In historic meeting Pope, Russian Patriarch decry abortion, defend traditional marriage

From LifeSiteNews on Feb. 12, 2016:

A joint declaration signed by both Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, head of the Orthodox Church of Moscow and All Russia, issued today after their historic meeting in the Havana Cuba airport issues a strong call for the defense of life and family.

The declaration commenced with a wish to reestablish Christian unity, stating a “determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited.”

The religious leaders expressed the wish to combine the efforts of Orthodox and Catholics “to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world” since “human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change.”

“We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.”

After discussing the violent Christian persecution underway in the Middle East and North Africa, the Pope and Patriarch turned their attention to the West. “At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them.”

“In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom,” they said. “It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.”

The declaration expresses concern about the “crisis in the family in many countries” and notes “Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family.”

“The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman,” it says. “We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.”

Marriage, they said, “is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.” It is “a school of love and faithfulness.” Love, says the declaration, seals the union of the husband and wife “and teaches them to accept one another as a gift.”

The Pope and Patriarch called for an end to abortion. “We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life,” said the declaration. “Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10).”

The declaration also condemned euthanasia and immoral reproductive technologies, which would include IVF and destructive research on human embryos.

The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general. We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.

The declaration decries the persecution of Christians, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where “whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated.”

They called on the international community to act urgently since “churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed.”  With “pain” they called to mind “the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.”

They specifically called on all Christians to pray that may “not permit a new world war.”

 

The complete text of the joint declaration follows:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).

1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.

It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2 Jn 12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the  Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.

2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.

It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way.  The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.

3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).

4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate.  Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.

5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:21).

6. Mindful of the permanence of many obstacles, it is our hope that our meeting may contribute to the re–establishment of this unity willed by God, for which Christ prayed. May our meeting inspire Christians throughout the world to pray to the Lord with renewed fervour for the full unity of all His disciples. In a world which yearns not only for our words but also for tangible gestures, may this meeting be a sign of hope for all people of goodwill!

7. In our determination to undertake all that is necessary to overcome the historical divergences we have inherited, we wish to combine our efforts to give witness to the Gospel of Christ and to the shared heritage of the Church of the first millennium, responding together to the challenges of the contemporary world. Orthodox and Catholics must learn to give unanimously witness in those spheres in which this is possible and necessary. Human civilization has entered into a period of epochal change. Our Christian conscience and our pastoral responsibility compel us not to remain passive in the face of challenges requiring a shared response.

8. Our gaze must firstly turn to those regions of the world where Christians are victims of persecution. In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated. Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed. It is with pain that we call to mind the situation in Syria, Iraq and other countries of the Middle East, and the massive exodus of Christians from the land in which our faith was first disseminated and in which they have lived since the time of the Apostles, together with other religious communities.

9. We call upon the international community to act urgently in order to prevent the further expulsion of Christians from the Middle East. In raising our voice in defence of persecuted Christians, we wish to express our compassion for the suffering experienced by the faithful of other religious traditions who have also become victims of civil war, chaos and terrorist violence.

10. Thousands of victims have already been claimed in the violence in Syria and Iraq, which has left many other millions without a home or means of sustenance. We urge the international community to seek an end to the violence and terrorism and, at the same time, to contribute through dialogue to a swift return to civil peace. Large–scale humanitarian aid must be assured to the afflicted populations and to the many refugees seeking safety in neighbouring lands.

We call upon all those whose influence can be brought to bear upon the destiny of those kidnapped, including the Metropolitans of Aleppo, Paul and John Ibrahim, who were taken in April 2013, to make every effort to ensure their prompt liberation.

11. We lift our prayers to Christ, the Saviour of the world, asking for the return of peace in the Middle East, “the fruit of justice” (Is 32:17), so that fraternal co–existence among the various populations, Churches and religions may be strengthened, enabling refugees to return to their homes, wounds to be healed, and the souls of the slain innocent to rest in peace.

