Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thoughts on The Common Declaration between Pope Benedict and Patriarch Bartholomew I

If you are in the mood for some more detailed coverage of the Holy Father's visit to Turkey, go to
In Europe, while remaining open to other religions and to their cultural contributions, we must unite our efforts to preserve Christian roots, traditions and values, to ensure respect for history, and thus to contribute to the European culture of the future and to the quality of human relations at every level.
Europe has almost completely given up its long-held Christian beliefs. The United States is headed that way as well. It is no longer acceptable here, in some quarters, to wish each other a Merry Christmas, although most of the U.S. does celebrate Christmas in some form. In Chicago, New Line Cinema, distributors of the newly released film, The Nativity Story, have been dropped as sponsors for the Christkindlmarket Christmas festival because the city fears that ads for the film would offend non-Christians.
As Pastors, we have first of all reflected on the mission to proclaim the Gospel in today’s world. This mission, “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), is today more timely and necessary than ever, even in traditionally Christian countries. Moreover, we cannot ignore the increase of secularization, relativism, even nihilism, especially in the Western world.
New evangelization is sorely needed these days, especially in the West. Our culture is crippling our belief system. Officials in Carroll County, MD became alarmed recently when groups of young teen girls began showing up in doctor's offices and clinics asking for the so-called "morning after pill". Far from "protecting women", this easy access abortion pill has paved the way for young people to further use each other physically. Given our current culture, perhaps the medical professionals shouldn't have been quite so surprised.
Above all, we wish to affirm that killing innocent people in God’s name is an offence against him and against human dignity.
I wonder how much statements like the above will be covered in the mainstream U.S. media.

Hat tip to Joee Blogs for the link.

3 comments:

Moneybags said...

I learned a lot about the Orthodox Church in the past few days and now am truly hoping for reunion.

4HisChurch said...

I pray it happens soon!

D said...

Give yourself the gift of a meaningful Christmas.

I went to see The Nativity Story last night, opening night. As a recently baptized Christian, I will tell you that this was a most welcomed, meaningful and revolutionary movie for me. It centers around the mother of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

A superbly crafted and thoughtfully directed movie, it deserves a high rating. It is an unprecedented tribute to a woman who has been relegated to backdrop scenes. Finally, Mary gets to have a movie about her spiritual journey. In my own life, Mary was in the far distant background, giving her fleeting thought if I came across a Nativity scene at Christmas or if I heard the Beatles song, "Let It Be":

"When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be."

It was made for a certain niche -- the ~200 million or so Americans who consider themselves Christians. Two years ago, I was not in this niche, being "spiritual, but not religious." Long story, short, it was Mary who pointed me to her Son, lead me on my own spiritual journey and caused a revolution in my heart, mind and soul.

Those who take the time to learn about her and her role do not, as I was mislead to believe, worship her. They simply respect and venerate her. Leading folks to her Son, as I learned, is her job. In this movie, her character is doing exactly that again for me and viewers who are called to see it.

Ever since she lead me home, Christmas has taken on such meaning as I never imagined. This year, I've started the season -- called the Advent season -- with a faith-based movie that allowed me to slide right into it in a beautiful, gentle and do I dare say, beatific way.

This movie experience is an exquisite gift for the heart and soul. Moreover, it is a feast for the eyes. I went past the inanimate objects of Nativity displays to a visually rich and "fleshed" out Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, shepherds, Magi and stable animals. The director of the movie, Catherine Hardwick, referred to a line in the script: "...the greatest of kings born in the most humble of places."

"Power," she says, "is not a physical power. It's not riches, it's not money, it's not control of governments and nations. It's a deeper power, spirituality."

At the end of the movie, the audience burst out in spontaneous applause. For each of us, Christmas is not at all about holiday parties, frenzied shopping and the trappings and physical accouterments. Now, THAT'S revolutionary.

When this comes out in DVD, it will be a part of our yearly Christmas tradition, reminding us what it is all about.

"Merry Christ-mas!" I hope you will make it meaningfully merrier by giving yourself this movie experience of the life of Mary.

Dymphna's favorite quotes


"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

my poetry on the web

Karumi Garden

Karumi Garden
my haiku