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Christianity in the 21st century

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Trinity Church, Antarctica, a 15m-high siberian pine Russian Orthodox church that can accommodate up to 30 worshipers. It opened in 2004, and it is manned year-around by Orthodox hieromonk priests volunteering for the Antarctic assignment.
Trinity Church, Antarctica, a 15m-high siberian pine Russian Orthodox church that can accommodate up to 30 worshipers. It opened in 2004, and it is manned year-around by Orthodox hieromonk priests volunteering for the Antarctic assignment.

Christianity in the 21st century is characterized by the pursuit of Church unity and the continued resistance to persecution, and secularization.

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Contents

Catholic Church

Basco Cathedral in the Philippines, rebuilt in 2011 after being badly damaged in a July 2000 earthquake
Basco Cathedral in the Philippines, rebuilt in 2011 after being badly damaged in a July 2000 earthquake
The Catholic Cathedral in Kohima City, Nagaland, India.
The Catholic Cathedral in Kohima City, Nagaland, India.

Benedict XVI

With the election of Pope Benedict XVI, there was decentralized beatifications and reverted a decision of John Paul II regarding papal elections.[1] Benedict XVI advocated a return to fundamental Christian values to counter the increased secularisation of many Western countries. He taught the importance of both the Catholic Church and an understanding of God's redemptive love.[2] Pope Benedict also revived a number of traditions, including elevating the Tridentine Mass to a more prominent position.[3] He strengthened the relationship between the Catholic Church and art, promoted the use of Latin,[4] and reintroduced traditional papal garments, for which reason he was called "the pope of aesthetics".[5]

Pope Benedict issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, allowing priests to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass without first having to receive permission from their local ordinary, and the Anglicanorum coetibus, which authorized the establishment of personal ordinariates to allow former Anglican parishes to enter the Catholic fold while retaining some elements of their Anglican heritage and liturgical traditions.

Major lawsuits emerged in 2001, during the pontificate of John Paul II, claiming that priests had sexually abused minors.[6] As a cardinal, Benedict convinced John Paul II to put his Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in charge of all investigations and policies surrounding sexual abuse in order to combat such abuse more efficiently.[7] In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI removed Legion of Christ founder Marcial Maciel from active ministry based on the results of an investigation that he had started while head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, before his election as Pope in April 2005. Maciel was ordered "to conduct a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing every public ministry."[8] As pope, Benedict defrocked at least 400 priests. [9]

Francis

Since the election of Pope Francis in 2013, he has displayed a simpler and less formal approach to the office, choosing to reside in the Vatican guesthouse rather than the papal residence.[10] Following the resignation of Benedict, Francis became the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere.[11]

Since 2016, Francis has faced increasingly open criticism, particularly from theological conservatives, on the question of admitting civilly divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion with the publication of Amoris Laetitia, and on the question of alleged systematic cover up of clergy sexual abuse.

Among Francis's most notable critics is Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò a former apostolic nuncio who claimed in an open letter that Francis "knew from at least June 23, 2013 that Theodore McCarrick was a serial predator. He knew that he was a corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end." [12] McCarrick submitted his resignation from the College of Cardinals in July 2018, which was quickly accepted by Francis.[13] Francis ordered McCarrick to a life of prayer and penance until a canonical trial could be held.[14] After a church investigation and trial, he was found guilty of sexual crimes against adults and minors and abuse of power, and was dismissed from the clergy in February 2019.[15] McCarrick is the most senior church official in modern times to be laicized – commonly referred to as defrocking – and is believed to be the first cardinal ever laicized for sexual misconduct.

Eastern Orthodoxy

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in New York City, currently under construction after the original church was destroyed in the September 11 attacks
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in New York City, currently under construction after the original church was destroyed in the September 11 attacks

After the fall of Mosul, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant demanded that Assyrian Christians living in the city convert to Islam, pay tribute, or face execution, by 19 July 2014.[16][17][18][19][20] Al-Baghdadi further noted that Christians who do not agree to follow those terms must "leave the borders of the Islamic Caliphate" within a specified deadline.[19][20] This resulted in a complete Assyrian Christian exodus from Mosul, marking the end of 1,600 years of continuous Christian presence.[21] A church mass was not held in Mosul for the first time in 1,800 years.[22] On 9 July 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi arrived in preparation to announce the full liberation of Mosul and reclaim the city after three years of ISIL control.[23]

The Pan-Orthodox Council, officially styled the Holy and Great Synod, opened at Crete, on 19 June 2016. The 10 Churches that sent representatives to Crete were the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Orthodox Churches of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Serbia, Romania, Greece, Poland, Albania, Cyprus and the Czech Lands and Slovakia. Of the 14 national Orthodox churches, four did not attend the event, including the Russian Orthodox Church, the Georgian and Bulgarian Orthodox Churches, as well as the Orthodox Church of Antioch. The Council concluded on 26 June 2016, the Sunday of All Saints, with a Patriarchal Concelebration.