We address, in a fervent appeal, all the parts that may be involved in the conflicts to demonstrate good will and to take part in the negotiating table. At the same time, the international community must undertake every possible effort to end terrorism through common, joint and coordinated action. We call on all the countries involved in the struggle against terrorism to responsible and prudent action. We exhort all Christians and all believers of God to pray fervently to the providential Creator of the world to protect His creation from destruction and not permit a new world war. In order to ensure a solid and enduring peace, specific efforts must be undertaken to rediscover the common values uniting us, based on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

12. We bow before the martyrdom of those who, at the cost of their own lives, have given witness to the truth of the Gospel, preferring death to the denial of Christ. We believe that these martyrs of our times, who belong to various Churches but who are united by their shared suffering, are a pledge of the unity of Christians. It is to you who suffer for Christ’s sake that the word of the Apostle is directed: “Beloved … rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly” (1 Pet 4:12–13).

13. Interreligious dialogue is indispensable in our disturbing times. Differences in the understanding of religious truths must not impede people of different faiths to live in peace and harmony. In our current context, religious leaders have the particular responsibility to educate their faithful in a spirit which is respectful of the convictions of those belonging to other religious traditions. Attempts to justify criminal acts with religious slogans are altogether unacceptable. No crime may be committed in God’s name, “since God is not the God of disorder but of peace” (1 Cor 14:33).

14. In affirming the foremost value of religious freedom, we give thanks to God for the current unprecedented renewal of the Christian faith in Russia, as well as in many other countries of Eastern Europe, formerly dominated for decades by atheist regimes. Today, the chains of militant atheism have been broken and in many places Christians can now freely confess their faith. Thousands of new churches have been built over the last quarter of a century, as well as hundreds of monasteries and theological institutions. Christian communities undertake notable works in the fields of charitable aid and social development, providing diversified forms of assistance to the needy. Orthodox and Catholics often work side by side. Giving witness to the values of the Gospel they attest to the existence of the shared spiritual foundations of human co–existence.

15. At the same time, we are concerned about the situation in many countries in which Christians are increasingly confronted by restrictions to religious freedom, to the right to witness to one’s convictions and to live in conformity with them. In particular, we observe that the transformation of some countries into secularized societies, estranged from all reference to God and to His truth, constitutes a grave threat to religious freedom.  It is a source of concern for us that there is a current curtailment of the rights of Christians, if not their outright discrimination, when certain political forces, guided by an often very aggressive secularist ideology, seek to relegate them to the margins of public life.

16. The process of European integration, which began after centuries of blood–soaked conflicts, was welcomed by many with hope, as a guarantee of peace and security. Nonetheless, we invite vigilance against an integration that is devoid of respect for religious identities. While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots. We call upon Christians of Eastern and Western Europe to unite in their shared witness to Christ and the Gospel, so that Europe may preserve its soul, shaped by two thousand years of Christian tradition.

17. Our gaze is also directed to those facing serious difficulties, who live in extreme need and poverty while the material wealth of humanity increases. We cannot remain indifferent to the destinies of millions of migrants and refugees knocking on the doors of wealthy nations. The unrelenting consumerism of some more developed countries is gradually depleting the resources of our planet. The growing inequality in the distribution of material goods increases the feeling of the injustice of the international order that has emerged.

18. The Christian churches are called to defend the demands of justice, the respect for peoples’ traditions, and an authentic solidarity towards all those who suffer. We Christians cannot forget that “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, that no human being might boast before God” (1 Cor 1:27–29).

19. The family is the natural centre of human life and society. We are concerned about the crisis in the family in many countries. Orthodox and Catholics share the same conception of the family, and are called to witness that it is a path of holiness, testifying to the faithfulness of the spouses in their mutual interaction, to their openness to the procreation and rearing of their children, to solidarity between the generations and to respect for the weakest.

20. The family is based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between a man and a woman. It is love that seals their union and teaches them to accept one another as a gift. Marriage is a school of love and faithfulness. We regret that other forms of cohabitation have been placed on the same level as this union, while the concept, consecrated in the biblical tradition, of paternity and maternity as the distinct vocation of man and woman in marriage is being banished from the public conscience.

21. We call on all to respect the inalienable right to life. Millions are denied the very right to be born into the world. The blood of the unborn cries out to God (cf. Gen 4:10).

The emergence of so-called euthanasia leads elderly people and the disabled begin to feel that they are a burden on their families and on society in general.

We are also concerned about the development of biomedical reproduction technology, as the manipulation of human life represents an attack on the foundations of human existence, created in the image of God. We believe that it is our duty to recall the immutability of Christian moral principles, based on respect for the dignity of the individual called into being according to the Creator’s plan.

