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Spiritual Ecumenism: The Anatasis Dialogue PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 26 November 2007 08:41
One new initiative that I've been distantly connected with - well, in e-mail conversation with a couple of the prime movers although I've never met them - is the intriguing Anatasis Dialogue. Be sure and visit their blog where a highly literate discussion is going on right now.

The Anatasis Dialogue is sponsored by Holy Resurrection Orthodox Monastery in "Newberry Springs, CA and supported by Cardinal George. I met Hieromonk Maximus briefly while he was studying at Patriarch Anthenagorus Orthodox Institute at the Graduate School of Philosophy in Berkley and living at St. Albert's, the home of the Western Dominican Province.

The goal is "spiritual ecumenism" - a phrase used many times in Church teaching.

"Change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the heart and as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name "spiritual ecumenism."

Vatican II, Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio), n. 8.

I made my own small contribution to spiritual ecumenism while conversing with the Orthodox priest who attended Making Disciples in Maryland. While standing in line for dinner, I commented that it would be hard to overestimate my total cluelessness regarding things Orthodox. His gracious reply: "That's part of your charm."

Ignorance and charm. Hmmmm. Well, whatever I can contribute to the cause . . .
Disaboom: The Internet Resource for People with Disabilities PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 26 November 2007 08:18
Absolutely fabulous.

Here is one way that the internet can really change lives for the better.

Check out - the one stop resource for people with disabilities and their families and friends. Medical resources, news, a job bank, a way to meet and connect with others going through the same thing. It is early days yet and some of the material isn't available yet but it looks like it could be simply dynamite - and you could be part of making it happen.
Workshop on Sacred Music in Colorado Springs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 26 November 2007 08:07

Friday January 18 - Saturday January 19

There is going to be a fun, educational, 2-day workshop on singing and learning about Sacred Music that will leave you inspired and spiritually uplifted: January 18 -19, 2008 at St. Mary’s Cathedral at the foot of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.

This Practicum on Gregorian Chant and Choral Polyphony provides a valuable introduction, as well as continued education and information, for all who are active and interested in the sacred music of the Catholic Church.

Hosted by the Diocese of Colorado Springs and under the direction of Dr. Horst Buchholz and Scott Turkington, the workshop will feature:

Singing sessions in sacred choral music and polyphony by Palestrina, Victoria, Byrd, and others

* Instruction in singing chant and reading Gregorian notation
* Singing sessions on the essential Latin chants every Catholic should know
* Dinner on Friday night and lunch on Saturday
* Sheet music as part of registration
* Lectures dealing with pertinent topics related to sacred music in the liturgy
* Fellowship with other musicians in the region
* SPECIAL GIFTS: 2 books (Introduction to Gregorian Chant & Basic Chant Collection for practical use)

The workshop culminates with a closing mass on Saturday at 4:00 pm at St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Most Rev. Michael Sheridan presiding.

To sign up, go here
Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu of Unity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 25 November 2007 22:24

I came across the name of Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagheddu of Unity just now while reading Ut Unum Sint, 27.

She was beatified some years before I was Catholic and paying attention to things like that so perhaps that is why I have never heard of her but her story is interesting. (Obviously this is a translation from the original Italian)

"Witnesses from the period of her childhood and adolescence speak of a character obstinate, critical, protesting, rebellious, but with a strong sense of duty, of loyalty, of obedience: "She obeyed grumblingly, but she was docile". "She would say no but she would go at once", is said of her.

What everyone noticed was the change that came about in her at eighteen: little by little she became gentle, her outbursts of temper disappeared; she acquired a pensive and austere profile, sweet and reserved; the spirit of prayer and of charity grew in her, a new ecclesial and apostolic sensibility appeared; she enrolled in `Azione Cattolica', a catholic Youth Movement.

At twenty one she chose to consecrate herself to God and, following the guidance of her spiritual father, entered the (Trappistine) monastery of Grottaferrata, an economically and culturally poor community, governed at that time by Mother Pia Gullini."


