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Here was one whose title as Pontiff (“The Bridge”) demonstrated Rome’s determination to gather her wandering chicks beneath her wings; and, even sought to unite world’s disparate religions under Rome’s ecumenical umbrella, alleging that diversity of faith could be tolerated and understood in context of Lord’s high priestly prayer found in John 17. Listen to John Paul II’s convincing exhortations:
“There I stated that believers in Christ, united in following in footsteps of martyrs, cannot remain divided. If they wish truly and effectively to oppose world's tendency to reduce to powerlessness Mystery of Redemption, they must profess together same truth about Cross. The Cross! An anti-Christian outlook seeks to minimize Cross, to empty it of its meaning, and to deny that in it man has source of his new life. It claims that Cross is unable to provide either vision or hope. Man, it says, is nothing but an earthly being, who must live as if God did not exist.
“With grace of Holy Spirit, Lord's disciples, inspired by love, by power of truth and by a sincere desire for mutual forgiveness and reconciliation, are called to re-examine together their painful past and hurt which that past regrettably continues to provoke even today. All together, they are invited by ever fresh power of Gospel to acknowledge with sincere and total objectivity mistakes made and contingent factors at work at origins of their deplorable divisions. What is needed is a calm, clear-sighted and truthful vision of things, a vision enlivened by divine mercy and capable of freeing people's minds and of inspiring in everyone a renewed willingness, precisely with a view to proclaiming Gospel to men and women of every people and nation.” (Ut Unum Sint)
Toward Pope John Paul II’s conclusion and final exhortation he implores:
“When I say that for me, as Bishop of Rome, ecumenical task is ‘one of pastoral priorities’ of my Pontificate, I think of grave obstacle which lack of unity represents for proclamation of Gospel. A Christian Community which believes in Christ and desires, with Gospel fervor, salvation of mankind can hardly be closed to promptings of Holy Spirit, who leads all Christians towards full and visible unity. Here an imperative of charity is in question, an imperative which admits of no exception. Ecumenism is not only an internal question of Christian Communities. It is a matter of love which God has in Jesus Christ for all humanity; to stand in way of this love is an offence against him and against his plan to gather all people in Christ. As Pope Paul VI wrote to Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I: ‘May Holy Spirit guide us along way of reconciliation, so that unity of our Churches may become an ever more radiant sign of hope and consolation for all mankind.’” (My Emphasis)
I present this material to demonstrate intensity and irrevocable commitment that Roman Catholic Church, through efforts of Pope John Paul II, has toward ultimate “unity” of all believers who claim Christian label and towards “outward manifestation of Kingdom of God” here on earth.
Thus, death of Pope John Paul II, and his drive to unite world’s religions (especially “Christian religion”) could be summed up in these remarks:
“John Paul II ushered in ‘the globalization of religion,’ said John Esposito, founding director of Georgetown University Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in Washington. ‘He increased exponentially dialogue with . . . people of all faiths.’” (Louis Meixler, Buffalo News, April 8, 2005, Unprecedented Number of Faiths Drawn to Funeral)
Thus, before us this past week was death and burial of world’s greatest religious proponent of ecumenism—ecumenism on a scale heretofore unknown within confines of Christendom and greater religious communities of planet. His universal, Catholic legacy abides . . . perpetuation on behalf of “manifested Christian unity” and embrace of all who affirm faith—even outside bounds of Christianity!
In The Later Times . . . Some Will Apostatize
“But Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from faith (i.e., “Apostatize”), paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know truth” (I Timothy 4:1-3).
We initiated this conversation by quoting passages from Revelation,....
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