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Sunday, May 01, 2005

Thoughts on ecumenism

Given the emphasis that Benedict XVI has put on ecumenism already in his brief reign so far, I've been thinking about this based on two different articles that I've read in the last few weeks.

The first article is Restoring Communion between East and West at Catholic World News. In summary, the article details the ups and downs of the ecumenical relationship between the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox Churches since Vatican II and how a recent symposium that was aimed at fostering academic debate stripped of institutional bias may prove to be the starting point of truly moving forward on the issue of a 'reunification' between East and West.

The second article is April 26: Anglicanism at Father Neuhaus' online journal at First Things. Father Neuhaus in his entry comments on the Anglican Communion in response to a comment he made in a previous entry and the response it evoked from readers who were upset. Neuhaus points out how despite early progress in ecumenical dialogue, the Anglicans in North America have basically driven the Communion to the point where John Cardinal Newman's comments about the Anglican Church's eventual collapse is at last happening at the dawn of the 21st century due to women priests, homosexuals living outwardly while in high office, etc.

I would say that these articles pretty much illustrate the two goals of the Roman Catholic Church as outlined by Benedict XVI as far as ecumenism.

1. Ending the schism between East and West in some meaningful way.

2. Re-evangelizing Western civilization from the ground up, since a lot of the Christian denominations are just too far gone for which the Catholic Church to have any meaningful agreement without compromising its fundamental principles.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm getting the feeling that what's holding true ecumenism back is silly politics and stubbornness in the East. Why is Catholic “proselytism” such a big deal? Is it not a problem that goes away the second we have communion? All the more reason to get on it! unum sint

Jacob said...

I agree with that, absolutely.

If they can just find their way around the issue of the papacy, I think everything would come together.