Constantinople-Moscow schism

On 11 October 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarchate  of Constantinople announced it would grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, thus separating it from the canonical area of influence of Moscow Patriarchate. Four days later, the Moscow Patriarchate broke ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople over its endorsement of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's autocephaly.[24] The decision was made following a meeting of the Holy Synod in Minsk, the capital of Belarus and Metropolitan Hilarion announced that the Moscow Patriarchate would "rupture full communion with the Constantinople Patriarchate",[25] meaning that priests from the two churches will not be able to serve together while worshippers of one cannot take communion in the other.[26]

Two months later, on 15 December 2018, a unification council was convoked by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople at St Sophia's Cathedral in Kiev, during which the Kiev Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and parts of the Moscow Patriarchate were united into a single Ukrainian Orthodox Church.[27] Metropolitan Epiphanius was elected the first Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine for the newly unified Ukrainian Church.[28] Patriarch Kirill of Moscow denounced the new Ukrainian Church as "a union of two schismatic groups."[29]

On 5 January 2019, Patriarch Bartholomew signed a tomos officially granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The tomos was signed at St. George's Cathedral in the presence of Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, and was presented to Metropolitan Epiphanius to be brought to Kiev in time for Christmas, the first liturgy celebrated by the united Ukrainian Orthodox Church.[30][29]

Oriental Orthodoxy

Cathedral of the Holy Martyrs in Gyumri, Armenia, an Armenian Catholic cathedral dedicated in 2015 to the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide
Cathedral of the Holy Martyrs in Gyumri, Armenia, an Armenian Catholic cathedral dedicated in 2015 to the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide

Armenian Church

On 23 April 2015, the Armenian Apostolic Church canonized as martyrs all the victims of the Armenian Genocide, which began a hundred years prior the following day on 24 April 1915; this service is believed to be the largest canonization service in history.[31][32][33] It was the first canonization by the Armenian Apostolic Church in four hundred years.[34]

In 25 September 2017, a deaconess was consecrated in the Tehran Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the first Armenian deaconess in a hundred years.[35]

Coptic Church

Coptic Christmas was adopted as an official national holiday in Egypt in 2002.

In Tahrir Square, Cairo, on Wednesday 2 February 2011, Coptic Christians joined hands to provide a protective cordon around their Muslim neighbors during salat (prayers) in the midst of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.[36]

On 17 March 2012, the Coptic Orthodox Pope, Pope Shenouda III died, leaving many Copts mourning and worrying as tensions rose with Muslims. Pope Shenouda III constantly met with Muslim leaders in order to create peace. Many were worried about Muslims controlling Egypt as the Muslim Brotherhood won 70% of the parliamentary elections.[37][38] Pope Tawadros II was chosen to replace him on 4 November 2012.

In February 2015, twenty-one Coptic Christians were kidnapped and beheaded in Libya by ISIS insurgents. Six days later, they were canonized as martyrs by Pope Tawadros II.[39]

Protestantism

Mars Hill Church, part of the emerging church movement, closed in 2015
Mars Hill Church, part of the emerging church movement, closed in 2015

Megachurches

Postmodern Christianity has influenced the emerging church movement, with proponents challenging the mainstream Christianity on issues such as: institutional structures, systematic theology, propositional teaching methods, a perceived preoccupation with buildings, an attractional understanding of mission, professional clergy, and a perceived preoccupation with the political process and unhelpful jargon ("Christian-ese").[40]

