“May the eyes of your heart be enlightened” Ephesians 1:18


The illuminations of the Saint John’s Bible bring the text to life by giving them a visual form. They aren’t simply pictures or illustrations of the stories in the Bible, but are paintings that come out of a long process of reflective living with the text. The illuminations are really spiritual meditations on the word of God. What do images really have to do with prayer, and what can the arts tell us about God, the divine, and the sacred? These are two of the questions that visual theology attempts to ignite.

God is revealed to us not only in the realm of words and language, but in countless other ways as well. The history of Christian faith and theology is also a history of the eye, the ear, of bodily gesture and movement, the mind imagining, and the senses conjoining.  Visual theology is a field that examines how the sense of sight is used to see the existence of God in the world and give it meaning to us as God’s people. In our lives as Christians, visual theology claims that beauty is essential. Beauty not only excites and nourishes our feelings, thoughts, and imagination, but without beauty, truth and goodness become dull, lifeless, boring, and cold.  God’s beauty is displayed in all of creation; it draws us to God and to the mystery and glory of Christ on the cross.

But the beauty of the world is not the only concern of visual theology. When we use visual theology, we change our mode of  communication from language and mathematics to the realm of imagination, so that intuition, the senses, and our own experiences and knowledge become primary.

A work of art isn’t just an object that is beautiful to its viewer; it becomes a tool to see – a technique of examination and contemplation – that may lead the viewer in prayer.

Visio divina, Latin for “Holy Seeing” or “Divine Looking,” is a Christian prayer practice that creates an openness to encounters with God and the Word.  It is similar to the sixth-century Benedictine practice of lectio divina in which one meditates on a passage of scripture allowing the Spirit to speak through the story, except in visio divina the Spirit is essentially revealed through images and feelings. The illuminations of the Saint John’s Bible are suited perfectly for this unique form of visual contemplation and prayer, and they can even give us new insight into Biblical stories. Both the field of visual theology and the practice of visio divina enable us to know God and ourselves better as well as experience God’s love more fully.

Written by Kasey M. Devine                                                                                                     M.A. Scripture, School of Theology•Seminary,  Saint John’s University, Collegeville, MN

May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe. 

(Ephesians 1:18-19)


The Saint John’s Bible

The Saint John’s Bible.

Fr. Ernest Falardeau, SSS

Fr. Ernest Falardeau, SSS.

Bibliography on Ecumenism created by the Washington Consortium

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism February 9, 2012

Chapman, David M. “Consensus and Difference: The Elusive Nature of Ecumenical Agreement.”Ecclesiology 8:1 (2012): 54-70.
An extended review of Minna Hietam ä ki’s recent book, Agreeable Agreement (2010), and the application of its critique of ecumenical methodology to Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Anglican agreements .

Charbak, Demetrios. “History and Hope: Towards a Common Date of Easter.” One in Christ 45:2 (Winter 2011): 321-327.
The Antiochean Greek Orthodox Bishop of Safita, Syria gives the history of the dating of Easter, explains why eastern and western Christians observe a different date, and endorses the World Council of Churches/Middle East Council of Churches’ 1997 proposal for achieving a common celebration of Easter as an essential ecumenical witness of the faith.

Harvesting the Fruits : Reception of the Harvest Project of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Ecumenical Trends 40: Special Issue (2011):

  • Wainwright, Geoffrey. “A First Methodist Response to Harvesting the Fruits”: 1-3.
  • Rusch, William G. “A Lutheran’s Perspective on Harvesting the Fruits”: 4-5.
  • Carter, David. “Harvesting the Fruits – Some Reflections by a Methodist”: 6-11.
  • Johnson, Kathryn L. “First Responses: A Lutheran Perspective”: 12-13.
  • Visser, Douwe. “Harvesting the Fruits: A Reform Perspective”: 14.
  • Wright, N.T. “Harvesting the Fruits: An Anglican Perspective”: 15-19.

Hiltz, Fred. “Paul Wattson Lecture – Halifax: Holiness, Hospitality and Hope.” Ecumenical Trends 41:1 (January 2012): 10-14.
The Anglican Archbishop of Canada says that “genuine ecumenism” must be “rooted in a deep holiness, reflect a radical hospitality, and represent a lively hope for the world” (p. 10).

Koch, Kurt. “Recent Ecumenical Progress and Future Prospects.” Origins 41:25 (November 24, 2011): 395-402.
In this speech given at the Catholic University of America, the new president for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity describes six changes/challenges in the current ecumenical situation (reception, the differentiated consensus model, renewed emphasis on denominational differentiation, uncertainty about the ecumenical goal, ethical disagreements, and new ecumenical partners) and then identifies the need now to consolidate the convergences achieved and the theological foundations of ecumenism: mutual recognition of baptism, recovery of division as scandal, and promotion of spirituality as the “root-stock of all ecumenical endeavors” (p. 401).

Kö rtner, Ulrich H. J. “Towards an Ecumenical Hermeneutics of Diversity: Some Remarks on the Hermeneutical Challenges of the Ecumenical Movement.” Theology Today 68:4 (January 2012): 448-466.
A professor for Systematic Theology at the University of Vienna critiques the 1998 World Council of Churches’ document on ecumenical hermeneutics, “A Treasure in Earthen Vessels,” utilizing Tillich and Ricoeur’s work on symbols and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s work on language and semiotics.

Murray, Paul D. “ARCIC III: Recognizing the Need for an Ecumenical Gear-Change.” One in Christ 45:2 (Winter 2011): 200-211.
A newly appointed member of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission III summarizes the initial meeting of the commission, analyzes the ecumenical strategies and approaches that characterized ARCIC I and ARCIC II, and explains the commission’s decision to use receptive ecumenism as the “gear-change” strategy for this round of dialogue, which will be focused on local/universal church and ethical discernment.

The Ordinariate for Former Anglicans in U.S.: Articles in Origins:

  • Wuerl, Donald W. “Ordinariate for Former Anglicans to be Established in U.S.” Origins 41:28 (December 15, 2011): 459-461.
  • U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Q & A on Ordinariate for Former Anglicans in U.S.” Origins 41:28 (December 15, 2011): 461-462.
  • Steenson. Jeffrey N. “Statement on Creation of Ordinariate in U.S. for Former Anglicans.” Origins 41:31 (January 12, 2012): 501-502.

Seim, Turid Karlsen. “Beyond the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification: Recent Developments in the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue.” Centro Pro Unione Bulletin No. 80 (Fall 2011): 14-20.
Discussion of Lutheran-Roman Catholic relations since JDDJ: Dominus Iesus and its reception by the Lutheran church, the Annex to the Declaration, the next Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue statement “The Apostolicity of the Church,” and work toward a joint text on the 500 th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.

Tveit, Olav Fyske. “Renewed Mission of the WCC in the Search for Christian Unity.” Centro Pro Unione Bulletin No. 80 (Fall 2011): 30-35.
The new General Secretary of the World Council of Churches reviews the WCC’s recent history and frames the WCC’s mission around the central task of mutual accountability in this lecture presented at the Centro Pro Unione in January 2011.

Vondey, Wolfgang. “Pentecostals and Ecumenism: Becoming the Church as a Pursuit of Christian Unity.” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 11:4 (November 2011): 318-330.
A survey of past and present Pentecostal involvements in ecumenism, followed by a call for the “transformation of Pentecostalism” into an “ecumenical ecclesiology” for the future, written by a theology professor from Regent University.

Wainwright, Geoffrey. “Editorial – Reading the Scriptures Together.” Ecclesiology 8:1 (2012): 3-10.
The veteran ecumenist traces the history of the development of the Revised Common Lectionary and its “liturgical, educational, and ecumenical use” upon its twentieth anniversary.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism November 30, 2011

Carter, David. “Encountering Christ the Savior: Church and Sacraments.” Ecumenical Trends 40:9 (October 2011): 129-137.
A Methodist member of the British Catholic-Methodist dialogue summarizes the August 2011 ninth report of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission on Dialogue that bears the same title as the ET article.

De Witte, Pieter. “‘The Apostolicity of the Church’ in Light of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Consensus on Justification.” Ecclesiology 7:3 (2011):317-335.
A Roman Catholic theologian from Leuven critiques the understanding on apostolic succession reached in the international Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue process following the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, takes issue with the extension of the JDDJ concept of differentiated consensus to “differentiated participation” in apostolic ministry, and argues that the Apostolicity dialogue document neglects to reflect adequately Roman Catholic theology of how apostolicity is secured through the historic episcopate.

“Forty Years of Walking Together”: Theme Issue on the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada.Ecumenism No. 182 (Summer 2011):

  • Flynn, Kevin. “Ecumenical Dialogue and Formation for Ministry”: 3-5.
  • Clifford, Catherine E. “The Founding of ARC Canada”: 6-10.
  • O’Gara, Margaret. “A Fruitful Time: Early Years of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (1976-93)”: 11-14.
  • Clough, Brian. “The Pastoral Care of Interchurch Marriages”: 15-16.
  • Brown, Susan Mader. “Where Do We Go Together from Here?: A Canadian Catholic Perspective on IARRCUM’s Advice”: 17-21.
  • Mangina, Joseph L. “Benedict’s Bible: An Anglican Response to the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini”: 22-25.
  • “A Joint Service of Worship to Celebrate the 40 th Anniversary of Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in Canada”: special pull-out section.
  • Drainville, Dennis. “Forty Years of Dialogue: Reflections of a Practical Ecumenist”: 26-27.
  • Lapierre, François. “Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue”: 28-29.
  • Bolen, Donald. “Covenant between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina and the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle”: 30-34.
  • Routhier, Gilles. “An Unfinished Pilgrimage”: 35-37.

Morris, Jeremy. “Edinburgh 1910-2010: A Retrospective Assessment.” Ecclesiology 7:3 (2011): 297-316.
Analyzes four “narratives of change” by which the Edinburgh 1910 conference has been understood historically in the intervening century (secularization, empire, nationalism, and gender) and argues that the significance of the ecumenical contribution of the Conference has been exaggerated while its mission strategy has been underappreciated.

“The Next 100 Years: New and Renewed Strategies for the Ecumenical Mission”: Papers from the 2010 Annual Meeting of the North American Academy of Ecumenists. The Journal of Ecumenical Studies 46:3 (Summer 2011):

  • Meyer, Russell. “Introduction: Remembering and Conversion, Companions and Allies, and our Ecumenical Future”: 305-310.
  • Best, Thomas F. “A Tale of Two Edinburghs: Mission, Unity, and Mutual Accountability”: 311-328.
  • Clifford, Catherine E. “Unity and Mission One Hundred Years On”: 329-342.
  • Baum, Gregory. “The Churches Challenged by the Secularization of Culture”: 343-352.
  • Philip (Riabykh), Hegumen. “The Russian Orthodox Church and Ecumenism”: 353-358.
  • Routhier, Gilles. “Living in the Same House”: 359-364.
  • Hamilton, Karen A. “People of Paradox”: 365-367.
  • O’Gara, Margaret. “Witnessing the Ecumenical Future Together”: 368-377.