22. Today, in a particular way, we address young Christians. You, young people, have the task of not hiding your talent in the ground (cf. Mt 25:25), but of using all the abilities God has given you to confirm Christ’s truth in the world, incarnating in your own lives the evangelical commandments of the love of God and of one’s neighbour. Do not be afraid of going against the current, defending God’s truth, to which contemporary secular norms are often far from conforming.

23. God loves each of you and expects you to be His disciples and apostles. Be the light of the world so that those around you may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:14, 16). Raise your children in the Christian faith, transmitting to them the pearl of great price that is the faith (cf. Mt 13:46) you have received from your parents and forbears. Remember that “you have been purchased at a great price” (1 Cor 6:20), at the cost of the death on the cross of the Man–God Jesus Christ.

24. Orthodox and Catholics are united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism.

We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be “in harmony with one another” (Rm 15:5). Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions. We are called upon to put into practice the precept of the apostle Paul: “Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another’s foundation” (Rm 15:20).

25. It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of “uniatism”, understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re–establish unity. Nonetheless, the ecclesial communities which emerged in these historical circumstances have the right to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful, while seeking to live in peace with their neighbours. Orthodox and Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co–existence.

26. We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict.

27. It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident.

28. In the contemporary world, which is both multiform yet united by a shared destiny, Catholics and Orthodox are called to work together fraternally in proclaiming the Good News of salvation, to testify together to the moral dignity and authentic freedom of the person, “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). This world, in which the spiritual pillars of human existence are progressively disappearing, awaits from us a compelling Christian witness in all spheres of personal and social life. Much of the future of humanity will depend on our capacity to give shared witness to the Spirit of truth in these difficult times.

29. May our bold witness to God’s truth and to the Good News of salvation be sustained by the Man–God Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who strengthens us with the unfailing promise: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32)!

Christ is the well–spring of joy and hope. Faith in Him transfigures human life, fills it with meaning. This is the conviction borne of the experience of all those to whom Peter refers in his words: “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people; you ‘had not received mercy’ but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet 2:10).

30. With grace–filled gratitude for the gift of mutual understanding manifested during our meeting, let us with hope turn to the Most Holy Mother of God, invoking her with the words of this ancient prayer: “We seek refuge under the protection of your mercy, Holy Mother of God”. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, through her intercession, inspire fraternity in all those who venerate her, so that they may be reunited, in God’s own time, in the peace and harmony of the one people of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and indivisible Trinity!

Francis                                  Kirill
Bishop of Rome                      Patriarch of Moscow
Pope of the Catholic Church    and all Russia

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33 Responses to In historic meeting Pope, Russian Patriarch decry abortion, defend traditional marriage

  1. Robert says:

    And Putin knows exactly what Stalin and Soviets Atheism did; their tactics; the deliberate secularisation and anti Christian laws and policies (sic learn the story of Lithuanian Catholics!)
    But the biggest murders in History are the West with Abortion (in God’s eyes this includes Birth Control!).
    The demonising of Putin and the open talk now of a new Cold War are the reverse of the Soviet era with the West now in War against Christ. The Sun sets in the West But rises in the East.

  2. leftfooter says:

    Ex oriente vel Africa lux?

  3. Robert says:

    In 19 century the Tsars had discussion with Rome about reconciliation between Orthodox and Catholic!
    The policy and dictatorship (because this is what it is!!) now in the West is following the same route and tactics used against Lithuanians!! Time to stand against these bullies who hide behind alleged human rights (actually those of their master the demon)
    The route and path of the demon identical with Genesis (which they try to discredit). First the seduction of woman (flattery’s and alleged feminism) then use feminism to destroy the family and infants. Same road taken by the serpent in the Garden!!
    Who opened the door to false paganism? Satans 100 years follows the path of the seduction of Adam and Eve. Time to open the eyes and stand up for Faith!

  4. kathleen says:

    @ leftfooter

    Probably both IMO, but if statistics are anything to go by, it will be Africa most of all!

    These illuminating words from Cardinal Robert Sarah have been an inspiration and encouragement to many faithful Catholics who look with dismay at the state of the Church today:

    “I have absolute confidence in the African culture. I have absolute confidence in the African faith and I am certain that Africa will save the family, that Africa will save the Church. Africa saved the Holy Family (cf. the flight into Egypt, ed.). In this modern age, it will also save the human family.”

