A Catholic Blog for Lovers

A celebration of beauty, truth, and goodness, and, of course, love...and perhaps a little nastiness

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Saturday, July 26, 2003
Last Jesuit leaving Kahnawake

Catholic order set up mission 336 years ago; it no longer has enough priests to continue

Saint Ann: grandmother of the LORD, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Province of Quebec, Canada

In the Roman Rite today it is the feast of Saints Joachim and Anna, the grandparents of Jesus, parents of Our Lady. In some cultures there is a strong devotion to Saint Ann especially. Today, in North America, a vast throng gathers at one of the most beautiful and impressive houses of worship in North America, the great Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, near Quebec, Canada. It is the oldest pilgrimage site in North America, going back to the mid seventeenth century. Today over a million and a half visit this shrine each year. It is our Lourdes in North America!

The statue of Saint Ann which is so popularly venerated at her Shrine

At the Shrine there are numerous candlelight processions, blessings of the sick, and many reported healings

I have a great desire to finally visit this Shrine, which is in the pastoral care of the Redemptorists (and see that some cruises go up the St Lawrence River, from which I might catch a glimpse if I am ever fortunate enough to take such a cruise, since it is right on the St Lawrence. I can only imagine how spectacular it might be in autumn!).

Sing to the Lord a new song

Upbeat reports on liturgical and sacred music in the (Roman) Catholic parish of the Mother of God in Vladivostok, Russia.

Russian Liturgical Music Development for the Roman Rite

Organ Concert Series of Sacred Music

Both of these interesting articles were written by faithful blog reader, Father Daniel Maurer.

May the LORD bless the efforts to foster the beautiful and the holy in the Roman Rite in Russia!

Friday, July 25, 2003
Religious order auctions naming rights for church property

I guess the Old Catholics aren't "old-fashioned!"

The Camino Santiago Compostela Pilgrimage

The simpler "Compostela" - given to those who do the pilgrimage according to certain norms

Today's feast of Saint James, son of Zebedee, brother of the beloved disciple, is celebrated with special joy at the Shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This was one of the largest pilgrimages for some period in the Catholic world (when pilgrimages held an important place). This pilgrimage, like so much, declined significantly. But, like so much, in these last years has shown signs of revival. Here are the statistics of those who completed the pilgrimage and were officially given the certificate as official pilgrims.

1986 2,491
1987 2,905
1988 3,501
1989 (Pope's visit) 5,760
1990 4,918
1991 7,274
1992 9,764
1993 (Holy Year) 99,439
1994 15,863
1995 19,821
1996 23,218
1997 25,179
1998 30,126
1999 (Holy Year) 154,613
2000 (Jubilee Year) 55,004
2001 61,418
2002 68,952

The world's largest thurible is swung through the entire length of the great church of Saintiago de Compostela

Today in Christian history

July 25, 325: The Council of Nicea closes. The first ecumenical council, convened by Constantine, it rejected the Arians (who denied the full divinity of Christ) as heretics. The Nicene Creed used by Christians today is based on the Creed of this Council, expanded by the First Council of Constantinople (an eastern council) and in the west by the addition of the "filioque" starting in Spain in the sixth century.

July 25, 1593: King Henry IV of France, raised a Protestant, converts to Catholicism. Long considered a political move, the conversion is now thought to have been sincere, partially because of the king's statement that "religion is not changed as easily as a shirt." His conversion did not end his sympathy for Protestants, however, and in 1598 he promulgated the Edict of Nantes, giving Protestants freedom of worship and permitting them to garrison certain towns for security.

July 25, 1918: Walter Rauschenbusch, Bapstist pastor and theologian of the Social Gospel, dies. His books, including "Christianity and the Social Crisis and The Social Principles of Jesus", influenced many—among them Martin Luther King, Jr., who observed that "Rauschenbusch gave to American Protestantism a sense of social responsibility that it should never lose."

Thursday, July 24, 2003
John Paul II Enjoys Outing in Gran Sasso

VATICAN CITY, JULY 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II left the pontifical summer residence of Castel Gandolfo today, where he is spending his holidays, for an outing in the Gran Sasso (Italian for "Big Rock"), a mountainous region of the Abruzzi, Vatican Radio reported.

