Ecumenism in the time of the New Evangelization

2012-11-15 L’Osservatore Romano

The “very close link that exists between the task of evangelization and overcoming the existing divisions between Christians” was highlighted by Benedict XVI in his address to the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on Thursday, 15 November, in the Clementine Hall.

To the members, consultors and collaborators of the dicastery working in these days at the Assembly dedicated to the theme of the new evangelization, the Pope recalled that “an authentic ecumenical path cannot be followed without considering the faith crisis that vast regions of the planet are going through”. This way “the spiritual poverty of many of our contemporaries, who no longer perceive the absence of God from their life as a deprivation, this spiritual poverty is a challenge to all Christians” and requires their ability to “return to the essential, to the heart of our faith, to bear witness together to the world of the living God, that is, of a God who knows and loves us”. “The importance of theological dialogue and conversations with the Churches and ecclesial Communities to which the Catholic Church is committed” was underlined once again. Even when “the possibility of the reestablishment of full communion”, the Pope explained, “cannot be glimpsed in an immediate future, they make it possible to perceive, as well as resistance and obstacles, also a wealth of experiences, of spiritual life and theological reflections that become an incentive for an ever more profound witness”.

We must not forget that “unity is not a work that we human beings can simply achieve” but it is a gift from God. Thus, “true ecumenism”, Benedict XVI stated, “demands, first of all, patience, humility, and abandonment to the Lord’s will”. However providing that “the Churches and Ecclesial Communities do not stop along the way, accepting the contradictory differences as something normal or as the best that can be obtained”. Because it is only in “full communion in faith, in the sacraments and in the ministry, that will become concretely evident the present and active power of God in the world”.