What exactly is "Christian Unity"?


#1

So another week dedicated to Christian Unity has ended.

What exactly is “Christian Unity”?

And how do we accomplish it?


#2

When everyone becomes Catholic like it was before the East-West Schism.


#3

Here’s what Pope John Paul II says in Ut Unum Sint:

In effect, this unity bestowed by the Holy Spirit does not merely consist in the gathering of people as a collection of individuals. It is a unity constituted by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments and hierarchical communion.

The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? The Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae attributes to human dignity the quest for truth, “especially in what concerns God and his Church”,33 and adherence to truth’s demands. A “being together” which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart.

Likewise, he also quotes St. Augustine in the same document:

Saint Augustine, after showing that Christ is “the one Shepherd, in whose unity all are one”, goes on to exhort: “May all shepherds thus be one in the one Shepherd; may they let the one voice of the Shepherd be heard; may the sheep hear this voice and follow their Shepherd, not this shepherd or that, but the only one; in him may they all let one voice be heard and not a babble of voices … the voice free of all division, purified of all heresy, that the sheep hear”.

St. Augustine in the Confessions also explains how where there is virtue there is unity and where there is no virtue there is discord. So the first step in achieving unity is seeking personal sanctification and also educating oneself in the truth.

Then, we can enter into fruitful dialogue with separated Christians. The hierarchy of truths approach is a good one–this does not mean one truth is more important than another, but that some truths are built on others. So if you try to go straight to discussing one particular truth when you don’t agree yet on the premises underlying it, you’ll get nowhere fast.

For example, talking about Marian devotion with someone who doesn’t understand the idea of the communion of saints first or discussing papal infallibility with someone who doesn’t accept a hierarchical structure of the church, would both be fruitless.

This is why dialogue is key–you have to figure out and understand where you already agree and then build from there.

Finally, we must pray always as unity is a gift of the Holy Spirit.


#4

I would just like to add some wise words of St. Pius X (who first approved this octave locally, Benedict XV made it it unversal) that are good to remember if we ever get discouraged by a lack of tangible results:

“It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it.”


#5

Go back further–the non-Chalcedonian schism and all preveious and subsequent heresies and schisms all need to be healed in truth and charity.


#6

Go back further–the non-Chalcedonian schism and all preveious and subsequent heresies and schisms all need to be healed in truth and charity.

For what it’s worth, non-Chalcedonian Christologies are really a dead issue in these Churches. If they were ever more than mere terminological differences, they are no more than that now.

Remember that Patriarch Dinkha of the Assyrian (supposedly Nestorian) Church and Pope John Paul II signed a concordat of Christological agreement.


#7

As long as Protestants exist, Christian Unity is an oxymoron.


#8

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