Ecumenism: where the rubber hits the road


#1

Our Pope has called us to be ecumenical. What does that mean to you?

Specifically, what can we as a devout Catholic Faith community do to reconnect the broken-away branches of Christianity with the “original trunk”?

How do you see the longed for reunification of the Church coming about?

What sorts of things are you already doing, or know about someone else doing, to achieve this goal, for which we pray at every Mass?


#2

Hi !:bounce:

Let me start out by saying what ecuminism is NOT…it is NOT the watering down of our faith to try to appeal to as broad a base as possible. Unfortunately since VII some people have gotten the idea that the reunion of christianity will happen by people sitting down in committees and voting on what they will agree on and ignoring everything else. That’s nonsense. There are great differences that separate us from our protestant and orthodox brethren and watering stuff down is insulting to our great Catholic faith and theirs as well. The reunion of christianity is not going to happen through committees, commissions, and so called “experts”…its going to happen through our interactions with our separated brethren in the everyday, at work, etc. through personal witness. I’d say ecuminism starts when we realize what we do have in common and go from there. Our separated brethren aren’t too far off…they are just missing the fullness of faith. Our job is to let them know what they’re missing and to correct any misconceptions they have…the rest is up to God.

In terms of how it will come about…my prediction is it will come about through conversion…at least with protestants. Unfortunately over the centuries since the reformation the faith that they inherited has gotten watered down to the point that in some denominations it is no different than what the world teaches is truth. The gates of hell have prevailed in many cases. The troubles in the Episcopal church are only one example. I think that the people who are truly devoted to Christ will reject the secularization of christianity that is occuring in these churches and return home to the One Church. With our Orthodox brethren it may be a little more difficult as there are MANY old wounds that need healing but I think they will eventually come back into communion with the Bishop of Rome.

How do we do this? Hang out with people who aren’t Catholics! They will never know the fullness of faith if we stay cooped up in our ivory towers! I came to know Christ through an evangelical protestant fellowship…I still hang out with them. Sometimes I get weird questions from people but I try very hard not to be offended because I know that for the most part, they are not anti-catholic, but just honest-to-God ignorant! Some of them have never met a Catholic in their entire life! We have plenty of educating to do people!

Pray, pray,pray, PRAY for unity!!!
I try to be optimistic that one day all believers will be united under one Roman Pontiff so that we can get back to saving the rest of humanity. I think Satan shudders at that day…

Just my two cents:tiphat:


#3

Very well put Jadesfire. I agree we need to be true to our faith, not try to change it to make it seemingly more palatable to non-Catholics.

I also agree we need to hang out with non-Catholics, assuming we are confident in our own faith not to be swayed by others. And of course, prayer must be instrumental for the process to work.


#4

I agree with Jadesfire when she says we should hang out with non-Catholics. However, a good thing to do prior to this is to be well catechized! The last thing I would want is for a Catholic to go hang with non-Catholics and be misrepresenting the faith, both for that Catholic’s sake and the sake of the ones with whom he is in dialogue.

If we understand the claims of the Church, then we know that we have the fullness of religion, out of all the religions there are Catholicism has more truth and authentic religious practice than any alternatives. Beginning from this position, it seems that we could make some good progress, so long as we also remember the further teaching of Lumen Gentium (and the CCC) when these docs assert that there is much truth in the various other religions, and that truth comes about insofar as any given religion assents to the truths contained in Catholicism. So, it’s a gradation away from the fullness of Catholicism that we see in the world’s religions, including E. Orthodoxy and Protestantism.

It seems to me that if we grasp all of this and try to live it out we will be confident (though hopefully not arrogant) as the ones who are on the side of the most truth. And we will always acknowledge the vast amounts of truth contained in E. Orthodoxy and certain branches of Protestantism. In fact, I think it would be a good practice to begin our conversations with other “Christians” by acknowledging openly and up front what we see that is good in their particular Christian tradition. And only then do we move to any critique of it. Lastly, we need to be as sympathetic as possible to the cares and concerns of non-Catholic Christians. People generally respond well to others who are actually sympathetic with their views and why they hold to them.


