Fr Mark Drew Why is the German Church so mighty? FEATURE, PAGE 8
Niall Gooch How Twitter turns us into Pharisees
COMMENT, PAGE 12
Piers Paul Read Our arts scene has a whiff of the USSR
CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20
August 1 2014 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
‘I ask your forgiveness’: Francis seeks to end rift with Evangelicals
Holy Father greets Italian Evangelicals as ‘friends’ in first papal visit to a Pentecostal church
BY STAFF REPORTER
POPE FRANCIS has asked Pentecostals to forgive Catholics for complicity in their persecution under Fascist rule in Italy.
Making the first papal visit to a Pentecostal church, Francis said: “Among those who persecuted and denounced the Pentecostals, almost as if they were crazies who would ruin the race, there were some Catholics. As the pastor of Catholics, I ask forgiveness for those Catholic brothers and sisters who did not understand and were tempted by the Devil.”
Giovanni Traettino, a Pentecostal pastor and long-standing friend of Pope Francis, welcomed the Pope on Monday to his partially built church in Caserta, near Naples. Pope Francis said he knew some Catholics would be shocked that he had made a trip outside Rome especially to visit a group of Pentecostals. But, he said, “I went to visit my friends”.
The Pope’s visit came days after the death of his friend Bishop Tony Palmer, a Christian leader who served as a bridge between Francis and the Evangelical world. Bishop Palmer had met the Pontiff in February and recorded a message from Francis to Evangelical pastors on his iPhone. Addressing Bishop Palmer as “my bishop brother”, the Pope spoke of his longing for unity between Catholics and Evangelicals.
Bishop Palmer died after a motorcycle accident near Chelwood, south of Bristol, on Sunday, July 20.
The Vatican described the Pope’s visit to the Pentecostal church as “strictly private”. Except for Vatican media, reporters were kept on the roof of a nearby building. In the Church of Reconciliation Pope Francis met about 200 people, including members of Pastor Traettino’s congregation, other Italian Evangelicals and representatives of Pentecostal ministries in Argentina and the United States.
Pastor Traettino told the Pope his visit was “unthinkable until recently”, even though, he said, “even among Evangelicals there is great affection for you”.
He said: “Many of us pray for you every day. Many of us, in fact, believe your elec
At a glance: Francis and Evangelicals
The future Pope knelt to receive the blessing of Evangelical pastors at a prayer service in Argentina in 2006. A traditionalist magazine ran the photo on its cover with the headline ‘Buenos Aires sede vacante: Archbishop commits the sin of apostasy’ Francis defended the blessing, saying Catholics could pray even with agnostics. ‘What’s the problem?’ he asked This February Francis told Evangelicals in a video message recorded on an iPhone that ‘the miracle of unity has begun’ In June Francis gave the first papal ‘high-five’ to American televangelist James Robison tion as Bishop of Rome was the work of the Holy Spirit.”
Pope Francis told the congregation: “The Holy Spirit creates ‘diversity’ in the Church... This diversity is truly very rich, very beautiful. But then, the Holy Spirit himself creates unity, and so the Church is one in diversity. And, to use the word of an Evangelical whom I love very much, a ‘reconciled diversity’ by the Holy Spirit. He creates both things: He creates the diversity of charisms and then He creates the harmony of charisms.”
The Pope and Pastor Traettino first met in Buenos Aires in the late 1990s when the Evangelical leader was establishing ties with Charismatic Catholics. The then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio and the pastor appeared together at an ecumenical Charismatic gathering in the Argentine capital in 2006. Pastor Traettino was also present in Rome’s Olympic Stadium in June this year when Pope Francis spoke to an international gathering of Catholic Charismatics.
Meeting Catholic priests and bishops in Caserta on July 26, the date originally scheduled for his Pentecostal church visit, Pope Francis said he had not known that that date was the city’s big celebration for the feast of St Anne. If he had gone to the Pentecostals that day, without celebrating the feast with Catholics, “the newspaper headlines would have been ‘On the patron feast of Caserta, the Pope visits Protestants’,” he said. He asked an official in the Vatican secretariat of state to help organise the Mass “to remove this noose from around my neck”.
Pope Francis also offered the priests his thoughts on his outreach to Pentecostals, which some people have found surprising, especially given that many Catholics in the Pope’s home continent of Latin America have joined Evangelical communities.
