Vol. XVIII, No. 9
News and Views
“We, believers in Christ, are called upon to return to the essential, to the heart of our faith, to bear witness to the living God before the world,” Pope Benedict XVI stressed in his address to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on November 15. “We must not forget what it is that unites us: our faith in God the Father and Creator, revealed in His Son Jesus Christ, effusing the Spirit which revives and sanctifies. This is the faith we received in Baptism and it is the faith that, in hope and charity, we can profess together,” he said.
It is also important to realize, Pope Benedict stated, that “We cannot follow a truly ecumenical path while ignoring the crisis of faith affecting vast areas of the world, including those where the proclamation of the Gospel was first accepted and where Christian life has flourished for centuries. On the other hand, we cannot ignore the many signs indicating a persistent need for spirituality, which is made manifest in various ways. The spiritual poverty of many of our contemporaries, who no longer perceive the absence of God in their lives as a form of deprivation, poses a challenge to all Christians.”
Even if the objective of ecumenism is visible unity among divided Christians, and even if this visible unity remains elusive, we must continue to “dedicate all our forces” to achieving it. “This unity is a gift from God, and may come to us only from the Father through His Son, because the Church is His Church,” the Holy Father said. He concluded, “Unity is on the one hand the fruit of faith and, on the other, a means — almost a prerequisite — for an increasingly credible proclamation of the faith to those who do not yet know the Savior or who, while having received the proclamation of the Gospel, have almost forgotten this valuable gift. True ecumenism, recognizing the primacy of divine action, demands above all patience, humility, and abandonment to the will of the Lord. In the final analysis, ecumenism and new evangelization both require the dynamism of conversion, understood as the sincere desire to follow Christ and to fully adhere to the will of the Father.”
Source: Vatican Information Service
A workshop for priests and deacons, “Profound Preaching: Mediating the Beautiful Encounter with Christ Through the Spoken Word,” was held November 9 at the Liturgical Institute of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Illinois.
The sessions were led by Father Peter John Cameron, OP, editor-in-chief of Magnificat magazine, and professor of homiletics at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. He is the author of To Praise, To Bless, To Preach: Spiritual Reflections on the Sunday Gospels, and Why Preach: Encountering God’s Word, published by Ignatius Press.
History of the Catholic Church from the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium is the title of a new book by James Hitchcock, published by Ignatius Press.
The history of the Catholic Church is long, complicated, and fascinating, and in this book it is expertly and ably told by historian James Hitchcock. As in the parable of Christ about the weeds that were sown in a field of wheat, evil and good have grown together in the Church from the start, as Dr. Hitchcock honestly records. He brings before us the many characters — some noble, some notorious — who have left an indelible mark on the Church, while never losing sight of the saints, who have given living testimony to the salvific power of Christ in every age.
This ambitious work is comprehensive in its scope and incisive in its understanding, a valuable addition to any school or home library.
James Hitchcock is a longtime professor of history at St. Louis University, which he attended as an undergraduate. He received his master’s and doctorate degrees from Princeton University and is the author of many books, among them The Supreme Court and Religion in American Life; Recovery of the Sacred; What Is Secular Humanism?; Catholicism and Modernity: Confrontation or Capitulation?; and Years of Crisis. He is presently working on a book on contemporary Catholic issues.
The History of the Catholic Church has the imprimatur from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and has received plaudits from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop Charles Chaput, George Weigel, Michael Novak, and others.
Available December 10, the book may be ordered from Ignatius Press. (Full disclosure: Dr. Hitchcock is the husband of AB editor.)
The fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, on the use of the “extraordinary form” of the Roman liturgy, was observed in Rome November 1-3 by an international group dedicated to celebrating Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Summorum Pontificum was published on July 7, 2007, and came into effect on September 14 of that year.
The event, organized by Coetus internationalis Summorum Pontificum, closed with a Mass held in St. Peter’s Basilica celebrated by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
A greeting sent by Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on behalf of the pope noted that “it is good to conserve the richness that has developed in the faith and prayer of the Church and to accord it due space, at the same time fully recognizing the value and sanctity of the ordinary form of the Roman rite.” Cardinal Bertone’s note also said that in the Year of Faith, “the Holy Father invites all the faithful to make a special demonstration of their unity in faith; in this way they will become effective agents of new evangelization.”
Source: Vatican Information Service