Monday, September 27, 2010

Ecumenism alive and well as Pope Benedict XVI visits Edinburgh

On the eve of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United Kingdom, three stalwarts of Scottish ecumenism and the “churches together” movement met on Tuesday evening to assess church relations today. The three church leaders were Archbishop Mario Conti (Roman Catholic archbishop of Glasgow), Christine Davis (Religious Society of Friends / Quakers) and the Rev. Dr Sheilagh Kesting (ecumenical officer of the Church of Scotland and former moderator of its General Assembly). They shared reflections about the successes, disappointments and hopes of churches working together in the nation.

The last time a pope visited Edinburgh, Scotland, was in 1982 when the popular Pope John Paul II was welcomed into the heart of Scottish Protestantism and made a visit to New College and the theological faculty at the University of Edinburgh.

At the time there was nervousness in the air, particularly among the leadership of the Church of Scotland who, according to Archbishop Conti, were to meet with John Paul II “on their home turf”.

While the meeting with the pope went perfectly well, the church and ecumenical landscape of Scotland was in for a sea-change over the next three decades. This change has marked an improvement in relations according to these three pioneers of the modern ecumenical movement.

The formal state visit of Pope Benedict XVI will begin when he is received by Queen Elizabeth II in Edinburgh on Thursday, 16 September. There will be a wide variety of church leaders attending the reception, including the Rev. John Cairns Christie, moderator of General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The three were part of an evening event sponsored by the 20-year-old organization Action of Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS), the national ecumenical instrument. The event was held in conjunction with this week’s meeting of the WCC Executive Committee at Carberry Tower, near Edinburgh.

The presence in Edinburgh of a governing body of the WCC, which represents more than 550 million Christians around the world including Orthodox, Anglican, Old Catholic, independent and many Protestant groups, and its meeting being held at the same time as the Pope’s visit there, is sheer coincidence.

Still, the circumstance could not go unnoticed as the current pope arrives against an ecclesiastical backdrop that reflects growing cooperation between churches. The WCC Executive Committee’s visit to the city in 2010 honours the centenary of the Edinburgh 1910 World Missionary Conference which historians of Christianity identify as the beginning of the modern ecumenical movement.

Ecumenical progress
When the “churches together” model was adopted in 1990 with the formation of ACTS, there “were vociferous and in some places quite unpleasant protests”, said Christine Davis, one of the early participants in the churches together movement. Archbishop Conti was the first convener of ACTS.

Since then the major denominational groups have been working together on a variety of social and ecclesial initiatives. Davis, while not guaranteeing the behaviour of everyone in relation to the pope’s visit this week, feels certain there will not be a repeat of the sorts of protests that occurred in 1990.

She pointed out that today “at one level, the fact we are working together is taken for granted”. In 2009, “we had a very valuable joint conference of everyone involved in the churches in Scotland on Calvin: Catholic and Reformed”, she said. The theme was inspired by the 500th anniversary of Protestant reformer John Calvin’s birth. “Now, that is the kind of event which allowed us to be learning together about a part of church history people don’t normally see as having in common.”

Conti for his part views the work of ACTS as becoming the “title for the engagement of the ecumenical movement”. The role of ACTS is all about “engagement, respect and listening”, he said.

Sheilagh Kesting, who was also involved in the formation of ACTS, talked about landmark developments that grew out of the Swanwick consultation in 1992, with “people reporting afterwards about the moment when Cardinal Hume of England came forward and said the Roman Catholic Church was ready to come into a new ecumenical structure, the churches together, that we now call ACTS”.

The momentum this created, along with the subsequent leadership and grassroots work of the churches together, has led “the Roman Catholic church into the ecumenical movement, and this is not something we wanted to go back on”, Kesting said.

Still, ACTS and the churches together movement have not led to unity in all things; there remain stark differences between churches. But what has happened, according to Conti, is that the churches resist criticizing each other in public and work at respecting their differences and discussing them together.

Today it is more likely churches will consult with each other before they move forward on important matters, according to Kesting. Some of the disappointments the group felt about the churches together movement is that it may not be challenging the churches enough, Kesting added.