Thompson, David M. “Background to the Disciples-Catholic Dialogue.” Call to Unity Issue 12 (October 2011): 21-29
A Disciples theologian who has been on the international dialogue since 1980 summarizes the four rounds of dialogue now completed between the two churches, in this paper presented to the preparatory meeting for the fifth phase of dialogue, tentatively to be named “Formed and Transformed at the Table of the Lord.”

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012: “We Will All Be Changed by the Victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:51-58)”: Preaching Material on the 2012 Week of Prayer Theme.

  • Hooke, Ruthanna B. “Homiletical Notes for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.” Ecumenical Trends40:9 (October 2011): 138-143.
  • Soards, Marion L. “A Commentary”: Ecumenical Trends 40:10 (November 2011): 154, 159.

White, John F. “A New Order for a New Day – A Call to Be One: Hush, Someone is Calling our Name: 26 th Peter Ainslie Lecture on Christian Unity.” Call to Unity Issue 12 (October 2011): 7-10.
The Ecumenical and Urban Affairs Officer for the African Methodist Episcopal Church speaks for unity in all circumstances: Jesus is calling the churches “to provide the forum in which each church can articulate the judgments that shape, and even qualify, its relationship to the others so that honest sharing of commonalities, divergences and differences will help all churches pursue the things we share in common” (p. 10).

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism September 30, 2011

” Anglican Ordinariates: A New Form of Uniatism?” Ecumenical Trends 40:8 (September 2011):

  • Roberson, Ronald G. “What is Uniatism? An Exploration of the Concept of Uniatism in Relation to the Creation of the Anglican Ordinariates”: 118-120, 126.
  • Massa, James. “Anglican Ordinariates in Ecumenical Perspective”: 121-123.

This pair of articles from a seminar of the 2011 National Workshop on Christian Unity analyzes the Roman Catholic Church’s 2009 creation of an Anglican ordinariate through the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus and challenges it as “no substitute for the patient and painstaking work of ecumenism” (p. 123).

“A Bibliography of Interchurch and Interconfessional Theological Dialogues Twenty-Sixth Supplement, 2011.” Bulletin, Centro Pro Unione No. 79 (Spring 2011): 10-32.
The 26 th installment of a comprehensive bibliography of international and national bilateral and multilateral dialogues, coded by confessional families, churches and councils. Each section includes information about the dialogues, texts and papers of the dialogues, and reflections and reactions.

“Ecumenical Horizons – Prospects and Perspectives,” Theme Issue: The Ecumenical Review 63:2 (July 2011):

  • Stranz, Jane. “Taking Stock of Ecumenism”: 133–135.
  • Kim, Kirsteen, “Globalization of Protestant Movements since the 1960s”: 136-147.
  • Ueberschär, Ellen. “There’s Not Much Time Left: We Cannot Afford an Ecumenism of Lethargy”: 148–152.
  • Oxley, Simon. “Getting Nowhere?”: 153–159.
  • Matthey, Jacques. “The Necessity of a World Council of Churches”: 160–168.
  • Dumitrascu, Nicu. “A Romanian Perspective on Ecumenism, Patristics and Academic Theology”: 169-176.
  • Gibaut, John St-Helier. “Catholicity, Faith and Order, and the Unity of the Church”: 177–185.
  • Hwang, Jae-Buhm. “The First Asian Ecumenical Confession of Faith: The So-Called Twelve Articles of Faith of Many Asian Protestant Churches”: 200–210.
  • Altmann, Walter. “Address by the Moderator to the World Council of Churches’ Central Committee, February 2011”: 211–219.
  • Tveit, Olav Fykse. “Report of the General Secretary to the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, February 2011”: 219–234.

“Has the Lausanne Movement Moved?” Theme issue: International Bulletin of Missionary Research 35:2 (April 2011):

  • “The Cape Town Commitment: A Confession of Faith and a Call to Action”: 59-80.
  • Hunt, Robert A. “The History of the Lausanne Movement, 1974-2010”: 81-84.
  • Padilla, C. Rene. “The Future of the Lausanne Movement”: 86-87.
  • Schreiter, Robert J. “From the Lausanne Covenant to the Cape Town Commitment: A Theological Assessment”: 88-92.

Hollinger, David A. “After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Ecumenical Protestantism and the Modern American Encounter with Diversity.” Journal of American History 98:1 (June 2011): 21-48.
The competing claims and experiences of ecumenical Protestants and evangelical Protestants and “the significance of Protestant dialectic” (p. 21) in contemporary American society is the focus of this March 2011 speech to the Organization of American Historians by a University of California, Berkeley history professor.

Robert, Dana L. “Cross-Cultural Friendship in the Creation of Twentieth-Century World Christianity.”International Bulletin of Missionary Research 35:2 (April 2011): 100-107.
The author, a professor of world Christianity and missions at Boston University, provides compelling stories of the central place of cross-cultural friendships in early to mid-20 th century missionary work in bridging cultures and giving voice to the disenfranchised, describes the subsequent evolution from personal friendship to missions partnerships between institutions, and asks how cross-cultural personal friendships might yet be nurtured and valued in an era of short-term mission trips and economic and cultural differences.

Root, Michael. “ Indulgences as Ecumenical Barometer: Penitence and Unity in the Christian Life.”Bulletin, Centro Pro Unione No. 79 (Spring 2011): 3-10.
In this published lecture from a Centro Pro Unione conference, a veteran ecumenist explicates theologically the interrelation between the sinner’s ongoing conversion through the consequences of sin and the remission of those consequences by indulgences and then addresses the associated ecumenical questions: first, what is the church’s authority to function as a “determinative agent within the mediation of grace,” (p. 8); second, how binding a secondary doctrine like indulgences would be for other churches; and third, how churches might deal ecumenically today with a loaded term such as “indulgence” that evokes the Reformation split.

Welch, Robert K. “The Scandal of Our Disunity – It’s Personal.” Ecumenical Trends 40:8 (September 2011): 113-116, 126.
This keynote address from the 2011 National Workshop on Christian Unity reflects on the “landscape” of the ecumenical movement, identifies current “frontiers” (reception, interfaith engagement, and dialogue with Evangelicals and Pentecostals), and challenges the National Workshop to create and issue a public statement to the churches in 2012.The National Workshop’s response, “Christian Unity is our Calling,” which states the Workshop’s intent to “together assess, affirm and renew our dedication to the future of Christian unity” in 2012, is published on the following page of ET.

Werner, Dietrich. “Theological Education in the Changing Context of World Christianity — an Unfinished Agenda.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 35:2 (April 2011): 92-100.
The Director of the WCC Programme on Ecumenical Theological Education gives his assessment of the influence of Edinburgh 1910 and Edinburgh 2010 on theological education and describes six challenges that he believes theological education faces today: 1) unequal distribution, 2) cultural dominance, 3) migration and pluralism, 4) fragmentation of world Christianity, 5) viability of seminaries, and 6) secularism in the academy.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism July 31, 2011

Carter, David. “Church and Unity: Compatible or Contradictory Concepts?” One in Christ 45:1 (Summer 2011): 64-82.
A Methodist member of the British Methodist-Roman Catholic dialogue critiques Cardinal Kasper and Cardinal Koch’s respective statements on church vis-à-vis Methodism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, and the Reformed tradition, asserts the ongoing historical continuity of these Protestant traditions, and claims the appropriateness of the ecumenical concept of unity in reconciled diversity when properly defined and interpreted.

Creemers, Jelle. “Intertwined Problems of Representation and Reception in Pentecostal Ecumenical Involvement: A Case Study.” One in Christ 45:1 (Summer 2011): 142-161.
A doctoral student assesses the complexities of designing and staffing the international Roman Catholic-Classical Pentecostal dialogue, suggests avenues for congregationally-based Pentecostal tradition churches to participate in and receive the results of ecumenical dialogues, and analyses the pros and cons of each approach. This insightful essay is relevant for all who seek avenues for dialogue and reception with congregational church bodies.

Gros, Jeffrey. “One in Faith, Sacramental Life and Piety.” Ecumenical Trends 40:7 (July/August 2011): 104-107.
In an address given at the May 2011 National Workshop on Christian Unity, the veteran ecumenist offers his colleagues specific suggestions: to advance unity through the 2017 commemoration of the Reformation’s 500 th anniversary, to “help our people form an ecumenical piety,” and to mentor a future generation of ecumenical leaders for the 21 st century through “invitation, accountability and communication, and mutuality” (106).

Jeruma-Grinberga, Jana. “Frailty and Faithfulness: Minority Churches and Ecumenism.” One in Christ45:1 (Summer 2011): 2-15.
The bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain and the President of Churches Together in England lifts up the perspectives that numerically minority churches can helpfully contribute to ecumenical dialogue, e.g. defining theology through the cross, offering a prophetic role to a growth-driven world, finding power in powerlessness, shepherding scarce resources, and articulating one’s confessional identity.

Kessler, Diane C. “Peace and the Protestant Traditions.” Ecumenical Trends 40:7 (July/August 2011): 97-103.
The former Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches traces various perspectives on peace and peace-making through the branches of Protestant history, provides examples from twentieth-century ecumenical work on peace and justice, and proposes interfaith approaches to peace-making, in order that we might “pray for peace, witness for peace, and work for peace” (103).

Kinnamon, Michael. “Gettysburg Seminary Sermon.” Ecumenical Trends 40:6 (June 2011): 92-93.
An inspiring sermon on ecumenism, preached for the National Council of Churches of Christ Faith and Order Commission, in which the General Secretary urged the commissioners to make the unity already given in Christ Jesus visible to the world and to the churches that they serve.

McGinnell, Kevin. “Liturgy and the Churches: An Ecclesial Minefield or a Source of Unity?” Anaphora: The Journal of the Society for Liturgical Study 5:1 (2011): 1-22.
An analysis of the ecumenical implications, positive and negative, of past and present liturgical developments (e.g. Revised Common Lectionary, Liturgicam Authenticam, Tridentine mass, the new Roman Missal), with a call to renewed liturgical scholarship and dialogue towards a more ecumenical liturgical future.

Mshanga, Vitalis. “The Ecumenical Vision of the Apostle Paul and its Relevance for Contemporary Search for Full Unity of All Christians.” Exchange 40 (2011): 144-169.
“In the first place, the study explores Paul’s view of Christian unity. Secondly, the study investigates the central aspects of Paul’s ecumenical legacy in view of establishing his contribution towards the unity of Christians. Thirdly, the research investigates the significance of Paul’s vision of Christian unity for contemporary search for full and visible unity. Finally, the study concludes with some remarks and challenging insights for those engaged in ecumenical dialogues” (Abstract).

Murray, Paul D. “Expanding Catholicity through Ecumenicity in the Work of Yves Congar:Ressourcement, Receptive Ecumenism and Catholic Reform.” International Journal of Systematic Theology13:3 (July 2011): 272-302.
Asserts that Yves Congar’s ecumenical writings are foundational and formative for contemporary ecumenical understandings of ressourcement, reconciled diversity, and receptive ecumenism.

