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Vatican official: ecumenism is not political compromise

October 04, 2011

Bishop Brian Farrell, a priest of the Legionaries of Christ who serves as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told Aid to the Church in Need that “ecumenism is not like intergovernmental or international politics where you have a common goal and you can make compromises on how to get there--where there are strategies and tactics and so on.”

He added:

Ecumenism is discovering what God wants and how He wants it. Now, we know that Christ’s will for the Church is unity; he prayed for this the night before he died. We know that this unity has been broken almost from the very beginning. Our ecumenical effort is to discover today how this will of Christ should be understood and be put into practice. It also has to deal with not just personal relationships. It has to do, above all, with what we call communion. Communion means participating, sharing in all of those gifts, all of those graces that Christ has transmitted to the Church through the Holy Spirit.

Ecumenism is a matter of all of us being better recipients of all that Christ wants to come alive in His Church. As you can see it is a very profound and very difficult question. It involves not just thought, not just theology, it involves above all living the Christian life.

Bishop Farrell emphasized that while the Catholic Church has ecumenical relations with all of the individual Orthodox churches, “our theological dialogue with the Orthodox cannot be with individual Orthodox churches. We have agreed from the very beginning that it has to be with all of them together because all of them together form a unity.”


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