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    Friday, July 20, 2007

    Walking together apart



    22 An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. 47 Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side 48 and said to them, "Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest." 49 Then John said in reply, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company." 50 Jesus said to him, "Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you."
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    20 "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21
    so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
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    We do not prevent each other, but so that the world may believe we strive to all be one. It is not a discussion about who is greatest.
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    The only losers are those who think that it does not matter.
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    ---
    Bishop Farrell affirmed that "it is necessary to hold various affirmations all together at once" in order to correctly understand the document.
    ---
    "Of course, no Christian body likes to hear that we Catholics think they are missing something that is essential in the concept of Church," he said. "Just as we do not like to hear our Orthodox friends say that they alone are the true continuation of the undivided Church of the first millennium.

    "Likewise, at the center of the Reformation there is a radical critique of the Catholic Church as not having remained faithful to Christ and to the Scriptures.

    "So it cannot come as a surprise to our Protestant partners that there are different ideas of 'Church' at work in our views of one another."
    Bishop Farrell affirmed that ecumenical dialogue is an urgent task for Catholics and non-Catholics alike: "When 'Responses' reminds us that because of division between Christians, the Church’s universality is not fully realized in history, it is pointing to an unfinished task that cannot be neglected or delayed.

    "Far from feeling any sense of self-sufficiency, Catholics must feel that the situation of incompleteness inherent in division and separation is a tragedy for them too. It makes it all the more difficult to offer a convincing witness, so that the world may believe."

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