Sisto, Walter N. “Marian Dogmas and Reunion: What Eastern Catholics Can Teach Us about Catholic Ecumenism.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 46:2 (Spring 2011): 150-162.
A Catholic ecumenical theologian proposes that Anglican-Catholic rapprochement on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception could succeed by emulating the Roman Catholic Church’s approach on the topic for the Ukrainian Catholic Church, to wit, that the dogma be accepted without requiring the specific Roman Catholic theological formulation. The author proposes this Roman Catholic-Eastern Catholic theological agreement as an ecumenical model for ARCIC.

Zemin, Chen. “To Unite All in Christ, That We May Become One.” Chinese Theological Review 23 (2011): 123-127.
A Chinese Christian’s sermon on ecumenism, whereby he analyzes the meaning of the verb “unite” in Ephesians chapters 1 and 4 as return to the headship of Christ and draws out the text’s dimensions of “illumination, inspiration, admonition, warning and challenge” (127) for the church.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism, May 31, 2011

Borelli, John. “Where in the World is Ecumenism?” Ecumenical Trends 40:4 (April 2011): 55-59.
In a paper first presented at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic parish in Georgetown, Dr. Borelli summarizes ecumenical progress since Vatican II and the lessons that have been learned: 1) that it was easier for the Christian community to break apart in the Reformation than it is to reunite it; 2) that ecumenical progress is slow in part because of the way Christians came to define themselves over against other Christian traditions; and 3) that unexpected changes within the lives of individual churches should not derail ecumenical forward movement. The article ends with implications of the ecumenical movement for parish life.

Busch, Robert. “The Ecumenical Anglican: Ten Years Later.” The Anglican 40:1 (Winter 2011): 19-21.
A Lutheran revisits his July 2000 predictions for the Lutheran-Episcopal full communion agreement, reflects on what has – and has not – been accomplished in the first decade of Called to Common Mission, and challenges the two churches to develop common liturgical texts, to hold joint celebrations of the Eucharist in every parish at least annually, to plan contiguous Churchwide Assemblies/General Conventions for national celebrations of common worship, and to teach future clergy both to honor the liturgical tradition and to develop new forms of worship.

Deck, Allan Figueroa, SJ. “Pentecostalism and Latino Catholic Identity.” Ecumenical Trends 40:5 (May 2011): 69-75.
The Executive Director of the USCCB Secretariat of Cultural Diversity identifies many points of commonality between Latino Catholics and Pentecostals, such as trust in God’s active power and work today, an emphasis on healing of body and spirit, belief in the reality of miracles, emphasis on family and community, and emotion in religious expression. Suggestions for ecumenical progress between these groups include recognition of charisms, connecting pneumatology and Mariology, and common work for social justice.

Kasper, Walter. “May They All Be One? But How? A Vision of Christian Unity for the Next Generation.”Ecumenical Trends 40:4 (April 2011): 49-54.
In this Paul Wattson Lecture at the University of San Francisco, Cardinal Kasper characterizes the ecumenical movement as a crisis moment that is both a closure of old ways and a kairos moment of new opportunity and a movement that needs to avoid two dangers: becoming merely an academic debate and settling into an endless round of dialogues and documents. Instead, he calls for an ecumenical future characterized by renewal of spiritual ecumenism and conversion of heart.

Payne, Daniel P. and Jennifer M. Kent. “An Alliance of the Sacred: Prospects for a Catholic-Orthodox Partnership against Secularism in Europe.” The Journal of Ecumenical Studies 46:1 (Winter 2011): 41-66.
The authors summarize Roman Catholic and Orthodox views on the secularization of European society and the Ecumenical Patriarch’s 2009 proposal for a “churches’ umbrella body in Europe” to bear common witness against secularization and then analyze what they see to be obstacles for such an alliance and the costs to each tradition’s ecumenical relationship with “liberal” Protestants. Despite these obstacles, the authors regard the possibility of such an alliance as an instrument for effective dialogue with Muslims and a positive step toward deepening ecumenical relations with one another.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism, March 31, 2011

Charbak, Demetrios. “Contemporary Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue in the Patriarchate of Antioch.” One in Christ 44:2 (Winter 2010): 95-100.
“This paper, first given at the Orientale Lumen conference held at Heythrop College in May 2010, describes current problems confronting Christians in the East, as well as recent and continuing progress Orthodox and Catholic are making in Antioch, in the dialogue of truth, both local and official, as well as in the dialogue of love” (Abstract).

Cleenewerck, Laurent and Ernst R. von Schwarz. “The Recovery of Eucharistic and Holographic Ecclesiology as a Promised Avenue of Ecumenical Dialogue and Broader Mutual Recognition.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 45:4 (Fall 2010): 561-577.

Del Colle, Ralph. “The Implications of ‘Religious Experience’ for Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue: A Catholic Perspective.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 45:4 (Fall 2010): 525-542.

Jefferts Schori, Katherine. “A Catholic Future: Shared Mission Beyond Unitary Communions.” Origins40:34 (February 3, 2011): 559-564.
The Hecker Lecture address given by the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church at St. Paul’s College in Washington DC on January 19, 2011 calls for Episcopal-Roman Catholic common mission and “catholic vocation,” grounded in shared “baptismal values,” and focused specifically on shared works of mercy for the poor and striving together for ecological justice.

Johnson, Maxwell E. “Scholarly Update: Ecumenism and the Study of Liturgy: What Shall We Do Now?”Liturgical Ministry 20 (Winter 2011): 13-21.
An ELCA pastor serving on the liturgics faculty at the University of Notre Dame reviews the history of ecumenical liturgical reform since Vatican II and calls the churches to continue in that vein: “we who have been formed by the ecumenical vision and spirit of liturgical study dare not let go of that vision and spirit since the full and visible unity of Christianity has not yet been accomplished” (p. 19).

Kelly, Gerard. “Episkope: A Recent Study of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue in Australia.” One in Christ 44:2 (Winter 2010): 153-167.
A summary of the dialogue process, explanation of the key findings of the Australian Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue document, The Ministry of Oversight: The Office of Bishop and President in the Church (2007), and proposal for future steps to enable to the two bodies to move closer toward episcopal recognition.

Meilaender, Gilbert. The Catholic I Am.” First Things No. 210 (February 2011): 27-30.
The Missouri Synod Lutheran ethicist argues that Lutherans should “give up the obsessive search for something distinctively Lutheran” and rightfully claim to be one legitimate way of being part of the church catholic with distinctive contributions to offer the one Church. “For my part, I believe that the Church’s genuine oneness need not be translated into institutional unity” (28).

Mshanga, Vitalis. “Ecumenical Reflections on the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Simul Justus et PeccatorControversy.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 45:4 (Fall 2010): 578-590.
The author proposes that the historic impasse on the theology of the justified as simultaneously saint and sinner can be bridged as a “theologoumenon:…a theological opinion that could be formally accepted by the two churches, although each of them might consider the content of the statement differently” (579).

Proksch, Nikola. “Orientale Lumen. Ecumenical Dialogue in the Tradition of Vatican II: A Monastic Perspective.” One in Christ 44:2 (Winter 2010): 81-94.
A paper from the Orientale Lumen conference held at Heythrop College in May 2010 which traces the ecumenical contributions of Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox monastics.

Vogelaar, Huub and Greetje Witt-Rang. “The Global Christian Forum: Reconfiguration of the Ecumenical Scene: Tracks of its History and First Evaluation.” Exchange 39 (2010):377-420.
This article provides “an overview of the history, purpose and aim” of the Global Christian Forum, which was founded in 1998 to be a place of ecumenical sharing among Roman Catholics, member churches of the World Council of Churches, Pentecostals, and Evangelical churches.

Wainwright, Geoffrey. “An Ecclesiological Journey: The Way of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Dialogue.” Ecclesiology 7:1 (2011): 50-70.
The Methodist theologian and member of the international Methodist-Roman Catholic dialogue summarizes the history of the dialogue to date through its reports since Nairobi 1986 and characterizes the ongoing questions that are being addressed in the current round of dialogue on “Encountering Christ the Saviour: Church and Sacraments.”

Wicks, Jared. “Cardinal Willebrands’s [sic] Contributions to Catholic Ecumenical Theology.” Pro Ecclesia20:1 (Winter 2011): 6-27.
A resume of the ecumenical legacy of the former secretary of the Vatican Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity, grouped around four themes: 1) his acknowledgement of the breadth of inputs into Vatican II’s renewal; 2) his recognition of the unity underlying various ecclesial “typoi”; 3) his understanding of the church as communio; and 4) his interpretation of “subsistit in” from Lumen Gentium.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism January 31, 2011

Daley, Brian E. “Woman of Many Names: Mary in Orthodox and Catholic Theology.” Theological Studies71:4 (December 2010): 846-869.
“This article attempts to show the continuity between Catholic and Orthodox liturgical and theological traditions on Mary, despite apparent differences in terminology and image, and draws on the works of Sergei Bulgakov and Karl Rahner to reflect on the fundamental meaning of Mary for both Eastern and Western forms of Christianity” (p. 846).

Ford, John T. “Hispanic Ecumenical Dialogue: Progress and Potential: A Review of Building Bridges, Doing Justice.” Ecumenical Trends 39:11 (December 2010): 164-168.
Catholic University of American Professor John Ford gives an in-depth review of the essays in the published proceedings of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the United States entitled Building Bridges, Doing Justice: Constructing a Latino/a Ecumenical Theology (Orlando O. Espín, ed.; Orbis, 2009). He views the report as an indicator that “Hispanic theology is in the process of moving beyond the polemical past of Catholic-Protestant diatribe to ecumenical dialogue” (168), and identifies four lessons and four overlooked topics that this dialogue brings to the wider ecumenical discussion.

Henn, William. “Echoes of John Calvin’s Ecclesiology in the Reformed-Catholic International Dialogue.”Centro Pro Unione Bulletin 78 (Fall 2010): 10-18.
A Roman Catholic member of the international dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches reflects on Calvin’s views of the church and how the Reformer’s ecclesiology been integrated into three products of the dialogue: “The Presence of Christ in the Church and the World” (1977), “Towards a Common Understanding of the Church” (1990), and “The Church as Community of Common Witness to the Kingdom of God” (2005). The author concludes with the suggestion that a more in-depth use of the common patristic literature might lead to greater convergence in future dialogue.

Hocken, Peter. “The Holy Spirit and the Word.” Ecumenical Trends 39:11 (December 2010): 169-174.
This presentation to the Roman Catholic-Charismatic Non-Denominational Conversation at the Centro Pro Unione in March 2009 reviews how the Spirit and Word themes have manifested in the liturgical renewal movement and Catholic charismatic movement, lay religious communities and post-Vatican II documents and discusses the roles of Scripture and the prophetic movements in Catholicism today.