He told the story of a priest who went on mission in a remote area of Argentina and met a woman who told him the Catholic Church had abandoned her and her fellow Catholics. “I need the word of God, so I had to go to the Protestant service,” the woman said. The Pope said the priest apologised on behalf of the Catholic Church, but recognised and respected the depth and sincerity of her faith.
“Every man, every woman has something to give us,” the Pope said. “Every man, every woman has his or her own story and situation, and we must listen. Then the prudence of the Holy Spirit will tell us what to say.”
On Wednesday, Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general of the World Evangelical Alliance, offered an apology to Catholics.
He said: “I recognise that in history there have been situations where Protestants, including Evangelicals, have discriminated against Catholic Christians and I am really sorry for these kinds of actions, because while we can disagree theologically, this should never lead to discrimination or persecution of the other. We all need to acknowledge all our failings and ask each other for forgiveness and I think Pope Francis set a great example.” Vatican Notebook: Page 4 Editorial comment: Page 13
Pope Francis waves as he arrives for his private visit to the Evangelical Church of Reconciliation in Caserta Photo: AP
‘Smiling pope’ John Paul I may be beatified soon, says cardinal BY DAVID V BARRETT
POPE John Paul I’s Cause is about to make a significant leap forward, a senior cardinal has said.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, former Vatican Secretary of State, announced that the document advancing the beatification of “the smiling pope” will be submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints this autumn.
The “position”, prepared by the postulator, sets out the pros and cons of the case for beatification. Once it is submitted, theologian consultants to the congregation vote on whether to approve it for further consideration. If they do, it is then put to members of the congregation for their approval. Then the Cause will be presented to Pope Francis.
Cardinal Albino Luciani, Patriarch of Venice, was elected pope on August 26 1978. Born in 1912, he was ordained a priest in 1935 at the age of 22 and became
Bishop of Vittorio Veneto in 1958. His sudden death on September 28 after just 33 days in office led to conspiracy theories that he had been murdered.
The process towards John Paul I’s canonisation began with a petition by Brazilian bishops and cardinals in 1990. In 2003 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints gave its approval, and testimonies began to be collected.
For beatification one certified miracle is necessary. For canonisation two miracles are normally required, though this was waived by Pope Francis in the case of St John XXIII. One miracle has already been attributed to John Paul I’s intercession: the healing of Giuseppe Denora from a malignant stomach tumour in 1992.
Pope John Paul I was declared a Servant of God by his successor in 2003. The next step would be for Pope Francis to declare him Blessed.
Order opens arms to Sisters with Down’s
BY FLORENCE RAYNER
A CONTEMPLATIVE order in France is welcoming Sisters with Down’s syndrome.
The Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb enable women with the condition to realise a religious vocation. The community, part of the Diocese of Bourges in Le Blanc, focuses on “consecrating one’s life for God and offering it for the love of the weakest and most deprived of our neighbours”.
Through the dedication of Sisters without the disability, the order allows “those whose life is held in contempt to the extent of being in danger of the culture of death, to witness by their consecration to the Gospel of Life”.
The Sisters say they have been guided by the “wisdom of St Benedict” and followed the Little Way taught by St Thérèse of Lisieux since the community was founded in 1985. The order was canonically recognised as a public association in 1990.
The Little Sisters now have a priory on the edge of the town of Le Blanc.
Spider-Man star delves into Jesuit spirituality
BY DAVID V BARRETT
FILM star Andrew Garfield has been studying Fr James Martin’s Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, an overview of Jesuit life and spirituality, to help prepare for a major new role.
The actor was photographed clutching a copy of the book as he left a New York café with his girlfriend Emma Stone last month.
Mr Garfield, star of films including The Amazing Spider-Man, Never Let Me Go and The Social Network, is to play a Jesuit priest in Martin Scorsese’s new film Silence. He will play Fr Sebastian Rodriguez, a Portuguese priest who travels to Japan in 1638 to spread Christianity there, in the adaptation of an award-winning novel by Shusaku Endo.
Fr Rodriguez must also investigate reports that his spiritual mentor, Fr Cristóvão Ferreira (a historical figure) has committed apostasy.
Mr Garfield was born in Los Angeles but raised in Epsom. He holds dual citizenship.
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