laity or clergy”
All Christians are to be ministers according to what Paul wrote at Eph. 4:11,12. And Timothy was to be a preacher of the good new, an evangelizer, a minister. (2 Tim. 4:2,3)
So the notion of laity and a separate clergy set off by special dress and titles and all the rest is not at all Scriptural. If fact Jesus condemned such things.
Paul's comments to the Thessalonians about an apostasy occurring while he was alive and his even naming such persons when he wrote to Timothy shows that oversowing of weeds was then and that both weeds and wheat have been growing together until ripening now.
“”, the weeds that have sprung up in the past few hundred years have died out or developed cancers or mutated way beyond Christianity. Think Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Unitarians etc.”
How could anyone who is familiar with the murderous and immoral history of the Catholic Church call others “mutated, cancerous”? Astounding, utterly astounding.
Eph. 4:11,12 says that 1And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Most definitely Paul himself is stating that not ALL are called to be ministers
And all of us have our ministries, whether laity or clergy.
Actually, firstly the clergy are not "set off by special dress" -- they wear modern clothes most of the time, but when celebrating the holiest of all prayers, the Divine Liturgy, at that time they wear what was worn then at the time of the Apostles. Customs and fashions may change -- whether in doctrine or in dress, but the Apostolic Church does not
2 Thessalonians never says, nor is there one shred of biblical evidence elsewhere to say, that a total apostasy would ever happen. Apostasy, yes, but total apostasy, no.
Old Testament prophecies on Christ's ministry the Church talk of it as perpetual and incorruptible as a whole
Daniel 7:13-14: ". . . behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man , and he and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed"
There was no total apostasy -- that is a Mormon/Adventist/Jehovah's Witness fantasy -- and contradictory to scripture
In Ephesians 1:23 Paul says 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all
He says in Eph 2 19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord
And Eph 3:20-21 "Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
The history of actions of some men in orthodoxy does not affect the basic faith which is of Christ Jesus as He spoke, in contrast, the weeds that The Unitarians, Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons are groups that have sprung up in the past few hundred years have died out or developed cancers or mutated way beyond Christianity --> the cancer, the murderous and immoral history is in the very doctrine of these weeds in the first place and they continue to mutate away from Christianity.
Jesus’ preaching ministry was not his kingdom as you say, confusing the two:
“Old Testament prophecies on Christ's ministry the Church talk of it as perpetual and incorruptible as a whole
Daniel 7:13-14: “. . . behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man , and he and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed”
“The history of actions of some men in orthodoxy does not affect the basic faith which is of Christ Jesus as He spoke...”
The corrupt and murderous Pharisees said they had the “orthodox” faith and they had their “place” and yet despite having ritual and the Bible and long history that nation was rejected by Christ. At Matthew 21:43 Jesus said the kingdom would be taken away from them and given to a nation bearing it's fruits.
And it was because of those leaders who were guilty of murder and hypocrisy their “house” was abandoned and those who would follow Christ had to abandon it too or perish in 70 a.d.
Now that the crop is ripe who are weeds is quite evident as one scandal after another come to fruition.
The various heresies that we see and have seen, are the weeds that died quickly even though they seemed so strong at one point in time -- Arianism, Manichaenism, Gnosticism, etc. etc.
Just in the same way we see both the heresies that have sprung up in the past 100-150 years (Mormonism, Adventism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists) as dying out, and even the other, incomplete messages of faith are dying out as they are not strong enough to stand up to the light
Now that the crop is ripe who are weeds is quite evident as one scandal after another come to fruition. -- yes, this is visible in the various groups outside the Apostolic Church -- they are roiled with one scandal of their dogma after another
The Apostolic Church itself may have faulty men in laity and clergy, but the dogma is scandal-free as it is the dogma of the Christ Himself.
THAT is the big difference between the One Holy Apostolic Church (Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental) and both the incomplete groups and the heresies -- the incompletes and the heresies die out rapidly due to scandals of men, while for the Church that Christ founded, it has remained through 2000 years INSPITE of faulty men.
These groups that lie outside the Apostolic Church are groups of men, formed by men and dependent on just men. hence they fall when the many scandals and faults of men appear
In contrast in the Apostolic Church, if we have a sin filled priest (and hey, they are human after all), that matters not. If they are criminals boot them in prison, that doesn't affect our Church. If they can't preach, that matters not.
Because we look beyond this human vessel and focus on Christ in the Eucharist
During our Holy Prayer to God, what do we have?
oh, my friend in Christ, we are blessed to have experienced this -- and where does the minister figure in all of this? He is just a tool, a means. God uses splendid tools or weak ones, but they are just tools
What is at the centre of our Churches? Not like in others, the pulpit, glorifying the preacher, but in Our Church the center-piece is the altar with the Eucharist, the Bible and the Cross, remembering us of Our Risen Lord, His sacrifice and His Word
Take a deep breath, relax, you’ll be O.K.
That is why I point out that groups that lie outside the Apostolic Church are groups of men, formed by men and dependent on just men. hence they fall when the many scandals and faults of men appear. In contrast in the Apostolic Church, if we have a sin filled priest (and hey, they are human after all), that doesn't matter -- Christ is in charge in the One Holy Apostolic Catholic Church (Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental, Assyrian).
You can easily see that the Church has survived 2000 years of bad men -- inside as well as outside, ONLY because of the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit .
In contrast the various heresies like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons etc. will crumble -- they are seeded on stone, not fertile soil as they are not from God.
All of these groups formed in the last 200 years are just like cancerous outgrowths on the weeds that left God's word centuries ago. Those weeds may have had some amount of the genes planted by God, but not much, while the cancers have none of it and are doomed to destruction.
Thank you, Cronos
This bears repeating over and over and over again:
“What is at the centre of our Churches? Not like in others, the pulpit, glorifying the preacher, but in Our Church the center-piece is the altar with the Eucharist, the Bible and the Cross, remembering us of Our Risen Lord, His sacrifice and His Word.”
Since in the parable it was angels that were going to perform the harvest work it would be according to what they saw as weeds or wheat.
That several groups would make an appearance hardly surprises me as the separation of weeds and wheat should be visible to all. No hybrid plants as far as I can tell.
Then why did the Apostles lay their hands upon Stephen and the other deacons if there was "nothing special" going on?
Topics such as this are much better declared as Catholic-Orthodox Caucus so that we can avoid the pedestrian YOPIS folks proudly condemning the Church from their soap boxes.
Like Timothy or Stephen one might be appointed for a particular task by laying on of hands but Timothy did not become Deacon Timothy thereby.