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The Ecumenical Gift Exchange
O'Gara, Margaret
Michael Glazier (The Liturgical Press), 1998
ISBN: 978-0-8146-5893-2


In his encyclical on the Church's commitment to ecumenism Ut Unum Sint, Pope John Paul II writes, "Dialogue is not simply an exchange of ideas." In some way it is always an "exchange of gifts." In topical essays, The Ecumenical Gift Exchange looks at what ecumenical dialogue can teach us about the papacy, teaching authority, feminism, dissent, infallibility, Eucharist, grace, women's ordination, and the future of the Church. Ecumenical dialogue allows the many Christian communions to enhance and exchange their distinctive gifts so that divisions can be overcome. In its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council says, "... through the common sharing of gifts and through the common effort to attain fullness in unity, the whole and each of the parts receive increase." Done in a spirit of repentence and renewal, the exchange of gifts enables the healing and enrichment of all Christian communions.

The essays in The Ecumenical Gift Exchange are erudite yet accessible and relevant to a wide audience. Since the essays are topical, they can be used independently in courses or discussion groups. Readers, theology professors and students, members of ecumenical dialogues, ecumenical officers of Christian Churches, ordained ministers, religious educators, and interested laity—will find O'Gara's analogy of ecumenism as a gift exchange intriguing and encouraging. The Ecumenical Gift Exchange is a call to action for all Christians. The work of unity is the vocation of all Christians and the work of the Holy Spirit among us.

The essays: "On the Road toward Unity: The Present Dialogue among the Churches," "Purifying Memories and Exchanging Gifts: Recent Orientations of the Magisterium in Ecumenism," "Listening to Forgotten Voices: The French Minority Bishops of Vatican I and Infallibility," "Reconceptualizing Infallibility in Ecumenical Dialogue: Epistemology, Ecclesiology, and the Issue of Reception," "Reception as Key: Unlocking ARCIC on Infallibility," "Understanding 'A Certain, Though Imperfect' Communion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics," "Ecumenism, Dissent, and the Roman Catholic Church: Shifts Below the Surface of the Debate," "Ecumenism and Feminism in Dialogue on Authority," "Formation for Transformation: The Ecumenical Directory Sets a Big Agenda," and "Roman Catholic Theology Today: A Guide for the Perplexed in a Time of Renewal."