Ecumenism

Why is the catholic church supporting Ecumenism? isnt there suppose to be only one faith and that is the catholic church? I thought there was no salvation outside the catholic church

Pope John Paul II

Christ calls all his disciples to unity. My earnest desire is to renew this call today, to propose it once more with determination, repeating what I said at the Roman Colosseum on Good Friday 1994, at the end of the meditation on the Via Crucis prepared by my Venerable Brother Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. **There I stated that believers in Christ, united in following in the footsteps of the martyrs, cannot remain divided. If they wish truly and effectively to oppose the world’s tendency to reduce to powerlessness the Mystery of Redemption, they must profess together the same truth about the Cross.**1 The Cross! An anti-Christian outlook seeks to minimize the Cross, to empty it of its meaning, and to deny that in it man has the source of his new life. It claims that the Cross is unable to provide either vision or hope. Man, it says, is nothing but an earthly being, who must live as if God did not exist.

vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25051995_ut-unum-sint_en.html

Hope that helps.

Jon

The best explanation is in the Vatican II document Unitatis Redintegratio (“restoration of unity”).

The purpose of ecumenism is to restore unity, just as the title of the document says—and that was done by design.

The ultimate goal of ecumenism is that all Christians will be Catholic. That’s quite a lofty goal, admittedly. There is no conflict between the doctrine of “no salvation outside the Church” and ecumenism because of the very fact that true ecumenism is ordered toward offering that very same salvation to everyone. Put simply, ecumenism is an invitation to join the fullness of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

It is not ecumenism that contradicts the will of Christ, but division. Ecumenism is intended to overcome and eliminate such divisions.

Here is the opening paragraph

  1. The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only. However, many Christian communions present themselves to men as the true inheritors of Jesus Christ; all indeed profess to be followers of the Lord but differ in mind and go their different ways, as if Christ Himself were divided. Such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages the holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature.

But the Lord of Ages wisely and patiently follows out the plan of grace on our behalf, sinners that we are. In recent times more than ever before, He has been rousing divided Christians to remorse over their divisions and to a longing for unity. Everywhere large numbers have felt the impulse of this grace, and among our separated brethren also there increases from day to day the movement, fostered by the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the restoration of unity among all Christians. This movement toward unity is called “ecumenical.” Those belong to it who invoke the Triune God and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, doing this not merely as individuals but also as corporate bodies. For almost everyone regards the body in which he has heard the Gospel as his Church and indeed, God’s Church. All however, though in different ways, long for the one visible Church of God, a Church truly universal and set forth into the world that the world may be converted to the Gospel and so be saved, to the glory of God.

The Sacred Council gladly notes all this. It has already declared its teaching on the Church, and now, moved by a desire for the restoration of unity among all the followers of Christ, it wishes to set before all Catholics the ways and means by which they too can respond to this grace and to this divine call.

vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_unitatis-redintegratio_en.html

As has been mentioned, the whole point of Catholic ecumenism is uniting all the Baptized in Catholic unity. It does not mean religious indifferentism.

It is more focused on reuniting ecclesial communities as bodies, rather than reconciling individuals, but reconciling individuals is just as important. They are complementary approaches.

This is correct. That’s why it’s important to bring everyone as close to the Church as possible. It’s hard to do if you treat non-Catholics like lepers.

Nobody’s talking about compromising Doctrine, just spreading it around more.

Just to add, working together toward common causes may also be a source of grace toward unity. St. Thomas More expressed this hope that Catholics and Protestants might be drawn together by cooperating in a common cause (in this case, repelling Turkish invaders):

I think also that ecumenical takes on much significance well spoken on in the Holy Fathers encyclical. We must evangelize ourselves also and by doing so this radiates outward and permeates the world.

So in a very real way this occurs not only virtually, but in reality parish to parish then outward community to community.

Good point! I have a friend whose parents have been missionaries in parts of Africa, where the only other Christians may be the missionaries in nearby villages who are of different communions. After a while, the bigger goal tends to overshadow the differences.

Jon

There isn’t salvation outside of the Church. But if we build walls, we can’t help those outside. We talk with them and work side by side people of other faith in a hope that we can be a witness to them.

If by Ecumenism you mean indifferentism, then that is a problem. Many of our Catholic brothers and sisters have become indifferent because of a lack of faith and a certain “unclarity” about the Church’s teachings. It DOES matter what you believe and there is only one Church founded by Jesus Christ.

Let us pray for our fallen away brethren that they may come home to Christ’s Church, and let us pray for unbelievers.

Peace,

Sean

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