Conti said that there remain challenges in regard to issues of morality and ethics, such as family values and homosexuality.

Even with these sort of “mismatches” among churches in the same communities, particularly around ecclesial issues, this sometimes “baffles people” Davis said, “but it doesn’t stop them from getting on”.

Despite these challenges, all three ecumenical stalwarts saw hope in the movement of churches together, with ACTS and agencies like the WCC at the forefront. There was strong participation of the churches in addressing social issues such as poverty, Conti observed.

In conclusion, Davis said that churches have to share their resources better, deal with their own internal divisions, look at broader inter-religious and secular issues and in the end live out the good news of Jesus Christ, “which is to be extended to everyone we meet”.

ACTS website

WCC member churches in the United Kingdom


The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

Female Diaconate restored by Greek Holy Synod

Published by,
February 7, 2005

'Grant Her Your Spirit' By Phyllis Zagano

The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece voted in Athens on Oct. 8, 2004, to restore the female diaconate. All the members of the Holy Synod - 125 metropolitans and bishops and Archbishop Christodoulos, the head of the church of Greece-had considered the topic. The decision does not directly affect the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which is an eparchy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Greek ecclesiastical provinces of the Ecumenical Patriarchate received their independence from Constantinople in 1850 and were proclaimed the Autocephalous Church of Greece.

While women deacons had virtually disappeared by the ninth century, discussion of the restoration of women in the diaconate in Orthodoxy began in the latter half of the 20th century. Two books on the topic by Evangelos Theodorou, Heroines of Love: Deaconesses Through the Ages (1949) and The "Ordination" or "Appointment" of Deaconesses (1954), documented the sacramental ordination of women in the early church. His work was complemented in the Catholic Church by an article published by Cipriano Vagaggini, a Camaldolese monk, in Orientalia Christiana Periodica in 1974.

The most significant scholarship on the topic agrees that women were sacramentally ordained to the diaconate, inside the iconostasis at the altar, by bishops in the early church. Women deacons received the diaconal stole and Communion at their ordinations, which shared the same Pentecostal quality as the ordination of a bishop, priest or male deacon. Despite the decline of the order of deaconesses in the early Middle Ages, Orthodoxy never prohibited it. In 1907 a Russian Orthodox Church commission reported the presence of deaconesses in every Georgian parish; the popular 20th-century Orthodox saint Nektarios (1846-1920) ordained two women as deacons in 1911; and up to the 1950's a few Greek Orthodox nuns became monastic deaconesses. In 1986 Christodoulos, then metropolitan of Demetrias and now archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, ordained a woman deacon according to the "ritual of St. Nektarios"-the ancient Byzantine text St. Nektarios used. Multiple inter-Orthodox conferences called for the restoration of the order, including the Interorthodox Symposium at Rhodes, Greece, in 1988, which plainly stated, "The apostolic order of deaconess should be revived."

The symposium noted that "the revival of this ancient order should be envisaged on the basis of the ancient prototypes testified to in many sources and with the prayers found in the Apostolic Constitutions and the ancient Byzantine liturgical books." At the Holy Synod meeting in Athens in 2004, Metropolitan Chrysostom of Chalkidos initiated discussion on the subject of the role of women in the Church of Greece and the rejuvenation of the order of female deacons.

In the ensuing discussion, some older bishops apparently disagreed with the complete restoration of the order. Anthimos, bishop of Thessaloniki, later remarked to the Kathimerini English Daily, "As far as I know, the induction of women into the police and the army was a failure, and we want to return to this old matter?" While the social-service aspect of the female diaconate is well known, the Holy Synod decided that women could be promoted to the diaconate only in remote monasteries and at the discretion of individual bishops. The limiting decision to restore only the monastic female diaconate did not please some synod members.

