Response of Orthodox bishops to US Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

July 2, 20152 juillet 2015

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America strongly disagrees with the United States Supreme Court decision of June 26, Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court invents a constitutional right for two members of the same sex to marry, and imposes upon all States the responsibility to license and recognize such “marriages.”

The Supreme Court, in the narrowest majority possible, has overstepped its purview by essentially re-defining marriage itself. It has attempted to settle a polarizing social and moral question through legislative fiat. It is immoral and unjust for our government to establish in law a “right” for two members of the same sex to wed. Such legislation harms society and especially threatens children who, where possible, deserve the loving care of both a father and a mother.

As Orthodox Christian bishops, charged by our Savior Jesus Christ to shepherd His flock, we will continue to uphold and proclaim the teaching of our Lord that marriage, from its inception, is the lifelong sacramental union of a man and a woman. We call upon all Orthodox Christians in our nation to remain firm in their Orthodox faith, and to renew their deep reverence for and commitment to marriage as taught by the Church. We also call upon our nation’s civic leaders to respect the law of Almighty God and uphold the deeply-rooted beliefs of millions of Americans.

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Pope Francis adds ‘secular Jewish feminist’ Naomi Klein to climate team

July 1, 20151 juillet 2015

Naomi Klein arrived for a news conference at the Vatican on July 1. Photo: AP/Andrew MedichiniIf proof were needed that politics really does make odd bedfellows, the sight of progressive Canadian activist Naomi Klein on a Vatican platform with the pope’s personal spokesman on Wednesday, joining forces in the push for stronger environmental protection, probably provides it.

“This is an alliance on a specific issue, not a merger,” said Klein, who defines herself as a secular Jewish feminist.

“No one is being asked to agree on everything, nor do we agree on everything related to climate change,” she said.

Despite that, she said, the secular left and the Catholic Church can still do business based on Laudato Si’, Francis’ encyclical letter on the environment released in June.

The Canadian activist admitted to surprise at being invited to speak at the Vatican, saying it illustrates a “growing understanding” about environmental concerns that has forged surprising and unlikely partnerships, with people otherwise at loggerheads willing to overcome long-standing differences to work together to “save ourselves.”

“We understand that the stakes are so high, time is so short and the task is so large that we cannot afford to allow those differences to divide us,” Klein said on Wednesday.

Klein’s comments came as she participated in the presentation of an upcoming “high-level” conference she will be co-chairing with Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. … Read more » … À suivre »

The Church of the East: There can be only one

June 30, 201530 juin 2015

Louis Raphael Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic ChurchThe most interesting, and potentially most dramatic, ecumenical news this week was the proposal of Patriarch Raphael I (Louis Sako) of Bablyon, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, who proposed a plan for a united Church of the East that would entail his own resignation.

The schism between the Church of the East and the rest of the orthodox Christian world is the oldest surviving division in the Church, its origins dating back to the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. It was the Christian Church in the Persian Empire, and has often (wrongly) been called Nestorian. Acknowledging that there is now brief way to do justice to the history of communion and schism between the Church of the East and the Catholic/Orthodox Church(es) in the last 1,600 years, suffice it to say that what remains is a very small community based in Baghdad but effectively existing as a diaspora community, with its leaders often in Exile.

There are three current churches succeeding from that original Church of the East, which was founded, according to tradition, by the apostle Thomas and by Mar Addai (Jude/Thaddeus, maybe, or a disciple of Thomas) and Mari, a disciple of Addai. … Read more » … À suivre »

Changing marriage canon would ‘abrade ecclesial trust,’ ARC warns

June 29, 201529 juin 2015

Bishop Donald Bolen and Bishop Linda Nicholls, the Roman Catholic and Anglican co-chairs of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (ARC). Photo: Salt + Light TVIn a nine-page contribution submitted to the Anglican Church of Canada’s commission on the marriage canon earlier today, the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (ARC) warns that changing Canon 21 to allow for same-sex marriages would “weaken the very basis of our existing communion, and weaken the foundations upon which we have sought to build towards fuller ecclesial communion.”

