The main objective is to help the student enter wholeheartedly into the Church’s commitment to the cause of Christian unity, making it his own. The course will therefore impart knowledge concerning what ecumenism is, the dialogues that have been set up, the different kinds of ecumenism, the progress that has been made, where we have reached and what still needs to be done. On a spiritual level the course will also seek to foster the interior attitudes which the Church requires of its future priests and pastoral agents, in this regard. This may sometimes involve a change of heart, as the ecumenical imperative takes root and initial hesitations are overcome.
Introductory Section: 1. The meaning of ecumenism: the Church’s irrevocable commitment to pray and work for Christian unity. Principles of ecumenical dialogue, and the attitudes required. 2. An overview of the theological foundations for this commitment to Christian unity. 3. Baptism. Historical Section: 1. Overview of the History of Division among Christians from the early centuries to the present day, with brief discussion of both the theological and the non-theological factors involved. 2. Historical attempts at reunion from early times through to the beginnings of the modern ecumenical movement. 3. History of the modern ecumenical movement from the Edinburgh Conference of 1910 through to the present day, with emphasis on some important figures and institutions. Contemporary Ecumenism I: Institutions and Official Initiatives: 1. An overview of contemporary ecumenical institutions: PCPCU, WCC, National and Local Councils of Churches, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity etc. 2. Multilateral Ecumenical Dialogues and the Catholic Church’s involvement in these. Two outstanding documents, BEM and ‘The Church: towards a Common Vision’.The contribution of other, less ‘official’but significant dialogue groups, especially the ‘Groupe des Dombes’. 3. The various Bilateral Ecumenical Dialoguesin which the Catholic Church is officially engaged. 4. Analysis of some major Catholic documents on ecumenism: Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism, the Directory on Ecumenism, John Paul II’s Ut Unum Sint etc. Contemporary Ecumenism II: Making the Ecumenical Movement move!: 1. Diverse approaches to ecumenism: the dialogue of life, social ecumenism, common action and local initiatives, taking a positive pastoral approach to inter-church marriages etc. 2. Developing tools for ecumenical education. The primordial importance of spiritual ecumenism and of fostering an authentic ecumenical attitude among the faithful at the local level.
BLISS F., Catholic and Ecumenical: History and Hope; Why the Catholic Church is Ecumenical and What She is Doing About It (Franklin, Sheed and Ward 1999); Select Bibliography: BRIGGS J.-ODUYOYE M.A.-TSETSIS G. (eds.); A History of the Ecumenical Movement, vol. 3 (Geneva, WCC Publications 32004); WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES, Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, Faith and Order paper 111 (Geneva, WCC Publications 1982); ID., The Church: Towards A Common Vision, Faith and Order Paper 214 (Geneva, WCC Publications 2013); FEY H.E. (ed.), The Ecumenical Advance: A History of the Ecumenical Movement, vol. 2, (Geneva, WCC Publications 22004); GROS J.-BEST T.F.-FUCHS L.F., Growth in Agreement III: International Dialogue Texts and Agreed Statements, 1998-2005, Faith and Order Paper 204 (Geneva, WCC Publications 2007); GROS J.-MEYER H.-RUSCH W.G., Growth in Agreement II: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level, 1982 - 1998, Faith and Order Paper 187 (Geneva, WCC Publications 2000); GROS J.-MCMANUS E.-RIGGS A., Introduction to Ecumenism (New York, Paulist Press 1998); HILL C,-YARNOLD E. (eds.), Anglicans and Roman Catholics: The Search for Unity; the ARCIC Documents and their Reception (London, SPCK and CTS 1994); HOFRICHTER P.-MARTE J. (eds.), Documents on Unity in Faith between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Pro Oriente XXXVI (Innsbruck, Tyrolia Verlag 2013); IARCCUM, Growing Together in Unity and Mission: Building on 40 Years of Anglican – Roman Catholic Dialogue (London, SPCK 2007) (available online in pdf format from ‘Anglican Communion’); KINNAMON M.-COPE B.E. (eds.), The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices (Geneva, WCC Publications 1997); ROUSE R.-NEILL S.C. (eds.), A History of the Ecumenical Movement: Volume 1; 1517 – 1948 (Geneva, World Council of Churches Publications 32004); VISCHER L.-MEYER M. (eds.), Growth in Agreement: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level (Ecumenical Documents) (Geneva, WCC Publications 1984).