Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Randy Sly

2/24/2014 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Having spent over 30 years in Protestant ministry, I know the separation that has existed and continues to exist between that world and the Catholic world. Pope Francis addressed it head on.

I can just imagine the electricity felt in the room when these Christian leaders from a completely different face of Christianity saw the Holy Father and heard his voice, speaking right to them. Having spent over 30 years in Protestant ministry, I know the separation that has existed and continues to exist between that world and the Catholic world. Pope Francis addressed it head on. Christian unity begins with love. Not by laying down the gauntlet and challenging issues that divide but first come together on the basis of what we have in common.

The historic ordination of Fr Randy Sly, former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, to the Catholic priesthood

The historic ordination of Fr Randy Sly, former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, to the Catholic priesthood

Highlights

By Fr. Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/24/2014 (6 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bishop Tony Palmer, CEEC ICCEC, CEC, Anglicans, Episcopal, Ordinariate, UT UNUM SINT, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Bishop Tony Palmer, Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, Fr Randy Sly


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - At a recent meeting of Charismatic and Pentecostal ministers hosted by Kenneth Copeland Ministries, the attendees received an amazing surprise; a video greeting from the Holy Father, Pope Francis. The message was a spontaneous gesture by the Pontiff during a private meeting with Bishop Tony Palmer of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (CEEC), an old friend of his for many years.

When I was an archbishop with the Charismatic Episcopal Church, which has a lot of similarity to the CEEC, we had longed for such a gesture. With a conviction that the church's three streams - liturgical/sacramental, evangelical and charistmatic - needed to flow as one mighty river, we had identified ourselves as catholic (intentional small "c") and felt a strong kinship with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. How we wanted to find a way to connect.

As with other jurisdictions of Anglicanism, we had knocked on the door of the Vatican to explore building relationships and opening channels of communication. We knew that such a work would move very slowly. All of that made the recent video from Pope Francis an historic event.

Technology made the delivery easy, but it was the heart of a man who so desires Christian unity that made this an immediate occurrence. Here, he reached out and extended his hand of fellowship as a brother in Christ. In the video he said:

Two rules: Love God above all, and love the other (neighbor), because he is your brother and sister. With these two rules we can go ahead. I am here with my brother, my bishop brother, Tony Palmer. We've been friends for years.

He told me about your conference, about your meeting. And it's my pleasure to greet you. A greeting both joyful and nostalgic (yearning). Joyful because it gives me joy that you have come together to worship Jesus Christ the only Lord. And to pray to the Father and to receive the Holy Spirit. This brings me joy because we can see that God is working all over the world.


I can just imagine the electricity felt in the room when these Christian leaders from a completely different face of Christianity saw the Holy Father and heard his voice, speaking right to them. Having spent over 30 years in Protestant ministry, I know the separation that has existed and continues to exist between that world and the Catholic world. Pope Francis addressed it head on:

We are kind of.permit me to say, separated. Separated because, it's sin that has separated us, all our sins. The misunderstandings throughout history. It has been a long road of sins that we all shared in. Who is to blame? We all share the blame. We have all sinned. There is only one blameless, the Lord. I am nostalgic (yearning), that this separation comes to an end and gives us communion.

Later, after the message from the Pope, Tony Palmer closed the presentation with a prayer - the high priestly prayer of Jesus, which was one of the favorite themes of Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Paul II. He called for all those present who were of the same heart to say amen at the end of the prayer.

I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:20-23)

Truly this is the heart of God - that we be one. Evangelization is best undertaken when those who hear the good news see that those who bring it have love one for another.

As a cautionary note, we shouldn't try and make this greeting into something more than what it is. The Holy Father was not establishing new doctrines, developing canon law or establishing new guidelines for ecclesial relationships. He was doing what a good shepherd of souls does - reaches out in love.

You will find some people from the Catholic and Protestant spheres of Christianity dissecting this greeting and infer things that the Pope was or was not saying. I've already seen one article claiming that this was official ecclesiastical recognition of Palmer's episcopate.

This was a spontaneous greeting of Christian love and an invitation to deepen the bonds of brotherhood based on what we have in Common. I am speaking to you as a brother, he stated. I speak to you in a simple way. With joy and nostalgia (yearning). Let us allow our nostalgia (yearning) to grow, because this will propel us to find each other, to embrace one another. And together to worship Jesus Christ as the only Lord of History.

Christian unity begins with love. Not by laying down the gauntlet and challenging issues that divide but first come together on the basis of what we have in common. It was out of this same heart that Blessed John Paul II eagerly met with patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches and established the Pastoral Provision for U.S. Anglicans.

