Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/29/2014 (3 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Like much of what Francis does, in word and deed, there seems to be a prophetic dimension to this papacy. This is the Pope who actually lost a lung as a young man and now breathes with one lung. He understands the limitations this brings. How interesting it would be if his years of service go down in history for, among other things, the actual manifestation of the two lungs of the Church beginning to breather together again.

The full communion of Eastern and Western Christianity has been a common theme in my writing for many reasons. Primarily, because I believe that it reflects the Heart of the Lord. The Prayer of Jesus, May they Be One (John 17:21) echoes in this new missionary age. It moves the Heart of a Loving Father. I believe it will be answered and the time approaches. I also believe it will unleash an extraordinary grace from the Holy Spirit for a new missionary age of Christianity. The Catholic Church proclaims that, in and through Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, authentic unity with God the Father - and with one another - is the plan of God for the entire human race. The Church is the way toward that unity. As both Orthodox and Catholic Christians we should want to walk toward that unity and not fear it. The image used of two lungs breathing together is a prophetic one. The Orthodox and Catholic Churches need one another. The Church is meant to become the home of the whole human race.

Pope and Patriarch pray in humility at the Stone of Unction at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. May such humility help to advance the full communion of the Church.

Pope and Patriarch pray in humility at the Stone of Unction at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. May such humility help to advance the full communion of the Church.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/29/2014 (3 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Pope Francis, Patriarch Bartholomew, Orthodox, Catholic, Ut Unum Sint, full communion, ecumenism, Christian unity, full communion, Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, Two Lungs, Deacon Keith Fournier


JERUSALEM, Israel (Catholic Online) - In an article entitled Pope Francis in Jerusalem: Will the Meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew Advance Full Communion? I offered my sincere and prayerful hopes that the historic meeting  between Pope Francis of Rome and Patriarch Bartholomew would advance the full communion of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

The full communion of Eastern and Western Christianity has been a common theme in my writing for many reasons. Primarily, because I believe that it reflects the Heart of the Lord. The Prayer of Jesus, May they Be One (John 17:21) echoes in this new missionary age. It moves the Heart of a Loving Father. I believe it will be answered and the time approaches. I also believe it will unleash an extraordinary grace from the Holy Spirit for a new missionary age of Christianity.

The Christian Church proclaims that, in and through Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, authentic unity with God the Father - and with one another - is the plan of God for the entire human race. The Church is the way toward that unity. Yet, she is divided

As both Orthodox and Catholic Christians we should want to walk toward that unity and not fear it. The image often used of two lungs breathing together is a prophetic one. The Orthodox and Catholic Churches need one another. The Church is meant to become the home of the whole human race.

For the Church to continue the redemptive mission of Jesus most effectively in this Third Christian Millennium, she must be one. It was not the plan of the Lord that Christians be separated. It is His Plan that the Church be restored to full communion.

The Prayer of the Second Person of the Blessed trinity, the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, " that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" - will be answered. (John 17:21)

May this humble, prophetic and holy successor of Peter, Francis of Rome, help to hasten that day.May this Patriarch, also a humble and holy man, the successor of Andrew, do the same - for the sake of the whole Church!

For the First Millennium of Christianity, the Christian Church was undivided. There was legitimate diversity of expression reflecting the beauty and universality of the Gospel. Yet, there was clear ortho-doxy and ortho-praxy, right doctrine and right practice. This can occur again in the Third Millennium.

The language used by both Bartholomew and Francis reflects the language of such a framework for a coming full communion. It is laced with acknowledgement of the possibilities of legitimate diversity within full communion.

The revision of ecclesial governance being encouraged by Francis, reflects a movement toward a synodal approach within the Catholic Church. This also points toward real possibilities of ecclesial structures which could promote this hoped for goal.  I offer below the entire historic declaration issued by these two great Christian leaders following their meeting.

Please, read the declaration it in its entirety. It is historic and important. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to continue to bring healing to the divisions within the Body of Christ. May Peter and Andrew again respond to the call of the One Lord and lead a new missionary age of the Church.

I will publish excerpts from the individual messages of both the Patriarch and the Pope in later articles I am working on concerning the growing movement toward full communion between Orthodox and Catholic Christianity.

There is a phrase used by Saint John Paul which is also favored by Pope Emeritus Benedict when referring to the hoped for full communion of Eastern and Western Christianity. They spoke of the two lungs of the Church breathing together again. Francis has also used the phrase.

Like much of what Francis does, in word and deed, there seems to be a prophetic dimension to this papacy. This is the Pope who actually lost a lung as a young man and now breathes with one lung. He understands the limitations this brings. How interesting it would be if his years of service go down in history for, among other things, the actual manifestation of the two lungs of the Church beginning to breather together again.

That is my sincere prayer.

