Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/11/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit

Pope Benedict XVI's first Papal message: 'With full awareness, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome which Peter bathed in his blood, Peter's current Successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers. This is his ambition, his impelling duty.'

Priestly Ordination.

Priestly Ordination.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/11/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Europe


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) -  On Tuesday, Peter Kemmether,  a married 62 year old father of four children was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller.  Fr. Peter was granted a dispensation from the canonical discipline of celibacy attached to priestly ordination. He had been a Protestant Pastor who came into the full communion of the Catholic Church as the fruit of a sincere search for the fullness of the Christian faith. On June 6, 2010, I read a story in the Philadelphia Enquirer entitled "The Priest and his Mrs."  concerning now Fr. Philip Johnson, a Lutheran Pastor for 19 years, who followed a similar path. He was ordained for the Diocese of Camden with the same exception, under the sponsorship and invitation of Bishop Joseph Galante.  Catholics are becoming aware of the former Anglican and Episcopal ministers who have followed the same journey home. Fewer Catholics are aware of the marvelous welcome the Church has extended to many more through the historic apostolic constitution approved by Pope Benedict XI. I have written extensively about this and recently shared my joy with our readers at the ordination of lifelong friend and pro-life hero Fr. Paul Schenck, whose ordination I had the privilege of attending last month. You can read my account here.   I am in a dialogue with Archbishop Irl A. Gladfelter, CSP, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the  Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church, a group of Lutherans who have embraced the Catholic Catechism and the teaching of the Magisterium. They are humbly knocking at the door of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith seeking a way into full communion. You can read about this amazing group here. I am working on a fuller story of their journey. Some have said that their smallness and placement on "the fringes" of the Lutheran community makes them less representative. I recall that those were the same comments made about the "Traditional Anglican Communion" in their early efforts. They became the prophetic vehicle the Holy Spirit used to open up an historic breakthrough. To be Catholic is to enter into the prayer of Jesus for the Unity of His Church. In Pope Benedict XVI's first Papal message he signaled his  commitment to this unity: "Nourished and sustained by the Eucharist, Catholics cannot but feel encouraged to strive for the full unity for which Christ expressed so ardent a hope in the Upper Room. The Successor of Peter knows that he must make himself especially responsible for his Divine Master's supreme aspiration. Indeed, he is entrusted with the task of strengthening his brethren (cf. Lk 22: 32). With full awareness, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome which Peter bathed in his blood, Peter's current Successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers. This is his ambition, his impelling duty." He has placed the commitment to the full communion of the Church at the forefront of his Papacy. This is evident in his love, respect and repeated overtures toward our Orthodox brethren, whom we recognize as a Church and whose priesthood and Sacraments we also recognize. However, this love is also evident in his outreach to the separated Christians of the Reformation communities of the West. On the 4th anniversary of the death of his predecessor, John Paul II, Pope Benedict reminded us of John Paul's passionate commitment to the full communion of the Church. That teaching is summarized in the Encyclical Letter "May they be One" (Ut Unum Sint). The teaching of the Church is rooted in an ecclesiology of communion. John Paul II wrote: "It happens for example that, in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, Christians of one confession no longer consider other Christians as enemies or strangers but see them as brothers and sisters. Again, the very expression "separated brethren" tends to be replaced today by expressions which more readily evoke the deep communion linked to the baptismal character which the Spirit fosters in spite of historical and canonical divisions. Today we speak of "other Christians", "others who have received Baptism", and "Christians of other Communities". The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism refers to the Communities to which these Christians belong as "Churches and Ecclesial Communities that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church. The broadening of vocabulary is indicative of a significant change in attitudes" There is an increased awareness that we all belong to Christ."(#42) John Paul also wrote: "Relations between Christians are not aimed merely at mutual knowledge, common prayer and dialog. They presuppose and from now on call for every possible form of practical cooperation at all levels: pastoral, cultural and social, as well as that of witnessing to the Gospel message. Cooperation among all Christians vividly expresses that bond which already unites them, and it sets in clearer relief the features of Christ the Servant". This cooperation based on our common faith is not only filled with fraternal communion, but is a manifestation of Christ himself. Moreover, ecumenical cooperation is a true school of ecumenism, a dynamic road to unity. Unity of action leads to the full unity of faith: "Through such cooperation, all believers in Christ are able to learn easily how they can understand each other better and esteem each other more, and how the road to the unity of Christians may be made smooth. In the eyes of the world, cooperation among Christians becomes a form of common Christian witness and a means of evangelization which benefits all involved." (#40) I embrace the Catholic claim that the fullness of truth is found within the Catholic Church and carry a burden to see the prayer of Jesus recorded in St. John, Chapter 17, answered. There is a connection. Into a world that is fractured, divided, wounded, filled with "sides" and "camps" at enmity with one another, the Church is called to proclaim, by both word and deed, the unifying love of a living God. The heart of the "Gospel" is the message that in and through Jesus Christ, authentic unity with God - and through Him, in the Spirit, with one another- is not only possible but is the plan of God for the entire human race. The Church is the way. It was not the Lord's plan that she be divided. It is His Plan that she be restored to full communion. Let us take our lead from the clear teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These paragraphs are in the section entitled "Wounds to Unity": "817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame." The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism - do not occur without human sin: Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers. 818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church." 819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth" are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements." Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity." 820 "Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time." Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me." The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit." Are Lutherans Next? We shall see. However, the Holy Spirit is clearly at work.We should welcome these wonderful stories as they increase and pray for the plan of the Lord for the full communion of all Christians to unfold.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Europe

