Tag - dialogue

World Methodist Council: dialogue must reach local level



(Vatican Radio) Methodist and Catholic theologians are meeting just outside Rome this week, marking the 50th anniversary of the first ecumenical dialogue group following the Second Vatican Council. That first session of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission was held in the hill town of Ariccia in October 1967.

Pope Francis met with members of the current Commission on Thursday, together with leaders of the World Methodist Council, saying that half a century of dialogue has set us free from estrangement and suspicion and helped us to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

South African Bishop Ivan Abrahams is General Secretary of the World Methodist Council. He talked to Philippa Hitchen about the concrete fruits of this ecumenical journey….

Listen:



He says two of the key ingredients that have marked this “50 year pilgrimage or journey” are the love and trust that has been built up and that are reflected in the seven joint reports that have been produced thus far.

One of the great challenges, he says, is to let the fruits of this dialogue “percolate to the local level and we need to see how we can do that much more effectively”.

‘That they may be one’

He notes that the latest dialogue report entitled ‘A Call to Holiness: from glory to glory’ stresses that working for unity is “a fundamental part of our mission and our witness to the world, to see that Jesus’ high priestly prayer is made reality”.

Speaking about the situation in his native South Africa, Abrahams says that as he saw the demise of apartheid in his lifetime, “I’d hoped to see the reality of “that they may be one” in my lifetime”.

Autonomy in mission and witness

Talking about the Methodist model of governance, he says there’s no compromise on key issues of faith, but “we don’t apply the ‘one size fits all’ model”, leaving the various conferences autonomy to make their own decisions about mission and witness.

Asked about Pope Francis’ efforts to give local Catholic bishops’ conferences with more autonomy over pastoral decision making, Abrahams says “I think that it is really the only way to go, if we speak about the integrity of the Gospel, because every cultural context is uniquely different”.

Pope Francis embodies unity

While practical cooperation on issues like migration, refugees or climate change are important, he says, consensus in the theological dialogue remains crucial because “we need to clarify so we can walk together”.

Finally Bishop Abrahams praises Pope Francis’ way of reaching out to young generations, saying he is “a beacon of hope” and “somebody who embodies the unity that we’re seeking to live”.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope greets Rabbis highlighting dialogue and cooperation



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday greeted a Delegation of Rabbis in the Vatican for the presentation of the Statement “Between Jerusalem and Rome”.

Listen to our report: 



Below find the English translation of Pope Francis’ address

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

         I offer a cordial welcome to all of you, and in a special way to the representatives of the Conference of European Rabbis, the Rabbinical Council of America, and the Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in dialogue with the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. I thank Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt for his kind greeting in your name.

         In our shared journey, by the graciousness of the Most High, we are presently experiencing a fruitful moment of dialogue.  This is reflected in the Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome which you have issued and which you present to me today. This document pays particular tribute to the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate, whose fourth chapter represents the “Magna Charta” of our dialogue with the Jewish world.  Indeed, the ongoing implementation of the Council’s Declaration has enabled our relations to become increasingly friendly and fraternal.  Nostra Aetate noted that the origins of the Christian faith are to be found, in accordance with the divine mystery of salvation, in the Patriarchs, in Moses and in the Prophets.  It also stated that, given the great spiritual heritage we hold in common, every effort must be made to foster reciprocal knowledge and respect, above all through biblical studies and fraternal discussions (cf. No. 4).  Consequently, in recent decades, we have been able to draw closer to one another and to engage in an effective and fruitful dialogue.  We have grown in mutual understanding and deepened our bonds of friendship.

         The Statement Between Jerusalem and Rome does not hide, however, the theological differences that exist between our faith traditions.  All the same, it expresses a firm resolve to collaborate more closely, now and in the future.  Your document is addressed to Catholics, speaking of them as “partners, close allies, friends and brothers in our mutual quest for a better world blessed with peace, social justice and security”.  It goes on to say that “despite profound theological differences, Catholics and Jews share common beliefs” and also “the affirmation that religions must use moral behavior and religious education – not war, coercion or social pressure – to influence and inspire”.  This is most important: may the Eternal One bless and enlighten our cooperation, so that together we can accept and carry out ever better his plans, “plans for welfare and not for evil”, for “a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11).

         On the occasion of your welcome visit, I would like to express to you and to your communities beforehand my best wishes for the Jewish New Year which will begin in a few weeks.  Shanah tovah!  Once more I thank you for coming and I ask you to remember me in your prayers.  Finally, I would invoke upon you, and upon all of us, the blessing of the Most High for the shared journey of friendship and trust that lies before us.  In his mercy, may the Almighty bestow his peace upon us and upon the entire world.  Shalom alechem!     

