October 23, 2012 Martin Mallon (Ireland) Martin's previous articles
Vatican II Success Story?
his Apostolic letter, of
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to draw up a Note, providing the
Church and individual believers with some guidelines on how to live this Year of
Faith in the most effective and appropriate ways, at the service of belief and
Note with pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith can be read here
recommendations given in this Note come under four different headings, but the
one that concerns us here is included in the Recommendations to the
the Year of Faith, in cooperation with the Pontifical Council for the Promotion
of Christian Unity, various ecumenical initiatives are to be planned, aimed at
“the restoration of unity among all Christians” which
“is one of the principal concerns of the Second
is a real fruit of Vatican II which opened the Catholic Church to ecumenical
dialogue with the Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis
Redintigratio. The last sentence of the above paragraph is striking
“there will be a solemn ecumenical celebration in which all of the baptized
will reaffirm their faith in Christ.” It is also something beautiful and
meaningful as it is answering a direct request of Jesus “May they all be one,
just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us,
so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.” John 17:21.
is also fulfilling the vision of the Church in Lumen Gentium No 15:
Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being
baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the
faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor
of Peter. For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a
norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly
believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour.
They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ.
31 relates in a similar way:
faithful are by baptism made one body with Christ and are constituted among the
People of God; they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly,
prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ; and they carry out for their own
part the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world.
is clear from reading Lumen Gentium that baptism unites all Christians in
Christ. (A tautology, but worth stating). The full text of Lumen Gentium can be
ecumenism is one of the greatest unused tools of evangelisation. Imagine if the
Christian Churches could be, and seen to be, united on many issues, how
Christ’s request in John 17:21, that “May they all be one”, would
demonstrate that Christians do practice Christianity and are united in Christ.
What a wonderful witness of Christ for the rest of humanity. Let us hope there
will be many similar events.
It appears that the date, venue and format of this particular ecumenical event has yet to be announced. It will be a step towards the Church as envisioned by Vatican II, let us all pray and do what we can to ensure that it will be a huge success. Come Holy Spirit.