General Objective: To help each student to enter wholeheartedly into the ecumenical commitment, making it his/her own.
Course Outlines: 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. The central importance of spiritual ecumenism. 2. An overview of the theological foundations for this commitment to Christian unity, with emphasis on such aspects as Christ’s High-Priestly Prayer and our common baptism. 3. 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. Historical Section. 4. The History of Division among Christians from the early centuries to the present day, indicating ways in which non-theological factors often affected theological issues. 5. Historical attempts at reunion, and the beginnings and growth of the modern ecumenical movement. Protestant and Orthodox initiatives and the Catholic Church’s engagement. 6. The role of early pioneers and the emergence of ecumenical institutions: the WCC, National and Local Councils of Churches, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity etc. Emergence of ecumenical communities like Taizé, the Iona Community, the Groupe des Dombes, Chemin Neuf, etc. Contemporary Ecumenism. 7. Analysis of major Catholic documents on ecumenism: Unitatis Redintegratio, the Directory on Ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint, etc. The role of the PCPCU in fostering Catholic ecumenism. 8. Bilateral ecumenical dialogues in which the Catholic Church is officially engaged: Some examples, introduction to texts and themes, discussion of methodology. 9. Multilateral dialogues. Two key texts: BEM and ‘The Church: towards a Common Vision’. 10. Ecumenical education for the Church’s pastoral agents, and for the laity, so as to foster authentic ecumenical attitudes among all the faithful at the local level. The urgent need to develop appropriate tools for this, and the primordial importance of spiritual ecumenism.
Bibliography: Bliss, Frederick. 1999. Catholic and Ecumenical: History and Hope: Why the Catholic Church is Ecumenical and What She is Doing About It. Franklin: Sheed and Ward; Briggs, John, Mercy Amba Oduyoye and Georges Tsetsis, eds. 2004. A History of the Ecumenical Movement. Vol. 3: 1968-2000. 3rd edition Geneva: WCC Publications; Faith and Order. 1982.Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry. Paper no. 111. Geneva: WCC Publications; Faith and Order. 2013. The Church: Towards A Common Vision. Paper no. 214. Geneva: WCC Publications; Fey, Harold, ed. The Ecumenical Advance: A History of the Ecumenical Movement. Vol. 2: 1948-1968, 2nd edition. Geneva: WCC Publications; Gros, Jeffrey, Eamon McManus, and Ann Riggs. 1988. Introduction to Ecumenism. New York: Paulist Press; Gros, Jeffrey, Harding Meyer, and William Rusch, eds. 2000. Growth in Agreement II: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level, 1982-1998. Paper mo. 187. Geneva: WCC Publications; Gros, Jeffrey, Thomas Best, and Lorelei Fuchs, eds. 2007. Growth in Agreement III: International Dialogue Texts and Agreed Statements, 1998-2005. Paper no. 204. Geneva: WCC Publications; Hill, Christopher and Edward Yarnold, eds. 1994. Anglicans and Roman Catholics: The Search for Unity: The ARCIC Documents and their Reception. SPCK & CTS; Hofrichter, Peter, and Johann Marte, eds. 2013. Documents on Unity in Faith between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Innsbruck: Tyrolia Verlag; IARCCUM. 2007. Growing Together in Unity and Mission: Building on 40 Years of Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue, London: SPCK; Kinnamon, Michael, and Brian Cope, eds. 1997. The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices. Geneva: WCC Publications; Rouse, Ruth, and Stephen Neill, eds. 1986. A History of the Ecumenical Movement. Vol. 1: 1517-1948. 3rd edition. Geneva: WCC Publications; Vischer, Lukas, and Harding Meyer, eds. 1984. Growth in Agreement: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level. Geneva: WCC Publications.