Welcome to Liberland: Small patch claims to be world's newest country Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Liberland, the world's newest country, is a "pocket-sized" land that already has its own flag -- decorated with an eagle and a sun -- and its own motto: "To live and let live." Located by the River Danube, the self-declared nation's founders argued that it was neither ... continue reading


Putin's super soldier program? Russian military to equip army with mind controlled exoskeletons Watch

Image of Russia's recent announcement to equip its military with this technology by 2020 may alter the face of modern warfare.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems that Russian President Vladimir Putin is giving his army of aggression a new toy to play with, at least if recent claims by Russian media are to be believed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Straight out of a science fiction book, Russia's state run ... continue reading


Pope's 'who am I to judge' put to test with appointment of French gay ambassador to Vatican Watch

Image of France nominated Laurent Stefanini earlier this year. The Vatican has yet to accept the appointment. Stefanini, a Catholic who worked for years in the French Embassy at the Vatican, is openly gay.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Of being gay, Pope Francis exclaimed, "Who am I to judge?" Vatican-watchers say that is now being put to the test with the first openly gay ambassador to the Vatican, Laurent Stefanini from France awaiting approval. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - France ... continue reading


Terrorist attack plans AGAINST THE VATICAN unveiled during police raids in Italy Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An al-Qaeda-linked terror cell, who once had direct contact with Osama bin Laden and planned an attack on the Vatican, has been uncovered and broken up during raids by the Italian police this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The group in question is believed ... continue reading


North African immigrants flooding Italy - as many as 200,000 could be there in a year Watch

Image of Arrivals of migrants usually spike in the spring and summer months due to more inclement weather in the Mediterranean.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Italy has become a gateway for many African and Middle Easterners fleeing their war-torn lands for peace and prosperity. It is estimated that as many as 5,000 migrants a week arrive in Italy by sea from North African ports. This is leading to a crisis, with ... continue reading


Pope urges Christians and Jews to UNITE to defeat persecution in Europe Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Meeting with a 30-member delegation of the Conference of European Rabbis, Pope Francis said that European Christians and Jews must stand together to defend one another from discrimination and persecution around the world. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading


Money running out, Greek government orders raid on government coffers Watch

Image of Hopes of securing a deal by the end of the month have faded, following a fraught week in which debt drama moved temporarily to Washington for the IMF's spring conference.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Greek government has ordered a mandatory transfer of cash reserves from state-owned enterprises to the central bank. The action is a frantic bid to gather enough cash to remain solvent. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Citing "extremely urgent and ... continue reading


HISTORIC MEETING: Pope Francis meets with rabbis to decry growing anti-Semitism in Europe Watch

Image of In the face of rampant secularism in Europe and other parts of the world, Pope Francis suggested that Jews and Christians have a co-responsibility to keep faith in God alive.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis met in the Vatican with a delegation from the Conference of European Rabbis, the first time a pope has ever met with the Conference. Foremost in the meeting were the troubling "anti-Semitic trends in Europe." The Pope called it a cause for worry, ... continue reading


Muslim migrants threw Nigerian and Ghana Christians overboard, police say Watch

Image of More than 10,000 people have arrived on Italian shores from Libya since last weekend alone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Muslims among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat killed 12 fellow passengers by throwing them overboard because they were Christians, Italian police say. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At least 15 people have been arrested on suspicion of ... continue reading


Rare phenomenon 'worm rainfall' observed in Norway, scientists still baffled Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thousands of earthworms were observed falling from the sky across the southern part of Norway, which still baffles the scientists. The rare phenomenon was sighted by a Biology teacher Karstein Erstad, as he was skiing in the mountains near Bergen last weekend. ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 14:5-18
5 but eventually with the connivance of the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 115:1-2, 3-4, 15-16
1 Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to your name give ... Read More

Gospel, John 14:21-26
21 Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 4th, 2015 Image

St. Florian
May 4: The St. Florian commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on May ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter