Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Friday, July 08, 2011

A Week of American Unity?

Deacon Walter Ayres, who chairs the Commission on Peace and Justice, has written a column for The Evangelist in which he reflects on what politicians can learn from Christians who work together in such organizatons as the Capital Area Council of Churches.
When Vernon Victorson was a young child being chased down the street by boys from the local Catholic school, he never imagined that he would grow up to be the pastor of a Lutheran church where a Catholic priest would be installed as the first Catholic executive director of the Capital Area Council of Churches.

Yet that is exactly what happened earlier this year during the Week of Christian Unity, when Rev. Victorson welcomed Rev. George Brennan to First Lutheran Church in Albany.

One can only wonder what this nation would be like if our political leaders had made as much progress over the years.

There was a time, back when both of these ministers were boys, that the issue of electing a Catholic president was a cause of much strife between Catholics and Protestants.

A number of factors can account for the subsequent change — not the least of which was the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and the willingness of Catholics to engage Protestants as followers of Jesus rather than as heretics.

Now, we work together as pilgrims on the same journey. We no longer treat each others’ congregations just as sources of potential converts; we work together to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and bring about fair laws regarding immigration.

But we also can disagree on such hot-button social issues as abortion, same-sex marriage and women’s ordination. We join forces when we can and agree to disagree when we must.

It is a shame that many of our politicians cannot do the same. They seem stuck in the same situation that Christians were in decades ago when, too often, we saw each other only as foes and rarely as friends.

The rest of the article is here.

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