"The meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church focused on a key factor in the ongoing division between Catholic and Orthodox: the role of the pope as Bishop of Rome.
The protesters - who were arrested on the third day of their demonstration - claimed that the ongoing dialogue between the two churches was aimed at getting the Orthodox to submit to papal authority.
According to a statement released by the dialogue commission, Orthodox officials discussed "the negative reactions to the dialogue by certain Orthodox circles and unanimously considered them as totally unfounded and unacceptable, providing false and misleading information". The Orthodox delegates "reaffirmed that the dialogue continues with the decision of all the Orthodox churches and is pursued with faithfulness to the truth and the tradition of the Church", according to a statement released in Cyprus and at the Vatican."
"The Russian Orthodox delegation had walked out of the commission's 2007 dialogue during an inter-Orthodox dispute over which Orthodox communities were qualified to send representatives to the meeting.
The Orthodox protesters in Cyprus last week forced a Catholic priest to cancel a wedding planned in an Orthodox church opposite where the talks were being held.
Archbishop Chrysostomos II strongly condemned the protests, saying that for people to put their own opinion above that of the synods of the entire Orthodox faith "amounts to vanity, indeed satanic vanity".
It is hard to imagine a Catholic Archbishop or Pope Benedict using such language, whatever they might think of such protests but the popular Orthodox resistance and fears to possible Orthodox-Catholic reproachment remind me of conservative Catholic fears about Protestantism.
American Catholics afraid of being "Protestantized". (This isn't a universal Catholic fear. It is just that in the US, evangelical Protestantism has been the dominant religious force and we still feel the effects of two centuries of struggling to maintain the Catholic faith in a deeply Protestant context.)
Orthodox afraid of being "Latinized" or "Catholicized". (Swallowed up by a 1.2 billion spiritual neighbor who is 4 times your size and claims the same historical primacy that you do. 1204 and all that. Remember Constantinople!)
As Pope Innocent III, the man who had unintentionally launched the ill-fated expedition, thundered against the crusaders who had pillaged Constantinople:
"How, indeed, will the church of the Greeks, no matter how severely she is beset with afflictions and persecutions, return into ecclesiastical union and to a devotion for the Apostolic See, when she has seen in the Latins only an example of perdition and the works of darkness, so that she now, and with reason, detests the Latins more than dogs? As for those who were supposed to be seeking the ends of Jesus Christ, not their own ends, who made their swords, which they were supposed to use against the pagans, drip with Christian blood, they have spared neither religion, nor age, nor sex. They have committed incest, adultery, and fornication before the eyes of men. They have exposed both matrons and virgins, even those dedicated to God, to the sordid lusts of boys. Not satisfied with breaking open the imperial treasury and plundering the goods of princes and lesser men, they also laid their hands on the treasures of the churches and, what is more serious, on their very possessions. They have even ripped silver plates from the altars and have hacked them to pieces among themselves. They violated the holy places and have carried off crosses and relics."
It is beyond poignant how the sense of threat changes depending upon where you begin. And where you have been.
People are sending me lots of notes about being old. The great thing is, I don't feel old. I come from pretty robust stock, with 87 year-old parents and a 92 year-old aunt and an 85 year-old uncle. People ask how many years younger my sister is.
She's eight years older.
My 61 year-old brother has all of his hair. Sure, it's grey, but on a man we call it distinguished. He sent me these thoughts ABOUT GROWING OLDER...
First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.
Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.
Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.
Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.
Sixth ~ I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.
Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.
Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.
Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.
Tenth ~ Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it's called golf
And finally ~ If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old.
I thank God for my life. He has been so good to me - always - and in all ways. Thank you to all who have been instruments of His loving kindness.
On October 22, I posted this prayer request about a young woman in my parish:
21-year old Marysa complained of not feeling well on 10.0.09, she saw her doctor on 10.9.09, was sent immediately to the emergency room at the hospital, and was placed on life support (feeding tubes and a ventilator) on 10.14.09. She was flown via helicopter to University Hospital on 10.15.09 where she remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Marysa is married to Ryan and has a 2 year old daughter Ainsley.
This past Sunday, we were told at Mass that a miracle had occurred:
Marysa, mysteriously near death from some kind of viral infection (H1N1 was never confirmed) was healed this past weekend. Her father writes: "From what I've been told, this type of rapid recovery, with little or no external stimuli, is virtually unheard of." Hundreds were praying for her. Marysa was released from the hospital on Tuesday.
Tis the Vigil of the Feast of the Nativity of a certain Dominican named Michael.
When he joined us 5 years and a million air miles ago, he was just a sprout of oh, 25. Or 30. Tops. With hair.
You know the type - or maybe you don't. But I do. I've spent the last 14 years trying to hold my own with charming, wickedly brilliant OP's named Michael. You have no idea.
See that wicked, jesuitical gleam in his eye? Desperate times required desperate measures.
My only equalizers were height and treachery. (Must all Dominicans be so short?) I promised him Hawaii. I gave him North Dakota in February. Over and over again. With the occasional day off in Bunkie. Lousiana.
Five years later, I have succeeded in reducing him to a frazzled shadow of his former macho weight-lifting self. My sources tell me that Fr. Mike could hardly blow out the six dozen birthday candles on his cake tonight.
I fear that I have gone too far 'cause my plan was for Fr. MIke to slog through the November rain and snow and bring home the old Institute bacon while I lounge by the fire, sipping Irish creme lattes and thinking great thoughts.
But if our ID readers join in with a rousing chorus, I'm sure that he'll be rejuvenated.
Jaideep was raised in a devout Sikh family. Like many Indians from the upper classes, he was sent to a Christian school where he was first exposed to the Mass as a choir boy. He was 13 years old and his questioning began.
