An Open Letter to the Editors of:
The National Catholic Reporter
From: Peter Elder Hickman,
Presiding Bishop of the
Ecumenical Catholic Communion
Subject: A Discussion on Reconciliation in Catholicism
Greetings to my dear sisters and brothers, friends and collaborators in the work of Catholic renewal!
As the Vatican continues preparations for the upcoming Synods on the Family, there is a moment of enormous opportunity
across Catholicism. As you know, Pope Francis has asked for input from all of the faithful. And, people
have been responding to this invitation! The message from many corners has been to open up the dialogue and more actively include the voice of all of the faithful! For example, the former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese, noted that there was something profoundly wrong with asking "150 male celibates" to review the Catholic Church's teaching on family life. "The very idea of 150 people who have decided they are not going to have any children, not going to have families, not going to be fathers and not going to be spouses - so they have no adult experience of family life as the rest of us know it - but they are going to advise the pope on family life; it is completely bonkers." We were encouraged by the International Theological Commission' recent paper, The Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church, which respectfully mentions Cardinal John Henry Newman's work on the need to consult the faithful on matters of doctrine, as well as the directive of Canon Law 212 #3, stating that the laity
have the right and the duty to advise bishops on matters where they have expertise. There seems to be some openness among some for movement in these areas!
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
There is something uniquely moving about walking
the cobble stone streets that would have been
familiar to Christ Jesus. I remember the first time
I stood on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, touched
the same olive trees as our lord in the Garden of
Gethsemane, and saw with my own eyes where our
faith tradition was born over 2,000 years ago. It was seminal moment
in my spiritual life and a place I promised to return to again.
I am privileged to have that opportunity again as we lead a group
through Israel and Jordan in the Spring of 2015. Please join me on an
expertly guided tour of the Holy Land from a uniquely ecumenical
and catholic perspective. Together we will walk the path first taken
by a poor carpenter from Nazareth. I look forward to celebrating
mass together and sharing this experience with you!
Bishop Peter E. Hickman
Synod 2014 Registration
Synod 2014 is scheduled for
October 7 - 10 in Aurora, CO
Registration closed September 22.
This is a big year for the ECC. We will be electing a new Presiding Bishop for the first time in our history. You will want to be there.
Ecumenical Catholic Communion
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Holy Synod 2014
A Pastoral Letter of Bishop Peter Elder Hickman
Called Together.... The Holy Synod of the
Ecumenical Catholic Communion of 2014
Greetings to the Sisters, Brothers, and Friends of our beloved Communion!
Dear Fellow Delegates and Co-workers in the Gospel of Christ!
In a few short weeks we will be coming together in Aurora, Colorado to convene our sixth Holy Synod as the international Ecumenical Catholic Communion. We look forward with great anticipation, and not a little anxiety, as we realize the great and holy importance of such an assembly. As it is written in that ancient New Testament document called "To the Hebrews" we read, "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together..." so we fulfill this apostolic injunction to assemble ourselves together this October for three days of holy conversation, a conversation that must always be informed by what the Apostle Paul, in his celebrated correspondence to the Churches of Galatia, described as "the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control...for if we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit."
Now that we are in the final weeks of our prayerful preparation for this sacred gathering I wish to draw your attention to the wisdom of certain words that the Sacred Scriptures and the holy Tradition of the Catholic Church provides for us. From this I hope to deepen our understanding of what we are about to experience and our own role as participants in this hallowed event.
As you know, much of the vocabulary that we employ as a Catholic Church is derived from the language used in the writings of the Apostolic Church of the first century, namely, Koine Greek. Attention to these words will enable us to better understand our purpose and mission for our coming together.
First, there is the word, ekklesia, which literally means "the called out ones." It can best be compared to our English word, "assembly" but is more commonly translated by the word "church." The church is the gathering of those who have been called by Christ to follow Him, the baptized people of God. So as we gather together in Aurora we do so as "church" as the gathering of those who are the called of Christ.