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Chapter V. Dialogue and Common Witness
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Chapter V

Dialogue and Common Witness

198. Having reflected on ways in which this phase of dialogue has deepened our common understanding of the church beyond what Towards a Common Understanding of the Church had achieved (chapter IV), we would like to add some further reflections now on the notion of common witness in its relation to ecumenical dialogue. The particular content of this round of dialogue, and what has been said thus far, has illustrated how dialogue itself can be a reconciling experience. If the cause of the kingdom of God and the call to bear common witness to it animate our encounter, then each tradition stands in the same challenging place, because both the present and future dimensions of the kingdom open us to God in a way that neither of us can presume to control. In dialogue we can face such questions together. Both our traditions stand before God’s plan for our future with open hands. Thus, the content of this dialogue and our active common witness should contribute to the renewal of both communions.

1. Ecumenical Dialogue as Common Witness

199. In the promotion of Christian Unity, three interrelated dimensions are commonly identified: prayer, practical cooperation and theological dialogue. While prayer and practical cooperation provide clear opportunities for common witness, dialogue helps to clarify the theological basis for such shared prayer and action. Furthermore, ecumenical dialogue itself can be a form of common witness.

200. In authentic dialogue words are used not to dominate or control the other, but rather to build bridges of understanding. Here the witness potential of dialogue begins to emerge: “Far from encouraging relativism, genuine dialogue begins with an immersion in one’s own tradition and a desire to share its richness with others for the salvation of the world.”108

201. Christians are called to “put on the mind of Christ.” Paul’s letter to the Philippians (2:5-11) describes the incarnation of Christ as a “self-emptying” for the sake of humanity. This text suggests a profoundly spiritual process which may be applied to all forms of dialogue. There can be no dialogue if either identity is undervalued. Those who engage in dialogue must be prepared to let go of ill-conceived notions and enter into a process of self-giving, a type of imitation of Christ crucified. In light of the paschal mystery, dialogue purifies its participants so that each can approach the other with the freedom that comes from taking on the mind of Christ. This leads to a servant spirituality which is essential to ongoing dialogue, prayer and practical cooperation in the search for Christian unity.

202. Dialogue implies mutuality and the desire for reconciliation. The spirit of reconciliation recognizes and confirms the unique identity of each dialogue partner. Yet this does not imply an unlimited pluralism or indifference to doctrinal divergence. Rather, in recognising the identity of the other, the dialogue partners are challenged to affirm the same truth expressed in different or complementary forms and to respect sincere differences where they occur.

203. Basic to any dialogue is an attitude of humility, a readiness to admit ignorance and failures, a desire for deeper knowledge, and openness to truth wherever it is found. While acknowledging that the fullness of truth has been revealed in Jesus Christ, individual Christians “have no guarantee that they have grasped the truth fully” and so there must be openness to an ever deepening knowledge of that truth. We agree with the words of Pope Paul VI: “In the last analysis truth is not a thing we possess, but a person by whom we have allowed ourselves to be possessed. This is an unending process” (Ecclesiam suam, 81-82).

2. Dialogue as a Reconciling Experience

204. Our work and life together has resulted in a deeper understanding of each other’s traditions, including the way in which each tradition handles the emergence of new insights and perspectives. Disagreement over different methodological approaches emerged between our two delegations and also within them. At one moment of challenging and critical discernment, mid-way through our deliberations, we chose to include and give special consideration to a contextual approach to the theme of our common witness to the kingdom. This decision reinforced our conviction that common witness to the kingdom would lead us to greater solidarity with the poor.

205. This contextual approach led us to hold our subsequent meetings in South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Canada. In these situations the challenge to common witness for the Reformed and Roman Catholic is daunting in at least two ways. Firstly, in each context there is a history of mutual distrust and in one of them even a history of violence toward each other. Secondly, witness to the kingdom has been made in the face of long-standing social evils and in resistance to anti-kingdom values. In such contexts common witness is costly witness. One of the fruits of this more contextual approach was the encounter with church leaders and pastoral ministers, who were living and witnessing in a courageous manner. Our decision, after intense and sometimes painful debate, helped us, as members of the joint commission, to grow in fellowship.

