“Martyrial Ecumenism” Hmmm…

America magazine recently gave it’s Campion Award to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.  St. Edmund Campion is one of the great and courageous English Jesuit martyrs, himself hanged in the 16th century by the Archbishop’s Anglican forebears.  His feast is observed by both churches.  In receiving the award, the Archbishop referred to a concept of Pope John Paul II, martyrial ecumenism by which Christians of various bodies honor one another’s martyrs as heroic witnesses for Christ, particularly when they died at the hands of other Christians.  He pointed to St. Paul as the first to honor the sacredness of his own victims:

“You have already heard the words martyrial ecumenism, and what they express is, to me, something utterly essential about the life of the Christian Church,” he said. “From the moment when St. Paul recognized in Jesus the face of his victims, it has been a deep dimension of Christian holiness to be able to go to one’s brothers and sisters in repentance and receive, from those you have offended or excluded, the grace of God’s welcome.”

Of course St. Paul converted the faith of his victims and the Archbishop has not–yet. Still, the ironies in the Anglican veneration of Catholic martyrs such as Edmund Campion, John Fisher and Thomas More are quite moving.  But I cannot see Protestant martyrs similarly added to the Catholic calendar or being canonized.

Frankly, I am not sure what to make of this.  Are the martyrs of the persecutors of the Church on the same footing as the martyrs for the Church?   I cannot believe so.

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One Response to “Martyrial Ecumenism” Hmmm…

  1. Stephen says:

    Hello, the pharisees, sadducees and samaritans remind me of the state the present church is in, like the Catholics and orthodox, the pharisees and sadducees could come to agreement on a lot of things but would often scuffle, however they still lived closley together. the samartians however, ( which today we could call protestants ) were despised by both, even so much so to the point that when the pharisees wished to insult Jesus they would call him a samaritan. However, we see that Jesus desire for unity is in scripture, as the woman at the well ( who is samaritan ) is the first in the Gospel of John to whom he reveals that he is the Christ, she talks about worshipping God on this mountain etc etc and Jesus explains that there will be a time when we will all worship him in spirit and truth, you see the samratians they only beleived in the first five books of the torah, so the woman at the well was eager to find out from Jesus ( once she learned that he was the messiah ) who had the truth, but Jesus was quick to tell her that salvation came from the Jews.

    we all worship the same trinity and all have a love for God, and here in at the woman at the well, Jesus shows us how to communicate with our denominated brothers and how to approach them. However that may be, I’d be quick to tell people that when they die for the Christ, they die for the Catholic church, who is the ark of salvation. and whoever ”knowingly” knows the church to be the truth, refuses to remain in her or come to her, risks losing their salvation.

    Pax Christi
    Stephen.

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