Unitatis Redintegratio 11

The Vatican II bishops address one of the modern concerns of conservatives:

The way and method in which the Catholic faith is expressed should never become an obstacle to dialogue with our (sisters and brothers). It is, of course, essential that the doctrine should be clearly presented in its entirety. Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism, in which the purity of Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded.

It might be a matter of style in some quarters if this clouding has happened. It’s also true that people are not always accurate listeners, preferring to hear what they want in the discussion of either an ally or adversary.

At the same time, the Catholic faith must be explained more profoundly and precisely, in such a way and in such terms as our separated (sisters and brothers) can also really understand.

Useful advice, but difficult to put into practice.

Moreover, in ecumenical dialogue, Catholic theologians standing fast by the teaching of the Church and investigating the divine mysteries with the separated (sisters and brothers) must proceed with love for the truth, with charity, and with humility. When comparing doctrines with one another, they should remember that in Catholic doctrine there exists a “hierarchy” of truths, since they vary in their relation to the fundamental Christian faith. Thus the way will be opened by which through (friendly) rivalry all will be stirred to a deeper understanding and a clearer presentation of the unfathomable riches of Christ.(Cf. Eph. 3, 8.)

What do the bishops mean by “rivalry?” How might this complement the notion of cooperation or shared worship?

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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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