3. Dialogue, the Healing of Memories and the Reconciliation of Communities

206. An openness to God’s reign rightly characterizes the common witness of the Reformed churches and the Catholic Church today. Yet the past continues to make itself felt in the present. At the beginning of the year 2000, WARC withdrew its representative from the Ecumenical Committee of the 2000 Roman Catholic Jubilee in response to the theological assumptions of the Bull of Indiction on “Conditions to Gain the Indulgence of the Jubilee”. Catholic officials were startled that their well-intentioned ecumenical invitation was refused by WARC. Similarly, when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued Dominus Iesus, many Reformed leaders were startled, hearing in its use of the language of defect to explain the difference between “church in the proper sense” and “ecclesial community” a lack of recognition of the significant ecumenical progress made since Vatican II. Since the dialogue was meeting outside Rome only three weeks after the appearance of Dominus Iesus, it was inevitable that we would enter into some frank exchanges. One of our members observed that no one group has a monopoly on pain. It was a significant moment for members of the dialogue when, after such exchanges, we met with Pope John Paul II and heard him enunciate again “the irrevocable commitment of the Catholic Church to ecumenism.” Clearly, alongside the mandate of openness to God’s future, contemporary dialogue must include grappling with the churches’ painful past and abiding disagreements.

207. As TCUC observes (155, 156), new research and fresh interpretations may yield altered perspectives and indicate more fully something of the complex history that we share. Even in those countries evangelized well after the Reformation, it is not possible simply to overlook the quarrels and developments of the sixteenth century. At the very least we need to explain why the divisions among Christians in the West occurred and why they continue to exist, and what relation these divisions may have to new divisions among the younger churches arising out of local conditions. It seems that in almost any context we will have occasion to give some explanation for the lack of visible unity among Christian churches.

208. Our painful past continues into the present whenever we fail to speak with respect about the faith of our sisters and brothers. Our dialogue, thus, requires reviewing language we have used to characterize one another over the ages and even today. A polemical and often uncharitable attitude provided the tone for much of our comments about one another prior to the dawn of the modern ecumenical movement. A principal aim of dialogue should be to sift through our language to discern what assertions have been due to a failure in truth and charity, so as to ask pardon of one another for them. Equally important is the uncovering of any elements of truth from our past discourses which we must repeat to one another in love (cf. Eph 4:15) even today, in the hope of finding greater communion. As the Holy Spirit continues to lead us into shared and active expectation of the kingdom, we may well find new ways to hold each other in mutual accountability and to grow in reconciling love and common faith.

209. Dialogue can benefit from and foster a healing of memories. For many Reformed, the call of Pope John Paul II to a purification of memory during the Jubilee Year 2000 and his courageous prayers of repentance on behalf of Catholics have been encouraging. The recent theological interpretation of these actions in “Memory and Reconciliation: the Church and the Faults of the Past,” by the Vatican’s International Theological Commission adds significantly to the discussion of the question of sin in the church. Complex and terrible truths are acknowledged, and prayers are cited from both Daniel and Jeremiah confessing, “We have sinned.” The Commission’s report is particularly encouraging in its careful and candid investigation of biblical paradigms for the confession of sin by the whole people of God. Most Reformed Christians will agree with those whose response to “Memory and Reconciliation” is that it will strengthen the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church. There would be widespread agreement that the credibility of any church would be strengthened by doing something similar. Those who think that open admission of faults will damage the church’s ministry, especially with the young, seem to us to be asking the church to set service of its own life above service of truth. As TCUC 109 states, God’s fidelity in maintaining the church is to do so also through “the transfiguration of human failure.”

210. Reconciled communities presuppose reconciled ministries. This issue is a specific challenge to our dialogue. As TCUC 123 notes, from a Roman Catholic point of view, by breaking with the ministerial structures handed down by tradition, the Reformed “had deeply wounded the apostolicity of their churches.” TCUC 132 later names word, sacrament and oversight as the triple function of ministry. The Reformed have this triple function, exercising the ministry of oversight in a conciliar fashion. The common acknowledgement of this fact could be an important step towards convergence in our search for a common understanding and recognition of ministry.

4. The Experience of Unity in Common Witness Today

211. Our three narratives reflect varying degrees of collaboration in common witness. In Canada, there has been a relatively strong and constructive relationship between the Canadian member churches of WARC and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. A desire to give common witness to the kingdom has spawned a network of inter-church social justice coalitions. However, the challenges of facing lawsuits arising from sexual and physical abuse in church-administered Indian Residential Schools and of relating the Christian Faith to traditional Aboriginal spirituality have tested the ability of the historic mission churches to act on a common basis.

