Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A call to prayer.....in The Tablet

A priest has sent a letter to The Tablet,  a very reasonable letter; one that embraces Muslims and Jews as well as Christians.

Please note that the letter calls for the three faiths to pray independently, it is not, if I read it correctly, a call for 'ecumenical' prayer as such.

It was penned and sent by Fr Ambrose Walsh, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff - please read it and feel free to comment on it :-

Fr. Ambrose Walsh,
retired Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff

The Council of Christians and Jews
Godliman House
21 Godliman Street

Christian Muslim Forum, Second Floor
305 Cambridge Heath Road
E2 9LH

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland,
39 Eccleston Square,
London SW1V 1BX

            Today “The Tablet” publishes the following letter from me, already published in their on-line edition.

            “The Pope has invited the Presidents of Israel and Palestine to pray with him at the Vatican on Sat. 7th. June. What if, in recognition of this graced initiative and as an expression of world-wide support for it, Muslims, Jews and Christians observed a Triduum of prayer that weekend?

“What if Muslim leaders called on all mosques to observe Friday, 6th as a day of prayer, Jewish leaders called on all synagogues to observe the same on Saturday, 7th and the Patriarchs of the ancient Christian Churches we saw gathered in the Holy Sepulchre last Sunday, called on all Christians to observe Sunday 8th in the same way?”

The Bible in Genesis, Chapter 18 and the Qur’an in Surah 11 relate the story of Abraham and Sarah receiving God’s messengers while encamped at the oak of Mamre. Both record Sarah’s amused incredulity at the idea of God being able to fulfil his promise of a progeny in her old age, the messengers’ rebuke and the assurance of God’s fidelity in the face of unbelief.

‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?” (Gen. 18, 14)
 “Wonderest thou at the commandment of Allah? The mercy of Allah and His blessings be upon you, O people of the house!” (Surah 11,76)

Pope Francis’ invitation to the presidents of Israel and Palestine to pray with him in the face of an intractable human problem may bring a wry smile to the some faces. However, all those who call on the name of the God of Abraham would bring honour to his holy name by heeding the messengers’ gentle rebuke, and, before all the world, respond with the faith that nothing is too wonderful for God.

With thanks for your kind attention,
Yours sincerely,

Ambrose Walsh (Fr.)


  1. God became a man for us. He suffered and died for us. Did He do all this so we can treat false and redundant religions as equals. We make a mockery of His mission in the world. The Pope should not forget who he is. He is Christs representative on earth not His press manager. The pope should do his job and evangelise the world making disciples of all nations.

    1. Paul, I see nothing wrong in praying for peace (or for our separated brethren). The point (I think) is that it would be better if the HF invited Jews and Muslims to pray....independently.

    2. Do not follow a bad pope to Hell!June 08, 2014 2:41 pm

      The prayers of false religions are NOT pleasing to God. Such a thing has already been condemned by faithful and sainted popes.

      We are not to pray even with heretic Prots. And our apostate popes pray with those who worship demons. Not to mention committing the sinful act on Pentecost Sunday!

      I hope Francis can plead insanity when he goes before the Almighty Judge because insanity will be his only defense.

  2. Richard. Of course there is nothing wrong in praying for peace. The point is that Christ's representative should not give even the slightest hint of syncretinism. These two religions reject Christ. The Pope should point out that only prayer through Christ is most pleasing to God. The pope knows what he is doing. I hope he is right.

    1. Paul, sorry to have taken so long to respond. I read Fr Walsh's letter in the light that it was intended to apply pressure to the Muslims and Jews. We Catholics are very active in praying for peace in Palestine and the Middle East but we never hear of others spending time on their knees (or whatever). I agree that there should not be a hint of syncretism but that independent prayer is something desirable inasmuch that it may draw others closer to Christ. God bless.

  3. "The Pope has invited the Presidents of Israel and Palestine to pray with him at the Vatican on Sat. 7th. June."

    This might be difficult considering the following:

    (Reuters, 1.6.14) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday against any international rush to recognize a Palestinian government due to be announced under a unity pact between the Fatah and Hamas Islamist groups.

    Israel and the West classify Hamas as a terrorist organization and have no official dealings with the movement, which advocates the destruction of the Jewish state.

    But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah party signed a reconciliation deal with Hamas in April, said a unity government due to be announced on Monday would be composed of ministers without political affiliation, a status that could ease the way for Western engagement.

    OK, they can pray for peace, but I'm not sure about this...

    "However, all those who call on the name of the God of Abraham would bring honour to his holy name..."

    The First Covenant is over, and I'm not sure Allah is the same as God the Father. Did Mohammad follow the 10 Commandments? Something about Jesus saying that people can only get to God the Father through him. Did God the Father not say "This is my Beloved, listen to Him". (Sorry for inaccuracies in quotes.)

    I suppose seeing the God of Abraham is the same for Jews and Muslims, I guess it can't harm for them to pray together. As believing in the Son of God is anathema for them, they have in the past been political allies when it comes to fighting Christians. The Moorish invasion of Spain springs to mind. As long as it's not Hamas being armed, I wonder what the Israelis think of Muslims killing Christians in the Middle East?

    I think this is why these faiths think they have the upper hand over Christianity. They know the Catholics no longer have a mandate to seriously pray for their conversion or try to convert them. In fact, sadly, both Jews and Muslims are willing to take up arms for the God of Abraham, our Crusading legacy has been totally smashed by a recently canonised Saint.

    "However, all those who call on the name of the God of Abraham would bring honour to his holy name by heeding the messengers’ gentle rebuke..."

    With regards to the Latin Good Friday prayer and reconciliation with the SSPX, the Jews certainly heeded the messenger then...

    But I guess, if fair-minded children of the God of Abraham want to pray for peace, I'm sure good will come of it. Would it be best to pray together then?

    1. Gosh, my comment was rather long, I have this habit of over-analysing!

  4. This is just the kind of letter you would expect to see in the Tablet.
    Jesus Christ said nobody comes to the Father except through me.
    The Introit for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is as follows: At the name of Jesus every knee should bend in heaven, on earth and under the earth and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
    The above is completely rejected by the Jews and Moslems and encouraging them to pray within their own religion only serves to confirm them in their unbelief. Once again Assisi rears its ugly head. Is Almighty God going to listen to the prayers of those who wilfully reject His Only Begotten Son?