Unitatis Redintegratio 7

Change of heart: the Church speaks to its own members.

There can be no ecumenism worthy of the name without a change of heart. For it is from renewal of the inner life of our minds,(Cf. Eph. 4, 24.) from self-denial and an unstinted love that desires of unity take their rise and develop in a mature way. We should therefore pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying, humble, gentle in the service of others, and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity towards them. St. Paul says: “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”.(Eph. 4, 1-3.) This exhortation is directed especially to those raised to sacred Orders precisely that the work of Christ may be continued. He came among us “not to be served but to serve”.(Mt. 20, 28.)

Unitatis Redintegratio takes a spiritual theme. It also displays a rather JPII-esque concession to non-Catholics:

The words of St. John hold good about sins against unity: “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”.(1 Jn. 1, 10.) So we humbly beg pardon of God and of our separated (brothers and sisters), just as we forgive them that trespass against us.

The ultimate goal is holiness. The bishops realize that piecing Christendom back together is a divine task. Our only reasonable contribution is to seek holiness.

All the faithful should remember that the more effort they make to live holier lives according to the Gospel, the better will they further Christian unity and put it into practice. For the closer their union with the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, the more deeply and easily will they be able to grow in mutual … love.

Does the Church go too far in apologizing? Is the quest for holiness sufficient? Does modern ecumenism place too much on God and not enough on Christians in order to make real progress?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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