Unitatis Redintegratio. COMMUNION WITH OTHER FAITHS ( Unitatis Redintegratio ).
For those who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Without doubt, the differences that exist within varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church—whether in doctrine and sometime in discipline, or concerning the structure of the church—do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers and sisters in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church. #3
One of the councilor goals articulated by John XXIII was the restoration of unity among all Christians. To keep this priority at the forefront of the council’s agenda he established in 1960 the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (Roman Curia) headed by Cardinal Augustine Bea.
One of Bea’s tasks was to secure the participation of ecumenical observers.
John XXIII noted in his opening address that the ecumenical movement was among the “signs of the times” the church needed to note.
The World Council of Churches is established in 1948. Catholics do not participate. However, Pius XII began to recognize the movement as perhaps of the Holy Spirit.
SCHISM: From the Greek SCHISMA. The division or rupture of church unity that involves an official dissociation or severing of ties.
The ROOT of division in the church is traced to three important moments in history:
From the very earliest drafts of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the council affirmed the presence of “many elements of sanctification and truth” outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church. Lumen Gentium describes these elements as “gifts belonging to the church of Christ” that serve as “forces impelling towards catholic unity” LG #8).
The Decree on Ecumenism develops a fuller understanding of the elements of the church. It explains that “some, even very many, of the most significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life of the church itself” are found outside the Catholic Church. Further, it insists, these gifts “come from Christ and lead back to Christ”; they “belong by right to the one Church of Christ” (UR #3).
While it considers that the separated churches and communities “suffer from…defects,” the council recognizes that “the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation.”
The doctrinal commission elected to speak simply of the “Catholic Church,” dropping the “Roman” in all the council documents. This reflects a fuller understanding of the Catholic communion of churches, a reality not limited to the roman or Western church, whose liturgy, theology and laws are derived from the Latin tradition. It includes twenty-two self-governing Eastern Catholic churches in full ecclesial communion with the bishop of Roman whose roots are in the Byzantine, Syrian, Coptic and other Eastern traditions.