#5

Can this possibly describe how Christ is one with the Father?

Christ loves the father as he loves HIMSELF.
The Father loves Christ as he loves HIMSELF.

Could Christ love the Father in any greater way?

If we are created in the image of God; would it make sense if the words of the greatest commandments had a greatest meaning for the Father and Christ also?

The greatest commandments could be compared to a hook to HANG your coat on; without the hook the coat falls on the floor.

When Christianity fails to HANG on the greatest commandments, Christianity falls, and we have schisms.

Christ said all the law and the prophets HANG on the greatest commandments.

What else is in the Bible apart from an explanation of the law and the prophets of God?

Again if the greatest commandments were written for God.

God loves himself and all that he does.

God loves all his children as he loves himself.

Could all the laws and the prophets of creation HANG on these two commandments.

When you ask the question; why did Christ say they are the greatest commandment, can it be because God can do nothing greater and man can do nothing greater.

If we search for what is greatest for God; then we can search in the same way for what is greatest for man.

If we are to talk seriously about Christian Unity; would it make sense to put the greatest into place first; the greatest

represents the spirit of the law.

If you were to search for a greatest way for man to use the greatest commandments, you could put the Bible away for a while and ask the following questions to search for the spirit of the law.

1 HOW CAN WE ALL LOVE GOD THE CREATOR ABOVE ALL ELSE, UNCONDITIONALY?

2 HOW CAN WE LOVE PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS AS WE LOVE OURSELVES UNCONDITIONALY?

3 HOW CAN WE LOVE PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT TO US AS WE LOVE OURSELVES UNCONDITIONALLY?

4 HOW CAN WE LOVE ALL OUR NEIGHBOURS AS WE LOVE OURSELVES, UNCONDITIONALY?

I believe in one God the creator of all that is seen and unseen, and when I walk through town I see a part of God’s creation.

I see people who could be atheist, Catholic, Muslim, Anglican; Hindu, and all manor of people all created by the same God.

peace
Eric


#6

[quote=Makerteacher]Specifically, what can we as a devout Catholic Faith community do to reconnect the broken-away branches of Christianity with the “original trunk”?

How do you see the longed for reunification of the Church coming about?

[/quote]

Hold the Faith.

Preach the Faith.

Live the Faith.

And you will attract Separated Brethren to the Faith.

Like me. :smiley:

DaveBj


#7

The way to bring more people into the fold is exactly the way used by apostolates like Catholic Answers: Evangelize. Jesus told His Apostles to go out into the world and make disciples. If we want more unity, then we need to bring everyone into the fold of Christ within the true faith by teaching TRUE Catholicism.

During the Counter-Reformation, Saints like Francis de Sales went out and preached the Gospel, bringing people back from heresy, superstition, and falsehood. We need a modern day Counter-Reformation.
Peace,
Ryan


#8

I appreciate the replies so far and hope more people chime in. This is a burning desire of mine, to see Christianity reunited.

I know that JPII has been a very ecumenical Pope and has taken some heat for his views from really hardline orthodox Catholics. In my study of ecumenism, which I have only just begun, what I keep reading over and over is to find the Truths we all share as Christians, and then discuss (NOT argue) the truths we disagree on. In my understandiong, 99% of those come down to the issue of authority, which most Protestant reject and many Catholics as well, sadly.

I recently was accused of “watering down” my Catholic faith by meeting monthly with a non-denominational Bible study group. I was told basically that they would “woo me away” with their “false teachings” etc etc etc. I was astonished to receive what I considered such a narrow minded attack for what I saw as an opportunity to be ecumenical.

How many people reading this have any sort of inter-church events or relationships? Do you (as a parish or Catholic organization)socialize purposefully with other Christian denominations or join them in events like praying outside abortion clinics, raising houses for the poor, etc etc?

How can we reconnect the divergent paths??


