Ecumenism has been a real eye-opener, I just so wish the information that all the World Churches would let their people know how much progress has been happening beween most of the Christian churches. Here is my summary of the final I had to write to complete my class this weekend:
The terminology of pre-Vatican I and earlier kept the polemic position going with the Catholic Church. The schisms that occurred in the early Church were not because of their belief in God, but how the belief was celebrated, lived, and taught. The Church hierarchy remained staunch and stubborn positioned on a high pedestal of rigid theologies and tenets keeping the other communities in need of “returning” as the years and centuries went by. Not much charity there.
In recent years, the new mentality that John Paul II brought to the forefront of the Christian world as “fellow Christians of other communities” can’t but be a unifying change. The Catholic Church has a softer side that truly shows Christ’s love to the world, the openness of reconciled diversity is so refreshing. The world leaders have been able to witness our papal leaders as approachable, charitable, human, and open to dialogue never seen in the Catholic Church before. There are great things ahead for the Christian world!
And talking about the term Koinonia (communion/fellowship):
It is the communion of all Christians in unity with God through Christ in the Spirit. In the Catholic theology of koinonia, it is the faith, sacramental life, and hierarchial ministry working to bring the people together through baptism and the Eucharist. With God coming to the people through the incarnation; then going from the people in Christ’s resurrection has us seeking Him for salvation. The Eucharist brings all the seekers together as one people of God, the body of Christ in communion in the world. The clergy help to bring dialogue with the other Christian communities in the way they celebrate as communities.
Understanding the importance of koinonia (fellowship/communion) in the Church as the community of salvation, the desire for koinonia(fellowship) gives us the goal. Koinonia is how people are brothers and sisters reconciled in all their differences by talking and praying together. I really believe Fr. Kaspar is right about dialogue beginning in prayer always has a better chance of making progress. After these last few weeks of reading and studying koinonia, I am very encouraged about the work that is being done and feel that we will accomplish unity, a reconciled diverse communion of Christians. I was elated when I read, “In the process of praying, struggling for unity, the Holy Spirit… disturbs us when we are satisfied to remain in our division, leads us to repentance, and grants us joy when our communion flourishes. (Canberra 4.1)