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The Ministry Of The Holy Spirit By Pastor Chris Pdf 131



10. The teaching of the Church on ecumenism, as well as the encouragement to hope and the invitation to love find their official expression in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and especially in Lumen Gentium and Unitatis Redintegratio. Subsequent documents about ecumenical activity in the Church, including the Ecumenical Directory (1967-1970) build on the theological, spiritual and pastoral principles stated in the conciliar documents. They have explored more fully some topics indicated in the conciliar documents, developed theological terminology and provided more detailed norms of action, all based, however, on the teaching of the Council itself. All of this furnishes a body of teachings which will be presented in outline in this chapter. These teachings constitute the base of this Directory.




The Ministry Of The Holy Spirit By Pastor Chris Pdf 131



13. The communion in which Christians believe and for which they hope is, in its deepest reality, their unity with the Father through Christ in the Spirit. Since Pentecost, it has been given and received in the Church, the communion of saints. It is accomplished fully in the glory of heaven, but is already realized in the Church on earth as it journeys towards that fullness. Those who live united in faith, hope and love, in mutual service, in common teaching and sacraments, under the guidance of their pastors18 are part of that communion which constitutes the Church of God. This communion is realized concretely in the particular Churches, each of which is gathered together around its Bishop. In each of these "the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and alive".19 This communion is, by its very nature, universal.


14. Communion between the Churches is maintained and manifested in a special way in the communion between their Bishops. Together they form a college which succeeds the apostolic college. This college has as its head the Bishop of Rome as successor of Peter.20 Thus the Bishops guarantee that the Churches of which they are the ministers continue the one Church of Christ founded on the faith and ministry of the apostles. They coordinate the spiritual energies and the gifts of the faithful and their associations, towards the building up of the Church and of the full exercise of its mission.


23. Catholics are invited to respond according to the directives of their pastors, in solidarity and gratitude with the efforts that are being made in many Churches and ecclesial Communities, and in the various organizations in which they cooperate, to reestablish the unity of Christians. Where ecumenical work is not being done, or not being done effectively, Catholics will seek to promote it. Where it is being opposed or hampered by sectarian attitudes and activities that lead to even greater divisions among those who confess the name of Christ, they should be patient and persevering. At times, local Ordinaries,39 Synods of Eastern Catholic Churches40 and Episcopal Conferences may find it necessary to take special measures to overcome the dangers of indifferentism or proselytism.41 This may especially be needed in the case of young Churches. In all their contacts with members of other Churches and ecclesial Communities, Catholics will act with honesty, prudence and knowledge of the issues. This readiness to proceed gradually and with care, not glossing over difficulties, is also a safeguard against succumbing to the temptations of indifferentism and proselytism, which would be a failure of the true ecumenical spirit.


Thus, all those engaged in pastoral work will be faithful to the holy and living Tradition which is a source of initiative within the Church. They should be able to evaluate and welcome truth wherever it is found. "All truth, by whomsoever it is spoken, is of the Holy Spirit".60


67. The parish, as an ecclesial unity gathered around the Eucharist, should be, and proclaim itself to be the place of authentic ecumenical witness. Thus a great task for the parish is to educate its members in the ecumenical spirit. This calls for care with the content and form of preaching, especially of the homily, and with catechesis. It calls too for a pastoral programme which involves someone charged with promoting and planning ecumenical activity, working in close harmony with the parish priest; this will help in the various forms of collaboration with the corresponding parishes of other Christians. Finally it demands that the parish be not torn apart by internal polemics, ideological polarization or mutual recrimination between Christians, but that everyone, according to his or her own spirit and calling, serve the truth in love.84


78. This comparative study is important in all subjects: in the study of Scripture, which is the common source of faith for all Christians; in the study of the apostolic Tradition in the Fathers of the Church and in other church writers of East and West; of liturgy, where the various forms of divine worship and their doctrinal and spiritual importance are scientifically compared; in dogmatic and moral theology, especially in respect of problems arising from ecumenical dialogue; in church history, where there should be a careful enquiry into the unity of the Church and into the causes of separation; in canon law, which must distinguish clearly between divine law and those ecclesiastical laws which can change with time, culture or local tradition; and finally, in pastoral and missionary training and sociological studies, which must pay attention to the conditions common to all Christians facing the modern world. Thus the fullness of Divine Revelation will be expressed in a better and more complete way, and we will better fulfil the mission for the world which Christ entrusted to his Church.


