Here is Pope Francis’ tweet from today – it is so beautiful and thought-provoking, I think I’ll put it in upper case bold cursive, color it blue, print it and put it on my computer:
“LEARN FROM WONDER; NURTURE ASTONISHMENT. LIVE, LOVE, BELIEVE. AND, WITH THE GRACE OF GOD, NEVER DESPAIR.”
I think I may soon start a column called “Where’s our Nation Heading?!” Because that’s the question I seem to ask myself several times a day when I read news stories about and from the U.S. When the anti-Catholicism in our own Congress becomes this strident, something has to be said and done – and it was yesterday in the Senate, as you will see in the story below from the Catholic League.
CATHOLIC-LUTHERAN STATEMENT MARKS 5TH CENTENARY OF REFORMATION
(Vatican Radio) October 31st 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the day on which German theologian Martin Luther published his 95 theses, setting in motion the events of the Protestant Reformation.
To mark the occasion, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation on Tuesday issued a joint statement, giving thanks for the spiritual and theological gifts received through the Reformation and recalling the commemorative events that have taken place over the past year.
Exactly one year ago, Pope Francis travelled to the Swedish cities of Lund and Malmo to take part in a joint commemoration of the Reformation alongside leaders of the Lutheran World Federation. A moving liturgy in the ancient Lund cathedral and a joyful celebration of young people in Malmo arena focused on asking forgiveness for the sins of past centuries, while also celebrating the progress of the last fifty years and pledging to step up joint efforts in the service of those most in need.
Commitment to continue the ecumenical journey
One year on, today’s statement recalls those historic events, in particular the commitment by Pope Francis and former LWF president Bishop Munib Younan to continue the ecumenical journey.
The statement says the shared journey of the past fifty years has resulted in “the removal of prejudices, the increase of mutual understanding and the identification of decisive theological agreements”.
While Catholics and Lutherans can still not share at the Eucharistic table, the two Churches acknowledge their “joint pastoral responsibility to respond to the spiritual thirst and hunger of our people to be one in Christ “.
New insights into Reformation
Commemorating the Reformation together in many countries around the world, the statement says, has allowed Lutherans and Catholics new insights into events of the 16th century which led to their separation. Noting the theological progress that was made through the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, the statement says growing communion and shared service are a sign of hope for the world of today to overcome divisions and fragmentation.
The statement concludes with a commitment to continue the journey towards unity, guided by God’s Spirit, in the knowledge that “what we have in common is far more than that which still divides us”.
Please find the full statement here: http://www.news.va/en/news/catholics-and-lutherans-mark-500th-anniversary-of
GOP LEADERS ADDRESS ANTI-CATHOLICISM
October 31, 2017
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on remarks made yesterday by Republican leaders who spoke against anti-Catholicism:
Senate Republicans, joined by three Democrats, stopped a filibuster of the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; the vote was 54-42. Final confirmation is due soon.
It was two Mormon Republicans, Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Mike Lee, who made the most impassioned defense of Barrett’s nomination.
The Notre Dame law professor’s religious convictions were attacked recently by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Dick Durbin, thus teeing up a response from those supporting her. Both Democrats questioned her suitability to be seated on the federal bench given her strong Catholic beliefs. Neither has apologized for their bigoted remarks.
Senator Hatch did not hold back in his statement. “I have to say that we stoop pretty low if we start to raise questions of religious beliefs before somebody can serve on the federal judiciary. Now I hope that that type of questioning will hit the dustbin of history, where it belongs.”
Senator Lee was just as pointed. He said “the fact of her religious beliefs or religious affiliation have nothing to do with her qualifications to serve as a federal appellate court judge.”
Lee also took a shot at those Democrats who made snide remarks about her Catholicism. “They were asking, ‘Do you actually believe that stuff? Do you actually believe the doctrine of your church? Do you believe it deeply, sincerely?’ Suggesting that if so, that is somehow a problem.”
Feinstein, who is Jewish, tried to deflect charges of anti-Catholicism by referencing her attendance at a Catholic school. Durbin, who is Catholic, referenced his Catholic status. But credentials do not matter: What matters are words. On this count, both of them came very close to invoking a religious test against Professor Barrett, something which is barred by the Constitution.
Hopefully, Barrett’s confirmation proceedings will continue absent any more of these invidious outbursts. Kudos to Senators Hatch and Lee, two devout Mormons, for standing on principle and against anti-Catholic bigotry.
(JFL: From National Review, Sept, 6, 2017: This afternoon, during a confirmation hearing for 7th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein attacked the nominee for her Roman Catholic faith. Barrett is a law professor at the University of Notre Dame who has written about the role of religion in public life and delivered academic lectures to Christian legal groups.
Drawing on some of these materials, Feinstein launched a thinly veiled attack on Barrett’s Catholic faith, asserting that her religious views will prevent her from judging fairly. “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”
Feinstein is clearly hinting here at the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, a ruling that Feinstein supports so vociferously that she has even called it a “super-precedent.”)