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Yes it is Ecumenism

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I am distressed at the way many Catholics are responding to the Vatican’s initiative regarding Anglicans seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. The latest is in these pages, below, where my colleague Ken Briggs assertion that the proposed apostolic constitution is a “slap in the face” to the churches of the Reformation and decidedly not an instance of ecumenism.

Also critical was James Carroll, who writes in the Globe, “Last week’s anti-Anglican salvo from Rome shows how far the Catholic leadership has fallen from the heights of Vatican II.” Actually, the Pope who approved the apostolic constitution, who in fact puts the “apostle” in “apostolic” was also at Vatican II. Now, it is not unknown in the history of our civilization that some people rise with their years and others diminish, but where is the evidence for this fall Carroll sees?

Ecumenism as a Cover Story

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Some analyses of the "welcome home" party being thrown for dissident Anglicans refer to the pope's invitation as the culmination of ecumenism.

That sounds to me like calling the invasion of Iraq a product of the peace movement.

Ecumenism implies good will and mutual respect. The gallery of historic Protestant churches (silly me thinks they're actually churches) have trooped to reconciliation talks with Catholics for decades. They come up with wonderful agreements and lasting friendships. When these accomplishments get to Rome, however, they have been either called deficient or reduced in importance.

The green light to angry Anglicans is, therefore, indicative of a general disrespect Rome shows toward the rest of Christianity. The price of dialogue is capitulation to the Roman Catholic Church, pure and simple.

The Reformation churches have reason to be furious at this slap in the face. They've played the part of fools in thinking ecumenical talks meant something other than surrender.

Christians have always played one-upsmanship, of course. One group lords it over another, regions square off and disputes go on, as we know, for hundreds, even thousands of years.

Cardinal RodÈ photos: a meditation

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Cardinal Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for the Religious, and the person charged by Pope Benedict to conduct the Apostolic Investigation of U.S. women religious congregations, last March ordained six new deacons for Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at the institutes mother house in Gricigliano, Italy, near Florence, Italy.

Looking at these photos, one is reminded of the cultural, ecclesial, and socio-psychological diversity that make up our church. Living, as we do, in the early 21st century, we should recognize we are products of a mix of complex and unprecedented pre-modern, modern, and post-modern influences and temperaments.

Save lives? 'Invest in global health.' says Bill Gates

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Bill and Melinda Gates, are touting what they sees as an investment with enormous returns — money spent to improve health care in poor countries and the millions of lives saved because of it.

"Global health money improves lives more effectively than any other spending," Bill Gates told a roundtable discussion Tuesday on a new initiative called The Living Proof Project that's being launched by Gates and his wife, Melinda.

The two were in Washington to urge policymakers and others to continue or even increase federal dollars spent on programs to fight AIDS, malaria and other diseases in underdeveloped nations.

Update from the Sahara

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When we left off our intrepid blogger was making his way across the Sahara Desert. Here's the update:

Day 2 - Really difficult, but completed
26-Oct-2009 02:37:52 AM [(GMT-05:00) Eastern Time(US & Canada)]

Sahara Race (Egypt) 2009
Last night we actually had about 2 minutes of rain and then again this morning.

Today was a 28 mile day, the longest of the week after the 54 mile day coming up on Thursday. Hot, all sand with some hardscrable. Going from Checkpoint 2 to 3 during the peak of the day took its toll on almost everyone. When I staggered into the check point the doctor and nurse advised that I rest a bit. So I stayed about 1/2 hour lying down in the shade with my feet up on a stool, which I needed because of the muscle cramps from my toes up to my back. Then the final stage was another 9 miles or so with the final two miles up and down three substantial sand dunes. Breakbreaking. I rolled into camp around 6:30pm - wiped out.

Some highlights include getting some cloud cover/shade during the day. The medical staff and volunteers are terrific.

The abundant natural resources of Africa

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Hat tip to the Maryknoll Twitter feed, Twitter.com/MaryknollFrsBrs for this, a report from the missionary news agency Fides about investing in Africa.

One of the causes for underdevelopment in Africa is the economic model founded on speculative financing. According to the researcher, "several mining associations without adequate resources, at times even without personnel nor offices, members of anonymous investors, registered in tax havens, manage to convince African governments to entrust them with their large mining concessions."

A certain sum is guaranteed from the African resources, but it is never really used towards the benefits of the African people. It is a scandalous situation, considering the fact that the international financial system continues to demand payment of interests on the debts owed by African nations. "Why is so little credit given to Africa, when it has a gigantic wealth of natural resources?" asks David Beylard, a Congolese researcher.

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