The sudden death of his mother made Jaideep's questions more acute. The school's dean walked with him through days of genuine anguish, patiently answering his questions. "My family had planted in my soul the seed of religion, dean Carver the seed of Catholicism and of a life spent in witness of the Gospel."
Jaideep's father was angry when his son spoke to him of becoming a Christian. In 1999, Jaideep was secretly baptized at the age of 18 and took as his Christian name, the name of school: St. Stephen's. He didn't tell his family for 3-4 years.
But 10 years later, at Fr. Stephen's ordination (by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York), his sisters were present, and his father. who could not get a visa to come to the US, was openly supportive.
May God continue to guide and bless Fr. Stephen and use him in wonderful ways as a priest.
And continuing with the international focus, check out this wonderful source: dailygospel.org.
You can have the readings of the day, the month, commentary of the day (St. Bonaventure for today), and a saint of the day sent to you each day by e-mail. I know this is available through other sources online but Daily Gospel provides them in a particularly wide number of languages: English, French, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Polish, and Armenian.
It seems to be a work of a community of lay Dominicans in New Hope, Kentucky. (I've heard of them for years but have never been to New Hope or met them.)
It's free although the community would appreciate a donation to help defray their expenses.
Uma and Kumar Krishnan were devout Hindus living in Singapore when something remarkable happened.
Uma had a dream in January of 2006: "she saw a 'very humble lady' surrounded by candles.
She and Kumar were devout Hindus and they knew the lady in Uma’s dreams was not a Hindu god. They knew little of Christianity, but they thought this lady might be the Blessed Mother. Still, because they came from a long tradition of Hinduism in India, they didn’t give the dream much thought.
The next year the Krishnans moved to the US and in April of 2009 Uma began to have other dreams:
'One night she dreamed she was walking into a church she’d never seen before. Once inside, she turned right and found a little room where there were red candles and a statue of Mary.
The second night, she was in the same room, but this time she saw a big cross made of palm leaves.
Another night, she dreamed she was in a boat. On her right was a black woman with dark hair and on her left, a lady wearing a blue scarf and holding a Bible. The woman in blue showed Uma some verses to read to make her worries disappear. In her dream, Uma read the Bible verses and both women disappeared.
Uma and Kumar talked about the dreams and, by the fourth night, they decided to visit a church to see what was happening.
Kumar typed “St. Mary Church Fairfax” into Google and entered the address from the first result into his GPS device. The address was for St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax.
When they got to the church, Uma was shocked. On the outside, it looked just like the church she had dreamed about the first night. When they went inside and turned right, there was a small chapel with red votive candles, a statue of Mary and a cross. It was just like her dreams. Uma started to cry.
“The moment was so touching,” Kumar said. “We were not even Christians and we were not even worshipping when we got such a thing. We were Hindus and we didn’t exactly know how to pray, but we just sat there and said, ‘Thank you. Thank you for all these visions and thank you for bringing us here. We don’t know what to do, you tell us, you guide us, show us what has to be done.’”
Eventually, the Krishnans began to attend Mass and the local charismatic prayer group every week. St. Mary's pastor formed a special RCIA team for the couple and they were baptized on September 12.
Their pastor, "Father Starzynski said Uma and Kumar’s conversion story shows that God works in mysterious ways. He felt honored that he could be there to help the family.
“I think it speaks to how beautifully God can work and does work,” he said. “It makes you think, are we flexible enough to understand the ways God may work that are outside the box that we have constructed?”
"As with Paul and Cornelius in Acts, visions and dreams played a role in the conversion of many. More than one in four respondents, 27 percent, noted dreams and visions before their decision for Christ, 40 percent at the time of conversion, and 45 percent afterward. Many Muslims view dreams as links between the seen and unseen worlds, and pre-conversion visions and dreams often lead Muslims to consult a Christian or the Bible.
Frequently a person in the vision, understood to be Jesus, radiates light or wears white (one respondent, though, said Jesus appeared in green, a color sometimes associated with Islamic holy persons). An Algerian woman had a vision that her Muslim grandmother came into her room and said, "Jesus is not dead; he is here." In Israel, an Arab dreamed that his deceased father said, "Follow the pastor. He will show you the right way." Other dreams and visions occurred later and provided encouragement during persecution. A Turkish woman in jail because of her conversion had a vision that she would be released, and she was. A vision of thousands of believers in the streets proclaiming their faith encouraged a young man in North Africa to persevere."
The same phenomena have been reported in the Hindu world as well.
It is true. The Holy Spirit is in our midst, working in ways that transcend our assumptions of how God works in the world and how people come to Christian faith.
"Then afterward I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions." Joel 3:1
(This passage is better known as Joel 2:28 in most Protestant Bibles. Catholic translations follow the order of the Hebrew text.)
This is a test - of the Intentional Disciple's broadcasting network. If this were a real spiritual emergency, you would be instructed to visit your local parish, pray, go to Mass or to confession.
This is just a announcement that after one week off the air, Intentional Disciples is up and running. Thanks to all of you ID readers who wrote me to ask what was happening and were concerned that we might have simply stopped blogging without notice.
Not at all. We are in the midst of putting up a new website (www.siena.org to see it in its unfinished form) and switching servers and the blog got caught up in the whole transfer. Since I was traveling last week and without internet access, I didn't realize what had happened until Friday afternoon when it was too late to do anything that day. And of course, nothing could be done over the weekend. So triage and recovery has been the task of Monday and Tuesday.
Anyway, it is great to be back. More blogging in a few.
Putting together a new website is quite something and one result was that our blog has been down since Friday. Thanks very much to all the readers who wrote me to let me know.
Meanwhile, our new website is also up - but much of the new content is unfinished as is our store and calendar.
So if you want to buy something from us or check dates for an event, give the office a call at (888) 878-6789 or drop Austin a line at