The Vatican’s lead cardinal for promoting Christian unity has warned of an “ecumenical emergency” which undermines evangelisation, unless Churches can find a common purpose in the ecumenical movement.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, the prefect of the dicastery for promoting Christian unity, said in a message to the Anglican bishops attending the Lambeth Conference that a “common ecumenical witness to Jesus Christ in the present world is only possible when Christian churches overcome their divisions”.
He said that there were different visions of ecumenism, from Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox perspectives, so “asking questions about the goal of the ecumenical movement, and consequently of a more precise understanding of Church unity cannot simply be done in an abstract way”. Instead, “this questioning is always directed and informed by prior ecclesial decisions of a confessional nature”.
“This means that the still largely lacking agreement on the goal of the ecumenical movement is rooted in a still largely lacking ecumenical agreement on the nature of the Church and its unity.” This means, he continued, that “there are basically as many ecumenical goals as there are confessional ecclesiologies”.
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Patrick Hudson is the Newman Intern at The Tablet, joining in January 2022. He grew up in rural Cheshire and read history at University College, Oxford, writing dissertations for an MSt and a BA on the Catholic aristocracy in early modern Ireland.
With thanks to The Tablet and Patrick Hudson, where this article originally appeared.