Pope John Paul II and the Church

By Peter Hebblethwaite | Go to book overview

prayer is offered throughout the world in the past, in the present and in the future, equally widespread is the presence and the action of the Holy Spirit."

Christians cannot pray at all -- except in the Holy Spirit. In this understanding, we must all grow.


36
Pope wins gamble as religious pray in Assisi for peace

( November 7,1986) About 200 of the world's religious leaders prayed here in the birthplace of St. Francis Oct 27. As Pope John Paul II -- this time cast in the role of genial host -- repeatedly explained, they were not there to "pray together" but "to be together and pray."

It was important to say this clearly in view of the Catholic tradition that, until 30 years ago, would not even allow the Our Father to be said with other Christians (on the grounds, explained a British bishop in 1948, that they did not mean the same thing when they said "thy kingdom come"). Two forlorn Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre traditionalist priests handed out leaflets at Assisi charging that the pope was an apostate and that ecumenism had gone mad.

In Assisi, the bishop of Rome and various cardinals looked gravely and reverently on as Muslims chanted the Quran, two American Indians (popular with the crowds) smoked their pipe of peace and animists from Africa addressed God as "the roaring thunder that splits mighty trees, the all-seeing Lord up on high who sees even the footprints of an antelope on a rock mass."

"Let peace reign in the Vatican," prayed the animists, a prayer the U.S. church could take up, provided one adds the thought in the Christian prayer that "our religious commitment to peace implies a simultaneous commitment to justice."

This was the only prayer read by a woman -- and she did not compose it. It was written by French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who orchestrated the event. The entire world of religion is maledominated, as if the religious debates were about whether one should

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