McPartlan, Paul. “Dominus Iesus After Ten Years.” Ecumenical Trends 39:11 (December 2010): 161-163.
The 2000 Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dominus Iesus, is summarized and explained by the Carl J. Peter Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism at Catholic University of America. Fr. McPartlan concludes that the famous adage “subsists in” of Lumen Gentium, echoed in Dominus Iesus, is not to be considered to mean “is present and operative in” but rather, that the Roman Catholic Church has “historical continuity” through the papacy: it “alludes to that additional factor of unity and stability that is provided for the Church on earth by the personal ministry of the pope as universal primate” (163).

Miller, Larry. “‘Glory to God and on Earth Peace:’ Historic Peace Church Perspectives on the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation.” Centro Pro Unione Bulletin 78 (Fall 2010): 3-9.
The General Secretary of the World Mennonite Conference summarizes the history of the Peace Churches’ responses to WCC statements, describes the current multi-phased drafting process for the culminating document of the WCC’s Decade to Overcome Violence “The Ecumenical Declaration on Just Peace,” delineates in detail what the Peace Churches have applauded and critiqued about the initial draft of the declaration, and raises three key questions about the ongoing ecumenical dialogue around violence.

Rausch, Thomas P. “Catholics and Pentecostals: Troubled History, New Initiatives.” Theological Studies71:4 (December 2010): 926-950.
A Jesuit professor from Loyola Marymount University explains the history of the Pentecostal movement, analyzes tensions between the Catholic Church and Pentecostalism over evangelization and proselytizing (especially in Latin America) and ecclesiological and theological differences, summarizes ecumenical conversations to date, and identifies positive indicators of a changing relationship between the two groups in Latin America.

USCCB and Four Protestant Communities. “Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism.”Origins 40:25 (November 25, 2010): 390.
The text of the agreement between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Christian Reformed Church in North America, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Reformed Church in America and the United Church of Christ, that baptism performed with the traditional Trinitarian formula and with water will be mutually recognized. This has been affirmed by the USCCB and the PCUSA; the other three bodies will consider the agreement later this year.

USCCB. “Reception Statement for Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism.” Origins 40:25 (November 25, 2010): 391-2.
Wells, Christopher. “Canterbury’s Ecumenical Catechesis.” The Living Church 242:2 (January 16, 2011): 12.

A one-page summary of the key points made by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his lecture at the Vatican’s Commemoration of the 50 th anniversary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on November 17, 2010. The full text of the lecture is online at http://bit.ly/Rowan50th .

“The Winds of Crete: The Work of Faith and Order, Reflections from Younger Theologians [Part 2].” Theme issue of The Ecumenical Review 62:4 (December 2010):

  • Tink Tinker, “Towards an American Indian Indigenous Theology”: 340-351.
  • Eleazar López Hernández, “Indigenous Theology in its Latin American Setting”: 352-360.
  • Dina Ludeňa Cebrián, “The Sources and Resources of our Indigenous Theology”: 361-270.
  • Ferdinand Anno, “Indigenous Theology: Sources and Resources Perspectives from the Philippines”: 371-378.
  • Jorunn Jernsletten, “Resources for Indigenous Theology from a Sami Perspective”: 379-389.
  • Evelyn Parkin, “The Sources and Resources of Our Indigenous Theology: An Australian Aboriginal Perspective”: 390-398.
  • Atola Longkumer, “Not All is Well in my Ancestors’ Home: An Indigenous Theology of Internal Critique”: 399-410.
  • Marilú Rojas Salazar, “Experiences and Reflections on a Latin American Feminist Theology of Liberation Using an Ecofeminist Key Towards an Indigenous Women’s Perspective”: 411-422.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism November 30, 2010

Carter, David. “Unity in Reconciled Diversity: Cop-out or Rainbow Church.” Theology 63 (November/December 2010): 411-420.
A British Methodist ecumenist argues that the ecumenical goal of unity in reconciled diversity may offer a “richer and fuller catholicity” than the goal of organic unity.

Cornick, David. “Calvin and the Quest for Christian Unity: An Unexpected Legacy.” Ecclesiology 6:3 (2010): 265-273.
This paper, originally presented for the “Calvin Colloquium” sponsored by the University of Exeter and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, asserts that John Calvin was “a theologian who believed passionate in the mystical body of Christ, an ecclesiastical statesman who sought to do all in his power to hold together an ecclesiastical world being forced apart under immense centrifugal pressure, and a Christian minister who longed to be at one with his fellow pastors” (273). Rereading Calvin for his ecumenical legacy will reclaim a Christocentric ecumenism that accepts the importance of a ministry of oversight and keeps doors of dialogue open.

“Edinburgh 1910-2010.” Theme issue of Crucible: The Christian Journal of Social Ethics (October – December 2010):

Peter Sedgwick, “Edinburgh 2010”: 3-6.
– David Cornick, “Retrospective on an Ecumenical Century”: 7-16.
– Michael Doe, “The Evangelisation of the World in this Generation”: 17-24.
– Janice Price, “From Edinburgh 1910 to 2010: A Revolution in Social Vision”: 25-32.
– Kevin Ward, “Ecumenical Social Ethics, the Globalisation of Christianity, and the Legacy of Edinburgh 2010”: 33-41.

Green, Thomas J. “Some Canonical Reflections on Ecumenical Issues.” Ecumenical Trends 39:9 (October 2010): 134-143.
The Catholic University of America Distinguished Professor of Canon Law addresses interchurch and interfaith marriage, Anglicanorum coetibus, the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue’s Ravenna document, the Reformed-US Conference of Catholic Bishops agreement on mutual recognition of baptism, and clergy transfers of church affiliation.

North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation. “Steps Toward a Reunited Church: An Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future.” Origins 40:23 (November 11, 2010): 353-360 and “Celebrating Easter/Pasca Together”, same issue: 360-361.
The consultation identifies the exercise of primacy as the central point of disagreement between Orthodox and Roman Catholics, describes the historical roots of the issue, and summarizes the significant levels of convergence achieved between the two communions (including continuity of apostolic teaching, church life centered on the Divine Liturgy of word and sacraments, understanding of the church as community gathered around a bishop in apostolic succession, the importance of forms of primacy, veneration of Mary, and spiritual practices). It calls for Orthodox and Catholic Christians to “find an effective way to realize our common tradition of faith together and to present the world with a unified testimony to the lordship of Jesus” (357) and describes the shape that a structure of worldwide ecclesial communion might take. Preparatory steps are proposed and outstanding questions and problems identified. In an accompanying statement, the consultation group calls for a permanent resolution of the differences in dating Easter/Pasca for the sake of Christian witness to the world.

Reid, Duncan. “Anglicans and Orthodox: The Cyprus Agreed Statement.” Journal ofAnglican Studies 8:2 (November 2010): 184-199.
A member of the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue summarizes the 2006 agreed document The Church of the Triune God, especially in light of the spreading Anglican practice of the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate, and asserts that this ecclesiological issue has eclipsed thefilioque as the central issue of the dialogue.

Ruddy, Christopher. “Our Ecumenical Future: How the Bishops Can Advance Christian Unity.” America203:13 (November 8, 2010): 14-17.
A member of the Catholic University of America School of Theology faculty calls for a renewed emphasis on prayer and ecumenical hospitality, deepened theological dialogue with those who adhere to Nicene Christianity, new partnerships with evangelicals, Pentecostals and others on ethical and social issues, and common evangelical outreach in conjunction with other Christians.

Rusch, William G. “A Lutheran View of Where the Ecumenical Movement Stands in the Spring of 2010.”Ecumenical Trends 39:9 (October 2010): 129-133.
This article is the published version of the Graymoor Lecture given in May 2010, which characterizes the current state of the movement as a gloomy weather forecast. “Progress toward visible unity between certain churches of the sixteenth-century Reformation experiences and Evangelical, Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches will be limited in the future. An emerging challenge will be to maintain the advances that were achieved at the end of the last century and the beginning of this century” (133).

Satterlee, Craig A. “One in the Apostles’ Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread and Prayer: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011.” Ecumenical Trends 39:10 (November 2010): 145-148.
These reflections on the 2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity theme from an ELCA homiletics professor will be useful for preaching and teaching during the Octave.

Tanner, Mary. “Celebrating Edinburgh 1910: Reflections on Visible Unity.” Theology 63 (November/December 2010): 403-410.
The veteran Anglican ecumenist uses the centenary celebration of Edinburgh 1910 as a springboard to answer the questions “Where are we?” and “Where might we go?”, and calls upon the churches to use the study process around the WCC Faith and Order documents such as Called to be the One Church and the Nature and Mission of the Church as a “metanarrative that might open new possibilities” (409).

Wicks, Jared. “Harvesting the Fruits: Taking Stock of Catholic-Reformation Dialogues and Charting New Directions.” Ecumenical Trends 39:10 (November 2010): 149-152.
This article summarizes the context and text of Walter Kasper’s book, Harvesting the Fruits, and responses to it since its publication in late 2009.

“The Winds of Crete: The Work of Faith and Order, Reflections from Younger Theologians.” Theme issue of The Ecumenical Review 62:3 (October 2010):

  • Mary Tanner and Aikaterini Pekridou, “Guest Editorial”: 243-251.
  • Lucy Wambui Waweru and Dissi Muanika Obanda, “The Winds of Crete”: 252-253.
  • Aidaterini Pekridou, “The Plenary Discussion on the Ecclesiology Study of Faith and Order, The Nature and Mission of the Church: The Meeting and its Process”: 254-269.
  • James Hawkey, “Excavating Apostolicity: Christian Communities and Secular Cultures”: 270-281.
  • Neal D. Presa, “Take, Bless, Break, Give: Reflections from a Reformed Perspective on ‘Why the Church?’”: 282-288.
  • Aimee Moiso, “Getting Personal”: 289-295.
  • Giorgos Vlantis, “The Apophatic Understanding of the Church and Ecumenical Dialogue”: 296-301.
  • Augustinos Bairactaris, “Ecumenical Dialogue: A Necessity of our Era and the Inner Source of the Renewal”: 302-307.
  • Sara Gehlin, “Quest for Unity, Quest for Diversity: Ecumenical Challenges in a Time of Globalization”: 308-316.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism August 1, 2010

“A Bibliography of Interchurch and Interconfessional Theological Dialogues, Twenty-Fifth Supplement, 2010.” Bulletin, Centro Pro Unione No. 77 (Spring 2010): 9-33.
This is the 25 th installment of a comprehensive bibliography of international and national bilateral and multilateral dialogues, coded by confessional families, churches and councils. Each section includes information about the dialogues, texts and papers of the dialogues, and reflections and reactions.

Eastern Churches Journal: A Review of Eastern Christianity 14:1, 2, 3 (Spring, Summer, Autumn 2007).
Although dated 2007, this combined issue was just published in June 2010. It provides nearly 500 pages of comprehensive documentation of the speeches, greetings of official delegations, common declarations, dialogue updates, and state of the church reports for all the individual Orthodox and Eastern Catholic church bodies for the year 2007.

