Our present moment is, of course, greatly enriched by remembering and honoring our past. Today I am grateful for the work being done in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. ~Fr. Dan
ROME (RNS) It is revered by different Christian sects and draws more than a million visitors to the Holy Land every year, making it the biggest tourist attraction in the Palestinian territories.
The Church of the Nativity, built by Roman Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, sits in Bethlehem above what’s believed to be the birthplace of Jesus in one of the most politically divisive regions of the world.
The church is administered jointly by Greek Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic authorities, and all have monastic communities there.
Since 2013, Italian experts from the art restoration firm Piacenti SpA have been working with the Palestinian government to overcome cultural and religious differences and forge ahead with an ambitious restoration expected to cost $15 million (14 million euros) when completed.
Read the entire post here: Bethlehem shrine’s treasures being restored | Religion News Service
We post here a letter written by The Most Rev. Alan Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit to the priests and people of his diocese. We believe it reflects well the baptismal promise made, renewed and lived into by Episcopalians: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? … ‘I will with God’s help.'”
“In light of a public proposal put forth recently to restrict the immigration of Muslims into the United States based on their religion, I thought it would be helpful to remind everyone of the Catholic teaching regarding Islam. Fifty years ago, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught that the Catholic Church treats with respect those who practice the religion of Islam. And for these past fifty years, Catholics and Muslims in southeastern Michigan have enjoyed warm relations marked by a spirit of mutual respect and esteem.
Restricting or sacrificing these religious rights and liberties out of fear – instead of defending them and protecting them in the name of mutual respect and justice – is a rationalization which fractures the very foundation of morality on which we stand.
While the Catholic Church refrains from weighing in for or against individual candidates for a particular political office, the Church does and should speak to the morality of this important and far-reaching issue of religious liberty. Especially as our political discourse addresses the very real concerns about the security of our country, our families, and our values, we need to remember that religious rights are a cornerstone of these values. Restricting or sacrificing these religious rights and liberties out of fear – instead of defending them and protecting them in the name of mutual respect and justice – is a rationalization which fractures the very foundation of morality on which we stand. This also threatens the foundation of religious liberty that makes it possible for us to freely practice our faith. These are not only Catholic sentiments on these issues; these, I believe, are the sentiments of all Americans.”
Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron,
Archbishop of Detroit
December 10, 2015
Few the letter on the Diocesan Website
Detroit archbishop denounces proposals to bar Muslims from U.S. by David Gibson on Religion News Service
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
Romans 8:25-26 NRSV
The chimes are a call to prayer (again). What do you hear?
Continuing prayer for our new Congress
I’ll confess that I often don’t know how to pray, even when my hopes seem to be in accord with God’s love. On January 3, 2013 many, including me, began a 21-day prayer vigil for our new Congress and the President. In addition to our daily and weekly prayers for our political leaders, this is a special time of prayer requested by an interfaith coalition of folks like you and me. Commit to praying, and let us trust the Spirit to work in ways we can barely imagine. Read more about this effort and sign-on to pray here: Call to Prayer. Then, join us in praying for our new Congress.
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