Semper Quaerens

What True Ecumenism Is All About

To put it simply, ecumenism, and especially ecumenical dialogue, requires of us loving truth and truthful love. Love without a commitment to truth will lead to a too easy compromise which will not carry the churches into full Christian unity. A commitment to the truth without love will lead to dogmatism and intransigence and will delay Christian unity forever. Utter openness to the other, with utter fidelity to one’s own tradition, is the way forward for the committed ecumenist. Indeed in some ways it is only in meeting the other in complete openness, while remaining faithful to one’s own identity, that one discovers one’s own identity in its full profundity. The meeting of hearts and minds that can come between dialogue partners who have both qualities of utter faithfulness and utter openness is the meeting which takes the movement towards Christian unity a step forward. (p 168)

Michael Putney, “The Approach of the Catholic Church to Ecumenism”, in My Ecumenical Journey (Adelaide: ATF Theology, 2014): 157-171. ISBN: 978-1-922239-64-8.


Seek Happiness In God

From the Office of Readings for Saturday of the 2nd Week of Lent:

Where a man’s heart is, there will be his treasure also, for God is not wont to refuse a good gift those who ask. So because God is good and especially good to those who serve him, we must cling to him, and be with him with all our soul and with all our heart and with all our strength. This we must do if we are to be in his light, and see his glory, and enjoy the grace of heavenly joy. To this happiness we must lift our minds, we must be in God, and live in him and cling to him, for he is beyond all human thought and understanding and he dwells in endless peace and tranquillity. This peace passes all understanding, passes all perception.

From the treatise of St Ambrose On Flight from the World.

Watch Out!

It’s mostly gone unnoticed – except by those who follow these kinds of things – but the High Court of Australia yesterday handed down a decision that significantly impacts on the regulation of media in Australia. The judgement, highly technical and focussing on the activities of a radio station that recorded and broadcasted a hoax phone call that had devastating results, means that Australia’s media, at least those that come under the regulatory regime administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, will be faced not with a toothless tiger, but with an organisation that can, and should, hold them to account for what is broadcast.

I hope the various members of the commentariat are taking note…

God’s Loving Gift

From the Office of Readings for Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent:

[God] taught them to love God, and instilled in them that righteousness which is towards their neighbour. In this way they might neither unjust nor unworthy of God. By the decalogue he instructed men to be friends with himself and in harmony with their neighbour. Man is greatly helped by these things. God, however, stands in need of nothing from man.

These blessings made man glorious, giving him what he lacked: friendship with God. They bestowed nothing on God, for God did not stand in need of man’s love.

From the treatise of St Irenaeus, Against the Heresies.

The Fear of a Radical Pope

An interesting article that was brought to my attention from another place. Written by Elizabeth S. Bruenig in The New Republic, the article examines the oft commented upon divide between conservatives and progressives in the Catholic Church from the perspective of the way in which Pope Francis has been treated by some on what Bruenig terms the “American right”.

The thrust of the article, which strikes me as making eminent sense, is that, at least in the context of the American branch of the Catholic Church, too often religious conservatism is born more from political conservatism rather than profound religious belief, and that sometimes criticism of the ‘left’ by the ‘right’ has more to do with public policy and a harkening to a long dead past than any true sense of Christian belief and doctrine. Or at the very least that the understanding of Christian belief and doctrine by the ‘right’ is filtered through their affiliation with conservative public policy and a harkening for a past that maybe never was and certainly is not now.

Does the article have any relevance outside the United States of America? Probably not as much as might be initially thought, but the trend towards the kind of “American right” that Bruenig identifies is certainly able to be seen in the actions of some political conservatives in other parts of the world, including Australia, and their tendency to wrap themselves in religious belief is certainly symptomatic of this phenomenon.

Bruenig’s article certainly gives one pause to think.

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