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    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    A really nice response


    Pentecostalism’s rapid growth is challenging the Catholic Church in Asia, forcing clergy, lay leaders, parishes and ecclesial communities to respond, according to a Catholic working group that gathered to discuss the effort for Christian unity.


    link


    Among those attendance included Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Vatican’s Christian unity council, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales of Manila, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal of Cebu, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Philippines bishops’ conference, and 33 other bishops.

    “The ecumenical movement is inspired by the Holy Spirit, who moves people to pray fervently and work sincerely to restore the unity intended by Christ for his disciples,” the document said, adding that spiritual ecumenism is marked by “prayer, change of heart and holiness of life.”

    Pentecostalism, which emphasizes the visible manifestations of the Holy Spirit including healing and speaking in tongues, has been responsible for “profound changes” in Christian churches that Catholics have to understand and to which they must respond, the Catholic leaders said in the document.

    The working group’s document acknowledged Pentecostal churches’ “attractive elements,” such as joyful and spontaneous worship,
    strong community life,
    the stress on personal prayer and personal conversion,
    and the welcoming of the talents and charisms of all believers.

    “These are factors in drawing Christians from other churches into the Pentecostal fold,” it said.

    Yet, Pentecostalism also carries with it other “negative elements” for which the “richness of Catholic sacramental life can be abandoned,” the document said.

    It pointed specifically to
    “the overemphasis on wealth and health that often leads to a disregard for the message of the cross,
    the stress on feelings at the expense of truth,
    worship perceived more as a moment of entertainment rather than an encounter with Jesus, the misuse of mass media and
    the unwillingness to recognize the validity of other Christians’ faith commitment and spiritual experience.”


    “While keeping in mind that ignorance of the faith and the rootlessness caused by rapid urbanization are among the cause of departures from the Catholic Church, we consider it urgent to educate out faithful more deeply in the beauty of the Catholic faith through lively catechesis, sermons and Christian formation of adults,” the church leaders said.


    They called creating the “necessary” environment to retain Catholics, which includes “warm, familial atmosphere in churches, worship services characterized by participation and joyful prayer, an enhanced openness to the contributions of the laity, solidarity with the poor and others with physical and spiritual needs, and the restructuring of parish life into welcoming neighborly basic communities.”

    The document calls for “ecumenical formation” of lay people and clergy in order that the faithful “understand and respond positively to the challenges of the search for Christian unity.”

    I like it. Many Saints came from a shallow catechesis but a simple love of Christ. Now however there is competition which leads people to a shallow place. Especially 'tounges' and other feel good entertainment.

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