Posted by: Fr. C. | September 10, 2014

Climbing to the Summit

I am just in from the opening of the first In Defense of Christians Summit in Washington, D.C., where I am attending as the Canon Law Institute’s representative and occasional executive director. As the incredibly brave Canon Andrew White (aka the Vicar of Baghdad) was taken ill, I might have been the only Anglican about. I was honored to have been one of the six priests selected to bear the torches to lead the procession into the joint prayer service.

The service, which used ancient forms, was the first joint Catholic-Orthodox-Coptic (and an Anglo-Catholic) since 1987. Dedicated to Our Lady, it was a remarkable moment pf penitance and prayer as the incense ascended before her holy icon. It was very powerful to have all of these groups and evangelical Protestant Christians in worship together. It was a little bit of heaven

I had a chance to speak with some remarkable men of the Church Universal, albeit too briefly, as we prepared for the procession. Cardinal Wuerl was very gracious and even remembered a wandering priest who was way out of his depth.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft was in good form, referring to the conflict between Islam and Christianity as one of liberty against forced religion. A good, middle weight speech that didn’t fire things up. Yet, it caused me to miss having an honest, Christian A-G who was not an Alinsky-Marxist.

The keynote by Cardinal Sandri, Prefect of the Oriental Churches, was disappointingly bureaucratic and rife with “social justice” metaphor. With apologies to his Eminence, ISIS is not a problem rooted in “economic disparity” and “disproportionate wealth” as his speech seemed to suggest. As well, quotes from the documents of Vatican II and appeals to the U.N. weren’t seeming to resonate with the Orthodox side of the house or some of the uniates who have folks on the ground.

I think it might be difficult to appeal to the international ecclesiastical or legal bureaucracy when the “junior varsity” is sawing the heads off the faithful. It appears that the church’s bureaucrats in Rome and those of secular Washington are similarly detached from the reality of Islam. Of course, he just might have been being cautious to keep more heads from rolling, although the Neville Chamberlain method doesn’t seem to work with ISIS any more than with Herr Hitler. The post-opening reception was extraordinary-an embarassment of food and drink in the face of the sufferings of those say, on a mountainside in Iraq waiting for airdropped food. But, gang, this is Washington, and you have to make a splash to get attention. I just pray that I am not witnessing the birth of yet another faith-based lobbying group to employ out of work political science majors. Too darned many of them already.

More to come after the first big session tomorrow. Meantime, pray for Christians persecuted throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East.

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