Her abbess, M.M.Pia Gullini, had a great ecumenical awareness and desire. After taking it up in her own life, she had communicated it to the community too.

"When Mother M.Pia, animated by Fr. Couturier, explained to the community the request for prayer and offering for the great cause of Christian Unity, Sr. Maria Gabriella felt immediately involved and compelled to offer her young life. "I feel the Lord is calling me" - she confided to her abbess - "I feel urged, even when I don't want to think about it"

Tuberculosis showed itself in the body of the young sister, who up to now had been extremely healthy, from the very day of her offering, sweeping her along to her death in fifteen months of suffering. (Sr. Maria Gabriella died in 1939)

Her offering, even before its consummation, was received by the Anglican brethren and found a profound response in the hearts of believers of other confessions. The influx of vocations, who arrived in great numbers during the following years, is the most concrete gift of Sister Gabriella to her community.

Her body, found intact on the occasion of the recognition in 1957, now rests in a chapel adjoining the monastery of Vitorchiano, whence the community of Grottaferrata transferred.

She was beatified by John Paul II on 25 January 1983, forty-four years after her death, in the basilica of St.Paul outside the Walls, on the feast of the Conversion of St.Paul, the last day of the week of prayer for Christian Unity.

A bit of explanation from the same site:

"Mother M.Pia Gullini (1892-1959)was abbess of Grottaferrata from 1931 to 1940 and from 1946 to 1951. She governed the community with a discerning intelligence and nurtured in it an ever wider and deeper vision of spiritual life, placing the Eucharist as its center. She lived the passion for the Unity of the Church with a prophetic intensity and thus became the cause for the community's adherence to the ecumenical ideal. She directed and sustained the sacrifice of Sr. Maria Gabriella."

Another note:

In 1935 Abbé Paul Couturier, a Catholic priest in France, advocated a “Universal Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” during which Christians would pray together ‘for the unity Christ wills by the means He wills’. Mother M. Pia heard about it and proposed prayer for the untertaking to her community. Sr. Maria Gabriella made her offering in 1938 and died in 1939.
Repentence: That We Might Be One PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 25 November 2007 21:04
There is a sort of lyrical passion that comes through when you read John Paul II's encyclical on ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint. It has opened my eyes to an aspect of the Church's teaching and life that I had always skipped over before.

Partly for lack of time and partly because of a combination of unconscious factors: lingering suspicion from my evangelical days mixed with 20 years of exposure to an embattled Catholic community that is equally likely to regard ecumenism as a cover for theological sloppiness and dissent. We wanted sharp, clear doctrine and yield-no-ground apologetics: distinction, not dialog.

I knew enough to know that I should look into it - but it was never urgent enough until now. And you know what? I've discovered a goodly amount of sharp, clear Church teaching about ecumenism that means that I have some repenting to do and some actions to take.

Which I know may strike some of you as strange since I'm from a Protestant background, am fairly ecumenical by St. Blog's standards, and have been attacked by traditionalists a number of times for being insufficiently Catholic.

But the Holy Spirit, through the Church, is asking us for so much more. This is not about jettisoning or softening the truths of the faith (as all the major documents on ecumenism make abundantly clear).

It is about jettisoning our knee-jerk suspicion, which for most conservative US Catholics is focused upon Protestantism rather than Orthodoxy. We need to shed our fear, our tendency to dismiss non-Catholic, non-liturgical prayer as automatically shallow and non-Catholic non-liturgical worship as meaningless entertainment,to make (and listen to without protest to)a steady stream of snide comments about Protestants of any variety, Anglicans, main-line, evangelicals, Pentecostals, to exalt when they are weak in an area of our strength and to scorn the idea that we could learn anything from them. Even if you are a refugee from some form of terribly dysfunctional Protestantism who is profoundly relieved and grateful to be Catholic, the Church is calling us to something else, to something more.