The Athens News Agency reported that Chrysostomos, bishop of Peristeri, said, "The role of female deacons must be in society and not in the monasteries." Other members of the Holy Synod agreed and stressed that the role of women deacons should be social-for example, the care of the sick. The vote of the Holy Synod to restore ordination of women to the diaconate under limited circumstances may be the most progressive idea the Orthodox Church can bring to the world. The document only gives bishops the option, if they wish, to ordain senior nuns in monasteries of their eparchies. Bishops who choose to promote women to the diaconate will use the ancient Byzantine liturgy that performs the same cheirotonia -- laying on of hands -- for deaconesses as in each major order: bishop, priest and deacon.

Even so, some (mostly Western) scholars have argued that the historical ordination of women deacons was not a cheirotonia, or ordination to major orders, but a cheirothesia, a blessing that signifies installation to a minor order. The confusion is understandable, since the two terms were sometimes used interchangeably, but other scholars are equally convinced that women were ordained to the major order of the diaconate. The proof will be in the liturgy the bishops actually use. At present there is only one liturgy and one tradition by which to create a woman deacon in the Byzantine rite, and it is demonstrably a ritual of ordination for the "servant who is to be ordained to the office of a deacon." Even the document on the diaconate issued by the Vatican's International Theological Commission in 2002 admits that "Canon 15 of the Council of Chalcedon (451) seems to confirm the fact that deaconesses really were 'ordained' by the imposition of hands (cheirotonia)."

Despite the pejorative use of quotation marks here and elsewhere in the document when historical ordinations of women deacons are mentioned, this Vatican commission seems unwilling to deny the history to which the Church of Greece has now newly returned. Further, the Vatican document points out that the practice of ordaining women deacons according to the Byzantine liturgy lasted at least into the eighth century. It does not review Orthodox practice after 1054. The rejuvenation of the order of deaconess in the Church of Greece is expected to begin during the winter of 2004-5.

The contemporary ordination (cheirotonia) of women provides even more evidence and support for the restoration of the female diaconate in the Catholic Church, which has acknowledged the validity of Orthodox sacraments and orders. Despite the distinction in Canon 1024-"A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly"-one can presume the possibility of a derogation from the law, as suggested by the Canon Law Society of America in 1995, to allow for diaconal ordination of women. (The history of Canon 1024 is clearly one of attempts to restrict women from priesthood, not from the diaconate.) In fact, the Catholic Church has already indirectly acknowledged valid ordinations of women by the Armenian Apostolic Church, one of the churches of the East that ordains women deacons. There are two recent declarations of unity-agreements of mutual recognition of the validity of sacraments and of orders-between Rome and the Armenian Church, one signed by Paul VI and Catholicos Vasken I in 1970, another between John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin I in 1996. These agreements are significant, for the Armenian Apostolic Church has retained the female diaconate into modern times. The Armenian Catholicossate of Cilicia has at least four ordained women. One, Sister Hrip'sime, who lives in Istanbul, is listed in the official church calendar published by the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey as follows: "Mother Hrip'sime Proto-deacon Sasunian, born in Soghukoluk, Antioch, in 1928; became a nun in 1953; Proto-deacon in 1984; Mother Superior in 1998. Member of the Kalfayian Order." Mother Hrip'sime has worked to restore the female diaconate as an active social ministry, and for many years was the general director of Bird' s Nest, a combined orphanage, school and social service center near Beiruit, Lebanon. Her diaconate, and that of the three other women deacons, is far from monastic.

The future Catholic response to the documented past and the changing present promises to be interesting. The tone of the International Theological Commission document reveals an attempt to rule out women deacons, but the question is left remarkably open: "It pertains to the ministry of discernment which the Lord established in his church to pronounce authoritatively on this question."

It is becoming increasingly clear that despite the Catholic Church's unwillingness to say yes to the restoration of the female diaconate as an ordained ministry of the Catholic Church, it cannot say no. Prayer for the Ordination of a Woman Deacon O Eternal God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of man and of woman, who replenished with the Spirit Miriam, and Deborah, and Anna, and Huldah; who did not disdain that your only-begotten Son should be born of a woman; who also in the tabernacle of the testimony, and in the temple, did ordain women to be keepers of your holy gates - look down now upon this your servant who is to be ordained to the office of a deaconess, and grant her your Holy Spirit, that she may worthily discharge the work which is committed to her to your glory, and the praise of your Christ, with whom glory and adoration be to you and the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen." -Apostolic Constitutions, No. 8 (late fourth century)

Phyllis Zagano, Ph.D. is the Aquinas Chair Professor of Catholic Studies at St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, NY and Senior Research Associate-in-Residence at Hofstra Universty, Hempstead, NY. She is the author of Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church (Crossroad, 2000). America (, Vol. 192 No. 4, February 7, 2005. Copyright © 2005 by America Press, Inc.