Mark Driscoll, a leader in the emerging church movement, had more than 12,000 followers at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington before controversy led to Driscoll's resignation in 2014 and Mars Hill's dissolution.[41][42] Like other churches in the emerging church movement, Mars Hill combined alternative worship with Calvinist theology. In 2015, not without controversy, a video featuring Driscoll was featured at a Hillsong Church conference in Sydney, Australia.[43] Hillsong Church is a megachurch, founded in 1983, that has grown to over 100,000 followers.[44] Their 2013 song Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) was released and spent 61 weeks atop the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart, longer than any other song.[45]

Globally, megachurches are a significant development in Protestant Christianity.[46] In the United States, the phenomenon has more than quadrupled in the past two decades.[47] It has since spread worldwide. In 2007, five of the ten largest Protestant churches were in South Korea.[48] The largest megachurch in the United States is Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas with more than 40,000 members every weekend and the current largest megachurch in the world is South Korea's Yoido Full Gospel Church, an Assemblies of God church, with more than 830,000 members as of 2007.[48][49]

Anglican Communion

One month prior to the Lambeth Conference, the ten-yearly gathering of Anglican Communion bishops, a seven-day conference of conservative Anglican bishops and leaders held in Jerusalem from 22 to 29 June 2008 to address the growing controversy of the divisions in the Anglican Communion, the rise of secularism, as well as concerns with HIV/AIDS and poverty. As a result of the conference, the Jerusalem Declaration was issued and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans was created. The conference participants also called for the creation of the Anglican Church in North America (ANCA), as an alternative to the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada, and declared that recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury is not necessary to Anglican identity.[50] Follow-up conferences have been held every five years since 2008.

The conventions of four dioceses of the Episcopal Church voted in 2007 and 2008 to leave that church and to join the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America. Twelve other jurisdictions, serving an estimated 100,000 persons at that time, formed the ACNA on December 3–4, 2008. The ACNA is seeking official recognition as a province within the Anglican Communion.[51] The Anglican Church of Nigeria declared itself in communion with the new church in March 2009 and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans recognized it as well.[52][53] In June 2009, the Anglican Church of Uganda also declared itself in full communion with ACNA, and the Anglican Church of Sudan followed suit in December 2011.[54][55]

Two of the major events which contributed to the Anglican realignment were the 2002 decision of the Diocese of New Westminster in Canada to authorise a rite of blessing for same-sex unions, and the nomination of two openly gay priests in 2003 to become bishops. Jeffrey John, an openly gay priest with a long-time partner, was appointed to be the next Bishop of Reading in the Church of England and the General Convention of the Episcopal Church ratified the election of Gene Robinson, an openly[56] gay non-celibate[57] man, as Bishop of New Hampshire. Jeffrey John ultimately declined the appointment due to pressure.

United Methodist Church

Like many other mainline Protestant denominations in the United States, the United Methodist Church has experienced significant membership losses in recent decades. By the opening of the 2008 General Conference, total UMC membership was estimated at 11.4 million, with about 7.9 million in the US and 3.5 million overseas. Significantly, about 20 percent of the conference delegates were from Africa, with Filipinos and Europeans making up another 10 percent.[58] During the conference, the delegates voted to finalize the induction of the Methodist Church of the Ivory Coast and its 700,000 members into the denomination.[58] One Congolese bishop has estimated that typical Sunday attendance of the UMC is higher in his country than in the entire United States.[58]

Given current trends in the UMC, with overseas churches growing, especially in Africa, and US churches collectively losing about 1,000 members a week[58], American influence on the UMC is declining. In February 2019, a Special Session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church was held in St. Louis, Missouri, to examine church teachings on human sexuality. While most American delegates at the General Conference supported the One Church Plan, a resolution that would have made the UMC open and affirming on LGBT issues, allowing individual conferences to allow same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy, the resolution failed. In its place, the Traditional Plan, opposed by most American delegates but supported by the African delegates, was passed by the conference. Pending approval from the UMC Judicial Council in April 2019, the Traditional Plan reaffirms traditional teachings on sexuality, will penalize UMC clergy who conduct same-sex marriages or ordain openly gay clergy beginning in 2020.[59]

Some conferences have allowed both same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy for years. One conference in the American Southwest has a lesbian bishop, Karen Oliveto. It is unknown how these clergy will be affected by the rule change. A similar General Conference decision in 1984 led to the early retirement of some openly gay clergy, including Paul Abels.[60] Many progressive clergy have vowed to ignore the new rules if and when they go into affect, and many clergy and congregations are openly contemplating the idea of a schism within the United Methodist Church.[61]

Ecumenical Dialogue

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Catholic-Orthodox dialogue

In June 2004, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I's visit to Rome afforded a meeting with Pope John Paul II, for conversations with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and for taking part in the celebration for the feast day in St. Peter's Basilica.