212. In the South African study, it appears that the churches were first struggling with the challenge of apartheid in parallel but unrelated ways. Each communion had its own internal struggle and strategy for public witness. For instance, there was not always agreement in the Roman Catholic community in regard to racial policy. For the Reformed, internal theological struggles over election and the providential significance of the different races seem to have dominated. Nevertheless, despite such differences, there was widespread cooperation across confessional lines in strenuous resistance to the ideology of apartheid. As is often the case, the witness of individual pastoral and lay leaders outran official deliberations and actions.

213. In Northern Ireland official collaboration between the churches seemed more evident. Church leaders knew one another personally and had clearly borne one another’s burdens. Even so, they told us that one of the things they had learned in their shared leadership was the importance of discernment – discerning just when and where to intervene with public expressions of unity without jeopardizing their credibility. Again we heard deeply moving accounts of the courageous commitment to reconciled relationships on the part of local pastoral and lay leaders.

214. In situations of costly witness, as in South Africa and Northern Ireland, the pastoral and lay leaders who offer this witness often find themselves experiencing exceptional forms of unity. When martyria (witness) entails possible martyrdom (suffering for Christ and kingdom), confessional or denominational differences are relativized and put more into the background. In South Africa, the “grass-roots” witness of black, coloured and white Reformed and Catholic Christians against apartheid was nurtured and sustained by common prayer. Such sharing underscored for those involved the eschatological presence of the kingdom.

215. In Northern Ireland, we heard about several examples of courageous witness. In the context of our Reformed-Catholic dialogue, we looked in particular at the work of the Corrymeela Centre for Reconciliation, founded by Presbyterian minister, the Reverend Ray Davey. Its central purpose is to enable Protestant and Roman Catholic adults and children from Belfast’s segregated neighbourhoods to meet each other and to learn, pray and play together. Davey was subsequently to receive an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical University of Maynooth, on the first occasion in its history when a Protestant minister was so honoured. The citation for this honorary degree was given by Bishop Anthony Farquhar, co-Chair of our dialogue and Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Down and Connor, the diocese in which the Corrymeela Centre is located. In his citation, Bishop Farquhar aptly quoted Irish poet Seamus Heaney:

History says Don’t hope
On this side of the grave
But, then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

216. In the time of persecution in the early centuries of the Christian era it sometimes happened that a new convert gave his or her life in martyria before being baptized. That individual’s death was regarded as a “baptism in blood.” If there is a baptism in blood, is there not also full communion in shedding one’s blood for the faith? Indeed, in the encyclical Ut unum sint (84), the late Pope John Paul II wrote:

I have already remarked, and with deep joy, how an imperfect but real communion is preserved and is growing at many levels of ecclesial life. I now add that this communion is already perfect in what we all consider the highest point of the life of grace, martyria unto death, the truest communion possible with Christ who shed his Blood, and by that sacrifice brings nearer those who were once far off (cf. Eph 2:13).

217. The unity in common witness that most of us experience is far from that of giving up our lives. Yet all of us are able to give our energy and hope in ecumenical service of the kingdom. Whether in shared advocacy against homelessness or serving in a soup kitchen, whether through inter-church parish covenants or collaborative inter-religious dialogue, there are privileged opportunities for all Reformed and Roman Catholic Christians to engage in common witness today and to experience both breakthroughs in understanding and joy in service of the kingdom.

5. Seeking Greater Common Witness Today

218. The kingdom of God is a symbol of a universal community ordered according to the will of God so that fullness of life and right relationships abound for all. In Christian theology, the church is a sacrament of the kingdom in so far as it represents the inauguration of such fullness and such right relations in the community of believers gathered together in faith, hope and love. While both WARC and the Roman Catholic Church are global bodies, the fact that such multiple Christian world communions exist in separation can be a challenge to the catholicity that is a mark of the church. Churches separated or divided contradict the symbol of the kingdom of God as a universal community of fullness of life and right relations. This also means that the ability of the church actually to function as a sacrament of the kingdom is limited. As long as there are unresolved denominational divisions, witness to the universal character of the kingdom is compromised. So too, our commitment not only to resolve doctrinal differences through dialogue, but also to achieve a greater degree of common witness is a vital contribution to ecumenism.

