Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ecumenism

Ecumenism is the quest for unity of all of Christianity. It involves doctrine, dialogue, prayer, and truth. Both JPII and Benedict have a passion for the unity of Christianity. But, it won't come quick or easy.

Recently PBXVI has written and talked extensively on ecumenism. Let me highlight some of it.

-On the prayer for unity that Jesus prays in the high priestly prayer in the Gospel of John, he said:
The task of Christ's disciples, the task of each of us, is therefore to tend toward that unity, in such a way that we become, as Christians, the visible sign of his saving message, addressed to every human being.
-Here is a great reminder of how we should approach our non-Catholic brothers and sisters:
We know very well that it is not we who will heal the wounds of division and re-establish unity; we are simple instruments that God will be able to employ. Unity among Christians will be a gift of God, in his time of grace. Let us humbly tend toward that day, growing in love, in mutual forgiveness and in mutual trust.
In reflecting on the problems we all face, he said:
We note much progress in the field of ecumenism and yet we always await something more. Allow me to draw attention to two questions for today, in somewhat greater detail. The first concerns the charitable service of the churches. There are many brothers and sisters who expect from us the gift of love, of trust, of witness, of spiritual and concrete material help. I referred to this problem in my first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est," in which I said: "Love of neighbor, grounded in the love of God, is first and foremost a responsibility for each individual member of the faithful, but it is also a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community at every level: from the local community to the particular Church and to the Church universal in its entirety. As a community, the Church must practice love" (No. 20).
He continues:
The second question to which I want to refer concerns married life and family life. We know that among Christian communities, called to witness to love, the family occupies a special place. In today's world, in which international and intercultural relations are multiplying, it happens increasingly often that young people from different traditions, different religions, or different Christian denominations, decide to start a family. For the young people themselves and for those dear to them, it is often a difficult decision that brings with it various dangers concerning both perseverance in the faith and the future structuring of the family, the creation of an atmosphere of unity in the family and of suitable conditions for the spiritual growth of the children.
If you want the full text of his speech. You can get it here.