January 19, 2005

Holy See encourages ecumenical dialogue

Yahoo! News is running the following story from AFP today: Christian unity* must be goal of every Catholic, says Pope
Unifying the various branches of Christianity should be the goal of every Catholic, Pope John Paul II told pilgrims at his weekly general audience as he promoted a week of prayer for Christian unity.

He said the week of prayer was "dedicated to reflection and prayer on the need for all the baptized to work for the restoration of full Christian unity."

"The pain of separation is felt with ever more intensity," the pontiff said, adding that the world awaited a "clear and unanimous" worship by all believers in Christ...
I wonder how many other Christian denominations or identity groups have an organized prayer event focused on church unity? If you know of others, drop us a line in the comments.

You might also like to check out the resources available for this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at the site of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. (And by the way, I wonder how many other denominations or identity groups have an executive level council for the promotion of church unity?) While you're at it, just check out the front end of the Vatican's site. It's incredibly well done.

*If you're not sure why church unity matters, read this. Then read this.


At 1:35 PM, Blogger Karl Thienes said...

"I wonder how many other Christian denominations or identity groups have an organized prayer event focused on church unity?"

The Orthodox do—we pray for unity at every single Divine Liturgy!

The 3rd Great Litany, at the very beginning of the Liturgy reads:

"For peace of the whole world, for the stability of the holy churches of God, AND FOR THE UNITY OF ALL, let us pray to the Lord." (emphasis added)

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has long been the standard to judge pseudo-Christian cults by the fact that they preach a gospel that bases salvation on "Jesus and _________."

Sadly, this same standard can be applied to the Roman Catholic Church, whose own online doctrinal statements show it to be strongly in the "Jesus and _________" camp.

There was a reason Martin Luther pounded his doctrinal statement concerning the errors of the RCC on the door of the Wittenburg Church. Unless I missed something in the last few centuries, those errors have mostly gone uncorrected by the RCC.

Ecumenism for ecumenism's sake is the sure recipe for error, compromise, and the eventual abandonment of the true Gospel.


At 3:49 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Karl, by "ALL" do you mean people like me?

DLE, if you read carefully you'll see that I wasn't endorsing Roman Catholic theology with my post, but rather pointing out something about today's Roman Catholic Church that I find to be biblical and worth emulating. Do I feel that the Roman Catholic Church has some theological problems? Yes, definitely. But do I feel that my own Christian tradition, the Baptist tradition, has some theological problems? Yes, definitely. In fact, do I think any past or present Christian body has a 100% accurate view of any aspect of theology--ecclesiology, Christology, pneumatology, or eschatology? Nope.

Do you?

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Karl Thienes said...

"Do you mean people like me?"

LOL! Yes, my friend, even (shudder!) the likes of you!

(insert a wink and a grin here!)

Seriously though, praying for everyone (not just non-Orthodox Christians, but all human beings) to be truly unified in Christ through the Holy Spirit by means of the Church is a huge part of the Orthodox ethos. It is understood that this prayer must begin with each of us, personally, as we strive, with God’s grace, to enter into the fullness of the Christian Faith ourselves.

As St. Seraphim of Sarov said, "Be filled with the Holy Spirit and thousands around you will be saved."

Praying for unity each Liturgy reminds us constantly of this particular aspect of the Church's mission.

At 7:44 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

*Rubs eyes*

I must be getting tired...I thought I just saw you write "non-Orthodox Christians..." I'd better go to bed!


At 3:36 PM, Blogger Drina said...

I'm kinda sorta kinda going along with DLE on this one. Unity is, of course, something that all Christians should pray for fervently. But our definition of unity is likely very different than the Pope's. When Catholics are urged to pray for Christian unity, the goal is not to bring Christians together in fellowship, but for all non-Catholics to give up their disagreements and differences with Roman Catholicism. Unity, according to the Pope, requires Protestants to become Catholics that accept the official doctrines and practices of Rome. Although I was baptized into the Catholic Church, it does not allow me to participate as a member because I don't believe in things like the Immaculate Conception or Purgatory.

As I said before, unity is certainly something to strive for, but for me it's a matter of adhering to the fundamentals of the faith while accepting other Christians with whom I may disagree. I can't become Catholic just for the sake of unity.


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