    One look at the West’s growing Secularism and declining faith, and at the surge and growth of Christianity in Africa, and notably orthodox Catholicism, make these prophetic words ring undeniably true.

  5. leftfooter says:

    @Kathleen – I agree. I wish Cardinal Sarah were Pope, but Nichols, Casper, or Marx are more likely..

  6. kathleen says:

    Overall, this signed agreement between the Pope and the Russian Patriarch must surely be good news, and their joint reaffirmation of Holy Matrimony and the traditional family, and at the same time their condemnation of abortion and euthanasia (the Culture of Death) most certainly is.

    However, after reading the whole declaration there are just a few clauses that trouble me a bit. For instance, in no.16 it states:

    “While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots.”

    The second part, yes, (we should cling to our “Christian roots”), but while freedom of religion is certainly a basic human right, there are absolutely no positive contributions from heretical religions to our civilisation. That is just the usual PC talk!

    Last night I listened to most of the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kyrell live, after reading a few articles on some Catholic websites about the coming event. In one article, Edward Pentin (of the National Catholic Register) gave, as usual, some wise advice and background information before the meeting. He warned that it was in “danger of being over-hyped“, and explains why.

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/edward-pentin/kirill-francis-meeting-in-danger-of-being-over-hyped

    The Catholic Herald (OTOH) was mostly euphoric in its delight (with the exception of this article from Fr Mark Drew). Time will undoubtedly tell whether this amazing reconciliation (at least on the surface) and joint agreement after so many centuries of distrust and estrangement will have been as favourable and fruitful as many think and hope… or not! We must certainly pray and hope for its success.

  7. kathleen says:

    @ leftfooter

    “I wish Cardinal Sarah were Pope, but Nichols, Casper, or Marx are more likely..”

    No, no, no, please not!😯 Then we shall reeeeeeally be in the soup.

  8. Robert says:

    The Passion of the Mystical Body means death, burial, resurrection, ascension, pentecost.
    But there is this Anti thesis of the Man God called Anti Christ ( human body without a soul activated by a demon) Satan’s Son.
    The consequences of ignoring Heaven and prayer and penance in this case cannot be over stated because the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima is at the level of the Old Testament! So what is the price for the Purification of a world that has Globally Anti Christian governments?
    What does Purgatory fire entail? What does fires of Hell mean?
    The power of the Sun (nuclear fusion) ?
    Prior to WWI there was a global economic crisis. Prior to WW II there was a global economic crisis. The economic crisis that started in 2007 and is far from being resolved, moreover the democratic process has been undermined by elected governments introducing Austerity against the electors clear wishes! In other words a cleft between the electors and the elected.
    Now the super powers actively fighting in Middle East (these powers are USA, Russia, Europa, England and China has navy vessels in the Med)
    Is Syria the fuse for a global War? Yes because the terrorist War is a global War? Is Christianity unified and strong? Is the climate stable?
    Has this world ignored its Jona’s warnings? We are in Lent and wisdom is to save Our Souls and those of Our Neighbours by laying the axe to Self! Seize today the fruits of Grace which we have today and may not have tomorrow.

  9. Robert says:

    Why do I talk of the
    Passion in this context?
    Because of that vision published 2000 and the martyrdom of hierarchy, religious and laity. The burnt out city the dead . Dead however has to be distinguished between physical and spiritual (Hell).
    Russia from 1917 onwards was Persecuted by an Atheist government. Now has Christianity Resurrected in Russia? That’s the real question that has to be faced, because Europe is in open rebellion and Apostacy!
    Will Rome in turn suffer the Fate of Israel and Jerusalem? Our Lord and Our Lady seem to be of the menu as far as this Curia is concerned! Creation well thrown out the window with Genesis!
    The Mystical Body of Christ didn’t need Israel and or Jerusalem why should it need Rome and a Apostate Christendom?
    Harsh or a reality check?

  10. mmvc says:

    Some seem to think that ++Tagle has been singled out to be next in line:
    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2016/02/exclusive-op-ed-pio-pace-conclave.html

    I can only echo Kathleen’s no, no, NOOOOOOOO!

  11. toadspittle says:

    A Pope named Marx simply couldn’t put a foot wrong, these days – could he?
    Something there for nearly everyone to enjoy – Robrot particularly!
    Although, Groucho would be revolving in his grave, if he were still alive. (Jewish, unfortunately)
    Although Karl (also unfortunately Jewish) – would surely appreciate the splendid joke. Too much to expect a sensible response from Harpo, of course.
    Never mind. Isn’t it all an absolute hoot for the rest of us to savour?