Consider this passage from Ut Unum Sint, 15:

"Each one therefore ought to be more radically converted to the Gospel and, without ever losing sight of God's plan, change his or her way of looking at things. Thanks to ecumenism, our contemplation of "the mighty works of God" (mirabilia Dei) has been enriched by new horizons, for which the Triune God calls us to give thanks: the knowledge that the Spirit is at work in other Christian Communities, the discovery of examples of holiness, the experience of the immense riches present in the communion of saints, and contact with unexpected dimensions of Christian commitment.

In a corresponding way, there is an increased sense of the need for repentance: an awareness of certain exclusions which seriously harm fraternal charity, of certain refusals to forgive, of a certain pride, of an unevangelical insistence on condemning the "other side," of a disdain born of an unhealthy presumption. Thus, the entire life of Christians is marked by a concern for ecumenism; and they are called to let themselves be shaped, as it were, by that concern."

I have hardly ever given ecumenism a second thought, much less sought to have my entire Christian life shaped by it. How about you?

Ut Unum Sint, 2:

No one is unaware of the challenge which all this poses to believers. They cannot fail to meet this challenge. Indeed, how could they refuse to do everything possible, with God's help, to break down the walls of division and distrust, to overcome obstacles and prejudices which thwart the proclamation of the Gospel of salvation in the Cross of Jesus, the one Redeemer of man, of every individual?
Conclave Discussion of Ecumenism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 25 November 2007 20:56
From Catholic News Service regarding the conclave discussion of ecumenism:

"While the discussion about ecumenism was planned for only the morning session, the Vatican said so many cardinals asked to comment on the topic that the discussion extended into the evening session.

The Vatican said that "collaboration among Christians of different confessions for the defense of the family in society and in the juridical order," the importance of prayers for Christian unity and the central role of friendships for promoting ecumenism were among the points raised.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles told CNS: "A big part of any dialogue is the personal relationship. We are not going to bring about Christian unity through theology, but through our personal relationships with Jesus Christ and with each other. That is what we will build unity on."


"Still, the cardinal (Kasper) said, looking at all the ecumenical dialogues under way there is a sense of "fragmentation and centrifugal forces at work" with progress coming in some areas and differences deepening in others.

"While on one hand we work to overcome old controversies, on the other hand there emerge new differences in the field of ethics," particularly regarding human life, the family and homosexuality, Cardinal Kasper said.

While differences on moral questions are pushing Catholics and some Anglican and mainline Protestant communities further apart, they also are providing new terrain for improved relations with some evangelical and Pentecostal communities, he said.

Taken together, the charismatic and Pentecostal groups have an estimated 400 million members around the world and, among Christian communities, are second in size only to the Catholic community, Cardinal Kasper said.

Some of the communities are open to dialogue with the Catholic Church, he said, while others are hostile to Catholicism and aggressive in trying to win Catholic members.

The Pentecostals, he said, are responding to a desire among modern men and women for a strong spiritual experience.

Rather than talk about what is wrong with the Pentecostals, "it is necessary to make a pastoral examination of conscience and ask ourselves in a self-critical way why so many Christians are leaving our church," Cardinal Kasper said."

You Are Here to Kneel Where Prayer Has Been Valid PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 25 November 2007 20:07
Small Pilgrimage Places is a growing network of small and little known places of pilgrimage in the UK where one or two people won't get lost in the crowd. Many of them are wonderful centuries old chapels or cells that offer short term hospitality - a few hours, a day, 24 hours for prayer, meditation, or conversation.

Among them are the oldest Franciscan building in the UK and the church of Little Gidding - the site of Nicholas Ferrar's Anglican religious community that inspired the fourth quartet of Elliott's famous poem, Four Quartets:

"You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid"

You can stay at the Nicholas Ferrar House nearby. Be sure and visit the Little Gidding church website as well for lots of pictures and information about the famous quasi-monastic lay community that Ferrar founded which harbored (briefly) a refugee King Charles I. The Church still has no electricity and you can attend quarterly evensong by candlelight there in December.

