Catholic Ecumenism: Towards an Integration of Faith, Hope, and Charity | Dr. Christopher J. Malloy | Homiletic & Pastoral Review
The purpose of this one Church is to bring about the supernatural communion of all humanity together in the Spirit, under Christ as head, giving praise to the Father.
This article aims to accomplish two things. First, it presents a Catholic vision of ecumenism based upon an ecclesiology consonant with the Catholic Magisterium. Second, it highlights three stages of the Catholic Church’s involvement in the ecumenical movement, linking each stage with one of the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. It calls, in the end, for an integration of these three virtues in the development of an ecumenism that is uncompromising in principles, ardently hopeful of reaching the goal of full visible communion through God’s grace, and suffused with charity in listening to the other, benefiting from him, and impelling both self and other—without that distortion of pressuring which is called “proselytism”—towards true union with the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.
Ecumenism in Catholic Ecclesiology
As the Catholic tradition teaches, misreadings of Vatican II, which has existed in its fullness on earth since Pentecost, and will remain intact until the end of this age. The purpose of this one Church is to bring about the supernatural communion of all humanity together in the Spirit, under Christ as head, giving praise to the Father. This purpose is not identical with the very essence of the Church on earth, since, on earth, the Church embraces venial and mortal sinners. Although called by God and, thus, wooed by him, the mortal sinner does not exist in a living communion with God. A real member of the Church, a Catholic mortal sinner is, nevertheless, dead unto God. Further, even those who by God’s grace achieve great holiness on earth have a threefold longing: They groan for the redemption of their bodies (Rom 8: 23); they cry with Paul to be delivered from concupiscence, that “body of death” (Rom 7:24) that lies in wait for them (Gen 4:7); and they long to depart and be with Christ (Phil 1:23). Notwithstanding, these deficiencies in her members, the very Church Jesus founded does exist, in its fullness, on earth.
This Church of Christ is endowed with a threefold gift: