Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Randy Sly

2/24/2014 (8 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 (8 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 November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More U.S.

Obama gives amnesty while bracing for next 'surge' of illegals in 2015 Watch

Image of Children in holding facilities during 2014, a year where the surge of illegal children occurred.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While President Obama has revealed his plans to shield about five million illegal immigrants from deportation, he has federal agencies getting ready for another mass surge of illegal immigrants during the spring of 2015. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As ... continue reading


Obama declares all out war on Republicans over immigration reform Watch

Image of President Obama is expected to give a speech on November 20, outlining his plans to execute immigration reform via executive action.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Even after warnings from sitting and incoming House and Senate Republicans that unilateral action on immigration reform from President Barack Obama would not be tolerated, the president has gone ahead and outlined a plan to relax the rules and regulations of U.S. ... continue reading


The Marriage Meme of Francis: What Did the Pope Just Say about Marriage and Family? Watch

Image of Pope Francis presiding at a marriage Liturgy at St Peters.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Pope Francis embraces the unchangeable truth about marriage as solely between one man and one woman, intended for life, open to life and formative of family as the sole Meme - using the word properly.  That is why you will not read much about the crystal ... continue reading


Another black eye for Democrats: Obamacare architect makes off with $6 million in taxpayer money Watch

Image of New videos released in November show that the architect behind the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, holds nothing but contempt for the American people.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The architect of the fiasco that has been the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Jonathan Gruber, was paid about $6 million in taxpayer money between 2009 and 2014. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This is about 24 times what an average, full-time American worker would ... continue reading


See the list of MOST FREE countries in the world, the results will surprise you! Watch

Image of Land of the Free no more, Americans report a significant decline in personal freedom under the Obama administration.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

America is supposed to be the land of the free, so Americans themselves might be surprised to see that the United States actually ranks fairly low on the index of personal freedom when compared to other nations. Instead of occupying the number 1 spot, the USA has ... continue reading


America's foremost monster and madman Charles Manson intends to wed 26-year-old girl Watch

Image of A rare, recent prison photo of Charles Manson without his beard. The swastika on his forehead remains.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

His name alone strikes a chord even today, years after his murderous activities with his "family." Charles Manson's name is synonymous with madness and mayhem. The 80-year-old murderer now intends to marry a 26-year-old girl with a freshly obtained marriage ... continue reading


LOCKED AND LOADED - National Guard called to Ferguson as Missouri governor reacts to broadening crisis Watch

Image of The grand jury has been meeting for about three months to consider evidence on the shooting of 18-year-old Brown by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

National Guard called to Ferguson as Missouri governor reacts to broadening crisisPolice will reportedly 'maintain peace and protect those exercising their right to free speech'Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)A state of emergency has been declared in the state of ... continue reading


What does this say about America? New study finds that child homelessness epidemic has reached a historic high Watch

Image of A new study has shown that 2.5 million children in the U.S. were homeless in 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After a surge in recent years, a record number of children in the United States are homeless, and could be as high as one out of every 30, a recent report has revealed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report, titled "America's Youngest Outcasts," was ... continue reading


Why is Obama allowing foreign-designated terrorist groups to operate within the United States? Watch

Image of Protesters burn an American flag. The nation has many enemies, both within and without.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two "moderate," mainstream Islamic groups in the United States feel as though they've been tarred and feathered with the same brush. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which describes itself as "America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy ... continue reading


President Obama honors second man to die of Ebola in U.S. Watch

Image of Martin Salia, a Sierra Leone born surgeon is the second man to die of Ebola in the United States. Salia received a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Another doctor has died from Ebola, marking the second person to die of the disease in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Martin Salia, a Sierra Leone native whose family lived in Maryland, was flown to Nebraska Medical Center where he was placed in ... 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, Revelation 10:8-11
8 Then I heard the voice I had heard from heaven ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
14 In the way of your instructions lies my joy, a joy ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 19:45-48
45 Then he went into the Temple and began driving out ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 21st, 2014 Image

St. Gelasius
November 21: St. Gelasius I, Pope (Feast day - November 21) Gelasius was born ... 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