French Dominican theologian Cardinal Yves-Marie Congar once said: "We can pass through the doors of ecumenism only on our knees."
Ecumenism: May 2009 Archives
Theological: concerns with regard to matters of doctrine, Liturgy and theology;
Local: promotes the collaboration and cooperation between Christian communities living in the same place;
Social: refers to when the entire community is invited to participate in an activity to help others; matters of social concern affect everybody;
Spiritual: encourages praying together as in the Week of Prayer, for the intention of Christian unity and one's own conversion.
Restoring unity among all Christians: Unity in Diversity, Diversity in Unity
by Fr. John J. Keane, SA
Ecumenism refers to "the restoration of unity among all Christians." It comes from the Greek word oikoumene meaning the whole inhabited earth and is inspired by Jesus' prayer to his father, "that they may all be one" (John 17:21). Unity is seen as a gift from God that we already have, but that we must realize and accept. Christians have been encouraging common prayer, often referred to as spiritual ecumenism, since the 17th Century as a means to achieve unity. The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism called "prayer the soul of the ecumenical movement" and called the "reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ" a "holy objective."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church encourages ecumenism and urges dialogue among theologians and meetings among Christians of the different churches and communities and collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to mankind as expressions of Christian unity (820-822).
In Working for Unity, Fr. Emmanuel Sullivan, SA and his co-author Dennis Rudd write, "It cannot be said too often that the quest for unity does not imply a need, nor even a desire, for uniformity. Diversity is a mark of the Holy Spirit...and God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the very model of unity in diversity, diversity in unity."