219. The symbolic and transformative power of the kingdom is compromised when divisions exist within any individual church. Communities of faith give a counter-witness when they support a status quo characterized by an ideological interpretation of cultures, race relations and creedal difference that is in opposition to the gospel. Conviction about the need to act justly and to show mercy (Micah 6:8) in such situations can vary significantly in both the civil community and among members of the Roman Catholic Church and Reformed churches. In Northern Ireland, Christians had difficulty resisting the continuing appeal to adversarial religious sentiment, rooted in sixteenth and seventeenth century conflicts. In Canada, church members are tempted to downplay the mandate of justice for the First Nations since it involves the payment of reparations for past abuse by both government and the churches, and the resolution of longstanding unresolved land claims and treaty rights. In South Africa, the theological struggle over the ideology of the separation of races is well known. These instances raise the question, within each communion, of where authentic witness to the kingdom is to be found. Our three narratives provide evidence that each communion has an ongoing challenge in achieving greater common witness within its own house.

220. One of the clear recognitions of this Catholic-Reformed dialogue is that our common witness must focus on sharing signs of the kingdom with the poor. Biblical images of the kingdom evoke a celebratory vision in which those excluded from the circle of acceptance and wellbeing finally arrive at the banqueting table. Those whose common witness is to the kingdom of God will learn to “wash the feet of the poor” through advocacy, service and personal encounter. In such ways all of us may catch glimpses of the world God intends and thus find hope renewed. Our two communions already share a common commitment to listen to the voice of the poor as a privileged source for discerning the demands of God’s kingdom. It is our conviction that the two communions need to accentuate this commitment.

221. In its concluding chapter, “The Way Forward,” TCUC presents an appealing invitation. Rather than opposing each other or even simply living side by side, our two communions “should live for each other in order to be witnesses to Christ” (149). TCUC 157 explains that “living for each other” means “bearing common witness” and making every effort to speak jointly to our contemporaries about “Christ’s message of salvation.” In this invitation to live for each other, we sense a kingdom summons to pray for each other, and to receive as our own concern the wellbeing and faithfulness of the other. In undertaking such mutual care, our common witness might be a persuasive sign for other Christian communions. Perhaps the unbelieving around us would be compelled again to exclaim, “How these Christians love one another!” Dare we consider truly “living for each other?”

6. Unity in Faith and Action

222. We believe that in dialogue and in common witness we must aim at a unity which embraces both orthopraxis and orthodoxy, a unity that is shaped and tested by the symbolic and transforming power of the kingdom of God.

223. Orthodoxy, understood as a concern for the truth of the Gospel, is important since it represents a decisive commitment to the apostolic faith. In ecumenical dialogue it involves discerning the degree to which we share the same understanding of the faith. It is true, of course, that contemporary questions of right practice (orthopraxis), involving personal and social morality, can be just as divisive and contested as were the doctrinal and liturgical disputes of the Reformation period. However, to imagine that we could leave questions of orthodoxy – divergences in worship and doctrine – in the shadows of the sixteenth century would be a form of denial. Such questions need to be faced with the openness of those who already belong to each other through baptism into Christ. Even when we cannot agree on what is essential and non-essential to the faith (e.g. episcopal succession, the Petrine ministry, ordination as appropriate for both sexes), respecting each other’s views would better represent “living for each other” than drawing lines in the sand. If we can each affirm that the church is a kind of sacrament of the kingdom of God (see chapter IV, para. 197), let this be the basis of our dealings with one another.

224. One of the tests of orthodoxy is orthopraxis, understood as the truthful practice of the values of the Gospel. This has to be the way we act towards each other: “By their fruit you will know them” (Matt. 7:20). Mere declarations of intent to live for each other will not suffice; we need to hear in each other’s official teaching and public communication a consistent tone of loving respect, even when critical or admonitory observations are being offered. Our prayer: “Thy kingdom come” is the hope for the arrival of concrete conditions in which humans find right relationships with each other under the sovereignty of the loving God.


225. The period in which this third phase of dialogue has taken place was quite unique in that we passed from one century to another, and from one millennium to another. During this period, significant events have taken place in which the new relationship between Reformed and Catholic, which began at the time of the Second Vatican Council, has been greatly enhanced. At the same time, signs of the divisions which have kept us apart since the sixteenth century have been seen and felt.

