Should Christians Pray Together?

According to this week’s Tablet, the marvellous weekly out of London, Benedict XVI recently forbade Roman Catholics to pray in public with other Christians because of the fear of religious relativism, a phrase that really means other Christian religions are not as good as Roman Catholicism.  This would mean if you attended a Protestant funeral or a Remembrance Day service, as a Catholic you could not join in the Christian prayers because your own religion might be tainted.  What rubbish.  Jesus was not even a Christian and he invited community prayer.  It is thhis kind of religious intolerance that gives Rome a bad name.

5 Comments »

  1. 1
    SUZANNE Says:

    I suspect you have your details wrong. At any rate, he wouldn’t imply that other Christians are “not as good as” other Catholics. Truth does matter.

    This would mean if you attended a Protestant funeral or a Remembrance Day service, as a Catholic you could not join in the Christian prayers because your own religion might be tainted.

    It could depend. If the words of the prayers were heretical, then no, a Catholic could not join in.

    Jesus was not even a Christian and he invited community prayer.

    He founded the Christian religion, i.e. the Church, and he was fairly staunch about what was true or not true, and so was the Early Church. That’s what made them enemies in the eyes of Jews and Pagans. Dogma was virtually non-existent in the 1st century world, with the exception of possibly Essenes, other Jewish groups, and maybe some other minor cults. The Christians of the first centuries died because they wouldn’t water down their faith. That’s the faith Christians stand for.

    It is thhis kind of religious intolerance that gives Rome a bad name.

    Disagreement and not allowing others to participate in one’s religion is not intolerance. Religions are based on shared belief and shared actions. If you do not share those things, you are not entitled to participate. It does not say anything about your person, it simply means you do not meet the requirements, just like not getting into law school doesn’t mean I’m not as good as lawyers– I just did not meet requirements.

    No one is entitled to a religion’s practices. I would say it’s intolerant to demand that a religion accept a person outside of it, completely in disregard to its traditions, beliefs, and practices. It’s kind of obnoxious, actually.

  2. 2
    Paul Geraghty Says:

    If the Pope did say such a thing (which I very much doubt) it would seem to me to be in some conflict with this coming Suday’s Gospel. The disciples are concerned that some who do not fit their criteria of disciples are doing the work followers of Jesus are supposed to do. “whoever is not against us is for us” Jesus tells them. How scandolous it would be then if sincere Christians – of any denomination were prevented from praying together. But again I cannot believe this is what the Pope intends.

  3. 3

    I think the stricture about not praying together refers to Catholics and Protestants (not of course among Christian Protestants where the Pope’s writ does not run) I also think that this is the same mentality gave us the teaching (was it in Liturgicam Authenticam) where the Roman authorities pointed out that all Christian religions (compared to Roman Catholicsm) were and are defective. Naturally if a Catholic believes that he will not wqnt to contanimate himself by associating himself in public with an inferior prayer.

    Of course this business about defective Protestant religions is merely another attempt to smuggle back the pernicious teaching that there is no salvation outside the one true Catholic church. This would seem to have more to do with ecclesiastical empire building than with authentic faith.

  4. 4
    Barbara Says:

    That was Dominus Jesus, Neil. But that is beside the point.
    I must think God is chuckling about our silly theological disputes and how they keep us apart. I wouldn’t be surprised if NONE of us has got it right. Truth is something we struggle for. God alone has all the Truth. We (angels, popes, priests, prophets, the rest of us) are of a much lower order of understanding.
    As far as praying together, I am convinced that people who prayer with and for one another are less likely to hurt one another. Praying together promotes love. Let’s not quibble when love is the fruit. We were not given a book with a set of rules, we were given an injunction to love one another. That’s tough enough.

  5. 5

    Right on, Barbara. If Christ was back here how many hours do you think he would spend in a padded room with other canon lawyers trying to thread ecclesiastical needle. Didn’t he say “where two or three are gathered together, there am I?” He didn’say two or three Roman Catholics who don’t practise birth control.

    How said it is we are always reaching for the ruler to measure our liturgical tassels.


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