(from Vatican Radio)



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Angelus: Pope appeals for dialogue after Jerusalem violence



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has appealed for moderation and dialogue after a surge of violence and killings over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said he is following “with trepidation the grave tensions and violence of the last days in Jerusalem.”

Last week Arab gunmen, shooting from the site – which is Holy to Jews and to Muslims –  killed two Israeli policemen sparking a wave of violence in which three Palestinians were killed in street clashes and a Palestinian fatally stabbed three members of an Israeli family.

“I feel the need to express a heartfelt appeal for moderation and dialogue” Francis said and he invited all faithful to join him in prayer so that the Lord may inspire all sides to come together with proposals for reconciliation and peace

Tensions over the site, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount, have surged in the past couple of days following the installation by Israel of metal detectors after two Israeli policemen were killed near there earlier this month.

The measures angered the Palestinians, who accuse Israel of trying to take control over a sacred place.

Israel now says it is willing to consider alternatives to the controversial metal detectors it installed and has called on the Muslim world to put forward other suggestions.

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope tells missionaries to be attentive to dialogue with Islam



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged missionaries to reserve special attention for dialogue with Islam, to promote the dignity of women and the values of the family, to be sensitive to issues of justice and peace

The Pope was addressing Consolata Missionaries who have begun their 13th General Chapter in Rome. The Chapter will officially end on June 20th, the feast of Our Lady 

Pope Francis expressed his joy at being able to welcome both the male and female branches of the Religious Family founded by Blessed Giuseppe Allamano and he highlighted his appreciation for their particular mission that takes them into challenging situations.

In view of the effort to continue to produce abundant good fruits in the Consolata communities and in the missionary activity of the Church, the Pope told the religious that in light of new pastoral urgencies and new forms of poverty they are called to deepen their charism and renew their impetus for evangelization.

“While I thank the Lord for the good that you are doing in the world, I urge you use great discernment and consideration of the situations in which the peoples you are working with find themselves in” he said.

Encouraging them never to tire of bringing comfort to populations that are often marked by great poverty and acute suffering, as in so many parts of Africa and Latin America, he said: “Let yourself continually be provoked by the concrete realities with which you come in contact and try to offer the testimony of charity that the Spirit has poured into your hearts in a proper way.”

Remarking on the fact that – just like that of any family – the history of the religious communities is marked by joys and sorrows, by lights and shadows, and recently, he said “it has been made fruitful thanks to the Cross of Christ”.

“How can we not mention your brothers and sisters who loved the Gospel of charity more than themselves and who crowned their missionary service with the sacrifice of their lives? Their evangelical choice highlights your missionary commitment and encourages you to pursue your particular mission in the Church with renewed generosity” he said.

The Pope said that to pursue this difficult mission it is necessary to live in communion with God with an enhanced awareness of the Lord’s love and mercy for us.

“It is more important, he said, to be aware of God’s love for us, rather than of how much we love Him.”

The Pope said that we all need to rediscover the love and mercy of the Lord in order to become more ‘familiar’ with God. Consecrated persons, he continued, need to rediscover that love and mercy in order to conform more closely to Christ, with freedom, spontaneity and a sense of awe for the wonders He performs.

In this perspective, the Pope said, religious life can become a journey of rediscovery of divine mercy, “helping you in your attempts to imitate Christ’s virtues and His humanity as you carry out your pastoral ministry”. 

He also encouraged them to joyfully be open to the many incentives for renewal and commitment that derive from true contact with the Lord Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit. 

This, the Pope noted, will allow you to be actively present in  new arenas of evangelization with openness and attentiveness to situations of particular need that are emblematic of our time –  even should this imply some sacrifice.

Pope Francis urged those present to always look to the example of their blessed Founder and not to tire of giving new impetus to missionary work.

He remarked on their responsibility to support Christian communities that have been entrusted to them “especially those of a recent foundation” and called for sensitivity towards inculturation of the Gospel, respect for co-workers and the choice of being present in simplicity and poverty.

The Pope invited them to reserve special attention for dialogue with Islam, to promote the dignity of women and the values of the family, to be sensitive to issues of justice and peace.

He concluded encouraging the Consolata brothers and sisters to continue in their missionary journey with hope and expressed his trust that it may increasingly provide a vivid and sanctifying encounter with Jesus, source of consolation, peace and salvation for all men.

 

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope and Trump discuss peace, dialogue, support for immigrants



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump met in the Vatican on Wednesday, discussing issues of peace, interfaith dialogue and religious freedom, as well as the role of the American Church in education, healthcare and support for immigrants.

Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report:



The American leader spent half an hour in conversation with the Pope behind closed doors in the Apostolic Palace, before meeting with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States or foreign minister.