#9

I work in a coffee shop, and talk to all kinds of people about all kinds of things, including Catholicism. I don’t work there as a means of ecumenizing but it has brought me several opportunities to share the faith. For the most part people ask me “what’s the Catholic Church’s position on (whatehaveyou)?” and I tell them. Or somebody says something derogatory about the Church and I say “not so,” and inform them a bit more on whatever they were uninformed on.

I did work briefly at this cafe with a Protestant, a student from a nearby Christian college. He challenged me on all the standard issues. We talked in depth about the papacy. I very much did not enjoy the experience. I am perfectly willing to share the faith but I don’t feel called to seek out such opportunities by, say, finding and joining an interfaith bible-study group. I applaud the efforts of some (like you, makerteacher) to do so … may God inspire more people with such love of his Chuch! But I’m rather sure it isn’t (presently) God’s calling to me.


#10

Hello Makerteacher,

[quote=Makerteacher] In my study of ecumenism, which I have only just begun, what I keep reading over and over is to find the Truths we all share as Christians, and then discuss (NOT argue) the truths we disagree on. In my understandiong, 99% of those come down to the issue of authority, which most Protestant reject and many Catholics as well, sadly.

[/quote]

On the issue of authority Christ is the head of the church; but is he also the servant to all, he washed the feet of his disciples. He did not seem to claim authority on Earth.
The Pope may be the head of the church now, but if he followed in the footsteps of Christ, would he also be the servant to all the Bishops bellow him? Would the Bishops be the servants to all the clergy below them? How should authority work in the church of Christ?

peace

Eric


#11

[quote=DaveBj]Hold the Faith.
Preach the Faith.
Live the Faith.
And you will attract Separated Brethren to the Faith.
Like me. :smiley:
DaveBj
[/quote]

I agree. I think the most important thing to do is to live our faith and understand it ourselves. 1 Peter 3:15 says to be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have. We must develop and nurture this hope! I wrote the following as part of another thread, commenting on barriers to evangelism, but it also applies to ecumenism:

[font=Arial]*Many have become disillusioned by legalism, racism, selfishness, failure to love those with whom we disagree. We have only to read some of the threads here to see brewing anger that has not been offered up but is instead turned against our own, and to learn of churches which judge instead of help. Many have quoted, “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary use words.” We certainly need to do both. In American society, nothing will turn away a young person faster than hypocrisy. I am enthralled by the Christians worldwide who endure severe persecution for their faith. I am grateful for my freedom to practice my faith, and ashamed when I am afraid to endure even mild persecution. Catholics are historically the best when it comes to serving via the Works of Mercy. *[/font]
[font=Arial]**[/font]
[font=Arial]Unity of Christianity would be a tremendous advance toward making disciples of the un-evangelized nations.[/font]
[font=Arial][/font]
[font=Arial]Thanks for starting this thread![/font]
[font=Arial][/font]
[font=Arial]Ellen[/font]


#12

I agree. I had stated this in a previous thread, but I think it might bear repeating here: what a formidable force for God the Christian Church would be in this world if we could reconcile our differences and be in full communion with one another. We must always keep working towards this goal, as Jesus prayed we would. Amen.

Peace to all…


#13

[quote=Eric Hyom]Hello Makerteacher,

On the issue of authority Christ is the head of the church; but is he also the servant to all, he washed the feet of his disciples. He did not seem to claim authority on Earth.
The Pope may be the head of the church now, but if he followed in the footsteps of Christ, would he also be the servant to all the Bishops bellow him? Would the Bishops be the servants to all the clergy below them? How should authority work in the church of Christ.
[/quote]

You’ve got it right. Our clergy are servants of the Church, and they serve us, the faithful.
Just as Christ instructed Peter, the first pope, three times to “feed my sheep,” the Holy Father nourishes our souls by guiding the entire Church worldwide.
Bishops serve their entire dioceses.
Each priest serves his parish.
The priests celebrate Mass for us each and every day, not just on Sundays.
They administer other sacraments also, baptizing, annointing the sick, absolving us of our sins as Christ taught them "if you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them."
Our bishops and priests are like shepherds, and we are the flock. They tend the sheep for their Master.

Pax Christi. <><


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