Posted on: 07 January 2021
Author:Sister Joan Kerley
Our paper this month has two themes, Interfaith Dialogue and Ecumenism. Interfaith dialogue refers to relationships between people of various religions, e.g. Christian, Jewish, Islam, Hindu, Buddhist etc. Ecumenism means “the principle or aim of promoting unity among the world's Christian Churches.” In the 13th century Francis would probably have been familiar with 2 branches of Christianity: the “Roman” Church (Western) and the Orthodox Churches (Eastern) because of the historical split in 1054. The Protestant Reformation occurred in the 16th century and, thus, the story of Francis’ meeting with the Sultan, while giving us a marvellous example of interfaith dialogue, does not directly apply to our understanding of ecumenism. Yet the principles of mutual respect, dialogue and search for understanding established by Francis in his time and culture can certainly be extended to modern times in both interfaith dialogue and ecumenism. Each January we are invited to pray for Christian unity during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and it is important to recognize that. I believe that Francis’ countercultural vision and willingness to encounter” the other” in his time can inspire us to do the same in ours, so often torn apart by war, violence and misunderstanding between peoples of different races, cultures and religions. May God give us peace!
It can be found on the website under vocations, Take Time to Reflect.