George Lindbeck’s thoughtful reflections in this issue on the state of ecumenism set me to ruminating on my own ecumenical experience. It also reminded me that this journal has been ecumenically minded from its inception. For a time it even described itself as an “ecumenical weekly” (and before that as an “undenominational weekly”).
Over the years I have attended many commencement ceremonies as a parent, occasionally as the speaker and this year, for the first time, as a grandparent. One ceremony that stands out in my mind is when my daughter received her M.D. from Ohio State. It was held in the stadium where in the fall the Buckeyes play before more than 100,000 zealous football fans.
It is not clear whether Thomas Reese was forced, pressured or strongly encouraged to resign as editor of the Jesuit weekly America. It’s widely assumed that his departure was connected to the election of the new pope, Benedict XVI.
In June a mob of hundreds of people brutally attacked a group of Vietnamese Mennonites, including Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang and 20 church leaders and Bible college students, who had gathered for a religious retreat. More than 300 plainclothes police and security forces stormed the host church at night under the pretext of conducting an “administrative search.” The pastor, known for defending the rights of Vietnamese minorities, suffered injuries to his head and chest and was left with broken teeth. For years, Vietnamese authorities have been accused of suppressing Protestants and other religious groups. These churches are prohibited from reaching out to children and evangelizing openly (Ecumenical News).