Press office statement

A statement from the Vatican press office said during the course of the cordial encounter, the two men discussed the good bilateral relations that exist between the U.S. and the Holy See. They also spoke of their “joint commitment in favour of life, religious liberty and freedom of conscience”.

The statement expressed the hope for a “serene cooperation between the State and the Catholic Church in the United States”, which is engaged in service to people “in the fields of health care, education and assistance to immigrants”.

Dialogue and negotiations

It said the Pope and the President also exchanged views on international affairs and on the promotion of peace through political negotiations and interfaith dialogue, mentioning especially the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.

Trump, who was accompanied by his wife Melania, as well as his daughter and son-in-law, is on the third leg of a nine day presidential tour that has already taken him to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Palestine.

Sistine chapel visit

After the papal audience, Trump was taken on a tour of St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, before meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Melania Trump, meanwhile, visited Rome’s ‘Bambin Gesù’ Children’s Hospital, while the president’s daughter, Ivanka, was scheduled to meet with victims of trafficking together with members of Rome’s Sant’Egidio lay Catholic community.

Please find below the full statement from the Holy See press office:

This morning, Wednesday 24 May 2017, the Honorable Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, was received in Audience by the Holy Father Francis and subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Msgr. Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as the joint commitment in favour of life, and freedom of worship and conscience. It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants.

 The discussions then enabled an exchange of views on various themes relating to international affairs and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope to Egypt’s priests and religious: be sowers of hope and dialogue



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday told Egypt’s priests, religious and seminarians to be sowers of hope, builders of bridges and agents of dialogue, despite the many difficulties they face.

The pope’s words came during his final encounter, a prayer service at the seminary in Cairo at the end of his two day visit to the North African nation.

Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report:



Pope Francis began by thanking and encouraging the leaders of this tiny Catholic community for their daily witness “amid many challenges and often few consolations”.

The Catholic Coptic Church, the largest of seven different rites, counts less than 200.000 members, or less than half a percent of the population. The Pope said despite the many negative and despairing voices, priests and religious there are called to be a positive force within society.

Resist temptations

Pope Francis then urged the Catholic leaders to resist the many temptations they encounter, beginning with the desire to be led, rather than to lead the Church. A pastor, he said, is creative and always “share the caress of consolation, even when he is brokenhearted”.

The Pope also warned against the temptation of complain, to gossip, to compare oneself to others and to harden one’s heart, presuming to be served, rather than to serve others.

Coptic Catholic identity

Finally he urged them to avoid the temptations of individualism and losing their sense of direction. Your identity, he told them, “is to be Copts – rooted in your noble and ancient origins – and to be Catholics – part of the one and universal Church”.

Treasure of monastic life

Pope Francis concluded by recalling the great treasure of monastic life which has enriched the Church in Egypt since the first centuries. He urged today’s priests and religious to follow the examples of St Paul the Hermit, St Anthony, the Desert Fathers, and all monks and nuns who by their lives have been “salt and light” for the whole of society, especially for the poorest and those most in need.

Please see below the full address of Pope Francis to Priests, Religious and Seminarians at Saint Leo the Great Patriarchal Seminary, Maadi

Your Beatitudes,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

            As-salamu alaykum!   Peace be with you!

            “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice in him!  Christ is forever victorious over death, let us rejoice in him!”

            I am happy to be with you in this house of formation for priests, which represents the heart of the Catholic Church in Egypt.  I am pleased to greet you, the priests and consecrated men and women of the small Catholic flock in Egypt, as the “leaven” which God is preparing for this blessed land, so that, together with our Orthodox brothers and sisters, his Kingdom may increase in this place (cf. Mt 13:13).

            I wish first of all to thank you for your witness and for the good that you do every day amid many challenges and often few consolations.   I want to encourage you!  Do not be afraid of the burdens of your daily service and the difficult circumstances some of you must endure.  We venerate the Holy Cross, the instrument and sign of our salvation.  When we flee the Cross, we flee the resurrection!

            “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32).

            This, then, demands believing, witnessing to the truth, sowing and cultivating without waiting for the harvest.  In fact, we reap the fruits of so many others, whether consecrated or not, who have generously worked in the Lord’s vineyard.  Your history is filled with such people!

           Although there are many reasons to be discouraged, amid many prophets of destruction and condemnation, and so many negative and despairing voices, may you be a positive force, salt and light for this society.  Like the engine of a train, may you be the driving force leading all towards their destination.  May you be sowers of hope, builders of bridges and agents of dialogue and harmony.

            This will be possible if consecrated men and women do not give in to the temptations they daily encounter along their way.  I would like to highlight some of the greatest of these temptations.

