March 23, 2008

We Know Each Other

Last night's news brought word that the Pope had baptised a former Muslim during Easter Vigil. The group of seven he baptised included two men and five women, people from Italy, Cameroon, China, the United States and Peru.
"People who are baptised and believers are never strangers to each other. Continents, cultures, social structures and historical distances cannot separate us. But we meet each other, we know each other by the same Lord, the same faith, the same hope, and the same love that shapes us."

His words, chosen, I think, in support of that multicultural baptism, also tells us something about our Church as a whole. We are Catholic - the kataholos or "universal" church. We are Catholic because we believe everything that has been held true by the early church, by the church established on earth by Christ. We are united, not only through space but through time, with every other member of the Catholic Church. We cannot be strangers, despite never meeting, because we know so much about each other; we know the deepest, most crucial parts of each other. Beneath any language difference, any difference of color, any difference of age or of era, and especially beneath any personal sins, we are the same; we are the Catholic Church and the Body of Christ.

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