I am here to tell you that it is possible to talk religion without losing control. ParishWorld.net is a very
good example of that statement. We talk religion here all the time and we are calm, cool and collected about it. We call ourselves the "Catholic Life Style Magazine". How nice. So what do the non-Catholics who have access to the Internet do about us? Do they just "walk-on by?" Do they control themselves and say, "Oh, that's not for me?" No way. They are right in there reading and thinking and commenting just like everyone else, sometimes more than the Catholics. It is a blessing that we can all get together around Christ's campfire and exchange faith convictions. It is a blessing that we do this in a respectful and religious tone. It means a lot when a faith exchange takes place and the positive aspects of the event leave both sides feeling blessed.
This spiritual brotherhood is a sign of the unity of Christianity. We all talk about Jesus Christ, we all talk
about His Mother Mary, we all talk about Church, we all talk about Scripture, not in a uniform way, but in a way that shows that our ideas come from the same primordial source. Our ideas are different in some aspects, but we thank God that they are all facets of His revelation. We provide our definitions of the great spiritual realities that we live without using them as bludgeons to submit one another into another religious point of view. I would like to expose a couple of examples.
"I don't think the question is so much if God will deny anyone heaven because of their view of the leadership of the Catholic Church (or any church, for that matter). I rather think God will simply ask each of us: "What did YOU do with the illumination I gave you through the Holy Spirit?"
"A good friend of mine, Lutheran retired pastor, who must have been wounded by some of us "acting not like Christ." In his anti-Catholic way said "...those Catholics worship Mary ... she, she, she is just..."
My response to him"Be mindful, my friend, as a good little Jewish boy Jesus doesn't like anyone who treats his mother disrespectfully."
"So, being an evangelical, I would encourage Catholics to attend "non-catholic" Bible Study, but to do so with discretion and seek out an accepting environment. Do so with the notion that you will be challenged (not by other people necessarily, which I believe is a good thing)."
"Mr. Dion, are you saying Catholics who go to Protestant services need to go Confession? Didn't the Pope just attend a non-Catholic service in Turkey? How do we differentiate Ecumenism with sinning?"
These are just a few of the comments, some partial and some whole, that have been submitted to Parishworld.net over the past months. Please notice that these comments are not all 100% true to Catholic doctrine, but they are all from the Christian source of love and respect. ParishWorld.net publishes comments as they come in and the theology editor of the publication responds to them in a way that maintains the Catholic nature of the publication without attacking the contributor. We do this because we are convinced that the agglomeration of these sincere acts of faith adds to the strength of the loving relationship between the readers and God.
This is a kind of ecumenism that is within the reach of all Christians. It does not reach out to question or
impugn anyone's denominational identity; it does not want to wrestle the world into a uniform church. We look at it as simple spiritual communion which is born out of our common belief in The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Creator, Savior and Sanctifier. We seek to create a place where people can meet God and talk about their faith in Him according to their own conscience. It is our intent that this dialogue take place in mutual respect and in a prayerful willingness to seek understanding of one another in a Catholic space. We do not expect that our contributors will make unnecessary or inappropriate compromises in their understanding of their personal faith.
I, the theology editor of ParishWorld.net will not make such accommodating compromises away from Catholic doctrine.
Now that I have this off my chest, I am in peace and I remind you, that this Catholic boy is doing his best to
"walk with God, and then no longer be here, for God will have taken me." (Genesis, chapter 5, verse 24) I tell
you this because you will not cry at my funeral for fear that God would be offended.