Browsing Amen Corner

Amen Corner - January 2, 2022

Amen Corner

By Kathy Kuczka

One of the first questions my mother would ask my brother whenever he told her of a new love interest was, “Is she Catholic?” My mother’s question was due in part to the fact that she was a devout Catholic and wanted my brother to find a mate who practiced the Catholic faith. But, her question was also motivated by growing up in a Catholic Church that didn’t always view other faith traditions in a positive light. In fact, the older Code of Canon Law (1918) forbade Catholics to participate in any non-Catholic religious service including weddings and funerals. 

The Second Vatican Council reexamined the Church’s view of other faith traditions. The Council was the 21st ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church and included more than 100 observers from non-Catholic churches. The Council’s documents called for a new openness to other faith traditions, including non-Christian traditions.

In the landmark document Nostra Aetate, The Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, the Council decried any forms of anti-Semitism and stated that the Jewish people as a whole did not bear responsibility for the death of Jesus.

Another document, Unitatis Redintegratio, the Decree on Ecumenism, set the stage for new relationships with our Eastern Orthodox, Protestant and Anglican brothers and sisters. In this Decree, the Council embraced all Christians as members of the Body of Christ, saying,

“It remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body, and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.”

The unity of Christians was not a new concept, even in the 1960s, when the Second Vatican Council took place. Jesus prayed that all his disciples be one. This unity began at his birth and is commemorated today in the Epiphany of the Lord. On this day we remember that Christ was revealed to pagan astrologers, a sign that the Gentiles would now be co-heirs with Jews of the promises of God. The Solemnity of the Epiphany celebrates the reality that Christ has come for and among all people.

Today is a good day to contemplate our relationship with persons of other faith traditions and to respond to the Decree on Ecumenism, which called all Catholics to participate in the work on Christian unity. Learn about other traditions by having a conversation with someone of another faith or by reading about other religions. Observe a prayer service at another church, synagogue or mosque. Participate in the annual Alpharetta interfaith prayer service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., typically held on the federal holiday honoring Dr. King (January 17 in 2022) at St. James United Methodist Church. Finally, pray, as Jesus did, for the unity of all.


There are no comments yet - be the first one to comment: