Many Catholic bloggers commented on Pope Francis’s participation in commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. While some were positive, others were perplexed at the pope’s initiative. In his address to participants in a March 2017 meeting themed, Luther: 500 Years Later, Pope Francis acknowledged his own surprise that an Office of the Holy See had convened Catholics and Lutherans to discuss Luther. After all, Pope Francis explained, “not long ago a meeting like this would have been unthinkable.”
Why would the pope commemorate the Reformation, the consequence of which was greater division among Christians and the separation of Protestants from communion with Rome? This was a question on many minds. The Protestant Reformation involved controversies over such topics as: indulgences; the authority of scripture; and the doctrine of justification to name only a few.
Keen to promote reconciliation and peace, Pope Francis, at a prayer service in Sweden, reflected: “We too must look with love and honesty at our past, recognizing error and seeking forgiveness, for God alone is our judge. We ought to recognize with the same honesty and love that our division distanced us from the primordial intuition of God’s people, who naturally yearn to be one, and that it was perpetuated historically by the powerful of this world rather than the faithful people, which always and everywhere needs to be guided surely and lovingly by its Good Shepherd.”
The Vatican has also published an important and ecumenically groundbreaking document entitled, From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. This document is available on the Vatican website and is recommended reading for anyone seeking to learn more about Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the key theological debates in the light of the response offered by the Catholic Church.
You can also learn more by studying the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism. Finally, if you would like to engage in this ecumenical dialogue concretely, join us as we gather with Bishop McGrattan and other bishops representing the Anglican and Lutheran denominations, to pray together for better Christian cooperation as we commemorate 500 years since the Reformation in our own diocese on Sunday October 29. Please see Diocesan Dates on page 21 for the details.
Bishop McGrattan, along with Imam Taha Syed, will be speaking at Baitan Nur Mosque, on the theme of Forgiveness, Punishment and Justice on September 9. Please see the Diocesan Dates listing on page 20 for all the details.
Our city has a wonderful relationship with the Muslim communities. The Diocese was one of the founders of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue in 2001. Bishop Henry was very friendly with the community, and attended several events, or spoke at Muslim-Christian dialogue groups. The Diocese has chaired the Muslim-Christian Dialogue for many years, and is continuing its role by co-chairing the Education Committee of the Calgary Interfaith Council, which won first prize in 2017 for Interfaith Dialogue excellence from His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Early Islamic Philosophy and Christian Scholasticism had interesting dialogue in the Middle Ages. For example, St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Contra Gentiles, mentions Islamic philosophers in some of his monologues. He appears to agree with Muslim philosophers in some cases, but also to disagree with them in others. Some scholars (such as James Windrow Sweetman) go on to say that many of the scholars of the time exchanged thoughts and religious ideas when understanding Monotheism (the belief in One God) and ethics.
One theological idea with which both Islamic and Christian philosophers struggled was God’s determining of human destiny. Islamic philosophy emphasized determinism: the belief that God has determined all human destiny. Christian philosophy, while not wholly answering the paradox of God’s ultimate power and omnipotence, emphasized the importance of the human will in determining and working out justice in the world. Come see the interaction of these ideas in the dialogue between Christianity and Islam in Forgiveness, Punishment and Justice.
Bishop McGrattan will be speaking at Baitan Nur Mosque (4353 54 Ave. NE, Calgary), on the theme of “Forgiveness, Punishment and Justice” along with Islamic Imam Taha Syed on Sept. 9, 2017 from 4:30-6:00pm with a free dinner provided.
Please RSVP by Sept. 8th to: 1-866-628-5435.
Lay Associations in the Diocese of Calgary
Registration c. 298: §1. In the Church there are associations distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life; in these associations the Christian faithful, whether clerics, lay persons, or clerics and lay persons together, strive in a common endeavor to foster a more perfect life, to promote public worship or Christian doctrine, or to exercise other works of the apostolate such as initiatives of evangelization, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the temporal order with a Christian spirit. §2. The Christian faithful are to join especially those associations which competent ecclesiastical authority has erected, praised, or commended.
The Church has always recognized an affinity for the Blessed Virgin Mary. From its very origins this affinity is recognized in Luke by great meaning of the word “blessed.” The Greek word for “blessed” is “Echaritomene,” which literally means a person “having been graced” or a person “having been loved.” The Church responds to the injunction of scripture and responds with the same love for the Blessed Virgin: “‘All generations will call me blessed’: ‘The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.’ The Church rightly honours ‘the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honoured with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs…. This very special devotion… differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.’” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 971].
The greatness of St. Mary is often perplexing to people and even to Christians from other denominations. Blessed John Henry Newman acknowledged that scripture does not talk too often about The Blessed Virgin Mary. However, he notes that this in itself is something to be acknowledged to her praise. That despite being the Mother of God, who played a large role among the apostles, she never made this point to be important. Even the biblical authors mention the Virgin about the same number of times as the lesser known disciples. This is however, to Mary’s glory, since it is by being humble that “the meek shall inherit the earth” [Matt. 5:5]. The 19th century book, Fear and Trembling, describes the Blessed Virgin in this way: “To be sure, Mary bore the child wondrously, but she nevertheless did it ‘after the manner of women,’ and such a time is one of anxiety, distress, and paradox. The angel was indeed a ministering spirit, but he was not a meddlesome spirit who went to the other young maidens in Israel and said: ‘Do not scorn Mary, the extraordinary is happening to her!’ The angel went only to Mary, and no one could understand her” [Johannes de Silentio, Hong p. 65]. As we declare the Gospel to the world, to our families, to our husbands, wives and children, we look to St. Mary whose only goal was to serve Christ and God alone!
A blessed tradition dating back to some of the earliest times of the Church is the consecration or entrustment to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On Saturday, July 1, everyone in the Diocese of Calgary is invited to meet at St. Mary’s Cathedral with Bishop McGrattan at 10:00 a.m. See Diocesan Dates on page 20 for details. The other dioceses and archdioceses in Canada will also meet on this day to consecrate Canada to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This consecration is an act of prayer where we will ask St. Mary, the Mother of God, and of all Christians, to pray to Christ from her Immaculate Heart for us.
Our fellowship with the saints and other Christians does not end in this life, but carries onto the next [LG 49]. This is the same living heart that said “yes” to God, and it is the same heart that prays for the world to recognize Jesus as the Savior and Lord of Canada and the Savior and Lord of the universe.
The Most Rev. William T. McGrattan, Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary, has issued a decree of partial indulgence to be granted during the Jubilee Year of Fatima.
The partial indulgence can be obtained by visiting the Our Lady of Fatima Parish at 4747 30 St. SE, between the dates of April 18, 2017 and December 31, 2017 (see visiting times below). Those who seek to obtain this partial indulgence must "devotedly pray before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima," invoking her intercession.
In addition, the faithful must be reminded, according to the Code of Canon Law, the following:
- "To be capable of gaining indulgences, a person must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the end of the prescribed works" (Canon 996 § 1)
- "To gain indulgences, however, a capable subject must have at least the general intention of acquiring them and must fulfill the enjoined works in the established time and the proper method, according to the tenor of the grant" (§ 2)
In addition, the Holy Father Pope Francis has also granted a plenary indulgence which can be obtained throughout the Jubilee Year, which began on November 27, 2016 and ending on November 26, 2017.
This plenary indulgence is granted through the following:
- By making a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Fatime in Portugal, and "devotedly participate in a celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary." In addition, the individual must also pray the Our Father, recite the Creed, and invoke Our Lady of Fatima
- By visiting, with devotion, and praying before an image of Our Lady of Fatima that is displayed for public veneration, during the anniversary days of the apparitions (the 13th of each month from May to October 2017). In addition, the individual must "participate there in any celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary" and pray the Our Father, recite the Creed, and invoke Our Lady of Fatima
- For the elderly and infirm: praying before an image of Our Lady of Fatima and spiritually uniting to God, through the Blessed Mother, all their "prayers and pains, or the sacrifices of their own lives"
To obtain the plenary indulgence, the faithful must fulfill the ordinary conditions: go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and be truly repentant and have firm resolve to be detached from sin.
Click here to read Concession of Plenary Indulgence, issued from the Shrine of Fatima, in full.
Our Lady of Fatima Parish: Centennial Celebrations and Visiting Times
Address: 4747 30th St. SE. Visiting times are the following: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (3PM - 8PM). Saturday (10AM - 6PM). Sunday (8AM - 2PM)
- Wednesday, May 10, 2017:
- 6:30 PM - Rosary Followed by Holy Mass
- 8:00 PM - All Generations Will Call Me Blessed: A concert in honor of Our Lady in 5 languages
- Thursday, May 11, 2017
- 6:30PM - Holy Mass
- 7:30 PM - The Rosary Rediscovered: Experience the beauty of the Rosary in its choral recitation, live classical harp music, and teachings by recent Popes
- Friday, May 12, 2017
- 6:30 PM - Rosary followed by Holy Mass
- 8:00 PM - Dramatic performance of the Fatima apparitions (English)
- Saturday, May 13, 2017
- 5:00 PM - Rosary
- 6:00 PM - Solemn Mass presided by Bishop McGrattan, followed by candlelight procession
- Sunday, May 14, 2017
- 12:00 PM - Holy Mass, folowwed by dramatic performance of the Fatima apparitions (Portuguese)