Office of Ecumenical &
From the Director…
“May it be one” – these were the words Jesus himself prayed on the night before he died (John 17:11). Evidently Jesus intended unity among us and the Father, as well as unity among ourselves as his disciples. How can we foster this unity in the face of so much painful division among Christians today?
We can learn to practice true ecumenism. Genuine ecumenism is not about convincing non-Catholics to become Catholics – or to pretend that we are not Catholic. Ecumenism is an attempt for mutual respect and understanding, a quest for members of different traditions and denominations to honor everything that unites them, even as they discuss respectfully the things that divide them. True ecumenism starts with mutual love and respect.
We pray for healing of all divisions, and we long for the day when all God’s people will be gathered around His table in complete unity and love.
Paragraph 44 of Pontificium Consilium Ad Christianorum Unitatem Fovendam (The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism) lists the following as functions of the Ecumenical Commission, and indicate our mission to the Church:
- Put into practice the decisions of the diocesan Bishop for implementing the teaching and directives of the Second Vatican Council on ecumenism, as well as those of the post-conciliar documents emanating from the Holy See, Synods of Eastern Catholic Churches and Episcopal Conferences.
- Maintain relations with the territorial ecumenical commission, adapting the latter's recommendations and advice to local conditions. When circumstances suggest, information about experiences and their results as well as other useful information should be sent to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
- Foster spiritual ecumenism according to the principles given in the conciliar Decree on Ecumenism and in other sections of this Directory about public and private prayer for the unity of Christians.
- Offer help and encouragement by such means as workshops and seminars for the ecumenical formation of both clergy and laity, for the appropriate realization of an ecumenical dimension to all aspects of life, and giving special attention as to how seminary students are prepared for the ecumenical dimension of preaching, catechetics and other forms of teaching, and pastoral activity (e.g., pastoral care in mixed marriages) etc.
- Promote friendliness and charity between Catholics and other Christians with whom full ecclesial communion does not yet exist according to the suggestions and guidelines given below (especially nn. 205-218).
- Initiate and guide conversations and consultations with them, bearing in mind the adaptation to be observed in accordance with the diversity of the participants and subjects of dialogue.
- Propose experts to undertake dialogue on the diocesan level with other Churches and ecclesial Communities.
- Promote, in collaboration with other diocesan bodies and with other Christians joint witness to Christian faith, to the extent that this is possible, as well as cooperation in such areas as education, public and private morality, social justice, matters connected with culture, learning and the arts.
- Propose to the Bishops the exchange of observers and guests on the occasion of important conferences, synods, installation of religious leaders and other similar occasions.
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