226. The new relationship has been evident in the consistent invitations by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) to send a representative to its Executive Committee and General Council meetings, as well as to various consultations it has organized. Reciprocally, there have been invitations by the Holy See to WARC. The Alliance has accepted various invitations: to participate in the Ecumenical Commission of the Planning Committee for the Great Jubilee 2000; to join Pope John Paul II and other Christian leaders in the Ecumenical Service in Rome just after the closing of the Holy Year in 2001; and to the Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi on January 24, 2002. Inviting each other to such significant events enhances our developing relationship. It demonstrates unambiguously our commitment to acknowledge each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, even if there are still serious divergences in our understanding of faith to be resolved.

227. Painful signs of our continuing division have also occurred during these years of dialogue. During the Jubilee Year 2000, WARC chose not to accept invitations by the Holy See to participate in some ecumenical events organized for the Jubilee Year because of the associated tradition of indulgences, a cause of considerable dispute in the sixteenth century. However, shortly afterwards, at the invitation of the PCPCU, Reformed and Catholics, along with representatives from the Lutheran World Federation, addressed the question of indulgences for the first time at a symposium. Clearly, ongoing differences call for ongoing dialogue.

228. During this third phase of dialogue, both Catholics and Reformed made extraordinary gestures related to a healing of memories, even if in quite different ways. During the Jubilee Year, Pope John Paul II, in the liturgy of the First Sunday of Lent 2000, a day which has become known as “the Day of Pardon”, called upon the Catholic Church to look back over the millennium just closing and to ask God for forgiveness of sins committed against unity. While no particular historical instance was mentioned, it clearly included any type of wrongdoing towards the Reformed, either in the distant past or in more recent times. Within the WARC family, two member churches decided to address specific anti-Catholic statements in their sixteenth and seventeenth century confessions of faith, and made it clear in an official way that these harsh historical statements do not represent their views on the Catholic Church today, even if there are still serious disagreements between us on related doctrinal issues.

229. Thankfully, theological dialogue is the instrument we use today to resolve such differences. We have travelled a long way together. In this third phase of dialogue just completed we have explored the biblical notion of the kingdom of God and have been able to say much together. First, the notion of the kingdom of God has been treated in a variety of ecumenical dialogues (cf. Appendix), and we have made use of these materials. At the same time the systematic treatment of the kingdom of God presented here makes a further ecumenical contribution by tracing this notion from its biblical roots, through stages of church history, with the goal of helping the partners move towards a common understanding of the church. Thus, our treatment of the biblical concept of the kingdom of God is followed by an exploration of the distinctive visions of the kingdom of God and its relation to the church found in patristic literature. The biblical and patristic insights, in turn, form the background for a discussion of the specific emphases given to this notion in the sixteenth century and afterwards in our respective Reformed and Catholic traditions. In this process we have discovered converging theological perspectives particularly in regard to the relationship of the kingdom of God to the church.

230. Second, in exploring the notion of the kingdom of God, we kept before us two challenges of Towards a Common Understanding of the Church: those of building upon ecclesiological developments already achieved, and of extending our efforts of common witness. In regard to the first, we have been able to deepen important convergences concerning the nature of the church claimed by TCUC precisely because we can now position those insights in the broader, more dynamic continuum required by our exploration of the kingdom of God – e.g. the biblical, patristic, and more recent theological perspectives, including the results of ecumenical dialogues. Thus, the convergence described in TCUC between the notions of the church as creation of the word (creatura verbi, emphasised by Reformed), and as sacrament of grace (sacramentum gratiae, emphasised by Catholics), though rooted in biblical thought, was presented in a contemporary theological analysis. The present report deepens this convergence in two ways. First, it illustrates that both concepts are integral to the notion of the kingdom of God and should serve the establishment of the kingdom of God in this world. Second, our exploration of the patristic material illustrated that the themes of the Word of God and the grace of God were of great significance in the ecclesiological reflection of the early Christian writers, even if they did not use the specific terminology used later in TCUC. Those writers certainly would have considered the church to be both a creation of the Word of God, and a sacrament of grace. Both factors help us affirm that neither of these visions of the church can wholly exclude the other, but are mutually dependent. Both are basic to an understanding of the nature of the church.