1. The temptation to let ourselves be led, rather than to lead.  The Good Shepherd has the responsibility of guiding the sheep (cf. Jn 10:3-4), of bringing them to fresh pastures and springs of flowing water (cf. Ps 23).  He cannot let himself be dragged down by disappointment and pessimism: “What can I do?”  He is always full of initiative and creativity, like a spring that flows even in the midst of drought.  He always shares the caress of consolation even when he is broken-hearted.  He is a father when his children show him gratitude, but especially when they prove ungrateful (cf. Lk 15:11-32).  Our faithfulness to the Lord must never depend on human gratitude: “Your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:4, 6, 18).

2.  The temptation to complain constantly.  It is easy to always complain about others, about the shortcomings of superiors, about the state of the Church and society, about the lack of possibilities…  But consecrated persons, though the Spirit’s anointing, are those who turn every obstacle into an opportunity, and not every difficulty into an excuse!  The person who is always complaining is really someone who doesn’t want to work.  It was for this reason that the Lord said to the pastors: “Lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees” (Heb 12:12; cf. Is 35:3).

3.  The temptation to gossip and envy.  It is a great danger when consecrated persons, instead of helping the little ones to grow and to rejoice in the successes of their brothers and sisters, allow themselves to be dominated by envy and to hurt others through gossip.  When, instead of striving to grow, they start to destroy those who are growing; instead of following their good example, they judge them and belittle their value.  Envy is a cancer that destroys the body in no time: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” (Mk 3:24-25).  In fact, “through the devil’s envy death entered the world” (Wis 2:24).  Gossip is its means and its weapon.  

4.  The temptation to compare ourselves to others.  Enrichment is found in the diversity and uniqueness of each one of us.  Comparing ourselves with those better off often leads to grudges; comparing ourselves with those worse off often leads to pride and laziness.  Those who are always comparing themselves with others end up paralyzed.  May we learn from Saints Peter and Paul to experience the diversity of qualities, charisms and opinions through willingness to listen and docility to the Holy Spirit.

5.  The temptation to become like Pharaoh, that is to harden our hearts and close them off to the Lord and our brothers and sisters.  Here the temptation is to think that we are better than others, and to lord it over them out of pride; to presume to be served rather than to serve.  It is a temptation that, from the very beginning, was present among the disciples, who – as the Gospel tells us – “on the way argued with one another who was the greatest” (Mk 9:34).  The antidote to this poison is: “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9:35).

6.  The temptation to individualism.  As a well-known Egyptian saying goes: “Me, and after me, the flood!”  This is the temptation of selfish people: along the way, they lose sight of the goal and, rather than think of others, they are unashamed to think only of themselves, or even worse, to justify themselves.  The Church is the community of the faithful, the Body of Christ, where the salvation of one member is linked to the holiness of all (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-27; Lumen Gentium, 7.)  An individualist is a cause of scandal and of conflict.

7.  The temptation to keep walking without direction or destination.  Consecrated men and women can lose their identity and begin to be “neither fish nor fowl”.  They can live with a heart between God and worldliness.  They can forget their first love (cf. Rev 2:4).  Indeed, when they lose clear and solid identity, consecrated men and women end up walking aimlessly; instead of leading others, they scatter them.  Your identity as sons and daughters of the Church is to be Copts – rooted in your noble and ancient origins – and to be Catholics – part of the one and universal Church: like a tree that, the more deeply rooted it is in the earth, the higher it reaches to the heavens!

            Dear consecrated friends, resisting these temptations is not easy, but it is possible if we are grafted on to Jesus: “Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (Jn 15:4).  The more we are rooted in Christ, the more we are alive and fruitful!  Only in this way can we preserve the wonder and the passion of our first encounter with God, and experience renewed excitement and gratitude in our life with God and in our mission.  The quality of our consecration depends on the quality of our spiritual life.

            Egypt has enriched the Church through the inestimable value of monastic life.  I urge you, therefore, to draw upon to the example of Saint Paul the Hermit, Saint Anthony, the holy Desert Fathers, and the countless monks and nuns who by their lives and example opened the gates of heaven to so many of our brothers and sisters.  You too can be salt and light, and thus an occasion of salvation for yourselves and for all others, believers and non-believers alike, and especially for those who are poor, those in need, the abandoned and discarded.

            May the Holy Family protect and bless all of you, your country and its entire people.  With all my heart, I invoke God’s blessings on you, and through you I greet the faithful whom the Lord has entrusted to your care.  May he grant you the fruits of his Holy Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22).

            You are always in my heart and in my prayers.  Take heart and keep moving forward with the help of the Holy Spirit!  “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice in him!”  And please, don’t forget to pray for me!

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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