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Christian Concourse

Selections from John Paul II on Christian Unity

 

[Editor's Note: Though Christian Concourse is certainly not "against" Roman Catholics, this page, on the other hand, is NOT intended to indicate, in any way, our endorsement of Roman Catholicism.  Please understand that we include these thoughts from the Roman Catholic orbit of Christianity because there are sincere, fervent, authentic Christians in the Roman Catholic orbit of "The Body of Christ."  The essential truths noted below by John Paul II stand on their own merit.  Read honestly, thoughtfully!]

 

One of the advantages of ecumenism is that it helps Christian Communities to discover the unfathomable riches of the truth. Here too, everything that the Spirit brings about in "others" can serve for the building up of all Communities and in a certain sense instruct them in the mystery of Christ. Authentic ecumenism is a gift at the service of truth. (UUS no. 38)

 

 

On the other hand, Catholics must gladly acknowledge and esteem the truly Christian endowments for our common heritage which are to be found among our separated brethren. It is right and salutary to recognize the riches of Christ and virtuous works in the lives of others who are bearing witness to Christ, sometimes even to the shedding of their blood. For God is always wonderful in his works and worthy of all praise.

Nor should we forget that anything wrought by grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brethren can contribute to our own edification. Whatever is truly Christian is never contrary to what genuinely belongs to the the faith; indeed, it can always bring a more perfect realization of the very mystery of Christ and the Church. (UR no. 4)

 

 

Love gives rise to the desire for unity, even in those who have never been aware of the need for it. Love builds communion between individuals and between Communities. If we love one another, we strive to deepen our communion and make it perfect. Love is given [by] God as the perfect source of communion-the unity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit-that we may draw from that source the strength to build communion between individuals and Communities, or to re-establish it between Christians still divided. Love is the great undercurrent which gives life and adds vigour to the movement towards unity. (UUS 21)

 

 

This love finds its most complete expression in common prayer. When brothers and sisters who are not in perfect communion with one another come together to pray, the Second Vatican Council defines their prayer as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement. This prayer is "a very effective means of petitioning for the grace of unity", "a genuine expression of the ties which even now bind Catholics to their separated brethren" [UR 8].  Even when prayer is not specifically offered for Christian unity, but for other intentions such as peace, it actually becomes an expression and confirmation of unity. The common prayer of Christians is an invitation to Christ himself to visit the community of those who call upon him: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mt 18:20). (UUS 21)

 

 

Copied from the website of The Augustine Club - Columbia University.

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