What is Ecumenism?

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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."

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Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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This page contains a single entry by Paul Zalonski published on May 2, 2009 9:00 AM.

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