- Each month the team working on this catechism presents you
with two texts, and we hope that with your help and cooperation
they will improve. Any suggestions you may have would be most
welcome, as would ideas on subject matter.
- We look forward to hearing from you.
Ecumenism is the search for unity between Christians. It came
out from the scandalous situation of separated churches, all
referring themselves to the same Christ. Instead of sending anathema,
the different denominations started to meet, Institutions such
as the Ecumenical Council of the Churches were founded. A one
week prayer for Unity was installed, groups of experts tried
to reduce the doctrinal differences. Progress was made, for instance
the Ecumenical translation of the Bible or a common set up of
the Lord's prayer. However progress is slow, there are real difficulties
and even real regressions. Sure this movement is only one hundred
years old when divisions are centuries old. Ordinary Christians
not knowing well the history and the nature of the doctrinal
separations do not see much difference between the churches and
live an ecumenism de facto.
In part the root of that is how truth is understood. Each church
is evidently sure to have the truth, sure to have legitimate
reasons to think that way and to act like the church thinks it
is good. The practice of considering the laws as coming from
God Himself, from His revelation, from His will, makes any change
Gradually proselytism and unity of the Churches within the Roman
Catholic Church have been given up. We go more towards the idea
that each church holds a truth, which helps to go deeply into
the Truth. There is no way to progress if the truth is considered
like a preexisting fact, like a property. Are we having the truth
or are we rather in a process toward the truth? Isn't it through
dialogue and mutual understanding that a common truth can be
discovered? If we start a dialogue, if we accept to discuss,
we accept to think differently after than before the discussion.
However this way of thinking implies a certain relativism of
the truth that does not fit the Churches that are sure to definitely
have the whole truth and consequently ask to be the first among
the others. To hold for an absolute truth seems to be more dangerous
than to hold for a relative truth, a truth that is depending
on time, history and the understanding of the world
is in the name of the absolute truth that one goes into a crusade
and becomes unable to understand the truth of the other.
For Christians, truth does not reside into dogmatic rules but
in a person, Christ, coming from God. Who can completely understand
a person, his mystery? Who can own a person more so when it is
the Christ? Should we not remain humble towards this reality?
Truth is a way of living one's life, not a collection of truths
to believe in.
We will be able to go far, even beyond the ecumenism between
Christians, in a dialogue with the other religions if we are
convinced that we are unqualified to tell God or to think God;
but that we have a vital need and a profound desire to come close