    2016 is shaping up to be a splendidly idiotic year, isn’t it?
    Even when considered in relation to the last 2,000.

  12. johnhenrycn says:

    Kathleen says: “…there are absolutely no positive contributions from heretical religions to our civilisation.”

    I should not quibble, as if I was some turbulent toad drinking the last dregs of his daily pitcher of sangria, but what about those devout followers (however few – or many – they may be) of far older religions than ours, be it Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, or even one the old pagan rites, the indisputable insights, inventions, improvements and discoveries of which we cannot reasonably deny contributed to the advance of “civilisation” properly understood before our one (admittedly) Truth Faith was revealed and which may still be contributing to its advance today?

    Continuing my stroll down Whataboutery Lane, can schismatic Christian sects, e.g: the Orthodox and the Copts, lay any claim to having made positive contributions to our civilisation? I’m thinking especially today of this icon that was painted in honour of the 21 Copts murdered (martyred, if you allow) by ISIS last year in Libya:

  13. johnhenrycn says:

    Antonin Gregory Scalia (11 March 1936 – 13 February 2016)
    + Home is the sailor, home from the sea + And the hunter home from the hill +
    ___
    [Better left on “Prayer Intentions”, which I did, but it’s not showing under “Recent Comments”, so I was afraid that Prayer Intentions might be out of operation]

  14. toadspittle says:

    “Kathleen says: “…there are absolutely no positive contributions from heretical religions to our civilisation.””
    What is a “positive contribution to our civilisation,” in this context? Can anybody name one?

    “Heretics\al religions”? Surely Kathleen doesn’t mean the Jews, Greeks and Romans – she must mean Protestants. Like Kant. Or maybe Hindus. Like Gandhi. Or maybe Muslims. Like Ataturk.
    Anyway, no “positive contributions to civilisation,” like ending the slave trade, and female emancipation, have been made in England since the heretics took over. Only in the likes of France, Italy, and Spain. OK. Or maybe she means something else, entirely different.
    We shall be told.

  15. toadspittle says:

    “Africa saved the Holy Family (cf. the flight into Egypt, ed.).”
    The Holy Family would be very unwise indeed to flee into Egypt these days. Someone should tell the Cardinal things are relatively different there now. Actually, where in Africa would the Holy Family be safe today? Or might they be better off in Germany, or the UK?

  16. toadspittle says:

    Oh, and I’m content to leave the pitchers of Sangria to Canadian tourists
    (I also wonder Kathleen will consent to be my Valentine?)

  17. kathleen says:

    JH @ 22:19 yesterday

    Well, considering Christendom was born from Judaic origins, I agree to make an exception for the followers of the Jewish Faith with Whom God made His Covenant.😉 Not forgetting of course that Our Lord Jesus Christ brought the old alliance to its fulfillment. We should however be grateful to the chosen race (with their prophets, kings, faithful ‘servants’ and for recording their past in the inspired books of the bible) for being the forerunners of our Judeo-Christian civilisation.

    Though I draw the line at accepting that any of those other pagan rites have contributed anything positive to it. There are/were many sincere pagans searching for God in pre-Christian times of course, but their methods, magic incantations, practices, etc. were (except their wonder for Creation) without a cornerstone on which to build. The earliest missionaries to Europe had difficulties with some pagan groups like the Druids… small groups of whom still exist today!

    I thought we were talking only about European (or Western) civilisation ^^ above – but anyway, all Christians (like the murdered Copts) who died for Christ with His Holy Name on their lips, will surely (and so we pray) be known and loved and saved from Hell by the One for Whom they were martyred.

    Toad @ 7:35

    I am more convinced than ever that you do not bother to even try to understand what anyone says on here, reverting as always to same old broken record taunts and silliness.
    It was absolutely clear (in the same truncated paragraph you quote from me) that I was talking about the whole of Christendom vs. other religions.

  18. toadspittle says:

    “…there are absolutely no positive contributions from heretical religions to our civilisation.””
    I take it then that you don’t regard Protestantism as heretical, Kathleen?
    If that’s the case, you might have made it clearer. I’m only a toad, you know.