Catholic Principles of Pastoral Ecumenism


May a non-Catholic serve as a godparent for a Catholic baptism? May a Catholic be the best man at a non-Catholic wedding? May someone from an Eastern Orthodox church receive communion at a Roman Catholic mass? May a Catholic receive communion at a non-Catholic church?

These and other questions that Catholics often face due to their family, friendships, business and other social relationships are answered in the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism.The directory, published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in 1993, updated and expanded the information previously offered in two postconciliar documents: A Directory for the Application of the Second Vatican Council's Decisions on Ecumenism (1967) and its second part, subtitled Ecumenism in Higher Education (1970).

Through the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) the Catholic Church entered a time of self-reflection, probing its identity more deeply and refreshing its dialogue with the world. The fruits of the Council’s labor became immediately evident in the church's worship, but its complete goals included a revision of church law, catechism, and service.

Among the major areas the council pursued was ecumenism. Other churches and ecclesial communities had already entered the arena. The World Council of Churches had formed and some church bodies were already merging. Formerly, the ecumenical strategy of the Catholic Church seemed to have two goals: the conversion of Protestants and an end to the Orthodox schism. The council fathers took a broader look at the ecumenical picture, striking a balance between their convictions already noted in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen gentium, 8) that the church of Christ "subsists in the Catholic Church" and that "many elements of sanctification and truth are found outside its visible confines." In doing so, they summoned a deep respect for the personal faith of all. The resulting Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio, November 21, 1964) catapulted the Catholic Church into the ecumenical movement. Its opening words called the restoration of unity one of the principal concerns of the council, and it criticized division among churches as contrary to the will of Christ and a scandal to the world.

The Decree on Ecumenism still captures the heady enthusiasm of the Second Vatican Council. It launched a sweeping agenda for the church by calling for not just the promotion but also the practice of ecumenism. It recognized the distinct concerns issuing from relationships with the Eastern and Western churches separated from the Roman See. By its nature, the document towered with vision, while it abstained from specifics.

The specific working out of the Decree on Ecumenism fell to postconciliar work. The Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity accepted the responsibility and set about developing its "Directory for the Application of the Second Vatican Council's Decisions on Ecumenism," published, as indicated above, in two parts in 1967 and 1970.

The first part of the directory (1967) dealt with several practical concerns. These included the creation of diocesan and regional ecumenical commissions, necessary for working out the council's ideals. It also affirmed the validity of baptism administered by ministers of other churches and ecclesial communities. It promoted sharing among churches where possible.

The second part (1970) laid more groundwork. It presented the general principles which undergird ecumenism and then worked out particular norms for ecumenical formation and collaboration, especially in regard to schools and institutions.

That two-part directory served the church well. However, other concurrent developments began to influence ecumenical progress. Most significantly, the Code of Canon Law for the Roman Catholic Church was revised in 1983 and the Code of Oriental Canon Law was published in 1990. It also became evident that the directory had not adequately treated topics like marriages between Catholics and other Christians. A more coherent integration of all this material, it seemed, would better serve the cause of and commitment to ecumenism.

Consequently, in 1985, speaking on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, Pope John Paul II called for the updating of the present ecumenical directory. The secretariat once again assumed the task, and thus began a long process of development and consultation for the generation of the revised document. Before its completion, the directory passsed through several committees, received reactions from episcopal conferences around the world, underwent further refinements with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and finally won the approval of Pope John Paul II. Dated March 25, 1993, the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism was promulgated under the auspices of the renamed Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The finished document contains five sections. It opens with a chapter on the search for Christian unity -- new theological material rooted in the Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism and Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. Then it treats the organization of the Catholic Church in its service to Christian unity, calling for internal commissions and international cooperation. The third section concerns ecumenical formation in the Catholic Church, an attempt to widen participation in the ecumenical movement. The fourth gathers the practical matters of communion of life and spiritual activity among the baptized. The final section calls for collaboration, dialogue, and common witness to ecumenism.