The Holy Father is familiar with these mountains, which rise to 9560 feet and are situated some 62 miles from Rome. This is his seventh visit to this Italian region.

"The Spectacular Little Tibet of Italy"

The spectacular Gran Sasso mountains, the highest of the Apennine peaks, and the Campo Imperatore, a vast, high mountain plateau sometimes called Italy's "little Tibet" are frequent film and television backdrop. The area is nowadays part of the National Park of the Gran Sasso and Laga, founded in 1992.

Campo Imperatore is a plateau at the average height of 1800 meters above sea level, in the heart of the Gran Sasso, offers an extremely valuable patrimony of fauna and vegetation. The fauna is rather varied and is represented by uncommon species, such as the Apennine Wolf, the Wild Cat, and wild boars, squirrels, foxes, all quite widespread; more unusual are the Chamois, only lately brought back in the area.

Among the predatory birds we point out the buzzard, the peregrine, the sparrowhawk and the Golden eagle; among the wood birds: the great spotted woodpecker, the woodpigeon, the short toed treecreeper; among the rocky species: the alpine chough, the chough, the wallcreeper; in the heights, the alpine accentor and the water and rock pipits.

The woods are essentially made up of beech along with, even though more rarely, holly, maples of different species, mountain and fowler sorbs, cherry trees, wild apple and pear trees, yew trees. A special mention must be made of the small woods of white fir trees, remainders of the old mixed gathering of fir trees and beeches of the Apennine. The undergrowth is crowded with a large number of anemone, ranunculi, red lilies and martagons, with belladonna, raspberry bushes and many species more; the glades are brightened up by the colours of the different species of wild orchids while the high grasslands are characterized by the presence of a moorland of black bilberry. On the Laga there are also large extensions of chestnut woods, quite unusual in our region.

I wonder if the Pope saw any wildlife, if he noticed the species of trees and flowers and plants, if he did any birdwatching.... It sure looks like a good place for all of these!


Can't believe that neither I or anyone else has yet mentioned the name of a well known convert, Lewis (Father Paul) Wattson, former Episcopal priest who founded the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, and his collaborator, (Mother) Luriana White. Their small religious communities were received into the Catholic Church in 1909.

I believe the Anglican monastic community of Caldey also was received into the Catholic Church, led by Abbot Aelred Carlyle, in March 1913.

Several years ago I believe some Lutheran Swedish congregation of nuns (or most of them) became Catholic (but can't find information online about it and can't recall where I read this in the first place - but my memory is still pretty decent and am quite sure this is the case). Any Scandinavian readers out there? (My father was born in Norway).

Thank God it's not my parish!

"...Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?

The worship style was confusing. The keyboard was a poor foundation for the congregation singing, so basically no one sang. Everyone just stood and looked around at one another. Then suddenly they broke into a b-flat jazz-style 12/8 meter "Alleluia" at the Gospel and it was a party. Men were bouncing their babies, women were throwing their heads back, and kids were laughing hysterically. It was a very sad moment as the church laughed at, not with, the song. The cantor thought he was Enrique Inglesias, and even did a Tonight-Show-style clenched-fist-pulled-down-arm-musical-cutoff at the end of the jazz riff – I mean the Alleluia. The lowest moment of my church-going career..."

Pryor's religion triggers debate

"A judicial confirmation hearing yesterday turned into a rancorous debate between Democrats and Republicans over whether it's possible for a devout Catholic to be confirmed to the federal bench...."

789 Children Abused by Priests Since 1940, Massachusetts Says

"BOSTON, July 23 — At least 789 children and probably more than 1,000 have been sexually abused by 250 priests and other church workers in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston since 1940, according to a 16-month investigation by the Massachusetts attorney general that was made public today...."

Notice the inaccuracy in the headlines of this New York Times piece. It screams: 789 Children Abused by Priests Since 1940. Then the article specifically mentions that this figure involves both priests "and other church workers." That seems to me shoddy journalism.