    “Though I draw the line at accepting that any of those other pagan rites have contributed anything positive to it. “
    Do you think the Muslims contributed nothing at all to Spanish (and thus Western) civilisation? Really?

  19. toadspittle says:

    No.16 of declaration: **“While remaining open to the contribution of other religions to our civilization, it is our conviction that Europe must remain faithful to its Christian roots.”**

    **[K: “the part you forgot to copy, Toad”]

    “The second part, yes, (we should cling to our “Christian roots”), but while freedom of religion is certainly a basic human right, there are absolutely no positive contributions from heretical religions to our civilisation. That is just the usual PC talk!”

    “It was absolutely clear (in the same truncated paragraph you quote from me) that I was talking about the whole of Christendom vs. other religions.”

    There’s the entire paragraph at the top. Where is there any “absolutely clear” indication of that, in it, Kathleen? JH* didn’t think so, either, and we both cited Judaism, which alone is enough really. And I still think Protestantism must be included in your sweeping denunciation.
    Oh, well. Doesn’t matter.

    *But JH is a good, line-toeing, boy.

  20. johnhenrycn says:

    But surely, Kathleen, you cannot deny the immense contributions made to European / Western civilisation by pagans such as Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, who I mention only as three examples amongst many. St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas and many other Christian theologians were deeply influenced by Aristotle in particular, and he dominated medieval European thought in a way no thinker or writer (outside of the Evangelists) ever did.

  21. Michael says:

    Some more interesting commentary on the meeting from Fr. Mark Drew here:

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2016/02/13/the-vatican-did-everything-to-accommodate-patriarch-kirill-but-received-little-in-return/

    and on the frustrating reporting of the meeting (e.g.; according to the BBC, you would think that Catholicism and Orthodoxy had actually been reunited…) from Fr. John Hunwicke:

    http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/does-one-have-to-be-illiterate-to-be.html

    Johnhenry @ 18:59:

    I’m only going on a quick skim through the comments here, but I think Kathleen was referring to the contributions (or lack thereof) from pagan religion to Western civilisation, not pagan culture/thinkers in general. This is the gist I get from what’s been said so far anyway.

  22. johnhenrycn says:

    Michael, your last paragraph accurately reiterates what our dear and most excellent Kathleen said very clearly in the first place when she said: “…there are absolutely no positive contributions from heretical religions to our civilisation.” Despite the fact that I understood her clear meaning from the outset, I still maintain that She Who Must Be Obeyed🙂 overstated her basic premise. The “thought” of the Greek pagans I mention supra (by way of example only) cannot be separated from their religion, which – correct me if I’m wrong – they grew up with and were formed by, and which they never – again correct me if I’m wrong – they never renounced. To accept Kathleen’s judgement on this is to say that persons born and raised outside the Christian Faith and who never converted have never made any contributions to civilisation , European, Western or otherwise.

    But to be scrupulously fair, when Kathleen said: ” “…there are absolutely no positive contributions from heretical religions to our civilisation”, could she have meant that heretical religions have never made positive contributions to our own One (I confess) True Religion? That is still wrong (cf: Judaism, Aristotle et al) or perhaps it’s a mere tautology.

    I wonder what Rotber and Taod “think” about all of this?

  23. Michael says:

    Johnhenry @ 21:08:

    The “thought” of the Greek pagans I mention supra (by way of example only) cannot be separated from their religion, which – correct me if I’m wrong – they grew up with and were formed by, and which they never – again correct me if I’m wrong – they never renounced.

    Ah yes, okay. I see what you mean, and take your point. But one could also ask to what extent thinkers such as Aristotle and Plato (who undeniably had a great influence on Western civilisation, both directly and indirectly through their influence on key Christian thinkers) were directly influenced by pagan religion. Their thought would have been to some extent shaped by the general culture in which they existed (as is the case for all of us), but did pagan religious practice actually have any direct impact on their philosophy?

    I suppose what I’m getting at here is that one of the achievements of Christianity was to bring together ritual religious practice together with philosophy in a way that hadn’t really been done before – the great religious gifts given to the Jews and the philosophical insights of the Greeks brought together in one harmonious synthesis. On the assumption* that pagan religion and pagan philosophy were separate things and didn’t influence one another beyond that indirect cultural influence we all receive from the worlds we are born into, the purely religious contributions of Western paganism would not be that significant at all, and certainly wouldn’t be amongst the things we would commonly say form part of our Western cultural heritage now.