The excerpt included in this volume of The Liturgy Documents: A Parish Resource draws from the fourth and fifth sections of the directory (92-160; 183-187). There are treated the specific matters that pertain to liturgical preparation and prayer among the Christian churches and ecclesial communities. The first and lengthier part of the excerpt considers prayer and the sacraments. Special consideration goes to baptism and marriage, but in a middle section entitled "Sharing Spiritual Activities and Resources," one finds other substantial concerns: principles for prayer in common, sharing in nonsacramental liturgical worship, and sharing in the sacramental life of the church, especially the eucharist, but also penance and anointing. The shorter, second part of the excerpt concerns the development of common scriptural and liturgical texts.

The sacrament of baptism prompts several concerns, including conditions for its validity and the role of godparents. Regarding validity, the directory makes an assumption in favor of the validity of baptisms in which the minister uses the proper matter and form and has the same intention as the church. This affirmation conceals a change in baptismal practice since the Second Vatican Council. Formerly, the baptism of other Christians was generally considered doubtful; if other Christians desired acceptance into the Catholic church, the priest usually administered a conditional baptism. In fact, so common was this circumstance that the formula for conditional baptisms appeared in the Roman Ritual together with the standard one for hundreds of years. Now the baptisms of other Christians in the main churches and ecclesial communities is presumed to be valid. If any of them desire the full communion of the Catholic Church, they celebrate the rite of reception; the priest who receives them also confirms them. If a conditional baptism must be performed, it is to happen in private (93-95; 99-100).

The question of godparenting across denominational lines has vexed many a Catholic. The directory explains that baptisms happen within a single ecclesial context. Only a person within that church or ecclesial community may function as a godparent, but other baptized Christians may serve as witnesses together with the godparent. The prescription advises Catholic parents to seek a Catholic godparent, even if they wish to include a non-Catholic witness; it also suggests that Catholics may serve as witnesses for the baptisms in other church communities if the host church provides a godparent (98).

In sharing spiritual activities and resources the directory encourages Catholics to make full use of what they share in common with others. Many nonsacramental occasions may draw churches together for prayer; the funeral for a non-Catholic may even happen in a Catholic church (102-121). Catholics may even share buildings and religious objects with non-Catholics, as long as each community's faith is respected. Non-Catholic children in Catholic schools may have access to their own ministers (137-142).

The question of sharing other sacraments requires much more nuance, and the possibilities depend first on whether the non-Catholic individual comes from the churches of the east or west.

The Catholic Church recognizes the sacraments in all eastern churches; it extends its willingness to share the sacraments with them, but not all eastern churches are able to extend the same invitation back (122-128).

The sharing of eucharist, penance, and anointing with ecclesial communities from the Reformation of the sixteenth century is more difficult. For Catholics, the eucharist is a sign of ecclesial communion, which excludes their ordinary participation. However, there are occasions when the sharing of these sacraments "may be permitted or even commended." The directory offers four conditions: "that the person be unable to have recourse for the sacrament desired to a minister of his or her own church or ecclesial community, ask for the sacrament of his or her own initiative, manifest Catholic faith in this sacrament and be properly disposed" (131). Catholics, however, under similar circumstances, may only receive from those churches whose sacraments are considered valid. Hence, the invitation does not work both ways, even in these extraordinary circumstances.

The sense of "communion" at sacramental worship extends also to certain ministries: The reader and homilist at a eucharist should be Catholics. Outside of eucharist they need not be. Those who witness marriages as best man, maid of honor, or other member of the wedding party need not be from the same church as the bride or groom, whether the wedding takes place in a Catholic church or elsewhere (129-136).

Marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics pose pastoral concerns. Even before marriage, couples should discuss the exercise of their faith as part of parochial preparation for marriage. One should be firm in one's own faith and learn about the faith of the partner; still, accepting the partner's faith should not invite indifference about one's own. The pastors of each partner should collaborate before the wedding. The couple is exhorted to pray together (143-149).

Of primary concern in marriage is the faith of the children. The Catholic party is asked to do all in his or her power to raise the children in the Catholic faith, beginning with baptism. The non-Catholic party is to be informed, but is not asked to assent or sign anything. Sometimes the Catholic party cannot fulfill his or her intentions. If he or she wishes to share the Catholic faith with the children but fails in efforts to do so due to the religious freedom and conscience of the other parent, he or she incurs no canonical censure (150-151).

The ceremony should affirm the significance of the sacrament. Marriages between Catholics and Orthodox should stress what the faiths share in common. A Catholic who wishes to marry a non-Catholic is still bound by the canonical form of marriage, but may obtain a dispensation for various reasons, including "the maintaining of family harmony, obtaining parental consent to the marriage, the recognition of the particular religious commitment of the non-Catholic partner or his/her blood relationship with a minister of another church or ecclesial community." Still, one public ceremony is required; a couple may not give consent twice. The Catholic minister may join or be joined by the minister of another community at the wedding; the visiting minister may recite a prayer, proclaim a reading, offer an exhortation, or give a blessing. The directory states that the wedding between a Catholic and a person from another church or ecclesial community will ordinarily not take place within the context of a eucharist. If the non-Catholic desires communion at the wedding, the norms in #131 still apply within the context of the wedding (152-160). The bishops' conference of South Africa notably clarified these permissions after the directory was published.

The excerpt closes with two parts of the closing section: common bible work and common liturgical texts. Since the directory calls on Christians to seek occasions for common prayer, it also encourages the development of biblical and liturgical texts which many ecclesial communities might hold in common (183-187).

In parts of the world where Catholics are continually drawn into conversation and commerce with those of other beliefs, they find the experience both rich and challenging. The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism aims to help the average Catholic enter that world strong in faith yet committed to the cause of ecumenism.

This article first appeared in The Liturgy Documents Volume Two: A Parish Resource. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1999.

Catholic-Jewish Dialogue in the Palm Beaches

On June 24th, members of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County and the Diocese of Palm Beach met at the Pastoral Center in Palm Beach Gardens to pray together, get better acquainted, break bread together, and discuss issues of importance.

Bishop Barbarito

Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito, D.D., bishop of Palm Beach greeted Rabbi Richard Chapin of Temple Israel, West Palm Beach, Mr. Jonathan Gilbert, Chairman of the Jewish Federation, and Dr. Luis Fleishman, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County along with diocesan representatives Deacon Dennis Demes and Mrs. Lynn Powell of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, Mr. Sandi Martinez, Director of the Tribunal,and Mr. Erik Vagenius, Director of the Substance Addiction ministry.

Cordial exchanges were followed by a discussion of the issues surrounding immigration. Consensus was reached that the United States is in need of comprehensive immigration reform. The panel also agreed that border security is a rightful concern of all governments and needs to be addressed in the United States. "Border security not only protects the United States itself, but individual groups within it" said Dr. Fleischman. Deacon Demes indicated that this was consistent with the call from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Bishops of Mexico in their pastoral Strangers no Longer; Together on the Journey of Hope. This document focused on the larger question of poverty calling on an international effort to create conditions in which people will not have to leave their homelands to migrate elsewhere in desperation for survival. The document also focused on backlogs of visa applications for family visitation, an issue which the discussion at the Pastoral Center did not specifically address. The Bishops recognized a value and need of the labor which migrants provide and Mr. Jonathan Gilbert acknowledged the same here in Palm beach County. The discussion called for broad based legislation to address those who are in the United States and contributing to its national welfare and a continuation of due process.

Rabbi Chapin called for the development of more opportunities for Catholics and Jews to come together in prayer and other forms of fellowship. Deacon Demes agreed to speak to representatives at Catholic Charities who are well versed in immigration law and render assistance to the needy. Follow-up discussions on this and other issues are anticipated and embraced.