Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Catholic theologians in talks with Oriental Orthodox

Prayers on this. That we may grow closer.

Rome, Jan. 30, 2007 (CWNews.com) -

Theologians representing the Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches are meeting in Rome this week, to continue a series of discussions that began in 2003.

The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox involves the churches that broke with Rome after the Council of Chalcedon, such as the Coptic, Syrian, Ethiopian, and Malankara Orthodox churches and the Armenian Apostolic Church. This joint theological commission is distinct from the group that met in Belgrade last September, bringing together representatives of the Orthodox bodies that broke with Rome after 1054.

This week’s discussions include representatives of the Oriential Orthodox churches and their counterparts who are in communion with the Holy See, including the Coptic, Syrian, Armenian, Ethiopian, and Syro-Malabar Catholic churches. The Maronite Catholic Church, which boasts an unbroken history of communion with Rome, is also represented at the meeting.

The discussions by the joint commission have centered on the exericise of apostolic ministry in the universal Church and the nature of ecclesial communion. This week’s talks, beginning January 30, will continue through February 3, under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Abdel Kareem Nabil Update

Freedom For Egyptians has an update on the trial of Abdel Kareem Nabil(link).

He is on trial for religious disdain, insulting the president, attempts to flare up sectarian unrest and turmoil and disrupting public security.

He is on trial for having an opinon. He is on trial for speaking.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Unity: Where we have been and where we are

Is there much behind us? Much that follows us? Years of regret and harsh words to each other? Yes. It can not be denied. It can not be ignored. But what lies ahead? Does the road ahead have hope?

Yes. This year has been a great year for unity. We can see the Holy Spirit pushing us forward. Pope Benedict has said:

"Theological dialogue is necessary, in-depth knowledge of the historical reasons of choices made in the past is perhaps indispensable. But what is urgent in the main is that 'purification of the memory,' so many times recalled by John Paul II, which alone can dispose spirits to receive the full truth of Christ."

"It is before him, supreme Judge of every living being, that each one of us must place himself, in the awareness of one day having to render an account to him of what one has done or not done for the great good of the full and visible unity of all his disciples."

Pope Shenouda II has said in the past:

"The whole Christian world is anxious to see the church unite. Christian people, being fed up with divisions, are pushing their church leaders to do something about church unity and I am sure that the Holy Spirit is inspiring us."

And there are more than words. In the recent Papal visit to Turkey the heads of many Churches laid more groundwork.

And Catholics, Lutherans and this year the Methodists have signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (link).

But there is still far to go. To me, the strengthening of unity will come where Christians of all kinds stand up for their brothers and sisters wherever they suffer. Christ will take us by the hand and lead us...but we must extend our hands to those who suffer. To those who need.

The Lord called to Peter and Peter walked across the water toward our Lord. But he became scared of the strong wind and began to sink.

Christ did not let Peter sink, He took him by the hand and saved him.

Our road ahead in unity is filled with stong winds.

The wind of regrets.
The wind of wrongs toward each other.
The winds of Pride.
The winds of those who do not want Christians united.
The winds of the enemy.
The winds of our own fears.

But there is also the Lord in the whispering wind, as He came to Elijah. Above all there is the hand of the Lord reaching out to us. He will take our hand. He will carry us. But we must clasp each others hands, so we go to Him together.

Scripture and Commentary Day 1 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Day 1

United through the presence of Christ
‘One Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Ephesians 4:5, 6)

Ezek 37:15-28 My dwelling place shall be with them
Ps 67 (66) Let the peoples praise you, O God
Eph 4:1-6 One Lord, one faith, one baptism
Jn 14:23-27 We will come to them and make our home with them


The scriptures stress that God’s will is for the unity of God’s people. Through Ezekiel the prophet, God affirms that Judah and Israel – two divided, often estranged kingdoms – will again be one. God’s cleansing presence will strengthen and bless them in a covenant of peace.

The natural response to God’s gift of unity is our gratitude and praise. The psalmist calls upon all the nations to unite in praise of God, whose saving power may be seen in all nations and throughout the whole earth.

Jesus taught his first followers that he, with the Father, would be present with them, “making a home” with each one who loved him. And he promised that this presence would not end with his death, that he would continue to be present with each one of his followers – and with us, today – through the Holy Spirit.

But the promise of Jesus’ presence is not limited to individual believers: for, as the evangelist Matthew affirms, wherever even two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name they form a community, a community in which Jesus has promised to be present, strengthening and accompanying them on their way.

This common belonging is shown powerfully in our common recognition of baptism. In baptism Christ calls each one of us, bringing us into his body, the church. Because we each belong to Christ, we all belong to one another. That common belonging – to Christ, and to one another – makes us one, despite all our differences of history, culture, and theological conviction: “for where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt 18:20).

Source (Vatican Website "Resources For The Week of Prayer For Christian Unity")

Online RSV (For reading the Scripture above)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18-25

Here is the link (link).

The daily meditations and Scripture:

January 18:
In the beginning was the Word. "And God said..." (Gen 1)

January 19:
The Saving Word of Christ. "He makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak." (Mk 7: 31-37)

January 20:
The Holy Spirit gives us the Word. "The Spirit ...will testify on my behalf." (Jn 15: 26)

January 21:
The silence of the forgotten and the cries of the suffering. "If one member suffers all suffer together." (1 Cor 12: 26)

January 22:
God's judgement on our silence. "Just as you did not do it to one of the least of these..." (Mt 25: 45)

January 23:
Empowered to speak out. "But the woman ... came in fear and trembling ... and told Him the whole truth" (Mk 5: 33).

January 24:
Forsakenness. "Why are You so far from helping me?" (Ps 22: 1)

January 25:
Resurrection--glorification. "Every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." (Phil 2: 11)

Let us all join our prayers for Christian Unity!

St. Anthony The Great

Today is the feast of St. Anthony the Great. He is one of the saints shared by Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches (although the feast is not celebrated on the same day). He is called the founder of Monasticism,and also the Father of Monks. And indeed was one of the Great desert Fathers, and is much loved by our Coptic brothers and sisters.

May he be one of the many bridges to all our Churches growing closer. May we join in the prayer for unity on this, the day before the start of the week for Christian unity, and pray that:

Saint Anthony, you spoke of the importance of persevering in our faith and our practice. Help us to wake up each day with new zeal for the Christian life and a desire to take the next challenge instead of just sitting still. Amen

May that challenge be to unity and love. And may unity be in our prayers for the week ahead and always. May it be the work of our hands and our hearts.

Last years post on St. Anthony (link)

The week of prayer for Christian Unity starts tomorrow. Barring any problems, the blog should be fairly active with news posts this week.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Posting soon

I'll be back to posting soon. Now that the new semester has started I'm back to my normal work schedule.