The period covered is over 60 years. I would have thought the number abused much higher myself (and, of course, not every abuse case is reported - nor every reported abuse case authentic). I had thought that there were more "serial" abusers whose victims were numerous, such as some high profile cases. But apparantly most abusers seemed to have had a very limited number of victims (thanks be to God).

Saint Sharbel Makhluf

"...a hermit of the Lebanese mountain is inscribed in the number of the blessed, a new eminent member of monastic sanctity is enriching, by his example and his intercession, the entire Christian people. May he make us understand, in a world largely fascinated by wealth and comfort, the paramount value of poverty, penance and asceticism, to liberate the soul in its ascent to God..." (Pope Paul VI, October 9, 1977, at the canonization Mass).

Saint Sharbel is one of the shining lights of the Maronite Church. His feast is celebrated today in the Roman Rite.

The fascinating Maronite Church is in its entirety united to the Apostolic See of Rome, without any counterpart in the Orthodox world.

Here are some "quick facts":

LOCATION: Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Egypt, Brazil, USA, Canada, Australia
HEAD: Patriarch Nasrallah Cardinal Sfeir (born 1920, elected 1986, cardinal 1994)
TITLE: Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites
RESIDENCE: Bkerke, Lebanon
MEMBERSHIP: 3,222,000

Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Judge Robert Bork baptized as a Catholic Christian at age 76

Thanks to a comment made by Mark Cameron I found out that Judge Bork recently became Catholic. His wife, Mary Ellen, has been an active Catholic all these years. And he is yet another convert received by Father C. John McClosky at the Washington Catholic Information Center. God bless Judge Bork and all the converts received through the ministry of the Center!

Thanks again to those still adding names to the convert list; some I enter into the list immediately, others will be added to another listing coming one of these days, God willing.

Nearly 800 Church Sex Abuse Victims in Boston, Report Says

"Nearly 800 people have complained of being sexually abused by clergy members and workers in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese since 1940, the Massachusetts attorney general said today in a scathing report that followed a 16-month investigation into a scandal that has shaken the entire Catholic Church..."

"...No one is more disappointed than I and my staff that we can't bring criminal charges against the top managers," Mr. Reilly (Attorney General) said. "We worked hard and we tried and if we could have we would have...."

More new nuns!

Thanks to Father Bryce Sibley for this link. Six new novices in a "traditional" Carmeite monastery. I suspect the median age of this community is a lot lower than in the Sisterhood referenced below in the last posting!

The New Nun

A new vocation is big news in this Congregation of Sisters!

"...For nuns accustomed to hearing the future of their orders discussed only in the funereal language used to document the disappearance of the general store and the drive-in theater, Deirdre is a full-throttle blast of optimism. While many Sisters of Saint Joseph have yet to retire and are still tirelessly walking the walk in hospitals, shelters, and schools across the region, the statistics don't lie. Only seven of the roughly 560 sisters in the Boston congregation are younger than 50. The vast majority of them are now north of 70, which incidentally is the median age of a nun in this country today. Nationally, the total number of nuns has dropped to less than half of what it was 30 years ago, and all signs suggest more dramatic declines in the future. But just one look at Deirdre, and suddenly the end doesn't seem inevitable..."

The wind of a new Pentecost?

Today in Christian history

July 23, 1373: Saint Bridget (or Birgitta) of Sweden dies. The devout and charitable mystic and founder of the Bridgettine Order, greatly influenced the pope's decision to return to Rome.

July 23, 1742: Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles, dies. Born the twenty-fifth child in a clergyman's family, she became one of the most notable mothers in church history.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Listing of Converts

I am getting emails about more converts as well as the entries in the Comment boxes. I am adding some immediately to the listing already posted; others will be added to a new listing eventually. Thanks again.

Courting trouble

Christians oppose embedding Islamic tribunals in Kenya's new constitution.

"...Islam represents roughly 16 percent of the population. It is already the country's fastest growing religion, at about 4 percent annually. Islam has gained more visibility in recent years. Muslims have opened dozens of new mosques outside of their traditional strongholds along the coast and in the country's northwest.