*****
Historic Joint Declaration by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis

1.  Like our venerable predecessors Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras who met here in Jerusalem fifty years ago, we too, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, were determined to meet in the Holy Land "where our common Redeemer, Christ our Lord, lived, taught, died, rose again, and ascended into Heaven, whence he sent the Holy Spirit on the infant Church".[1]

Our meeting, another encounter of the Bishops of the Churches of Rome and Constantinople founded respectively by the two Brothers the Apostles Peter and Andrew, is a source of profound spiritual joy for us. It presents a providential occasion to reflect on the depth and the authenticity of our existing bonds, themselves the fruit of a grace-filled journey on which the Lord has guided us since that blessed day of fifty years ago.

2.   Our fraternal encounter today is a new and necessary step on the journey towards the unity to which only the Holy Spirit can lead us, that of communion in legitimate diversity. We call to mind with profound gratitude the steps that the Lord has already enabled us to undertake.
The embrace exchanged between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras here in Jerusalem, after many centuries of silence, paved the way for a momentous gesture, the removal from the memory and from the midst of the Church of the acts of mutual excommunication in 1054.

This was followed by an exchange of visits between the respective Sees of Rome and Constantinople, by regular correspondence and, later, by the decision announced by Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Dimitrios, of blessed memory both, to initiate a theological dialogue of truth between Catholics and Orthodox.

Over these years, God, the source of all peace and love, has taught us to regard one another as members of the same Christian family, under one Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and to love one another, so that we may confess our faith in the same Gospel of Christ, as received by the Apostles and expressed and transmitted to us by the Ecumenical Councils and the Church Fathers.

While fully aware of not having reached the goal of full communion, today we confirm our commitment to continue walking together towards the unity for which Christ our Lord prayed to the Father so "that all may be one" (Jn 17:21).

3.   Well aware that unity is manifested in love of God and love of neighbour, we look forward in eager anticipation to the day in which we will finally partake together in the Eucharistic banquet.
As Christians, we are called to prepare to receive this gift of Eucharistic communion, according to the teaching of Saint Irenaeus of Lyon[2], through the confession of the one faith, persevering prayer, inner conversion, renewal of life and fraternal dialogue. By achieving this hoped for goal, we will manifest to the world the love of God by which we are recognized as true disciples of Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 13:35).

4.   To this end, the theological dialogue undertaken by the Joint International Commission offers a fundamental contribution to the search for full communion among Catholics and Orthodox. Throughout the subsequent times of Popes John Paul II and Benedict the XVI, and Patriarch Dimitrios, the progress of our theological encounters has been substantial. 

Today we express heartfelt appreciation for the achievements to date, as well as for the current endeavors. This is no mere theoretical exercise, but an exercise in truth and love that demands an ever deeper knowledge of each other's traditions in order to understand them and to learn from them.

Thus we affirm once again that the theological dialogue does not seek a theological lowest common denominator on which to reach a compromise, but is rather about deepening one's grasp of the whole truth that Christ has given to his Church, a truth that we never cease to understand better as we follow the Holy Spirit's promptings.

Hence, we affirm together that our faithfulness to the Lord demands fraternal encounter and true dialogue. Such a common pursuit does not lead us away from the truth; rather, through an exchange of gifts, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it will lead us into all truth (cf. Jn 16:13).

5. Yet even as we make this journey towards full communion we already have the duty to offer common witness to the love of God for all people by working together in the service of humanity, especially in defending the dignity of the human person at every stage of life and the sanctity of family based on marriage, in promoting peace and the common good, and in responding to the suffering that continues to afflict our world.

We acknowledge that hunger, poverty, illiteracy, the inequitable distribution of resources must constantly be addressed. It is our duty to seek to build together a just and humane society in which no-one feels excluded or emarginated.

6.  It is our profound conviction that the future of the human family depends also on how we safeguard - both prudently and compassionately, with justice and fairness - the gift of creation that our Creator has entrusted to us. Therefore, we acknowledge in repentance the wrongful mistreatment of our planet, which is tantamount to sin before the eyes of God.
 
We reaffirm our responsibility and obligation to foster a sense of humility and moderation so that all may feel the need to respect creation and to safeguard it with care. Together, we pledge our commitment to raising awareness about the stewardship of creation; we appeal to all people of goodwill to consider ways of living less wastefully and more frugally, manifesting less greed and more generosity for the protection of God's world and the benefit of His people.

7.  There is likewise an urgent need for effective and committed cooperation of Christians in order to safeguard everywhere the right to express publicly one's faith and to be treated fairly when promoting that which Christianity continues to offer to contemporary society and culture. In this regard, we invite all Christians to promote an authentic dialogue with Judaism, Islam and other religious traditions. Indifference and mutual ignorance can only lead to mistrust and unfortunately even conflict.

8. From this holy city of Jerusalem, we express our shared profound concern for the situation of Christians in the Middle East and for their right to remain full citizens of their homelands. In trust we turn to the almighty and merciful God in a prayer for peace in the Holy Land and in the Middle East in general.

We especially pray for the Churches in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, which have suffered most grievously due to recent events. We encourage all parties regardless of their religious convictions to continue to work for reconciliation and for the just recognition of peoples' rights. We are persuaded that it is not arms, but dialogue, pardon and reconciliation that are the only possible means to achieve peace.

9.  In an historical context marked by violence, indifference and egoism, many men and women today feel that they have lost their bearings. It is precisely through our common witness to the good news of the Gospel that we may be able to help the people of our time to rediscover the way that leads to truth, justice and peace.