The contribution, produced at the request of the Anglican church, acknowledges that while great changes have taken place in the broader cultural understanding of marriage in North America in recent years, “Roman Catholics are left to wonder what has changed, such that our previous common understanding of marriage is left in doubt.”

The commission on the marriage canon, established by Council of General Synod in the fall of 2013, was created in response to a resolution approved at General Synod earlier that year to bring a motion concerning same-sex marriage to its next meeting in 2016. The commission’s mandate is to carry out a “broad consultation” within the church in preparation for the motion, and part of this consultation has involved seeking opinions from ecumenical partners such as the Roman Catholic Church. … Read more » … À suivre »

United Church of Christ affirms full communion with United Church of Canada

June 29, 201529 juin 2015

The communion table at the United Church of Christ General Synod in Cleveland with the two churches' crestsDelegates to the United Church of Christ 2015 General Synod in Cleveland on Monday morning unanimously approved an amendment to recognize a full communion between the United Church of Christ and The United Church of Canada. The union fulfills the promise the churches made to one another in 2013. “Let us dare to dream of the unexpected places we might discover as Uniting and United Churches in North America,” said Karen Georgia Thompson, United Church of Christ minister for ecumenical and interfaith relations, echoing the theme of General Synod 30 in Cleveland June 25-30.

Passage of the amendment on June 29 drew a sustained 45-second applause from delegates, some of whom stood and cheered. For the Rev. Michael Denton – United Church of Christ Executive Board member and Conference Minister of the Pacific Northwest Conference – the vote was cause for celebration. “We share significant borders with Canada,” said Denton, whose conference comprises Washington state, Northern Idaho and Alaska. “This is an opportunity for a cross-border-sharing ministry. Some United Church of Christ churches are closer to Canada than any other United Church of Christ churches.” … Read more » … À suivre »

Vatican signs agreement with Palestine, calls for two-state solution

June 26, 201526 juin 2015

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, right, Vatican secretary for relations with states, and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki shake hands during a meeting at the Vatican June 26. The Vatican signed its first treaty with the 'State of Palestine' calling for 'courageous decisions' to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution. Photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via ReutersThe Holy See and Palestine have signed a historic agreement that supports a two-state solution to the ongoing conflict in the Holy Land, based on the 1967 borders between Israel and Palestine.

The two parties signed the “Comprehensive Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Palestine” at the Vatican June 26. The accord, which includes a preamble and 32 articles, focuses mostly on the status and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine. It assures the church “juridical recognition” and “guarantees” for its work and institutions in Palestine.

The second chapter of the agreement focuses entirely on freedom of religion and conscience and includes the right to worship and practice one’s faith, as well as the rights of Christian parents to give their children religious education, of Christians to take holy days off work, and of military personnel to have access to pastoral care.

The preamble recognizes the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, the importance of Jerusalem and its sacred character for Jews, Christians and Muslims, and the objective of a two-state solution.

At the signing ceremony, Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, said he hoped the agreement would provide a “stimulus” for a “definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” … Read more » … À suivre »

Pope asks Waldensians to forgive wrongs

June 22, 201522 juin 2015

Pope Francis gestures as he leads a gathering with young people in Piazza Vittorio in Turin, Italy, June 21. Photo: CNS/Paul HaringIn a world of “soap-bubble values,” hypocrisy and delusion, Pope Francis told young people to fight back with real love and told workers to build a new economy based on creativity and courage.

He also asked the Waldensians, whom the Catholic Church excommunicated and persecuted hundreds of years ago, for forgiveness.

“I ask you for forgiveness for the un-Christian, even inhuman, attitude and behavior that we had against you over history,” he told representatives and members of the Waldensian community June 22 in Turin.

“In the name of Jesus Christ, forgive us,” he said during a visit to the temple, making him the first pope in 800 years to visit a Waldensian place of worship.

The historic gesture was part of Pope Francis’ two-day pastoral trip to the northern Italian city. The pope visited June 21-22 to venerate the Shroud of Turin as well as commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. John Bosco. … Read more » … À suivre »