Monday, November 29, 2010

Ut Unum Sint

We are examining Pope John Paul II's encyclical on ecumenism. A link to the document is below. As a class we are only reading sections 10 - 13. The encyclical is a very large document - we are just looking at one small excerpt.
After reading the excerpt, please answer the following questions - in complete sentences, of course.
*Please note, when I use the word "Church", capitalized, I am referring to the Catholic Church. All other uses of "church" refer to other, usually Orthodox churches.
1. What is ecumenism, and what is the Church's attitude toward it?
2. What is meant by the statement, from Vatican II, that "the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church"?
3. The document notes that "many elements of sanctification and of truth can be found outside her visible structure." What do you think some of these elements might be? (see section 12. if you get stumped.)
4. The elements mentioned in question 4 have "an inner dynamism towards Catholic unity." Which means, um...what does that mean?
5. The beginning of section 11. is an admission of some faults and flaws of the human element of the Church. However, the Pope writes that these "cannot destroy what God has bestowed on her as part of his plan of grace." Why can't the flaws and faults of the human element of the Church nullify the Truth of the Church?
6. The Pope acknowledges that the degree to which other churches or ecclesial communities are in communion with Rome differs from one to another. Which are the churches that are most in communion with Rome and why? Which are those that are least in communion with Rome, and again, why?
7. Condense the two paragraphs in section 13. into one sentence each. Then assess how these two sentences compare your original assumption about the attitude of the Church toward other churches.

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