United in our intentions, and recalling the example, fifty years ago here in Jerusalem, of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, we call upon all Christians, together with believers of every religious tradition and all people of good will, to recognize the urgency of the hour that compels us to seek the reconciliation and unity of the human family, while fully respecting legitimate differences, for the good of all humanity and of future generations.

10.  In undertaking this shared pilgrimage to the site where our one same Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and rose again, we humbly commend to the intercession of the Most Holy and Ever Virgin Mary our future steps on the path towards the fullness of unity, entrusting to God's infinite love the entire human family.

" May the Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!" (Num 6:25-26).
________________________________________
[1] Common communiqué of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, published after their meeting of 6 January 1964.
[2] Against Heresies, IV, 18, 5 (PG 7, 1028)

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Middle East

Islamists Occupy Churches in Nigeria: ISIL and Boko Haram Hate Christians, Must be Confronted Watch

Image of Boko Haram means Western education is forbidden in the Hausa language. These Islamist terrorists hate all things western and Christian. They are militant Jihadist Muslims who intend to forcibly establish an Islamic Caliphate and impose Shariah Law on everyone, just as the Islamic State is doing in lands formerly claimed by Iraq and Syria.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

While news reports give us the gruesome details of the Islamic State beheading one more American journalist in the land which was once a part of Iraq and Syria, the rising tide of Islamist evil spreads in Africa, under the banner of Boko Haram. Like the Islamic ... continue reading


Paul Bhatti, Brother of Martyr Shabhaz Bhatti, Urges Pope Francis to Visit Persecuted Christians in Pakistan Watch

Image of The Christian Martyr of Pakistan, Shabhaz Bhatti,

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The world should pause once again to consider the Christian heroism shown by Shabhaz Bhatti in 2011. At the time, Shahbaz Bhatti was the only Christian member of the Parliament of Pakistan. He was executed in cold blood by militant Islamists on March 2, 2011. He ... continue reading


CATHOLIC ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Islamic State infiltrating North Africa Watch

Image of A recruitment campaign, led by ISIL in the North African region has been targeting young people with socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL or IS was created last year in the wake of the multinational war against Syria. They design to eventually take over the world. This mysterious terrorist movement is becoming more and more prevalent in ... continue reading


Steven Sotloff beheading video, uncensored (WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO) Watch

Image of American Journalist, Steven Sotloff, has been executed by the Islamic State.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has executed another hostage, this time beheading American journalist Steven Sotloff. A video has been released of the incident, but due to alleged self-censorship across the web, the footage has been suppressed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


'We are facing a terrorist monster:' U.N. to investigate IS' crimes against humanity Watch

Image of Among other things, children belonging to targeted minorities have been forcibly recruited and positioned on front lines to shield fighters or made to donate blood. Women are beaten for breaking rules requiring them to be veiled and escorted by men.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United Nations will be sending investigators to Iraq to examine crimes being committed by Islamic State fighters committed on "an unimaginable scale." Authorities say they will hold perpetrators accountable. LOS ANGELES, CA  (Catholic Online) - "We are ... continue reading


Pope Francis thanks Gaza's sole Catholic priest; tells him to 'have courage' Watch

Image of Father Hernandez and three Missionaries of Charity were the only religious left at Holy Family Church during a 50-day battle between Israeli forces and Hamas militants.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Father Jorge Hernandez, the Gaza Strip's sole Catholic parish met with Pope Francis at the Vatican, thanking him for his support of those suffering in the war-torn territory. Speaking to Vatican Radio, the 36-year-old priest says that the Pope continued to ... continue reading


Islamic puritans threaten dissent in Saudi kingdom, asking King Abdullah to DESTROY the tomb of MOHAMED! Watch

Image of Wahhabi clerics are asking King Abdullah to destroy the tomb of Mohamed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recommendation from some Saudi clerics to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah is creating controversy in the powerful Middle-Eastern kingdom. The proposal, set forth by hardline clerics, calls for the destruction of the tomb of Mohammed and possibly the shrine at Mecca, to ... continue reading


World 'cannot keep silent about the existence of the so-called ISIS,' patriarchs declare Watch

Image of The recent summit addressing IS was presided over by Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite patriarch.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Meeting at the Maronite Catholic patriarchate at Bkerke, north of Beirut, Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs convened for a special summit to address the crisis in Iraq and Syria. Later joined by the United Nations' special coordinator in Lebanon and the ... continue reading


U.S., Europe next on Islamic State's list to attack, Saudi king warns Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the world grows more appalled by the day about the inhumanities conducted by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah warns that the west is not immune. A staunch ally of both the U.S. and its allies, Saudi King Abdullah bin ... continue reading


Fleeing imminent death, three million Syrians now registered in other countries. That's half the population of Syria. Watch

Image of A bride crossing the Israel-Syria border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"The Syrian crisis has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them," Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement. As of this ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:10-16
10 to us, though, God has given revelation through ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 13-14
8 Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger, full ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:31-37
31 He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Skänninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter