Pope Returns to Conciliation Between Evangelizing Mission and Ecumenism

Source: FSSPX News


On January 31, Benedict XVI received the participants to the Plenary Session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In his address, he first recalled the publication by this dicastery of “two important documents which offered doctrinal clarification (…) necessary if the ecumenical dialogue with the world’s religions and cultures is to progress as it should.”

The first document, Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church (July 10, 2007), the pope said, “re-proposes the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, in full continuity with the doctrine of Catholic Tradition. Thus, it confirms that the one and only Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed, has its subsistence, permanence and stability in the Catholic Church, and that therefore, the unity, indivisibility and indestructibility of Christ’s Church is in no way annulled by the separations and divisions of Christians.”

Next, the Sovereign Pontiff stated that the document “calls attention to the difference that still endures among the different Christian denominations with regard to the understanding of being Church in the proper theological sense. Far from preventing authentic ecumenical commitment, this difference will encourage a realistic and fully informed discussion of the issues that still separate the Christian denominations; it will also encourage joyful recognition of the truths of faith professed in common and the need to pray without ceasing for a more deeply committed advance towards greater and ultimately full Christian unity. The consequence of fostering a theological vision which holds the unity and identity of the Church to be gifts "hidden in Christ", reconcilable only in an eschatological perspective, would be that the Church in history would exist de facto in multiple ecclesial forms, and ultimately hinder and paralyze ecumenism itself.”

Concerning the Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization (December 14, 2007), Benedict XVI pointed out that “confronted by the risk of persistent religious and cultural relativism, [it] reaffirms that in the age of interreligious and intercultural dialogue the Church does not dispense with the need for evangelization and missionary activity for peoples, nor does she cease to ask men and women to accept the salvation offered to them all. Recognition of elements of truth and good in the world’s religions and the seriousness of their religious endeavours, together with dialogue and a spirit of collaboration with them for the defence and promotion of the person’s dignity and the universal moral values, cannot be understood as a limitation of the Church’s missionary task, which involves her in ceaselessly proclaiming Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

In the latest issue of Christendom, you can read a study entitled Missionary Spirit and Conciliar Ecumenism, which deals with this conciliation between evangelization and ecumenism.

(Sources www.Vatican.va)