Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Christian...Unity?!?

Many of my favorite Roman Catholic bloggers are doing an admirable job of observing this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, using resources prepared by The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and The Commission of Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.

As ever, I'm grateful for the prayers in word and song that Fr. Austin Fleming is posting this week on A Concord Pastor Comments. On Catholic Sensibility, Neil is providing easy access to the official suggested readings and questions for reflection.

Meanwhile, over at People for Others, Fr. Paul Brian Campbell, S.J. wonders if he actually wants to be "united with fundamentalists who think the situation in Haiti comes from a pact made with the devil." Nor is he keen on being aligned with "those who preach the 'Gospel of Prosperity.'" He asks readers, "Where are you on the issue of Christian Unity?"

Great question, Padre!

Please note that even the PCPCU hedges its ecumenical bets, an observation I'm basing on the list of churches and world communions with which the PCPCU is "engaged in an international theological dialogue." At the bottom of their list: "some Pentecostal groups." And below that: "The Council also seeks to promote meetings with Evangelicals." Could that sentence possibly be more carefully constructed?

If you ask me, I say Christian unity is way too ambitious a goal, even for one measly week during Ordinary Time. As for me and my house, we will aim for simple civility even toward Christians who are embarrassing jerks.

7 comments:

  1. It often seems that the Catholic Church wants other Christians to adjust to the teachings of Rome. I believe that is one thing that hurts the goal for Christian Unity. Yes, it is a huge goal,but one that we must work for. I agree..."simple civility" is a step in the right direction and it begins with our local neighborhood churches...and shouldn't be thought about for only one week in the year.

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  2. Anne,
    The Catholic Church wants Catholics to adjust to the teachings of Rome!

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  3. I'm all for "unity" in the sense of being able to partake in the Eucharist in other churches of the "holy, catholic, and apostolic" church. And I am more than happy to see Christians recognizing other Christians as such. You wouldn't believe how many people who say, when asked if someone is Catholic, "No, she's Christian." No, Protestant or No, Evangelical--but the idea that Catholics (and by extension, those of us who are Lutheran or Episcopalian or other denominations that don't have an "altar call") don't have faith in the same salvation, the same grace, and the same Christ they serve, is mind boggling.

    No, I don't want to become a Pentecostal or Evangelical anytime soon. I like my church. But I'd like to see people celebrating our common heritage and belief more, and dissing our differences less.

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  4. I love the post, I love anne's comment and I love your reply.

    I try to love other Christians. Like all other spiritual goals, it remains closer some days than others.

    Thank you for this thoughtful post; I have not been able to touch the topic, but like you, I read, I pray.

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  5. I'm a fundamentalist, a Protesant who does not hold to the "pack with the devil" but does not dismiss, out of hand, that God is sovereign is all things. Our role is not to judge, but to serve our Redeemer and Savior with our time, talents and treasure. The people of Hati certainly need the Lord: they also need water and foods, medical help and neither the "gospel of prosperity" nor the "gospel of devil pacts" will provide those. People do. Not ideologies. I would pray the the PCPCU would focus on people of faith, not "leaders" of small movements.

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  6. Theological expositions often leave me befuddled. I guess that uniformity needs to be distinguished from unity, and while structures and institutions may impose uniformity, unity moves beyond structures and labels to remind that it is relational. Love your neighbour as yourself is relational, not contractual or merely structural, and an end in itself.

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