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Vatican II wanted ecumenical commitment to be an essential part of the Church's mission

The Year of Faith which Pope Benedict XVI has given us is closely connected with the Second Vatican Council not only from the temporal viewpoint but also by its content. It was in fact inaugurated on the day of the commemoration of the opening of the Council 50 years ago and was motivated by the intention to put its principal magisterial affirmations into practice, seeing them as the crucial reference point for the mission of the Church in our day too. These affirmations include the ecumenical commitment, assumed by the Catholic Church – which is no secondary theme of the Council but one of its main priorities – as we can already read in the first sentence of the Decree on Ecumenism: “The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council” (Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 1).

The Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church recalls that ecumenical efforts are closely connected with  missionary work because the division of Christians is prejudicial to the holy task of preaching the Gospel and “deprives many people of access to the faith” (Ad Gentes, n. 6). Moreover the ecumenical commitment pervades the whole of the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, as can be deduced in particular from its concluding paragraphs: “At the same time our thoughts go out to those brothers and communities not yet living in full communionn with us; yet we are united by our worship of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and the bonds of love” (Gaudium et Spes, n. 92). Above all there is a deep connection between the Decree on Ecumenism and the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church in which the foundations of faith of the Catholic Church's ecumenical commitment are to be found.  Ecumenism is quite different from a matter of mere ecclesial policy or a purely pragmatic issue; rather, it is intrinsic to the faith itself. For this reason the Year of Faith also calls us to actualize the foundations of faith of the Church's ecumenical endeavour and to reinforce them anew, in the face of a profoundly changed ecumenical situation.

Kurt Koch
January 18, 2013

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"Our diverse talents and abilities, our differences in culture, nationality and age are assets for the richness of the community. Although we may be engaged in a variety of ministries, we all share the common call to apostolic discipleship in a community of the Catholic Apostolate of St. Vincent Pallotti."(OWL, 91)



"Christ, the Apostle of the Eternal Father, and his mission are central to our personal and community life, giving meaning and direction to our thinking, our spirituality, our prayer, action and suffering." (OWL, 19)



"As a community of disciples we are gathered around Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father. Like the first disciples, we want to be with Jesus, be sent out by him and return to him to evaluate our service in the light of his presence." (OWL, 88)



"As Pallottines, it is our special charism to foster growth in faith and love among the laity, to awaken them to awareness of their apostolic call, and to cooperate with them in furthering the apostolic mission." (OWL, 21)



"Our relationships with one another should be marked by a love that bears all, believes all and hopes for all, a love that is neither conceited nor jealous, which hurts no one, nor is embittered or resentful. It is never discouraged but remains patient and kind. It rejoices with others and shares their suffering. It is with this kind of love that we should help and support one another." (OWL, 90)