It was also out of this same heart that Pope Emeritus Benedict continued to build relationships with the East, established Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans who desired full-communion and, like his predecessors, enthusiastically participated in many ecumenical gatherings.

Pope Francis has continued, and now escalated, this call for Christian unity.: I thank you profoundly for listening to me. I thank you profoundly for allowing me to speak the language of the heart. And I also ask you a favor. Please pray for me, because I need your prayers. And I will pray for you, I will do it, but I need your prayers. And let us pray to the Lord that He unites us all. Come on, we are brothers. Let's give each other a spiritual hug and let God complete the work that he has begun. And this is a miracle; the miracle of unity has begun.

A famous Italian author named Manzoni, once wrote in his novel, of a simple man amongst the people, who once said this, "I've never seen God begin a miracle without Him finishing it well." He will complete this miracle of unity. I ask you to bless me, and I bless you. From brother to brother, I embrace you. Thank you.

May this be the beginning of something powerful for the Kingdom of God.

------

Fr Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and Chaplain of the ecumenical movement, Common Good. He is  a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. He laid aside that ministry to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church a lifelong search for the fulness of Christian truth. He participated in Church history when he became one of the first former Anglicans ordained as a Catholic priest for the  Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus." He is currently the chaplain of the St. John Fisher Catholic Community, a priest in residence at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church and Director of Pro-Life Activities for the Ordinariate.

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

Why I Said No to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is Deadly Watch

Image of I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly unwilling to support a noble cause such as the eradication of a debilitating disease. However, it is vital that we stand for for the fundamental and foundational moral truth which underlies every effort to end disease, the dignity of every human person, including embryonic human persons.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I was approached to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to help bring an end to ALS. I said No. I have tried to explain why I said No in this article. I hope it is a helpful contribution in our public discussion. As a Christian, it is never easy to be seen as seemingly ... continue reading


Toward a Christian Vision of Human Work On Labor Day Watch

Image of Christians need to bear witness in the real world to the true value, purpose, meaning and dignity of all human work - just as we bear witness to the inherent value and dignity of every human worker. This is a vital part of our witness to an age which has lost its way.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Adam and Eve worked in the garden and it brought them great joy. For the Christian, work is meant to become a participation in the continuing redemptive mission of Jesus, and His ongoing work. Jesus viewed his entire life and mission as work. He was always doing ... continue reading


American Islamic terrorist Fort Hood shooter requests to join Islamic State as a 'citizen' Watch

Image of Nadal Hasan, the man who killed 13 people during a rampage at Fort Hood in 2009, has written a letter to the Islamic State asking to join the terrorist organization as a citizen.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. Army psychiatrist, Nadal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood back in November 2009 has written a letter to the leader of the Islamic State, asking to become a citizen of the Islamic State's caliphate, an attorney of Husan reported on August 28. LOS ... continue reading


St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


SHAKEN WINE: Strong earthquake jolts California's wine region Watch

Image of The weekend's temblor was felt widely throughout the region, from more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rumbled through the early Sunday morning hours in the heart of California's wine country. The epicenter was near the city of Napa in the Golden State's north. Fires erupted in a mobile home park where four homes were destroyed and two ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil: Living Simplicity Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


Is Transgenderism a Mental Disorder or a Right? Watch

Image of Pope Emeritus Benedict was absolutely correct when he said, - the profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. - Gender is a gift. It is also a given. The dangers of the Gender Identity Movement are becoming increasingly clear.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In a culture where freedom has been redefined as a right to choose anything and liberty has degenerated into license, the newspeak of the age has declared the instrumental use of the body of another to be sexual freedom. It is not freedom. It turns people into ... continue reading


WORST YET TO COME? Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen,' Pentagon says Watch

Image of IS is

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has been keeping very close watch on the atrocities being committed by Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, and according to a top government official - the worst is yet to come. According to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the sophistication, ... continue reading


Lawsuit dropped against devil worshiper in Oklahoma Watch

Image of Lawyers representing Archbishop Paul Coakley had earlier demanded the return of a communion wafer obtained by the group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The leader of a satanic group in Oklahoma City had threatened that he and his followers would defile a consecrated communion wafer as an offering to Satan as a carnal sacrifice at a "Black Mass" ceremony inside Oklahoma City's Civic Center Music Hall. The ... continue reading


Should Americans have job preference over unskilled-illegal immigrants? President Obama doesn't think so Watch

Image of New polls are showing that Americans are tired of illegal immigrants getting benefits at the expense of citizens and legal immigrants.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to the Associated Press: "one of the more popular requests among business and family groups is a change in the way green cards are counted," which would "essentially free up some 800,000 additional visas the first year." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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