Enns, Fernando. “‘Glory to God and Peace on Earth’: The Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2010: An Ecumenical Journey towards a Common Understanding of Just Peace.” Ecumenical Trends 39:6 (June 2010): 86-90.
The German Mennonite theologian who co-moderates the WCC Committee for the Decade to Overcome Violence summarizes the theology of the Decade and the efforts to develop a “spirituality of reconciliation and active nonviolence.” He also presents plans for the International Peace Convocation that will be held in Jamaica in 2011 to address “peace in the community, peace with the earth, peace in the marketplace, and peace among peoples.”

Harmon, Steven R. “How Baptists Receive the Gifts of Catholics and Other Christians.” Ecumenical Trends39:6 (June 2010): 81-85.
A Baptist ecumenist describes ways in which Baptists might participate in receptive ecumenism: by receiving confessions, liturgies, hymnody, theological and exegetical resources, and spiritual practices, by participating in ecumenical studies of dialogue results at the local level, and by studying and engaging ethical and theological teachings of other traditions at the seminary level.

McPartlan, Paul. “The Body of Christ and the Ecumenical Potential of Eucharistic Ecclesiology.”Ecclesiology 6 (2010): 148-165.
A Catholic University of America professor reviews the biblical foundations and historical theology underpinning eucharistic ecclesiology, explains the seminal twentieth-century contributions of De Lubac, Zizioulas and Afanassieff, and samples various ecumenical dialogue statements for complementary expressions on the Eucharist, with eucharistic ecclesiology as the bridge.

Tveit, Olav Fykse. “The Ecumenical Movement as a Movement that Cares for Creation.” The Ecumenical Review 62:2 (July 2010): 137-140.
In this presentation given at a seminar in Copenhagen in December 2009, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches calls upon the churches to pray, work, see, and witness together in response to the needs of creation in the face of climate change.

“Unity in Mission Faith and Order Study Group” Essays. Journal of Ecumenical Studies 45:2 (Spring 2010 issue). A collection of papers from the National Council of Churches of Christ Faith and Order Study Group on Unity in Mission:

  • Mitzi J. Budde and Don Thorsen, “Introduction: Unity in Mission,” 178-182.
  • John T. Ford, “Unity and Mission: A Pilgrimage of Accompaniment,” 187-200.
  • Matthew D. Lundberg, “Repentance as a Paradigm for Christian Mission,” 201-217.
  • Mitzi J. Budde, “The Marks as Signposts of the Journey to Unity in Mission,” 218-226.
  • Antonios Kireopoulos, “The Role of Ecumenical Charity in Christian Mission,” 227-233.
  • Susan E. Davies, “Relational Unity in Mission: Reflecting God’s Life,” 234-244.
  • Anton C. Vrame, “Transforming a Nation through Mission: A Case Study on the Church in Albania,” 245-248.

Wainwright, Geoffrey. “Harvesting the Fruits: A First Methodist Response.” Ecclesiology 6 (2010): 143-147.
In this published version of a paper given at the “Harvesting the Fruits” Symposium in February 2010, the veteran Methodist ecumenist proposes a practical four-fold methodology for official reception at the highest level of bilateral dialogue results: affirming ecumenical statements of consensus, recognizing and working to strengthen areas of convergence, stating areas in need of further work toward resolution, and identifying places of ongoing divergence.

Williams, Rowan. “The Church as Sacrament.” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church10:1 (February 2010): 6-12.
The Archbishop of Canterbury presented this paper to the Consultation on Orthodox Ecclesiology at Windsor Castle in December 2009. In it, he explicates a theology of the church: “The Church lives sacramentally when it is aware of itself not only in the actions of prayer and feeding which express its deepest character but when it is capable of seeing itself truthfully and renewing its ways of describing itself in the light of Christ” (p. 12).

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism March 30, 2010

Borschel, Audrey. “An Ecumenical Comparison of Niemoller’s Maundy Thursday Sermon, 1945, and Rahner’s Holy Thursday Homily, 1976.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 44:4 (Fall 2009): 541-562.
A Disciples of Christ minister compares and contrasts the Eucharistic themes of Maundy Thursday sermons of two prominent theologian/ecumenists. Despite the fact that the sermons were authored thirty years apart and in quite different circumstances, she finds commonality in theological themes that transcend denominationalism: the one-time sacrifice of Christ proffering forgiveness and redemption for believers and Christ’s presence in both the elements of the Eucharist and in the gathered community.

Ford, John T. “Immigration Ministry: An Ecumenical Opportunity?” Ecumenical Trends 39:1 (January 2010): 10-14.
The author describes the current plight of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and calls for the U.S. government to “find a just, humane way” to deal with them. He proposes six areas in which churches, working together ecumenically, can minister to immigrants, in light of the gospel command to love the neighbor.

Ford, John T. “‘Papal Infallibility’ in Ecumenical Perspective.” Ecumenical Trends 39:2 (February 2010): 17-21.
Fr. Ford, Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America, examines ecumenical implications of the Roman Catholic doctrine of the pope’s “exercising that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer endowed His Church” (First Vatican Council), in dialogue with the Protestant principle of sola scriptura and the history of the interpretation of the doctrine since the Council defined it (distinguishing “maximal,” “moderate,” and “minimal” views) and proposes a basis for ongoing ecumenical dialogue about infallibility.

Gros, Jeffrey. “Ecumenical Challenge in the African American Pentecostal Community.” Ecumenical Trends 38:11 (December 2009): 161-165.
A prominent Roman Catholic professor of ecumenism “summarizes Pentecostal ecumenical involvement, provides some background on the Church of God in Christ, and lays out challenges for those serving Christ’s reconciliation among his followers including African American Pentecostals.” He proposes that the road of spiritual ecumenism and healing of memories will be important approaches for ecumenical advancement together.

Jillions, John A. “Three Orthodox Models of Christian Unity: Traditionalist, Mainstream, Prophetic.”International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 9:4 (November 2009): 295-311.
The author argues that the Orthodox tradition does not have a single unified approach to ecumenism as itsGuidelines document would indicate, but rather three distinct and differing approaches. He describes the “mainstream” approach, derived from Georges Florovsky’s theology, as “respectful dialogue and collaboration” yet still seeking unity by means of “restoration of Christian unity through incorporation of the heterodox into the fullness of the Orthodox Church.” The “traditionalist” approach is characterizes as a return or restoration attitude with the Orthodox tradition believed to be the one true church and the ecumenical movement rejected. The ecumenical contributions of twentieth-century Orthodox theologians Sergius Bulgakov, Nicholas Afanasiev, Anton Kartashev, and Nicholas Zernov are described as providing an alternate, more open basis for a “prophetic” approach to ecumenism for today.

Kasper, Walter. “‘Harvesting the Fruits’ and the Future of Ecumenism.” Origins 39:37 (February 25, 2010): 597-601.
This article is the published version of Cardinal Kasper’s opening address to the “Harvesting the Fruits” symposium, sponsored in Rome in February 2010 with five representatives from each church involved in the “Harvesting the Fruits” study: the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Methodist Council, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Anglican Communion. Cardinal Kasper proposes the development of an “ecumenical catechism” in order to facilitate reception and a more “people-centered ecumenism.” (See also the book entry for Kasper, Walter, Harvesting the Fruits, below.)

Massa, James. “Testing the Reception of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.” Origins39:31 (January 14, 2010): 508-514.
In an address given on October 29 at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC, the Head of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops’ Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs describes the Roman Catholic practice of indulgences and the ELCA decision to allow the ordination of homosexuals in committed monogamous relationships as test cases of the Joint Declaration.

Stamm, Mark W. “What Are We Doing? Thoughts about a Seminary Chapel Program in an Ecumenical Setting.” Worship 84:2 (March 2010), 123-137.
A professor of Christian worship at Perkins School of Theology (Southern Methodist University) presents an analysis of the liturgical challenges and pedagogical functions of chapel practices at a denominational seminary with an ecumenical faculty and student body. He draws upon examples of controversial chapel practices (such as disposition of leftover consecrated elements and cleaning of purificators stained with wine) as well as liturgical innovations (e.g. Bluegrass Eucharist, Hip Hop services of the Word, a baseball thanksgiving service) to illustrate effectively his call for mutual respect and forbearance as the community implements its five-point statement of purpose for chapel worship (p. 122).

Williams, Rowan. “The Ecumenical Glass is Genuinely Half-Full.” Origins 39:27 (December 10, 2009): 444-449.
The Archbishop of Canterbury gave this address on November 19 in Rome at the Gregorian University in which he reviews the agreements reached in Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue and raises questions about “the character of the unfinished business between us,” particularly on the topics of authority in the church, papal primacy, and levels of decision-making in the church on issues such as the ordination of women.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism November 30, 2009

Aguado, Maria Aránzazu. “Transformative Spirituality and Mission: An Ecumenical Project.”International Review of Mission 98:2 (November 2009): 218-231. 
This is an overview of the work to date of a 2008-2010 World Council of Churches’ study on spirituality, positioning it as the central new vision of the ecumenical movement and exploring issues and methodologies. “As the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference in 1910 inspired the birth of the modern ecumenical movement, we aim to envision a new ecumenism by bringing transformative spirituality and mission to the heart of the ecumenical movement in the new century” (p. 219).

Benedict XVI. “Anglicanorum Coetibus: Apostolic Constitution on new Structures for Welcoming Former Anglicans into Catholic Church.” Origins 39:24 (November 19, 2009): 387-390; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “Complementary Norms for the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.Origins 39:24 (November 19, 2009): 390-392; Father Ghirlanda, “The Significance of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.” Origins 39:24 (November 19, 2009): 392-395.
The official text, implementation guidelines, and commentary on the papal invitation to disaffected Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church through the establishment of “personal ordinariates,” provision for Anglican liturgies, and the possibility of married Anglican clergy to be ordained as Catholic priests. Married bishops are explicitly excluded.

“Bilateral Dialogues – Yesterday and Today,” theme issue of Ecumenical Review 61:3 (October 2009).
Updates on the state of the search for full visible unity as of 2009 in various denominational traditions through their various bilateral dialogues.

  • Henn, William. “The Vision of Unity Today: A Catholic Perspective,” 260-278.
  • Birmele, Andre. “The Reformation Churches and their Ecumenical Task Today,” 279-288.
  • Jones, Sarah Rowland. “Anglicans and Ecumenism,” 289-303.
  • Callam, Neville. “Baptists and Church Unity,” 304-314.
  • Alemezian, Nareg. “The Oriental Orthodox Family of Churches in Ecumenical Dialogue,” 315-327.
  • Mateus, Odair Pedroso. “Not without the World Council of Churches: A Contribution to the History of Catholic-Reformed International Bilateral Dialogue,” 328-342.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together. “Do Whatever He Tells You: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Christian Faith and Life: A Statement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together.” First Things 197 (November 2009): 49-58.
The seventh joint statement of this unofficial dialogue group affirms Mary as the virgin mother of Jesus andtheotokos, calls evangelicals to re-claim “a biblically precise, theologically robust love and honor of Mary,” addresses ongoing differences on the Marian doctrines of perpetual virginity, immaculate conception, the bodily assumption, and invocation of Mary, and calls for joint “rediscovery of the Mary of the Bible.”