Charitable work by Muslims has attracted converts amid an economy in which the average per-person income is stuck at around $340 a year. Kenyan Muslims offer free education to orphans in Nairobi's sprawling slums. They also provide scholarships for college-age students to attend Arab universities. Muslim-run hospitals in Nairobi, such as Crescent Medical Aid and the Iran Clinic, offer subsidized medical services..."

How many times I have read, these past years, that Islam is this or that country's "fastest growing religion." Here in Kenya where Catholics are about 30% of the population Islam is growing at the remarkable rate of 4% per year. I am not sure what to think of all of this but one thing I do believe: the growth of Islam is something quite serious with signficant implications for the future of the world. In so many ways, Islam gives the impression of youthfulness and zeal and living faith (despite all the negatives and excesses), while Christianity, at least in much of its traditional strongholds, can give the impression of an aging, dying, ineffective and peripheral religion.

Searching the internet for news and photos I can't help but compare those that show up under "Islam" and those that show up under "Catholic" - often the photos for Islam show numerous men bowed in prayer; often the photos for Catholics show another former priest accused of sexual abuse or some bishop who is being grilled by the courts!

There are exceptions - for example, the World Youth Day celebrations that show a youthful and vibrant Church (even as these gatherngs are criticized by both left and right); and there are nuances to be made. But I give an overall impression. I sure wish it were different.


I am very grateful for those who are mentioning yet more converts - and for introducing me to some wonderful persons. Just for one example, I had never even heard of Denise Levertov, until Shawn mentioned her in a comment box after the lastest post on "Converts." I was able to read some of her poems online, including the poem Shawn mentions, "O Taste and See." And a commentary as well.(There is such a vast store of riches available online, compared to when I first went online in 1995). Keep mentioning those you know and I will add another list as we go along..... Thanks again!


London, Jul. 21 (CWNews.com) - The Archdiocese of Birmingham has reached an out-of-court settlement with a man who claims he was sexually abused by Father John Tolkien more than 40 years ago.

Father Tolkien, son of J.R.R. Tolkien who wrote The Lord of the Rings, died in January this year leaving a considerable fortune inherited from his father.

It is not known if the accuser, Christopher Carried, now 57, was hoping to make a claim from the late priest's personal estate.

The settlement of 15,000 pounds was paid from the coffers of the Birmingham archdiocese which did not admit liability.

I hesitate to post this piece; I usually do not point to yet more "gossip" and more "scandal" unless there seems a valid reason for doing so. In this case, I was aware of the allegations against Father John Tolkien for several years but did not mention it publically (except once in a comment box on another blog). I had come across a report of several years ago that "the Crown" had dropped charges against Father Tolkien because of "ill health."

I point now to this public notification from CWN just to show how "close to home" the "Situation" can touch many in different ways, especially now the many admirers of J.R.R. Tolkien (of whom I am one). Of course, Father Tolkien may be innocent. But perhaps he was guilty of some indiscretion and sin years ago. How do we deal with this allegation? Publish it as yet another example of the evil of the priesthood and of the hierarchy (and of the laity, since "we get the priests/bishops we deserve and want")? Do we think any less of J.R.R. Tolkien, the father, because of this allegation and settlement? Do we think we honor the memory of J.R.R. Tolkien by condemning his son, plaster our blogs with this latest news-gossip (remember THAT is not what I am doing in this case; how I hope this is so)?

I am reminded that today is the feast of Mary Magdalene, from whom several demons were cast out and who loved much because much was forgiven (following one tradition of seeing the same Mary in all of these gospel events). How much I myself need forgiveness for my own failures and sins!

I wonder how J.R.R. himself might have reacted to this news if he were alive?

Prayer to Saint Mary Magdalene by Saint Anselm

A beautiful prayer to her whose feast is today in the Roman Rite: Saint Mary Magdalene. Saint Anselm follows the tradition of conflating the penitent woman with the Mary in the Garden seeking Christ after his burial. I do too! A blessed feast to all penitents! (And those in no need of penitence as well - cf. Lk 5: 30-32).

