In defense of the west, you are cordially invited to join our new foundation to help create…
This invitation is the result of years of work and reflection. Our western culture, sadly, has turned from the “path of life” indicated to us by the Hebrew prophets, and by all the saints down through the ages, and, above all, by Christ himself. Our Church seems hesitant, and sadly divided. And the greatest, oldest division is that between Catholics and Orthodox, West and East, Latin and Greek. In the East, in the “heartland” of the Orthodox, in 1917, an atheist movement overthrew Orthodox Christian Russia, then spread until it conquered half of once-Christian Europe. For many of us, the images of Lenin gesticulating, Czar Nicholas and his five lovely children executed in a basement in Ekaterinburg, gaunt political prisoners freezing in the gulags of Siberia, are in our minds and memories… in our hearts. And the ideas of that regime have spread everywhere. The suffering of so many in Russia, Eastern Europe and in the West over the past century, has moved us to act…
The Vision of Pope Emeritus Benedict and now Pope Francis
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, is now 86 years old. He spoke beautifully and eloquently powerful words of faith, of self-sacrifice, and of holiness at a time when many did not want to hear those words.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was a lonely voice in our world. The vast cultural transformation which has occurred in the West since the 1960s has seen a dramatic decline in the public expression of the Christian faith throughout the West. Many of the traditions, values, beliefs, which once seem sacred and invulnerable to attack or change are now under direct challenge. Pope Francis continues with this desire to overcome a 1,000 years of division.
One of the great themes of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s pontificate was the theme of Christian unity, especially unity between Catholics and Orthodox—an end to the greatest schism in Christianity, dating from 1054 A.D. In his first homily as Pope, on April 20, 2005, he said his “primary” task would be to work tirelessly to unify all followers of Christ. He repeated that pledge May 29, 2005, on his first journey as Pope, to Italy’s Adriatic seaport of Bari—a pilgrimage site for many Russian Orthodox because it was the see of their beloved St. Nicholas—and called on ordinary Catholics to also take up the ecumenical cause. We wish to be among those “ordinary Catholics” who take up that cause.
Our Vision. Our Plans. Our Invitation to Step Forward.
The vision of our new Foundation may be summarized as: “Let us work together to defend our common beliefs.” We invite you to step forward with us. If you who wish to be a member of this Foundation, contact us and we will enroll you. You will receive regular reports on what we are doing.
No money is required to join but we need financial support, some initial “seed money” to launch this initiative. We are hoping to find 100 “founding sponsors” of this new Foundation, each of whom will pledge $2,500, for a total initial amount of $250,000. We invite you to become a Founding Sponsor. Any amount will be helpful, so send what you can.
With these funds, we will be able to launch our work to build an alliance with the Orthodox. The initial 100 donors will be enrolled as Founding Sponsors and invited to and made aware of often private meetings with Catholic and Orthodox leaders ranging from Cardinal Peter Erdo of Budapest, Hungary, to Metropolitan Hilarion himself, in venues ranging from Rome to Washington to Budapest to Moscow.
Our first year’s budget includes the following items:
Administration: $20,000 (travel, visas, general operations)
Family and society events: $50,000 (a conference or several workshops on family life and traditional family values, with media coverage, a documentary film and other forms of social media communication)
Education: $50,000 (joint projects between Orthodox and Catholics on the formation of young people, high school through college—could be academic programs, after school or Saturday social service projects, religiously-inspired leadership training, summer camp programs, summer seminar series involving Orthodox and Catholic young people where they do a week session with leading Catholic and Orthodox thinkers, including Vatican officials, or some European or American lay Catholic intellectual)
Religious Formation: $20,000 (a common pilgrimage to one Orthodox and one Catholic site)
Children’s programs: $15,000 (a common effort to work with children, perhaps with the L’Arche Community, which is well known for its work with the disabled and orphans)
Elderly programs: $15,000 (retirement homes, meal programs, social and spiritual activities)
A Catholic/Orthodox Forum: $25,000 (modeled on the 2006 Catholic-Orthodox conference in Vienna, Austria, at which Catholic and Orthodox leaders began to talk openly with one another about how to “give a soul to Europe”)
Joint cultural programs, concerts: $50,000 (modeled on concerts in 2007 in Rome, Moscow, New York, Washington and Boston, and in 2010 in the Vatican, which led to deeper appreciation the common elements of our cultural tradition)
Please support this new Foundation
All contributions are tax-deductible under U.S. law; we will send a receipt from our 501(c)(3) non-profit to be used for your tax filing purposes. I would be grateful if you would join with me in this initiative.