December 4th is the Anglican feast of Nicholas Ferrar.

"Quick now, here, now, always -
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one."

Primate of Canada Calls for Repentence PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 25 November 2007 17:09
Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec and primate of the Catholic Church in Canada, made front page news across Canada on Nov. 21 with the publication of an open letter asking forgiveness for the sins of past church leaders. Cardinal Ouellet is calling for public repentence during Lent, 2008 in preparation for the Eucharistic Congress to be held in Quebec in June.

Below is an English translation of part of his letter:

"Inspired by the gesture of John Paul II in March of 2000, of which I have born witness, I am inviting Catholics to perform an act of repentance and reconciliation. Quebec society drags a wounded history whose bad memories block access to the sources of its soul and religious identity. The time has come to take stock and make a new start. Errors were committed which have tarnished the image of the church and for which we must humbly ask for forgiveness. I am inviting pastors and the faithful to help me seek the manner with which to recognize our mistakes and deficiencies, so as to help our society reconcile with its Christian past.

Inspired by the gesture of John Paul II in March of 2000, of which I have born witness, I am inviting Catholics to perform an act of repentance and reconciliation. Quebec society drags a wounded history whose bad memories block access to the sources of its soul and religious identity. The time has come to take stock and make a new start. Errors were committed which have tarnished the image of the church and for which we must humbly ask for forgiveness. I am inviting pastors and the faithful to help me seek the manner with which to recognize our mistakes and deficiencies, so as to help our society reconcile with its Christian past.

As Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada, I recognize that the narrow attitudes of certain Catholics, prior to 1960, favoured anti-Semitism, racism, indifference toward First Nations and discrimination against women and homosexuals. The behaviour of Catholics and certain episcopal authorities with regards to the right to vote, access to work and promotion of women, hasn’t always been up to par with society’s needs or conformed to the social doctrine of the church.

I also recognize that abuses of power and cover-ups have, for many, tarnished the image of the clergy and its moral authority: mothers have been rebuffed by priests without concern for their family obligations; youngsters were subject to sexual aggression by priests and religious figures, causing great injury and traumatism which have broken their lives! These scandals have shaken popular confidence toward religious authorities and we understand this! orry for all this sin!

The period of Lent in 2008, in preparation for the international eucharistic congress in Quebec City, will give us the opportunity to make a public display of repentance, basing ourselves on God’s gift to the world of life through the Eucharist. Other initiatives will follow to facilitate dialogue and heal memory.
May this search for peace and reconciliation, made in all sincerity, help Quebec more serenely remember its christian and missionary identity, which has given it an enviable place on the international scene.

For more on this story, read "What Happened to Christian Canada?"
The Key to Interpreting Vatican II PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 25 November 2007 07:52
I've spent the past two days doing new research on the Church's teaching regarding ecumenism that is not related directly to some impeding deadline - a rare treat. And going for a brisk long walk in a local park that I had not discovered before but is remarkably lush for our "alpine desert" - full of large ponds, streams and rivulets, marshes and waterfalls.

You might think that someone from my background would naturally be drawn to it but I've spent the last 20 years attempting to grasp the Catholic faith in itself - not primarily in its relationship with other Christians. And I suppose I have always associated ecumenism with highly technical and esoteric discussions between main line Protestant and Catholic theologians, discussions that seemed oblivious to the fact that the most vibrant and largest Christian movements of the 20th century weren't part of the discussion at all.

I knew that I needed to get around to the Church's teaching on ecumenism but the struggle was always to find a block of time that allows me to do the research and carefully think through what the Church is proposing. (When I last tackled something like this, I spent ten 12 hour days searching out, reading, and compiling all magisterial teaching about evangelization.) But a combination of things: evangelical and pastoral grass-roots ecumenical opportunities opening (with the Orthodox to my surprise!) and encountering a number of traditionalist Catholics who are throwing out baby and bathwater (and large parts of conciliar and papal teaching since 1962)has made it seem more urgent.

