Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Sunday, September 4, 2011

An Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI

Your Holiness Benedict XVI: I would like to thank you for the many gifts given to you by God that you have invested in serving in the vineyard of Christ. Your defence of the Church and her Lord in your addresses, books, and theological works are a shining post in theological development in the Catholic Church. Your participation in Vatican II as an expert and your work in ecumenical encounters following the Council shine more your committment to Christian unity. There is a lot more that I can cite from your work that would take me an entire book to write. However, I wish only to focus on the challenges we face today in the Middle East. As a son of the Catholic Church and in the spirit of Vatican II, I implore you to help advance the theological dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox Churches that the Catholic Church recognizes as true sister Churches of the Church of Rome. True, Christian unity is a gift from God but I believe that God uses his servants to realize the day when they share the full communion together. I also recall to your attention that most Eastern Churches whether Orthodox or Catholic are suffering in the Middle East and are mostly poor compared to the riches and assets owned by Roman Catholic Churches of the West. In the same spirit of Vatican II, I recall the insistence of the Council for a preferential treatment of the poor and the gestures made by your predecessor of venerable memory Pope Paul VI. Pope Paul VI gave up the tiara and his ring for the benefit of the poor. Blessed Pope John XXIII, who convoked Vatican II and worked tirelessly for opening the Catholic Church to the world, said that the Church seeks today to apply the remedy of mercy to her children. Blessed Pope John Paul II advanced the cause of the poor in his many addresses and called for a sincere dialogue between the rich North and the poor South. It is with the above consideration that I approach you to seriously consider the poor Christians in the Middle East. I propose that your holiness help them in their struggle for survival and encourage them to do the best not only for the Church but also for their own families that are suffering. I can think only of the remnants of Greek Melkite Catholics in the Middle East, my own community, that our patriarch and bishops are pressing to stay in the Middle East only to preserve the presence of Christians there. If the Catholic Church is serious about keeping the presence of Christians in the Middle East, she can do more than simply exhorting the faithful. Through the Vatican's diplomatic representatives, she can press governments in the Middle East to ensure the continuous safety of all Christians in that region of the world and their freedom to practice their religion. She can also help them financially and support them to remain Christian in this region. Moreover, a public gesture from your holiness would generate positive feelings in the media such as those of your predecessors of venerable memory: Probably visiting the war-torn region of Eastern Africa that is causing great famines among its most vulnerable citizens. And while speaking about Africa I note that it is the continent where Catholic missions are gaining to Christ many new faithful. This continent, together with Asia, deserves the attention of the Holy See. And as a case in point, upon their recent independence, 30 million Christians in Southern Sudan are in need of much help to reconstruct their lives after 50 years of an atrocious war with the North Sudan that claimed many innocent souls. A Jesuit priest from the Melkite Catholic Church, who has been active as vice-president of Caritas International in the Middle East and worked in Sudan himself, has proposed the idea of twinning between a rich town/city in Germany or North America and a poor one in Southern Sudan. According to him, the idea had already been successfully implemented in Europe assisting poor villages. A website is being developed for this purpose. Your personal powerful intercession for those poor Christians in Southern Sudan will definitely bear fruits. Africa is ripe as a vineyard for the Catholic Church. I will continue to recall your words at your inauguration as the Vicar of Christ in 2005: I want to be a humble servant in the vineyard of the Lord. Finally I seek Your Apostolic blessing in the name of Christ. Yours faithfully, George Farahat Chancellor, Jesus the King Council, Knights of Columbus Lecturer, Jesus the King Greek Melkite Catholic parish Toronto, Canada

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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