231. The same dynamic framework of our reflection on the kingdom of God also suggests ways of going further on another TCUC suggestion: that we might be able, together, to describe the church as “sacrament of the kingdom of God,” (111) and, thus, say more, together, about the role of the church in mediating Christ’s salvation. This is because the notion of the kingdom of God requires a more explicit recognition of its relation to the Holy Spirit, and to its eschatological dimension. In TCUC, the Catholic understanding of the church as sacrament is based on two analogies: that between Christ and the church, and that between the church and sacramental rites. It was strongly christological, though not lacking reference to the role of the Spirit. But since the activity of the Spirit is the basis both of the efficacy of the sacraments and of the spread of the reign of God, the perspective of the kingdom and its particular reference to the Spirit allows both Reformed and Catholics to acknowledge, even further, the radical dependence of human beings upon God. This dependence is implied in the description of the church as a sacrament of the kingdom. Also, the distinction we make between the kingdom of God and the church is rooted in an eschatological understanding of the church, which is related to, witnesses to and moves toward its fulfillment in the kingdom. This reflects both the Reformed insistence on the promise of a “not yet” and the Catholic insistence of a gift “already there” (TCUC 122). Here again, our reflection fosters the description of the church as “sacrament of the kingdom of God.”

232. In regard to common witness, we have taken seriously the dynamics and challenges of particular contexts in which Christians have sought to live the values of the kingdom of God. The experience of Christians in the local settings, as described by the three narratives in chapter II, has underlined some important lessons. The narratives illustrated, for example, the growing significance of ecumenical relations between Reformed and Catholics. As each showed, although Reformed and Catholics began separately to bring kingdom values into the difficult problems faced in their contexts, eventually both moved towards witnessing together. Each illustrated, too, the way the universal expression of the church made an impact on the local church and vice-versa, and the importance of the interrelationship of these two aspects of the church. Furthermore, in light of these narratives, we explored together for the first time in Reformed-Catholic international dialogue factors involved in interpreting Christian experience, that is, the theological dimensions of discerning God’s will for decision making in service to the kingdom of God. These include the role of the Holy Spirit, common sources of discernment, differences between Reformed and Catholics in the use of these sources, different patterns of discernment and the functioning of these patterns in ecumenical collaboration, and the possibilities of common discernment and witness. As ethical and moral issues in our modern world raise challenges for human behaviour, and become more central and intense in ecumenical relations, the insights about discernment gathered here are offered as one contribution to the dialogue on these vital questions that concern all Christians. These insights can assist Reformed and Catholics in their efforts at common witness.

233. Finally, the process of introducing these narratives into our dialogue has as such helped us to understand better the various methods of dialogue within the ecumenical movement. Relating our theological discussions to the experiences of Christians in local settings has helped us to “hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (cf. Rev 2 and 3). As we have seen in the narratives (cf. chapter II), common witness to the kingdom by Catholic and Reformed people is happening in various places all over the world. This common witness, this coming together around events and issues and ideals of peace and justice in the concrete lives of human communities, happens in spite of the historic issues that continue to divide us. We note that this common witness is one way in which mutual respect, trust, and affection grows between our communions, making life between us spiritually richer, and nurturing our sense of mutual belonging. We rejoice in this common witness, to the shared faith that underlies it, to the sense of new possibilities it nurtures in our communions and the contribution that it makes to the fullness of unity that we seek.

234. Dialogue, healing of memories, efforts at common witness – all of these are a continuing challenge for us to deepen the developing relationship between us, a relationship grounded in our one baptism in Christ. It is part of our common understanding that we are involved in the one ecumenical movement, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. A new century and a new millennium are additional reasons for us to distance ourselves even further from the conflicts of the past, and to face the future with an uncompromising commitment to continuing reconciliation. Eventually this could and should help our fellow Christians in both our communities to live up to the standards of the kingdom of God.

235. For the privilege of taking part in this dialogue and for the efforts made and for whatever degree of success we are able to claim, we give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ, who prayed that his disciples “may all be one” (John 17:21) and who taught his disciples to pray: Thy Kingdom come!



  1. “Sharing the Ministry of Reconciliation: Statement on the Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue and the Ecumenical Movement. The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, 2000”. Growing Consensus II – Church Dialogues in the United States, 1992-2004, ed. by L. Veliko and J. Gros, FSC. Washington D.C., United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005, 370.

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