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Lecture focuses on Christian unity

Megan Loney | Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saint Mary’s welcomed best-selling author Thomas Cahill as the speaker for the fifth anniversary of the revival of the Christian Culture Lecture Wednesday.

Cahill’s lecture, “The End of Christian Divisions: Achieving Reunion Through Truth-telling,” focused on the three divisions of Christianity — Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, and Protestants — and the characteristics that form barriers between them.

Cahill said Orthodox Christians have a strong liturgical component, but also said they adhere to the Julian calendar, instead of adapting to the Gregorian calendar as the other Christians have.

Cahill said it was time for the Orthodox Church to switch to the Gregorian calendar, a move that would help them unite with other Christian factions.

Cahill said the Roman Catholic priests do not have roots founded in the Bible. It may have been an invention of the early church, he said.

He suggested changing the name of Roman Catholic priests because Christians only have one father: God.

“Let’s stop calling them ‘father.’ Jesus would certainly approve,” he said.

For the Protestants, Cahill spoke about their narrow focus on scripture. The Bible is full of contradictions, he said.

Cahill said it is important to acknowledge questions of each division, but each Christian tradition also has merit.

Orthodox Christians have consecrated tradition, Catholics have the necessary insight of a universal church and Protestants show the importance of the Bible, Cahill said.

He said the next step should be toward admitting the gaps of Christianity and admitting the faults of each division.

“When we are certain we are right, are we not in danger in alienating anyone who does not agree?” Cahill said.

The decisions people make to embrace other Christians or to continue excluding them will have immense consequences in the not-so-distant future, Cahill said.

The Christian Culture lecture’s goal is to explore the impact of Christianity on western culture, College President Carol Ann Mooney said.

The lecture has hosted over 100 speakers since its commencement in 1957. Each lecture is specifically written for the occasion and later published by the College, she said.