Gregory, Wilton D. “10 th Anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.” Origins39:19 (October 15, 2009): 310-312. 
This is the homily that Archbishop Gregory preached for the U.S. Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation’s 10 th anniversary commemoration of the Joint Declaration in Chicago on October 1, 2009, in which he recommended that future work together include joint “study of the foundations of moral discernment in our respective traditions,” joint ecumenical projects, and “prayer and more prayer and more prayer.”

Gros, Jeffrey. “Rereading Paul Together.” Ecumenical Trends 38:9 (October 2009): 129-133. 
The veteran Roman Catholic ecumenist proposes that a renewal of biblical devotion, a enriched understanding of Paul’s teachings on salvation through the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, and a common faith in biblical teachings on eternal life are ecumenical accomplishments that can lead divided Christians to deeper biblical literacy and mutual respect and advance the ecumenical agenda.

Harmon, Steven R. “Ecumenical Theology and/as Systematic Theology.” Ecumenical Trends 38:9 (October 2009): 134-137.
A Baptist professor at Beeson Divinity School regards ecumenical dialogue results as a form of constructive theology and proposes a deeper integration of ecumenical accords into theological education through systematic theology courses.

Kinnamon, Michael. “Celebrating Our History as a Movement for Unity: 25 th Peter Ainslie Lecture on Christian Unity.” Call to Unity 10 (October 2009): 1-4.
The Executive Director of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA reflects on the centrality of a passion for unity both in the NCCC and in the Disciples of Christ as a “community of distinctive purpose within the church catholic” (p. 3).

North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation. “Response to the Ravenna Document.”Origins 39:23 (November 12, 2009): 379-382.
The North American dialogue group’s response to the 2007 international Orthodox-Catholic statement on conciliarity, identifying key ecclesiological questions still unanswered in regard to the ecclesiology of the local parish, episcopal conferences, and universal primacy.

Radano, John A. “Ecumenical Dialogue in the 21 st Century, Some Steps Forward, and Some Continuing Concerns: A Catholic Perspective.” Ecumenical Trends 38:10 (November, 2009): 145-153. 
A rich overview of the accomplishments of the ecumenical movement, highlighting ten achievements since 2000 (such as JDDJ, BEM, the Ravenna text, and the Global Christian Forum). Particularly interesting is his report on the Harvest Project, a forthcoming publication of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity analyzing all the dialogue reports between Roman Catholics and Lutheran World Federation, World Methodist Council, World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Anglican Communion on the topics of fundamentals of faith, salvation, the Church, and sacraments, in order to discover common ground and determine future directions.

Thomas, John H. “Polar Star or Shooting Star: Ecumenism’s Challenge Today: Tenth Joe A. and Nancy Vaughn Stalcup Lecture on Christian Unity.” Call to Unity 10 (October 2009): 19-24. 
The General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ warns compellingly of the dangers of an ecumenism based on shared friendship, which he compares to a shooting star, and reminds us that the polar star of unity is Christ’s designation of all Christians as friends in Christ, friends not chosen, but given.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism October 5, 2009

“Celebrating the Memory, Fr. Alexander Schmemann 1921-1983,” theme issue of St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 53, nos. 2-3 (2009). From two international conferences on the legacy of the great Orthodox liturgical theologian, four of the papers have a particularly ecumenical perspective:

  • Taft, Robert F. “The Liturgical Enterprise Twenty-Five Years After Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983): The Man and His Heritage,” pp. 139-178.
  • Fagerberg, David W. “The Cost of Understanding Schmemann in the West,” pp. 179-208.
  • Aune, Michael B. “The Current State of Liturgical Theology: A Plurality of Particularities,” pp. 209-230.
  • Spinks, Bryan D. “From Liturgical Theology to Liturgical Theologies: Schmemann’s Legacy in Western Churches,” pp. 231-250.

Creemers, Jelle. “Time will Teach us…Reflections on Thirty-Five Years of Pentecostal-Roman Catholic Dialogue.” Ecclesiology 5 (2009): 322-344.
Summarizes the history of the five phases of the dialogue to date, with a focus on the choices made in each phase, and asserts that progress can and will be made when the path of theological ecumenical dialogue follows spiritual ecumenism.

“One Church of Christ for the Sake of the World,” papers from the 2008 North American Academy of Ecumenists meeting. Journal of Ecumenical Studies 44, no. 3 (Summer 2009): 333-382.

  • Fuchs, Lorelei F. “ One Church of Christ for the Sake of the World: Introduction,” pp. 333-337.
  • Kinnamon, Michael. “Ecumenical Ecclesiology: One Church of Christ for the Sake of the World,” pp. 341-351.
  • Bouteneff, Peter C. “Ecumenical Ecclesiology and the Language of Unity,” pp. 352-360.
  • Peterson, Cheryl. “Response to Michael Kinnamon and Peter Bouteneff,” pp. 361-366.
  • Gros, Jeffrey. “The Ecumenical Calling of the Academic Theologian to Spiritual Pilgrimage in Service of Gospel Unity,” pp. 367-382.

Snell, Patricia, Christian Smith, Carlos Taveres, and Kari Christoffersen. “Denominational Differences in Congregation Youth Ministry Programs and Evidence of Systematic Non-Response Biases.” Review of Religious Research 51 no. 1 (September 2009): 21-38.
Four Notre Dame researchers investigated the youth ministry programs of all congregations in a particular urban area in Indiana by surveying 272 parishes and interviewing 42 youth ministers to identify differences in how youth groups are conducted. How and whether Bible study was provided was the most significant denominational difference found.

Young, Norman. “The Scope of Salvation: A Wesleyan Reflection Prompted by the Joint Declaration on Justification.” One in Christ 43 no. 1 (Summer 2009): 122-133.
The author, a twenty-year veteran of the Roman Catholic-Methodist dialogue team, analyses the Methodist rejection of predestination in light of the JDDJ and proposes a reworded theological formula that he believes might be acceptable to all: “without the church there is no salvation.”

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism July 31, 2009

Alfeyev, Hilarion. “The Orthodox Understanding of Primacy and Catholicity.” Sobornost 31:1 (2009): 6-17.
This is the Orthodox paper on primacy presented at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary’s Fellowship Conference by the Head of the Department of External Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church and Archbishop of Volokolamsk. It analyzes the Orthodox history and theology of the primacy of the bishop, contrasts it to Roman Catholic usage, challenges the concept of infallibility, and proposes a framework for acknowledgement of a “primacy of honour” of the Bishop of Rome by Orthodoxy. This acknowledgement would necessarily be predicated upon resolution of intra-Orthodox disagreements on primacy and upon the “restoration of the unity of faith, the unity of the dogmatic tradition of the ancient undivided Church.”

“A Bibliography of Interchurch and Interconfessional Theological Dialogues, Twenty-Fourth Supplement, 2009.” Bulletin, Centro Pro Unione No. 75 (Spring 2009): 25-41.
This is the 24 th installment of a comprehensive bibliography of international and national bilateral and multilateral dialogues, coded by confessional families, churches and councils. Each section includes information about the dialogues, texts and papers of the dialogues, and reflections and reactions.

Bordeianu, Radu. “Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue: Retrieving Eucharistic Ecclesiology.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 44:2 (Spring 2009): 239-265.
The author, a Greek Orthodox theologian from Duquesne University , analyzes the various ecclesiological and ecumenical perspectives of Nicolas Afanassieff, John Zizioulas, and Dumitru Staniloae, seeks to retrieve eucharistic ecclesiology and incorporate it with aspects of communion ecclesiology, and proposes four elements for an integrated communion ecclesiology: “doctrinal unity, episcopal communion, love, and eucharistic/sacramental communion.”

Harmon, Steven R. “Scripture in the Life of the Baptist Churches: Openings for a Differentiated Catholic-Baptist Consensus on Sacred Scripture.” Pro Ecclesia 18:2 (Spring 2009): 187-215.
Describes the function of Scripture in worship, catechesis, and confessions of Baptist churches and engages Vatican documents to identify eight areas of differentiated consensus that reflect convergence in Roman Catholic and Baptist understandings of Scripture.

Kinnamon, Michael. “On Being Hopeful Realists.” Ecumenical Trends 38:7 (July/August 2009): 107-108, 111.
This address of the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches discusses the balance of decision and risk, dialogue and outreach needed in order to accomplish effective ecumenical advocacy work.

Roberson, Ronald G. “The Papacy in Ecumenical Discussion Today.” Origins 39:10 (July 30, 2009): 171-175.
The National Workshop on Christian Unity ( Phoenix , April 2009) paper presented by the Associate Director of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

Schreck, Paul A. “New Maps for the Journey: Metaphoric Process in Ecumenical Theology.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 44:2 (Spring 2009): 159-179.
A Lutheran theologian describes the traditional bilateral dialogue process as an oppositional model and, using Luther and Rahner as examples, proposes in its place a metaphorical process model based on principles of speech-act theory.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism May 29, 2009

Clayton, Paul B., Jr. “Sacramentum Caritatis: On the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission : An Anglican Review.” Ecumenical Trends 38:4 (April 2009): 49-56.
An Anglican ecumenist summarizes Pope Benedict XVI’s statement on the Eucharist and offers an Anglican perspective on it, heartily endorsing its central assertion that Christians are transformed by participation in the sacrament, yet also critiquing the tone which he characterizes as a “conservative, almost longing looking back to pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism” (p. 56).

Clements, Keith. “Barmen and the Ecumenical Movement.” The Ecumenical Review 61:1 (March 2009): 6-16.
The first article in a theme issue on the significance of Barmen for today, in the 75 th anniversary year of the declaration, analyses the differing responses of Life and Work, Faith and Order, and the World Student Movement to the Confessing Church and its declaration in its time.

Johnstone, Carlton . “Understanding the Practice of ‘Church Two-Timing.’” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 9 (February 2009): 17-31.
The article explores why some people choose regularly to attend churches of two different denominations. Through a series of interviews with 50 young adults, the author concludes that these folk are generally integrated into the community life and more emotionally engaged with the “primary” church and generally limit their involvement with a “secondary” church to worship attendance. He offers encouragement to churches to provide space for the “two-timer” and to welcome them as long-term guests.

Lincoln, Andrew T. “Communion: Some Pauline Foundations.” Ecclesiology 5:2 (2009): 135-160.
Lincoln analyzes the biblical foundation of the ecumenical language of communion/koinonia, especially in the Pauline epistles. Paul Avis’ editorial calls this article “a challenge to communion ecclesiology.”