145. In view, however, of the growing number of mixed marriages in many parts of the world, the Church includes within its urgent pastoral solicitude coup- les preparing to enter, or already having entered, such marriages. These mar- riages, even if they have their own particular difficulties, "contain numerous elements that could well be made good use of and develop both for their intrinsic value and for the contribution they can make to the ecumenical movement. This is particularly true when both parties are faithful to their religious duties. Their common baptism and the dynamism of grace provide the spouses in these mar- riages with the basis and motivation for expressing unity in the sphere of moral and spiritual values".140


146. It is the abiding responsibility of all, especially priests and deacons and those who assist them in pastoral ministry, to provide special instruction and support for the Catholic party in living his or her faith as well as for the couples in mixed marriages both in the preparation for the marriage, in its sacramental celebration and for the life together that follows the marriage ceremony. This pastoral care should take into account the concrete spiritual condition of each partner, their formation in their faith and their practice of it. At the same time, respect should be shown for the particular circumstances of each couple's situation, the conscience of each partner and the holiness of the state of sacramental marriage itself. Where judged useful, diocesan Bishops, Synods of Eastern Catholic Churches or Episcopal Conferences could draw up more specific guidelines for this pastoral care.


152. While keeping clearly in mind that doctrinal differences impede full sacramental and canonical communion between the Catholic Church and the various Eastern Churches, in the pastoral care of marriages between Catholics and Eastern Christians, particular attention should be given to the sound and consistent teaching of the faith which is shared by both and to the fact that in the Eastern Churches are to be found "true sacraments, and above all, by apostolic succession, the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy".144 If proper pastoral care is given to persons involved in these marriages, the faithful of both communions can be helped to understand how children born of such marriages will be initiated into and spiritually nourished by the sacramental mysteries of Christ. Their formation in authentic Christian doctrine and ways of Christian living would, for the most part, be similar in each Church. Diversity in liturgical life and private devotion can be made to encourage rather than hinder family prayer.


161. When Christians live and pray together in the way described in Chapter IV, they are giving witness to the faith which they share and to their baptism, in the name of God, the Father of all, in his Son Jesus, the Redeemer of all, and in the Holy Spirit who transforms and unites all things through the power of love. Based on this communion of life and spiritual gifts, there are many other forms of ecumenical cooperation that express and promote unity and enhance the witness to the saving power of the Gospel that Christians give to the world. When Christians cooperate in studying and propagating the Bible, in liturgical studies, in catechesis and higher education, in pastoral care, in evangelization and in their service of charity to a world that is struggling to realize its ideals of justice and peace and love, they are putting into practice what was proposed in the Decree on Ecumenism:


169. The pastoral advisability of joining a Council is one of the many factors that are to be taken into account in taking such a step. It must also be clear that participation in the life of the Council can be compatible with the teaching of the Catholic Church, and does not blur its unique and specific identity. The first concern should be that of doctrinal clarity, especially as far as ecclesiology is concerned. Councils of Churches and Christian Councils do not in fact contain either within themselves or among themselves the beginning of a new Church which could replace the communion that now exists in the Catholic Church. They are not to proclaim themselves Churches or to claim for themselves an authority which would permit them to confer a ministry of Word or Sacrament.159 Careful attention should be given to the Council's system of representation and voting rights, to its decision-making processes, to its manner of making public statements and to the degree of authority attributed to such statements. Clear and precise agreement on these matters should be reached before membership is taken up.160


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