What has been especially hard is summing up what the Church teaches on the topic in way that is both faithful and clear enough for a blog.

I'd like to begin here: with something noted by Cardinal Avery Dulles in an article he wrote for America on Vatican II: the Myth and the Reality.

"To overcome polarization and bring about greater consensus, Pope John Paul II convened an extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 1985, the 20th anniversary of the close of the council.

This synod in its final report came up with six agreed principles for sound interpretation, which may be paraphrased as follows:

1. Each passage and document of the council must be interpreted in the context of all the others, so that the integral teaching of the council may be rightly grasped.

2. The four constitutions of the council (those on liturgy, church, revelation and church in the modern world) are the hermeneutical key to the other documents—namely, the council’s nine decrees and three declarations.

3. The pastoral import of the documents ought not to be separated from, or set in opposition to, their doctrinal content.

4. No opposition may be made between the spirit and the letter of Vatican II.

5. The council must be interpreted in continuity with the great tradition of the church, including earlier councils.

6. Vatican II should be accepted as illuminating the problems of our own day."

(Sherry's note: Dei Verbum (on revelation) and Lumen Gentium (on the church) are Dogmatic Constitutions and the consensus seems to be that they are the most solemn and important of these four constitutions that are the "key" to understanding the Council. Sacrosanctum Concilium (on the liturgy) is simply called a "Constitution" and Gaudium et Spes is, famously, a "Pastoral Constitution".

Some conservative Catholics have tended to regard Gaudium et Spes with great distrust and to assert that because it is called "pastoral" it wasn't as authoritative as the "dogmatic" constitutions. But it seems quite clear now that the decision to call it a "Constitution" is an indicator that G & S is also key to a accurate interpretation of the Council. The four documents have been set apart - intentionally - to provide a hermeneutic in light of which all the other V2 decrees and declarations are to be read and understood.

And if someone out there can help me grasp the difference between a decree and a declaration, I'd be most grateful. I can't seem to find anything that explains the distinction being made.)

Avery Dulles and the Perfect Cookie PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 23 November 2007 21:44
After spending 10 - 11 hours today reading everything the Church has ever published on ecumenism, I just gotta say two things:

1) What Avery Dulles wrote below about ecumenism is lifted, almost verbatim, from the Decree on Ecumenism from the Second Vatican Council and tons of magisterial teaching since and there's really nothing "out there" or "cutting edge" about it. And I'm too tired to say more on the subject.

2) You need to look at pictures of really decadent, perfect hand-made chocolates and cookies and dream of what you could do this Advent.

Visit this blog, KUIDAORE, and be dazzled and inspired. I feel like Yenta, (from the old Barbra Streisand movie) wondering how the other woman makes her cookies all the same size? Can it be possibly that a mere mortal can produce such gorgeous stuff by hand?

Hat tip: Anna Ceznik via Fr. Mike

Any other Adventian/Christmassy foodie sites that you recommend?
Avery Dulles on Ecumenism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 22 November 2007 21:37
I am using my holiday morning to play with my new Mac, sitting in my dining room table looking out on our snowy garden with the Thanksgiving sun pouring in over me. I've added my new Windows for Mac which gives me my accustomed working software and we finally go my e-mail up and running. I thought that my first serious attempt at anything would be a blog post. hours later - alas the day got away from me and I still haven't finished the post. So here goes.

Cardinal Avery Dulles' new essay , Saving Ecumenism From Itself in the December First Things is a fascinating and challenging look at the history and possible development of ecumenism.

It is a long work and should be read in its entirety but I wanted to start by quoting the four main insights regarding the Church's relationship with other Christians that Dulles says emerged from the Second Vatican Council.

1) "First of all, the scandal of Christian division posed difficulties for the Catholic Church’s own missionary work. It was a stumbling block that impeded what the council called “the most holy cause of proclaiming the gospel to every creature.”