    To accept Kathleen’s judgement on this is to say that persons born and raised outside the Christian Faith and who never converted have never made any contributions to civilisation , European, Western or otherwise.

    Again, I don’t think this is what was being argued. What Kathleen was referring to was religions – i.e.; the systems of belief themselves, not individual people who adhere to any one particular religion. Individual adherents of non-Christian religions may indeed make significant contributions to a civilisation or culture, but I don’t think this is the same thing as a religion itself exerting cultural influence. Also, I do think the focus here was on Western/European civilisation, and Christianity’s relation to it, not to civilisations in other parts of the world that were primarily shaped by other religions (e.g.; China and Confucianism, or India and Hinduism**).

    *Which can of course be countered – I merely put it forward as my own assessment of the topic at hand.

    **An umbrella term for a great many practices and schools of thought linked together under a common view of the world, existence, etc of course, but a useful one nonetheless.

  24. Michael says:

    P.S. Johnhenry, I just noticed you’re mention of prayer intentions for Antonin Scalia – a very good mention indeed. He was a great man, and I was truly sad to hear of his passing. May he rest in peace, and may his good work be built upon and not undone by his successor on the SC.

  25. kathleen says:

    Sorry for not being able to counter all the misunderstandings put forward here by JH and Toad. (I’ve been travelling today and I’m really too tired now to do so.) Besides, Michael, with his usual perceptiveness and intelligence has described exactly what I meant by my original remark. Thank you my dear loyal and chivalrous friend.🙂 I had no idea that one comment I made would start off such a lot of baffled interpretations!

  26. johnhenrycn says:

    Oh seriously, Kathleen: might it not be better to see my comments concerning your goodself as if we were two Catholics sitting down in the rectory basement with our cups of teas – one leafing through the Rheims-Douay, and the other through the Revised Standard Version (Catholic Edition) – and discussing whether the current crop of Catechumens ought to be told about Aristotle?

    Signed, A Loyal And Chivalrous Friend Who Thinks You Can See The Difference Between Toad And Me.

  27. johnhenrycn says:

    In historic meeting Pope, Russian Patriarch decry abortion, defend traditional marriage

    Far be it from me – who has been known to ask for editing of his blunders – but that title brings to mind this little book from a few years back:
    😉

  28. kathleen says:

    No hard feelings, JH! A cup of tea over a chat about our Glorious Faith sounds most appealing. Will have to put it on hold though, in the hope that one day there might be less than an ocean and a few thousand miles separating us.🙂

  29. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 23:27, February 14th:

    Thank you in turn for your as always very generous compliments🙂

    Johnhenry @ 00:03:

    Wonderful image, and very much worthy of a ‘lol’ (or another one of those acronyms the kids are using these days)! I very much like the idea of the CP&S discussions being imagined in such a setting in general; though I must admit that I have not yet had the privilege of taking tea in a rectory basement, so my understanding of such is limited to borrowed nostalgia and television programmes – this does not make the imagery any less delightful of course🙂

  30. Michael says:

    Slightly on topic, did anyone see the news about the church built outside Moscow (via wdtprs.com)? It’s stunningly beautiful, but the really amazing thing is how it was made…

    http://www.orthodoxartsjournal.org/a-miracle-of-liturgical-art-the-church-of-the-protection-of-the-mother-of-god-at-yasenevo/

    In all the talk about the Russian Orthodox Church’s close relationship with the state (as important as it is to discuss this), something else has been neglected a little – the incredible dept of faith that still exists in Russia, and how remarkable is the rapidity of its resurgence after decades of intense suppression and persecution. How glorious it would be if one day these riches were able to be reunited with those of the West in full communion!

  31. kathleen says:

    I saw it Michael, and was absolutely bowled over by the magnificence and beauty of this Church -built with such true love out of donations from the faithful to give honour and glory to God. Knowing how tough life is for many Russians, the generosity of these good people (who must be overjoyed to be able to practice their faith openly once again) pulls at our heartstrings, doesn’t it?

  32. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 08:53:

    Yes, it really does! Particularly moving I thought was the fact that people were volunteering their time outside of their own day-jobs and other responsibilities to learn skills and lay the tiles for the mosaics. Such devotion!

    By the way, did you take the panoramic virtual tour of the church? It is quite overwhelming.

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