Welcome to St Blog's

Catholic in Minnesota -
A Religion of Sanity - Maureen McHugh - resurrected!
SecretAgentMan's Dossier
Musings of an Amphibious Goat - John Augustine - resurrected!
The Shrine of the Holy Whapping - some Notre Dame students
Non Omnis Moriar - Martin Farkus - resurrected!

Today in Christian history

July 22, 1822: Johann Gregor Mendel, the Austrian monk and botanist who discovered the basic laws of genetic inheritance, is born.

Monday, July 21, 2003
The Catholic Church's Regime Change

Would lay power really augur a new epoch of openness and honesty?

The Evangelical Journal "Christianity Today" reviews a new Catholic book, "The Coming Catholic Church: How the Faithful are Shaping A New American Catholicism" by David Gibson (oh no! yet another convert!).

One of Evangelicalism's bright lights dead

Former "happy pagan" went on to form one of the largest and most efficient parachurch ministries in the world, Campus Crusade for Christ.


Well, the list has gotten a lot larger! Some I remembered on my own; others were pointed out to me by others - and some of these converts I know of, are new to me. Thanks to all who contributed to the list (which, of course, is hardly exhaustive - there is just no way to name the countless numbers of converts over the centuries, even in our own days - I didn't even list every one mentioned by you!). Here's the new listing not very well organized I fear (and I append the original list as well).

Writers-poets-architects-artists-thinkers such Alice Meynell, Conventry Patmore, Dame Edith Sitwell, Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, Joel Chandler Harris ("Brer Rabbit"), Gene Wolfe (sci-fi), Julian Green, Shisaku Endo, Muriel Spark, Roy Campell (translator of St John of the Cross' poems), Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, EF Schumacher, Russell Kirk, Fredrich von Schlegel, Brent Bozell, Joseph Sobran, Joseph Pearce, J.R.R. Tolkien (at age 8 with family), Stratford and Leonie Caldecott, Karl Stern (psychiatrist-author), Fritz Krieslen (violinist), Richard Crashaw, John Dryden, William Congdon (painter), Rumer Godden ("In This House of Brede"), Marshall McLuhan, Jan Vermeer, Mortimer Adler. Fulton Ousler, Dom Julian Stead, Joyce Kilmer, AJ Cronin, Catherine Ann Porter, Walter Miller ("Canticle for Lieberwitz")......

More, such as Prince Alexander Galitzin, Mother Catherine and Father Vladimir Abrikosov, Exarch Leonid Fedorov, Father Nicholas Tolstoy, James Likoudis, Father Chrysostom Frank, Graham Leonard(former Anglican Bishop of London), Ambrose St John, Edward Caswall, Clarence Walsworth (translator of "Holy God we praise Thy Name"), John Jay Hughes, William Oddie, Cardinal Henry Manning, WG Ward, Saint Edmund Campion SJ, Saint Margaret Clitherow, Father Ignatius Spencer CP (relative of Princess Diana), Dom Augustine Baker, Dom Cuthbert Butler, Dom Christopher Butler, CC Martindale SJ, Mother Janet Erskin Stuart, John Saward, Venerable Cornelia Connelly, Frederick Lucas (founder of "The Tablet"), Sir Alec Guiness, Father Addison Hart, Father Ian Ker, Dr Robert Wilken (Lutheran scholar), Queen Christina of Sweden, Blessed Mother Elizabeth Hasselblad (Refounder of the Brigittines), Father Christian Payngls (Dane), Ephraim Croissant (founder of "Beatitudes")....

And Marcus Grodi, Dave Armstrong, Steve Ray, Robert Novak, Clare Booth Luce, Henry Roberts (grandson of Roberts of the Rules of Order), Blessed Kateri Techawitha, Helen Hull Hitchcock, H. Lyman Stebbins (founder CUF), Kenneth D. Whitehead , Father Derek Cross (former editor of "The Journal of Metaphysical Studies"), H.W. Crocker III ,Jennifer Ferrara (Lutheran minister), Tricia Ireland (Lutheran minister), Jeffrey Finch (Methodist minister), Linda Pointdexter (Episcopal priest)....

Yet more like Eugenio Zoli (Chief Rabbi of Rome), Venerable Francis Liebermann, Father Alphonsus Ratisborne, Father Arthur Klyber CSSR, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, Rhonda Chervin, Jeffrey Rubin, Mark and Elisha Drogin, Rosalind Moss, Father Richard Ho Lung, Louis Massignon, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Sister Nirmala (Mother Teresa's successor)....

Still more such as John Wayne, Doc Holliday, Confederate General James Longstreet, Buffalo Bill Cody, Kit Carson, Black Elk.....

Among the converts in our own St Blogs (bloggers and readers) are Patrick Rothwell, Bill Cork, Stephen Riddle, Jesus Gil, Emily Stimpson, Eve Tushnet, "Zorak", Sean Roberts, Mark Shea, Gregg the Obscure, Ben Whitworth, Karl Kolhase, "Joe Convert", Alan Phipps, Lane Core, Charles R Williams, John Mallon, Jeff Miller, Mark Cameron.....

Enough! I am exhausted! I can add as we go along.......

WOW! What a magnificent gathering!

Original posting:

How much the poorer the Church would be without this "great cloud of witnesses!" Just think of the contributions of those like John Henry Newman and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Frederick William Faber, of Gilbert Keith Chesterton , Robert Hugh Benson, Sir Arnold Lunn, Christopher Dawson, Eric Gill, of Ronald Knox, the great Welsh poet, David Jones, Les Murray (Australian poet), Takaski Nagai.  Or more recently of Peter Kreeft, Thomas and Lovelace Howard, Malcolm and Kitty Muggeridge, Paul and Evelyn Vitz, Sheldon Vanauken (God rest his soul), Dale Vree (editor of The New Oxford Review) and Deal Hudson (editor of Crisis), Scott and Kimberly Hahn, John Michael Talbot, Annie Dillard, the once-abortionist doctor, Bernard Nathanson.  How blessed we have been by converts like St. Edith Stein and Dorothy Day (the canonizable foundress, along with the saintly Peter Maurin, of the CatholicWorker movement), of other saintly friends, Catherine von Hueck Doherty, and Helen Iswolsky, by Adrienne von Speyr and Gertrude von le Fort, of both Jacques and Raissa Maritain. Of Angelus Silesius, of Fr Louis Bouyer, Brother Max Thurian of Taize (may he rest in peace), Fr Richard John Neuhaus and Fr George Rutler. And of the great Russian, Vladimir Soloviev as well! The convert scripture scholars like Henrich Schlier (disciple of Rudolf Bultmann), and Erik Pedersen.  The writers like Sigrid Undset, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, and Walker Percy. Americans like St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Orestes Brownson, Isaac Hecker, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the son of John Foster Dulles, Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. And converts like "the rocking horse" Catholic, Caryll Houselander, and the convert-in-heart Simone Weil, Deitrich von Hildebrand, Thomas Merton, Fr Aidan Nichols, OP. How marvelous a group! I realize this is a very limited listing (I didn't even mention, "The Duke" John Wayne!)? The list could get very long...... thank God!

Indictments ruled out in church probe

AG's office says Law, top aides won't be charged

Today in Church history

July 21, 1773: Pope Clement XIV dissolves the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), which was founded in 1534. Clement did not condemn the Society, but explained it was an administrative move for the peace of the Church. Pius VII restored the society in 1814. The Jesuits were not suppressed in Russia, since the Russian authorities did not recognize the authority of the Pope.

Sunday, July 20, 2003
Israel, We Bless Thee

Hard to believe junk like this is posted on an official Saudi news site. No wonder there is no peace.....

In a Russian Orthodox redoubt, Catholics report the sin of bias

"...The city's Roman Catholics gather underground because the main church building remains unfinished. Set among the trees in a large suburban park, the red brick structure has stood silent and unattended since 2000, when city authorities ordered the Catholics to halt the construction they had four years earlier. The reason remains in dispute.

Nutskovski said the work stoppage is one item in a long list of roadblocks that local and national authorities, in league with the Russian Orthodox Church, have used to prevent the spread of Catholicism throughout Russia in what some Catholics call a campaign of discrimination. Numbering about 600,000, Catholics are a distinct minority in this country of 143 million..."

