Christmas is a season of giving, and in a rather self-serving application of that spirit, this week I'm asking readers to give me something. Specifically, I'm asking for reactions to my list of the 10 most important "mega-trends" in Catholicism today, which appears below.
All Things Catholic
When Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople met recently, the encounter was spun in a variety of ways: As an effort to reunite Eastern and Western Christianity; As an attempt to forge a united Christian front vis-à-vis Islam; Even as a bid to pool resources to combat runaway secularism in Europe.
Whatever one makes of Pope Benedict XVI’s shift from a “red light” to a “yellow light” on Turkey’s candidacy for the European Union, it was actually not the most jarring discontinuity between Joseph Ratzinger the cardinal and Benedict the pope during the Turkey trip.
Editor's Note: John Allen provided daily coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's Nov. 28-Dec. 1 visit to Turkey, which can be found under the Daily News and Updates section of this web page.
As Benedict XVI's Nov. 28-Dec. 1 trip to Turkey draws near, one concern both in the Vatican and at the Phanar, the headquarters of the Patriarch of Constantinople, is that the post-Regensburg emphasis on Christian/Muslim relations will overshadow the ecumenical thrust of the pope's visit, intended to cap several decades of rapprochement between Rome and the "first among equals" in the Orthodox world.
In a week in which the Vatican has offered us a hum-dinger instance of a public relations gaffe, this is probably an opportune moment for some reflections on church communications.
Though I detest ideological labels, especially in talking about ecclesiastical matters where they usually obscure more than they reveal, sometimes they're the only way to make a big-picture point quickly. One has to trust the conoscenti to understand that things are always more complex when the magnification is increased.
|All Things Catholic by John L. Allen, Jr.|
|Friday, Oct. 27, 2006 - Vol. 6, No. 9|
Of all the questions generated by the Regensburg crisis, perhaps the one of greatest long-term consequence for this pontificate, across a range of issues much wider than Catholic-Muslim relations, is the following.
Who will say no to Benedict XVI?
It's a question only now coming into view, as the immediate need for damage control with the Muslim world, and for finalizing the agenda for the pope's Nov. 28-Dec. 1 trip to Turkey, recedes.
I've just returned from two weeks in Rome, "taking the temperature," so to speak, of the post-Regensburg climate. Speaking on background, virtually every Vatican official I saw offered some version of the following analysis:
Bishop William Skylstad, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was in Rome for biannual meetings between the officers of the U.S. bishops' conference and the Vatican. While here, he sat down for a wide-ranging interview with NCR Oct. 18 about issues facing the American church. Highlights of his comments include:
NOTE: Beginning today, my weekly column has been retooled as a shorter and more analytical look at a single issue. Throughout the week, I'm posting news items as daily updates, which appear at johnallen.ncrcafe.org. My suggestion would be to bookmark johnallen.ncrcafe.org and to check regularly for the latest news and analysis.