Patriarch Bartholomew attended the Papal inauguration of Pope Francis on 19 March 2013, paving the way for better Catholic–Orthodox relations. It was the first time that the spiritual head of Eastern Orthodox Christians had attended a papal inauguration since the Great Schism in 1054.[62][63] After, he invited Pope Francis to travel with him to the Holy Land in 2014 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the embrace between Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI.

Catholic-Coptic dialogue

On 28 April 2017, Pope Francis and Coptic Pope Tawadros ll agreed that they would not require re-baptism for Roman Catholics who seek to join the Coptic Orthodox Church, and vice versa. The Roman Catholic Church baptizes by sprinkling and the Coptic Orthodox Church baptizes by immersion, but this declaration opens the way for the two churches to recognize each other’s baptism sacrament.[64]

Coptic-Greek dialogue

In the summer of 2001, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria agreed to mutually recognize baptisms performed in each other's churches, making re-baptisms unnecessary, and to recognize the sacrament of marriage as celebrated by the other. [65]

There was the Patriarch's partial participation in the Eucharistic liturgy; full participation in the liturgy of the Word, joint proclamation of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in Greek, and as the conclusion, the final Blessing imparted by both the Pope and the Patriarch.[66]

The declaration of Ravenna in 2007 re-stated the notion that the bishop of Rome is indeed the protos, although future discussions are to be held on the concrete ecclesiological exercise of papal primacy.

Catholic-Lutheran dialogue

In 2016, on the 499th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation, Pope Francis travelled to Sweden (where the Lutheran Church is the national Church) to commemorate the Reformation at Lund Cathedral, which serves as the seat for the Lutheran Bishop of Lund.[67] An official press release from the Holy See stated:[68]

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Roman Catholic Church joint event will highlight the 50 years of continuous ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Lutherans and the joint gifts of this collaboration. The Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of 500 years of the Reformation is structured around the themes of thanksgiving, repentance and commitment to common witness. The aim is to express the gifts of the Reformation and ask forgiveness for division perpetuated by Christians from the two traditions.[68]

An ecumenical service was presided over by Munib Younan, the president of the Lutheran World Federation, Martin Junge, the General Secretary of the LWF, as well as Pope Francis.[69] Representatives from the Anglican Communion, Baptist World Alliance, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Salvation Army also participated in the predominantly Lutheran and Roman Catholic event.[70] Pope Francis, in a joint statement with Munib Younan, stated that "With gratitude we acknowledge that the Reformation helped give a greater centrality to sacred Scripture in the Church's life".[71]

Timeline

21st century Timeline


See also

References

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  57. ^ The issue is less sexual orientation than sexual practice. Many conservative Anglicans disapprove of his being openly sexually active more than his sexual attractions as such. [1]
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  65. ^ Official Statements on Christology.
  66. ^ Report on Catholic-Orthodox Relations
  67. ^ MacKinnon, Angus (25 January 2016). "500 years after reformation, Pope knocks on Lutherans' door". Yahoo News. Retrieved 22 February 2017. Pope Francis will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation by attending an ecumenical service in Sweden as a guest of the Lutheran Church, the Vatican said Monday. In a highly symbolic act of reconciliation that would even recently have been unthinkable for a Catholic pontiff, Francis will visit the Swedish city of Lund on 31 October for a commemoration jointly organised by his own inter-faith agency and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).
  68. ^ a b "Preparations to commemorate 500 years since the Reformation". Holy See Press Office. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  69. ^ "Pope Francis to travel to Sweden for joint Reformation commemoration". Vatican Radio. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  70. ^ Agnew, Paddy (25 January 2016). "Pope to attend ceremony marking 500 years since Reformation". The Irish Times. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  71. ^ Anderson, Christina (31 October 2016). "Pope Francis, in Sweden, Urges Catholic-Lutheran Reconciliation". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  72. ^ Methodist coverage of vote
  73. ^ Catholic coverage of vote
  74. ^ Bible translated into Kriol
  75. ^ "No Mass said in Mosul for first time in 1,600 years, says Archbishop". Christian Today.

Further reading

External links


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