Reath, Mary. “Toward a Reformed Ecumenical Movement.” The Living Church 238:21 (May 24, 2009): 12-13.
A member of the U.S. Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue team encourages the search for unity in diversity, challenges the churches to learn from one another and study agreed statements, and calls for a focus on educational ecumenism and ecclesial learning. She calls for the establishment of an “Ecumenical Hall of Fame” and an emphasis on building ecumenical friendships at the local level.

Smit, Peter-Ben. “Traditions in Dialogue: A Comparison of the Concept of Tradition in Old Catholic-Anglican, Orthodox-Anglican and Orthodox-Old Catholic Dialogue.” Ecclesiology 5:2 (2009): 212-236.
In this paper the example of a long-standing ecumenical triangle, Anglican-Orthodox-Old Catholic, will be used to illustrate the benefits of this ‘comparative ecumenical theology’ by studying the concept of Tradition as it has been treated in the Anglican-Orthodox and Old Catholic-Orthodox dialogues” (p. 212).

“Theological Education in Mission ” theme issue. International Review of Mission 98 (April 2009). Relevant articles include:

  • Ortega, Ofelia. “Contextuality and Community: Challenges for Theological Education and Ecumenical Formation”
  • Vassiliades, Petros. “Contextuality and Catholicity: The Task of Orthodox Theology in Ecumenical Theological Education”
  • Raiser, Konrad. “The Future of Theological Education in Central and Eastern Europe : Challenges for Ecumenical Learning in the 21 st Century”
  • Longchar, Wati. “Beyond Four-Walled Campuses: Models of Ecumenical Theological Education in Interfaith Issues in India ”
  • Wilson, Henry S. “Theological Reconstruction in China : Ecumenical Accompaniment in the Self-Theologizing Effort in Theological Education”
  • Werner, Dietrich. “Magna Charta on Ecumenical Formation in Theological Education in the 21 st Century – 10 Key Convictions”

Wood, Susan. “What Makes the Church One?: A Roman Catholic Perspective. Ecumenical Trends 38:5 (May 2009): 73-79.
“The unity of the church consists in this mutual interpenetration of ecclesial structures which is soteriological, sacramental, and ministerial…A shared profession of faith, celebration of sacraments, and apostolic ministry remain as essential for ecclesial unity now as they did in Bellarmine’s time…” (p. 78).

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism January 31, 2009

Blezard, Robert C. “Toward Christian Unity: Study Guide.” The Lutheran 21 (December 2008): 20.
A brief 5-part congregational study guide on ecumenism from a Lutheran perspective. Each session includes an ecumenical topic, a reading assignment and a set of discussion questions.

Davey, Colin. “Orthodox-Roman Catholic Dialogue: The Ravenna Agreed Statement,” Sobornost 30:2 (2008): 7-36.
A close reading and analysis of the 2007 Orthodox-Roman Catholic Ravenna Agreed Statement from the Anglican secretary to the first Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission and the Anglican/Orthodox Joint Doctrinal Discussions, who compares Ravenna’s theological assertions to the statements from those ecumenical dialogues.

DelMonico, Marc J. “Their Message Goes Forth to All the Earth: Towards a Franciscan-Ecumenical Approach to the Ecological Crisis.” Ecumenical Trends 37:10 (November 2008): 147-153, 159.
The author, a Ph.D. student at Catholic University , explains how a Franciscan approach can inform an ecumenical approach to the current ecological crisis and suggests how this perspective can provide a useful response at the “personal-local” and “social-national-global” levels.

Djomhoue, Priscille. “Manifestations of Ecumenism in Africa Today: A Study of the Mainline and Pentecostal Churches in Cameroon.” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 8 (November 2008): 355-368.
A description of the Christian church in Cameroon as two types: mainline denominations established by missionary societies (Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian) and Pentecostal churches, and an exploration of ways in which they might deepen their ecumenical efforts in that African context.

Fosarelli, Patricia. “That All May Be One: A Tale of Three Churches.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 43:4 (Fall 2008): 537-544.
This practical article describes specific local ecumenical educational initiatives, joint worship services and cooperative events held between three local parishes (Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian) in downtown Baltimore , Maryland in recent years.

Gros, Jeffrey. “A People on Pilgrimage – In Christ’s Prayer.” Ecumenical Trends 37:11 (December 2008): 161-164, 175.
Brother Gros addresses “three dimensions of ecumenical prayer: 1) spiritual disposition, 2) types of ecumenical prayer, and 3) spiritual exercises serving ecumenical prayer.” This is a very important new contribution to the literature of spiritual ecumenism.

Knieps-Port le Roi, Thomas. “Being One at Home: Interchurch Families as Domestic Church.” One in Christ 42:2 (Winter 2008): 341-359.
This paper, originally presented at the British Association of Interchurch Families 40 th anniversary conference in August 2008, explores the history and theology of the “domestic church” concept and then analyzes the theological and sociological potentialities of considering interchurch families an expression of this concept.

“Local and Universal Ecumenical Dialogue.” Theme issue of Exchange: Journal of Missiological and Ecumenical Research 37:4 (2008). 
Most of this issue is devoted to analysis of and response to the 2003 Reformation-Catholic dialogue report from the Netherlands , “Local and Universal Ecumenical Dialogue.” The dialogue involved two Catholic groups (Roman Catholic and Old Catholic) and three Protestant groups (Netherlands Reformed Church, the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) which merged into the Protestant Church in the Netherlands while the dialogue was in progress. The English translation of the text is published here, along with responses from two Roman Catholic theologians, Jeffrey Gros and Peter de Meij, an Old Catholic theologian, Peter-Ben Smit, and two Reformed theologians, Allan Jansen and Henry Wilson.

“Making a Difference Together: Visions of the Ecumenical Future.” Theme issue of The Ecumenical Review60:3 (July 2008).
Although dated July, this issue of the journal of the World Council of Churches just arrived in December. It is a rich issue with four articles devoted to the question of the future of the ecumenical movement:

  • Huliselan, Beril. “The Ecumenical Movement of the 21 st Century: Bringing Unity Down to Earth,” 213-221. A perspective from the Indonesian Christian Church.
  • Waweru, Lucy Wambui. “Prospects for Ecumenism in the 21 st Century: Preparing for Tomorrow,” 222-238. The author is a Kenyan minister in the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.
  • Rajkumar, Peniel Jesudason Rufus. “Making a Difference Together: Prospects for Ecumenism in the 21 st Century,” 239-353. The author writes from a Church of England perspective.
  • Rimmer, Chad . “Prospects for Ecumenism in the 21 st Century: Towards an Ecumenical Theology of the Wilderness,” 254-270. An Evangelical Lutheran Church in America global mission staffer who lives and works in Copenhagen presents his perspective.

National Association of Pastoral Musicians. “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism…One Song.” Pastoral Music 33:2 (December 2008): 64.
A succinct summary of the ecumenical diversity and richness of worship music used in Christian churches today, presented in a one-page format for reproduction as a bulletin insert.

Schlabach, Gerald W. “Catholic and Mennonite: A Journey of Healing.” One in Christ 42:2 (Winter 2008): 318-340.
A self-described “Mennonite Catholic” and director of BridgeFolk describes the vocation of those who live and work in ecumenical ministries using metaphors of bridging, healing, scarring, vision, and dialogue. A must-read for those contemplating long-term service in another tradition.

Tanner, Mary. “Growing Together in Unity and Mission: An Agreed Statement of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission 2007.” One in Christ 42:2 (Winter 2008): 371-381.
This article was originally a presentation made to the Anglican bishops of Lambeth 2008 to summarize, study and receive the 2007 IARCUM agreed statement.

Temmerman, Ray. “Interchurch Families as Domestic Church: More Real than Imperfect? Ecumenism 171 (Fall 2008): 4-13.
The leader of the online Interchurch Families movement explores interchurch marriage as an expression of “domestic church” (ecclesia domestica), drawing upon the classic marks of the Church.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism, November 30, 2008

Ecumenism 170 (Summer 2008): 8-27.
This issue includes a series of papers on the Eucharistic theology of various denominations from an ecumenical perspective:

  • Emery, Gerald. “Holy Cène (Lord’s Supper): Practice and Significance in the Pentecostal Tradition”
  • Fines, David. “Communion in the United Church”
  • Gros, Jeffrey. “The Sacrament of Unity: The Eucharist in Catholic Piety”
  • Harder, Helmut. “The Lord’s Supper as Understood by Mennonite Churches”
  • Jones, William. “Baptists and the Lord’s Supper”
  • Smart, Tim. “Called to Full Communion”

Gros, Jeffrey. “Struggle and Reconciliation: Some Reflections on Ecumenism in Chile.” International Review of Mission 97 (January/April 2008): 50-64.
An excellent overview of twentieth-century Christianity in Chile and 40 years of Catholic-Protestant (usually Pentecostal) ecumenical relations in that country.

Holeton, David R. “Ecumenical Liturgical Consensus: A Bumpy Road to Christian Unity.” Studia Liturgica38 (2008): 1-16.
The Presidential Address for the 40 th anniversary conference of the Societas Liturgica surveys the twentieth-century developments toward a common lectionary, a common catechumenate, a common Eucharistic ordo, and common liturgical texts, and the challenges to that consensus posed now by the recent Church of England revision of the Lord’s Prayer text and the Roman Catholic changes to liturgical texts proposed by Liturgiam authenticam.

Lancaster, Sarah Heaner. “Baptism and Justification: A Methodist Understanding.” Ecclesiology 4 (2008): 289-307.
In response to the World Methodist Council’s vote to sign on to the Roman Catholic-Lutheran Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, a Methodist theologian explains John Wesley’s teachings on justification and baptism and what those teachings can contribute to ecumenical dialogue: “we honor the meaning of baptism when we seek to express the dynamic work of God for our salvation in all its manifestations” (p. 307).

Neuhaus, Richard John. “Reconciling East and West.” First Things 188 (December 2008): 23-28.
One could consider this article a kind of a “state of the union” overview of the work towards Roman Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical accord, especially the dialogue around papal primacy. Neuhaus’ view is that “the only thing lacking for full communion with the Orthodox is full communion” (p. 27-28).

“Pentecostal Catholic Dialogue with a Methodist Twist!” Ecumenical Trends 37 (2008): 4-11.
Three articles in this issue address the accomplishments, challenges and potential of these ecumenical relations:

  • Campbell, Ted A. “Ecumenical Relations Between Catholic, Pentecostal, and Methodist Churches ”
  • Coulter, Dale M. “Are We Kin? Reflections on the Dialogues Between Catholics, Methodists, and Pentecostals”
  • Del Colle, Ralph. “Catholic-Methodist-Pentecostal: A Trialogue?”

Small, Joseph D. “Local Church – Universal Church.” Ecumenical Trends 37 (September 2008): 124-126.
This paper from the 2008 National Workshop on Christian Unity presents a Reformed perspective, in dialogue with Roman Catholic theology, on the ecumenical debates over definitions of church as local-universal and visible-invisible.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism, September 30, 2008

Bolognesi, Pietro. “A History of the Relationship of the Evangelical Alliance with the Roman Catholic Church.” Evangelical Review of Theology 32:3 (2008): 210-223.
Reviews and analyzes the history of the dialogue between the Evangelical Alliance and Roman Catholics since Vatican II and challenges the EA to develop a theological approach in order to have a common methodology for dialogue with Rome .

Bouwen, Frans. “The Official Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church: 1973-1992.” One in Christ 42 (Summer 2008): 75-98.

Carter, David. “Catholic-Methodist Dialogue: Promise, Hope and Caution.” One in Christ 42 (Summer 2008): 148-170.
A British Methodist summarizes Methodist reception and caution around the ministry issues of the 2006 Catholic-Methodist document, The Grace Given You in Christ and posits that the Methodist Church might be ready to accept a differentiated consensus around episcopacy.

Daniels, Harold M. “Lutherans and Reformed Living Together in Full Communion: Ten Years.” Call to Worship 42:1 (2008-2009): 1-8.
Describes the history of the American Lutheran-Reformed relationship and concrete ways in which the first decade of full communion has been lived out at the national level, mid-level judicatories, seminaries, and congregations.

Dieter, Theodor. “Luther Research and Ecumenism.” Dialog 47 (Summer 2008): 157-166.
A German Lutheran theologian analyzes the differing methodologies of Luther research and ecumenical dialogue.

Epting, Christopher. “The Nature of the Unity we Seek.” Ecumenical Trends 37 (July/August 2008): 108-109.
The Episcopal Church’s Deputy for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations brings the lessons of the church’s 1979 Declaration on Unity to bear on current tensions within the Anglican Communion.

Gros, Jeffrey. “Fifty Years and Running: Oberlin 57, Back and Beyond.” One in Christ 42 (Summer 2008): 171-186.
One of the premier ecumenists of the century summarizes the 50-year history of the National Council of Churches Faith and Order movement in the U.S.A.

Kinnamon, Michael. “Pray Without Ceasing.” Ecumenical Trends 37 (July/August 2008) 97-100.
The new General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA ’s keynote address from the 2008 National Workshop on Christian Unity in which he seeks to bring together Faith and Order and Life and Work concerns into a unified ecumenism grounded in prayer for unity.

Murphy, Gannon. “Reformed Theosis?” Theology Today 65 (2008): 191-212.
A Reformed theologian proposes “a reconsideration and reformulation of the viability of theosis within classical Reformed theology.”

O’Gara, Margaret. “Ecumenical Dialogue: The Next Generation.” Origins 38 (July 31, 2008): 154-163.
A Canadian Roman Catholic theologian’s perspective on the future challenges for ecumenical relations, including the papacy, infallibility, The church’s authority, women’s ordination, ethics, and relations with non-Christian religions.

Ryan, Thomas. “The Evolving Face of Ecumenism.” One in Christ 42 (Summer 2008): 139-147.
A description of monasticism as “ecumenical terrain” as experienced in Focolare, Taize, Syndesmos, L’Arche, and Bose.

Sisto, Walter Nunzio. “The Economic-Immanent Method: Implications of Karl Rahner’s Trinitarian Theology for the Contemporary North American Catholic-Orthodox Ecumenical Movement.” Ecumenical Trends 37 (July/August 2008): 104-107.
A Ph.D. student examines the impasse over the filioque clause between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism and proposes Rahner’s theology of the immanent Trinity as a “bridge theology” that would allow for resolution of this issue.

Smit, Peter-Ben. “The Developing Understanding of Authority and Primacy in Anglican-Roman Catholic-Old Catholic dialogue after the Second Vatican Council.” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 8 (August 2008): 11-231.
The author, an Old Catholic priest who teaches at General Seminary (Episcopal), argues that Anglican, Roman Catholic and Old Catholic dialogue has made positive progress to the point of implementing a universal primacy acceptable to all three traditions.

Swarat, Uwe. “The Dialogues Between the European Baptist Federation and the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 43 (Summer 2008): 333-350.
A review of the history of dialogue between the churches of the Leuenberg Agreement (1973) with the European Baptist Federation and the developing convergence toward table and pulpit fellowship despite ongoing divergence over baptismal theology.

Tabbernee, William and Beverly Roberts Gaventa. “Interpreting the Scriptures Together: Seeking the Visible Unity of the Church.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 43 (Summer 2008): 295-308.
A proposal for developing a common ecumenical biblical hermeneutic as a foundation for ecumenical dialogue.

Tjorhom, Ola. “An ‘Ecumenical Winter’? Challenges in Contemporary Catholic Ecumenism.” The Heythrop Journal 49 (September 2008): 841-859.
A Roman Catholic ecumenist draws upon Vatican II’s Unitatis redintegratio to identify steps the Roman church might take to “rescue” the ecumenical movement: a sustainable spiritual ecumenism, intermediate steps towards Eucharistic fellowship, and appreciation for ecclesial diversity, leading to opportunities for a new ecumenical strategy of differentiated consensus and the quest for ecumenical reception.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism July 2008

Cadge, Wendy, Laura R. Olson, and Christopher Wildeman. “How Denominational Resources Influence Debate about Homosexuality in Mainline Protestant Congregations.” Sociology of Religion 69 (Summer 2008): 187-207.
The authors conducted telephone interviews with the clergy of 30 congregations ( Evangelical Lutheran Church in America , Presbyterian Church USA and United Methodist) in one northeastern U.S. city to assess how the congregations addressed the issue of homosexuality and what resources were provided by the denominations for congregational study of the issue. Findings indicated that the parishes responses to the issue were influenced by the denomination’s materials and recommended process.

Dieter, Theodor. “Luther Research and Ecumenism.” Dialog 47 (Summer 2008): 157-166.
The article compares and contrasts the aims of Luther research and how that research impacts the consensus sought and differentiations achieved in doctrinal ecumenism.

Fahey, Michael A. “Shifts in Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant Ecclesiology from 1965 to 2006.” Ecclesiology 4 (2008): 134-147.
A Roman Catholic theologian attempts to present a “confessionally comprehensive survey” of shifts in ecclesiology over the past forty years. While a 13-page journal article cannot provide comprehensive coverage, the author offers a helpful summary of areas of consensus (e.g. the doctrine of the Trinity as starting point and the impact of the liturgical renewal movement) and identifies the “unfinished agendas” for ecclesiology (most importantly, integrating the results of ecumenical agreements into denominational ecclesiology).

Hein, David. “Radical Ecumenism: A Teaching Moment for Anglicanism.” Sewanee Theological Review 51 (Pentecost 2008): 314-328.
An Anglican author promotes an ecumenism of receptivity to the other, instead of an ecumenism that seeks formal agreements drawing upon Cardinal Avery Dulles’ recent work on alternative forms of ecumenism, the witness of modern-day Old Order Amish in forgiveness, and the historical example of Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf.

“His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Visits Pope Benedict XVI and the Church of Rome.” SEIA Newsletter on the Eastern Churches and Ecumenism 152 (May 31, 2008): 1-4.
This article describes the visit of His Holiness Karekin II to Rome on May 6-9 and gives the texts of Pope Benedict’s welcoming remarks, the response from His Holiness Karekin II, Pope Benedict’s speech in the private audience with the Catholicos, and the speech of His Holiness Karekin II in response, all on the theme of spiritual ecumenism and prayer for unity, seeking together the particular guidance of the Holy Spirit for unity as each tradition celebrates the festival of Pentecost.

Murphy, Gannon. “Reformed Theosis?” Theology Today 65 (2008): 191-212.
In this article, a Reformed theologian finds common ground between the classical Reformed doctrine of “Christ in us” and the Orthodox theological concept of theosis. Drawing upon Reformed theologians Calvin, Kuyper, Watson, Strong, and Berkhof, patristic authors, and Orthodox theologian Timothy Ware, the author proposes a “reformed theosis” grounded in a biblical theology of the word.

Small, Joseph D. “Praying for the Unity of the Church.” Ecumenical Trends 37 (June 2008): 1-5.

The Director of Theology, Worship and Education Ministries of the Presbyterians Church USA exegetes Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17 and asserts that “the basic form of prayer for the unity of the church is prayer of confession…we are all complicit in our disunity.”

Toussaint, Loren L. and David R. Williams. “National Survey Results for Protestant, Catholic, and Nonreligious Experiences of Seeking Forgiveness and of Forgiveness of Self, of Others, and by God.”Journal of Psychology & Christianity 27 (Summer 2008): 120-130.
This study of 1,087 Americans correlates attitudes towards forgiveness of others with religious commitment: moderate Protestants and Catholics ranked similarly, and higher in forgiveness, than those with no religious affiliation. Conservative Protestants ranked highest in seeking forgiveness of others. No difference was found between religious Christians and non-religious people in levels of forgiveness of self. Protestants and Catholics reported congruent levels of feeling forgiven by God, and at a higher level than those with no religious affiliation.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism May 30, 2008

Benedict XVI, Pope. “Ecumenical Service.” Origins 37 (May 1, 2008): 751-753.
The text of the pope’s remarks at the ecumenical prayer service held in New York City on April 18 with 250 Christian leaders, including “May the word of God we have heard this evening inflame our hearts with hope on the path to unity.”

Craddock, Fred. “Othering.” Restoration Quarterly 50 (Second Quarter 2008): 121-125.
An ecumenical sermon on the Christian call to be in relationship with people different from ourselves, preached by Craddock at Hazelip School of Theology, Lipscomb University. “Is kindness to be done because we are children of God who are gracious people in circumstances complex amidst people with whom we don’t agree, whom we abhor in all kinds of conditions? Relationships at best are hard and difficult but never so much as to give us any excuse for being other than gracious.”

DeVille, Adam A.J. “Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Primacy: A Plea for a New Common Approach.”Ecumenical Trends 37 (April 2008): 5-7.
A review of the recent difficulties encountered in Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, particularly the inter-Orthodox disagreement over the role and authority of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and a proposal for establishing a common method and a collaborative bilateral effort to address the issue of the primacy of Constantinople .

Eight Catholic and Protestant Bishops. “Ecumenical Statement on Immigration to the People of Kansas.”Origins 37 (April 10, 2008): 685-686.
Bishops from the Kansas judicatories of the Roman Catholic, United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America , and Episcopal traditions call the people to work for “a humane resolution of the problem of illegal immigration.”

Francis, Leslie J. and Mandy Robbins. “The Relationship Between Denominational Affiliation and Spiritual Health Among Weekly Churchgoing 13- to 15-year-old Adolescents in England and Wales.”Journal of Education and Christian Belief 12:1 (2008): 21-39.
This study of 34,000 Anglican, Roman Catholic, Free Church, Pentecostal, and Jehovah’s Witness teenagers finds differences in spiritual health correlated to denominational identity, in ways congruent with denominational theological stance. Charts analyze the responses by denomination within four categories: personal domain, communal domain, environmental domain, and transcendental domain.

Kasper, Walter. “The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Origin and Continuing Inspiration of the Ecumenical Movement.” