From a religious point of view, we are living in interesting times. Yesterday I received a letter from a friend who subscribes to a number of magazines that I don’t receive, so he often sends me articles from them that he thinks I’d be interested in. One of those magazines is called “The Economist;” despite its name, it carries a broad range of topics. In its issue of October 13, it tells us that recently 138 Muslim scholars and high-ranking clergymen wrote a joint letter to a large number of Christian scholars and clergymen, including Pope Benedict and many Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and other Protestant leaders. The Muslims are suggesting that they and we Christians take seriously our need to enter into friendly dialog with one another, and to use as the starting point in our discussions the two commandments enunciated by Our Divine Lord—which are also contained in the Koran—having to do with love of God and love of neighbor.
I am delighted with this turn of events. It is full of hope for a situation which has often seemed humanly hopeless. I have begun to pray for a rapprochement between Islam and Christianity, and especially between them and the Catholic Church. In this regard, let’s always remember that Our Lady appeared at Fatima—a name given to the town in Portugal based upon the name of one of Mohammed’s daughters. It is certainly not by chance that she chose to be known by that title: Our Lady of Fatima: Our Lady of the Daughter of Mohammed.
Then, in this same vein, another friend of mine who is of the Syrian Orthodox faith, recently called me to talk about an Episcopalian diocese somewhere that wishes to secede from the Episcopalian Church in America because of the ordinations of women bishops and the actively homosexual Episcopalian bishop in New Hampshire. The archbishop of Canterbury, the highest ranking prelate of the Anglican and Episcopalian communion, won’t let that diocese become totally independent and autonomous, but wants it to associate with another Episcopalian diocese. There seem to be problems with this suggestion, so my friend is planning to contact an Episcopal bishop whom he knows to ask about the possibility of an association with an Orthodox diocese. It seems to me that that wouldn’t be organizationally possible, since we are dealing with two different churches, but I am certainly no expert on Orthodox, Anglican, or Protestant churches. The more union and unity, the merrier, since that is what Our Lord prayed for during his life on earth.
Let me ask that in your spiritual life, you pray for union with, between, and among Rome, Canterbury, Protestantism, and Islam. How beautiful it would be if all of us were to be able to join hands in authentic and loving brotherhood under the fatherhood of our one heavenly Father and Creator! Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.