Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/11/2010 (6 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 (6 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'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for SEPTEMBER 2016
Universal:
Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the building of a society that places the human person at the center.
Evangelization: Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.



Comments


More Europe

Satire magazine Charlie Hebdo under fire for pasta-themed quake images Watch

Image of Charlie Hebdo shows victims of quake as tpyes of pasta (Charlie Hebdo).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Satirical French Magazine "Charlie Hebdo" has made waves yet again for its controversial comics. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The cartoon features rubble from Amatrice's quakes stacked up with the bodies of victims squished between each layer.The town is home to ... continue reading


Bodies found in London - Investigation reveals shocking discovery Watch

Image of DNA reveals possible cause of London's great plague.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Bodies discovered in a pit near Liverpool underwent DNA testing, leading scientists to a massive discovery. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Crossrail reported a burial pit contained as many as 100 bodies.Of those bodies, archaeologists removed 42 individuals, five ... continue reading


Did Michelangelo paint a secret message on the roof of the Sistine Chapel? Watch

Image of Scholars think this ram's head symbolizes the female anatomy.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Michelangelo may have been an incredible artist who painted the Sistine Chapel, but he was also somewhat subversive. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - According to experts from the UFCSPA in Brazil, Michelangelo included graphic symbols of female anatomy on the ... continue reading


'I get to relax and take care of myself': McDonalds throws awesome retirement party for employee Watch

Image of Freia David finally retired from her job at McDonalds (WBZ).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Freia David manned the french fry station at McDonald's for 32-years until it was finally time to retire. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to CBS Boston, David lives in a Charles River Center-supported home in Needham, which is a nonprofit organization ... continue reading


Hillary Clinton is GUILTY of allowing Apple to defraud EU Watch

Image of Irish eyes are not smiling at Hillary Clinton or Apple this morning.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The European Union has found Apple dodged taxes and owes billions in back taxes. Our sources say the massive tax heist took place under the watch of Hillary Clinton. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The European Union has ordered Apple to pay over $14.5 billion ... continue reading


Nuns oppressed at French beach Watch

Image of Nuns are no longer allowed to wear their habits to the beaches of Nice.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Rudy Salles, the Deputy Mayor of Nice, released a statement on Sunday regarding the use of religious clothing at public beaches. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While many stand by France's decision to ban Muslim attire at public beaches, suddenly the thought of ... continue reading


Zuckerberg meets Pope Francis, what happens if they form an alliance? Watch

Image of Zuckerberg presents Pope Francis with a model of the Aquila, which will deliver internet to places without access.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis has met with Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla at his home in the Vatican. The meeting was private, but the Vatican did issue a statement. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Pope Francis has met with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at the ... continue reading


The Face of Italy's Earthquake: Who is the nun featured in this now ICONIC photo? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

She is now recognized as the face of Italy's earthquake, but who is the nun featured in the captivating photo of the earthquake's aftermath? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sister Marjana Lleshi was captured sitting, blood-stained and dirty, on the ground after ... continue reading


Four-year-old discovered ALIVE beneath dead sister's body in Italian earthquake rubble Watch

Image of Young girl dramatically rescued from debris.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Four-year-old Giorgia Renaldo was saved by the body of her eight-year-old sister, Giulia. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Daily Mail, the 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck near central Italy Wednesday morning left nearly 2,500 people homeless and ... continue reading


'I can only think of our nuns': Bishop disagrees with France's controversial burkini ban Watch

Image of France under fire for controversial burkini ban.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Amid fears of another ISIS attack in Europe, France's controversial "burkini" band has several calling hypocrisy. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Catholic Herald, the secretary-general of the Italian Bishops' conference, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ecclesiastes 11:9--12:8
9 Do not wrangle about something that does not concern you, do not ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
3 You bring human beings to the dust, by saying, 'Return, children of ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:43-45
43 and everyone was awestruck by the greatness of God. But while everyone ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 24th, 2016 Image

Martyrs of Chalcedon
September 24: A group of forty-nine Christians slain in ... Read More