No Ordinary Joy

How the Charismatic Renewal is Changing the French Church

From a back issue of "Crisis" an article that may encourage some about the state of the Catholic Church in the Church's "Eldest Daughter". Perhaps a sign of hope in a seemingly declining sector of the universal Church.

Removed from memory...committed to oblivion!

Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI embrace in Jerusalem

Following is the text of the joint Catholic-Orthodox declaration, approved by Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople, read simultaneously (Dec. 7) at a public meeting of the ecumenical council in Rome and at a special ceremony in Istanbul. The declaration concerns the Catholic-Orthodox exchange of excommunications in 1054.

1. Grateful to God, who mercifully favored them with a fraternal meeting at those holy places where the mystery of salvation was accomplished through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and where the Church was born through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I have not lost sight of the determination each then felt to omit nothing thereafter which charity might inspire and which could facilitate the development of the fraternal relations thus taken up between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. They are persuaded that in acting this way, they are responding to the call of that divine grace which today is leading the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, as well as all Christians, to overcome their differences in order to be again "one" as the Lord Jesus asked of His Father for them.

2. Among the obstacles along the road of the development of these fraternal relations of confidence and esteem, there is the memory of the decisions, actions and painful incidents which in 1054 resulted in the sentence of excommunication leveled against the Patriarch Michael Cerularius and two other persons by the legate of the Roman See under the leadership of Cardinal Humbertus, legates who then became the object of a similar sentence pronounced by the patriarch and the Synod of Constantinople.

3. One cannot pretend that these events were not what they were during this very troubled period of history. Today, however, they have been judged more fairly and serenely. Thus it is important to recognize the excesses which accompanied them and later led to consequences which, insofar as we can judge, went much further than their authors had intended and foreseen. They had directed their censures against the persons concerned and not the Churches. These censures were not intended to break ecclesiastical communion between the Sees of Rome and Constantinople.

4. Since they are certain that they express the common desire for justice and the unanimous sentiment of charity which moves the faithful, and since they recall the command of the Lord: "If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brethren has something against you, leave your gift before the altar and go first be reconciled to your brother" (Mt. 5.23-24), Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I with his synod, in common agreement, declare that:

A. They regret the offensive words, the reproaches without foundation, and the reprehensible gestures which, on both sides, have marked or accompanied the sad events of this period.

B. They likewise regret and remove both from memory and from the midst of the Church the sentences of excommunication which followed these events, the memory of which has influenced actions up to our day and has hindered closer relations in charity; and they commit these excommunications to oblivion.

C. Finally, they deplore the preceding and later vexing events which, under the influence of various factors - among which, lack of understanding and mutual trust - eventually led to the effective rupture of ecclesiastical communion.

5. Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I with his Synod realize that this gesture of justice and mutual pardon is not sufficient to end both old and more recent differences between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

Through the action of the Holy Spirit those differences will be overcome through cleansing of hearts, through regret for historical wrongs, and through an efficacious determination to arrive at a common understanding and expression of the faith of the Apostles and its demands.

They hope, nevertheless, that this act will be pleasing to God, who is prompt to pardon us when we pardon each other. They hope that the whole Christian world, especially the entire Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church will appreciate this gesture as an expression of a sincere desire shared in common for reconciliation, and as an invitation to follow out in a spirit of trust, esteem and mutual charity the dialogue which, with Gods help, will lead to living together again, for the greater good of souls and the coming of the kingdom of God, in that full communion of faith, fraternal accord and sacramental life which existed among them during the first thousand years of the life of the Church.

Today in Christian history

July 20, 1054: Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius, having been excommunicated by Cardinal Humbert some days earlier, excommunicates Pope Leo IX and his followers. Some believe this action on the part of both the Pope's delegates (even if the Pope who delegated them had died in the meantime!) and Patriarch, precipitated the Great Schism (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy). These excommunications were lifted jointly by Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras in 1965.

July 20, 1910: The Christian Endeavor Society of Missouri begins a campaign to ban all motion pictures that depicted kissing between nonrelatives.

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