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The sweet song of Christian unity

Our Lord and his apostles used many figures of speech to describe the Church. From our beloved St. Paul: “We are God’s fellow labourers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9). “You are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Cor. 12:27). Or Jesus’ words: “Fear not, little flock” (Luke 12:32a). “I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:5a).

Many of us have admired a well-ordered cathedral, such as St. Paul’s, London, or All Saints, Nairobi. We recognise — almost unconsciously — the beauty of the human person, of a pastoral scene or vineyard. No wonder they make fitting images for the Church, the heavenly Jerusalem, a city “at unity with itself” (Ps. 122:3).

Our experience of the Church’s unity tends to fall short of these glorious figures. We see “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions” (see Gal. 5:19-21).

In recognition of this, Anglicans have turned to other images over the past 14 years: among them, “walking together in synodality,” “walking apart,” or even “walking at a distance.” This language proves useful, vividly illustrating different degrees or intensities of communion: some choose to be close; some go their own way; some wander onto the wrong path.

Through such images, we see how harmony, order, and unity are gifts received, but also unwrapped and used. A field must be cultivated, a building maintained, a vine pruned.
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Posted: January 18, 2017 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=9621
Categories: ACNS, OpinionIn this article: Anglican, WPCU
Transmis : 18 janvier 2017 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=9621
Catégorie : ACNS, OpinionDans cet article : Anglican, WPCU


The Challenges of Ecumenism

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, in 2014When we think of Church teachings that are uncomfortable to discuss and difficult to live up to these days our minds tend to go to controversial issues like that of contraception, homosexuality, gender and so forth. Yet, in many ways, the Church’s views on ecumenism are for many even more uncomfortable. On this topic, however, it is all too easy to say yes, yes with one’s lips, while denying and undermining this teaching in practice.

Ecumenism is the attempt to strengthen unity between the diverse Christian Churches through dialogue about doctrine, prayer in common, cooperation in good works and other means that deepen mutual understanding and growth. In the case of the Catholic Church, these endeavours are also motivated by a desire that our Churches may unite in full communion, however remote that hope may seem to our eyes here and now.

A key to the possibility of any ecumenism lies in a few basic realizations. The first is that we are all genuinely Christians, baptized into the body of Christ. This entails that there is always more that unites us than what divides us. The important essentials of the faith: the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the role that baptism plays in drawing us into the participation of the divine life are all unifying features of Christian life. In this respect, we should be grateful for the profound unity that already does exist among the majority of Christian communities (Unitatis Redintegratio, no. 3).
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Posted: August 29, 2017 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=9742
Categories: OpinionIn this article: Catholic, ecumenism
Transmis : 29 aoüt 2017 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=9742
Catégorie : OpinionDans cet article : Catholic, ecumenism


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