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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Forgiveness, peace and unity

The primary motivation for starting this blog some time ago was a concern for the unity of all Christians. I take the Lord's prayer for unity very seriously, and St. Paul's exhortations to the same. Division and strife contradict God in his Trinity and the Lamb's marriage with the Church. Today's Gospel reading (Matthew 18:21 - 19:1) is about forgiveness, and I think that is crucial to the unity of all Christians. I think the late Pope John Paul the Great made great strides in this direction, and I think several partners among the Orthodox and Protestants have done the same. Many injustices were committed on both sides, and a genuine endeavor to comply with the Lord's wishes in John 17 requires repentance acknowledged and forgiveness granted by all parties.

Doctrinal differences remain, and that is to be expected -- and nothing else should be under discussion. The rancor should no longer be there, and old sins apologized for need not be brought up. But when dealing with non-Catholics, I often find that the old sins -- of the Roman Catholic Church -- keep coming up. Apart from the fact that the accusations may be flawed in the first place, it makes me wonder if the undying accusations are there for another reason. Some hurt caused by some member of the Church, perhaps, or maybe a bitter disappointment once dealt.

And this leads to a great scandal among the nations: that Christians who preach a gospel of God's mercy and forgiveness, seventy-seven times (a good and Godly number), are unable to produce the evidence.

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