I just had a note from a rather distinguished reader of WDTPRS alerting me to something that appeared in today’s Wall Street Journal.
BTW… there is a POLL on that page, but you have to search for it.
He wrote: Next to its article titled "For the Vatican, New Resolve to Expand the Catholic Fold", the WSJ captioned a picture of Pope Benedict with "The Great Unifier?"
Here is some of that WSJ piece with my emphases and comments.
For the Vatican, New Resolve to Expand the Catholic Fold
By STACY MEICHTRY
ROME — Long regarded as a hard-liner on religious doctrine, Pope Benedict XVI also is emerging as the pontiff of interchurch, or ecumenical, relations. [Sounds right. This is the Pope of Christian Unity.]
The 82-year-old pope’s decision Tuesday to amend Vatican laws to make it easier for Anglicans to become Roman Catholic represents his most aggressive attempt to bring more Christians into the Catholic fold. [Again, this was an overture also in response to Anglican initiatives.]
The pope’s outreach to rival churches has spanned the conservative-liberal spectrum. He has bolstered dialogue with Lutherans and other mainline Protestants. [liberals] He met with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, regarded by some as the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Churches. And he lifted an excommunication ban on the highly conservative Catholic splinter group Society of St. Pius X. [conservatives]
Few expected Pope Benedict to reach out to other Christian churches aggressively [there it is again... makes it sound like the Anschluss.] when he was elected in April 2005. Yet the rise of secularism among European Christians and the expansion of Islam on the Continent in recent decades have influenced thinking within Vatican corridors. In addition, this pope considers divisions among rival Christian churches as a threat to Roman Catholicism’s credibility in the market of ideas and faiths, according to Vatican analysts and advisers to the pope.
"Anyone who thought he wasn’t serious about ecumenical dialogue was seriously mistaken," said the Rev. Joseph Fessio, one of Pope Benedict’s former students whom he occasionally consults.
Yet some Christians don’t view Pope Benedict’s latest move as an ecumenical gesture, and they warn that it risks derailing decades of formal dialogue between the Vatican and Anglican leaders. [This is exactly the point I was making HERE.]
You can read the rest there.
Remember: Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.
He has the correct ecumenical vision. A true ecumenism does not compromise essentials of our faith and identity even while it challenges us to stretch.