2) "In the second place, the Catholic Church recognized that the divisions among Christians impoverished her catholicity. She lacked the natural and cultural endowments that other Christians could have contributed if they were united with her. Catholicity required that all the riches of the nations should be gathered into the one Church and harvested for the glory of God."

3) "the fullness of Christianity in Catholicism did not imply that all other churches were devoid of truth and grace. . . The council taught, in fact, that non-Catholic churches and communions were “by no means deprived of significance and importance for the mystery of salvation” because the Holy Spirit could use them as instruments of grace. Vatican II, therefore, represents a sharp turn away from the purely negative evaluation of non-Catholic Christianity that was characteristic of the previous three centuries."

4) the Catholic Church, insofar as she was made up of human members and administered by them, was always in need of purification and reform. Through ecumenical contacts, other Christian communities could help her to correct what was amiss, to supply what was lacking, and to update what was obsolete

Dulles points out that "Vatican II taught that every valid baptism incorporates the recipient into the crucified and glorified Christ, and that all baptized Christians were to some extent in communion with the Catholic Church. Their status, therefore, was quite different from that of non-Christians, although these, too, could be related by desire or orientation to the People of God.

Relying on the new ecclesiology of communion, Catholic ecumenists now perceived their task as a movement from lesser to greater degrees of communion. All who believed in Christ and were baptized in his name already possessed a certain imperfect communion, which could be recognized, celebrated, and deepened. The ecumenical movement aspired to the full restoration of the impaired communion among separated churches and communities. Paul VI felt authorized to declare that the communion between the Catholic and Orthodox churches was “almost ­complete.'"

(Sherry's note: I don’t think anyone today would agree that is the case today)

More tomorrow.
Thanksgiving Morning in Colorado Springs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 22 November 2007 07:50

No fog, no mist; clear, bright, jovial, stirring, cold; cold, piping for the blood to dance to; Golden sunlight; Heavenly sky; sweet fresh air; merry bells. Oh, glorious! Glorious!

Charles Dickens, The Christmas Carol
The Joy of Blogging PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 21 November 2007 10:08
This just about sums it up.


hat tip: Vox Nova
A Fruitcake You Will Not Toss - Except into Your Watering Mouth PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 21 November 2007 07:22
The whole point of the build-up below is to give you this fabulous recipe. I've never been a big fruitcake fan but this makes a cake that almost no one can resist.

I received the recipe via Fr. Mike who got it from his friend, Judy in Salt Lake City. I have six of these loaves, marinating in brandy, sitting in a cold, protected spot in my garage as we speak. And none of them will be wasted on the Manitou Springs fruitcake toss! Remember: don't change the recipe!

1 box (15 oz.) raisins,
1- 16oz. pkg. pitted prunes,
1-8oz. pkg. dried apricots,
1-8oz. box chopped dates,
1-16 oz. carton glace fruit mix,
1-16oz. carton candied cherries,
1 cup brandy,
1 1/2 cups butter,
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed,
6 eggs,
3 cups flour,
1 tablespoon cinnamon,
2 teaspoons salt,
1 teas.nutmeg,
1 teas. allspice
2 large ripe bananas, mashed,
2 cups walnut halves.

Place raisins in a large bowl. Cut prunes and
apricots in fourths, add to raisins along with chopped
dates and glace fruit and cherries.

Pour 1/2 cup of brandy over fruit, tossing to mix. Cover and let
stand at room temp. overnight.

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar
gradually, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time
mixing well after each addition.

Combine flour, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and allspice and add to
butter mixture alternately with mashed bananas.
Stir in fruit along with nuts.

Turn into three very well greased loaf pans, lined with greased brown
paper, 9x5 inches. Bake at 250 degrees 2 1/2-3 hours
or untio cake tests done. Don't underbake.

Remove from pan and cool completely. Pour remaining brandy
over tops of cakes very slowly, so that it sinks into
cake. Wrap tightly to store. Makes 3 cakes.
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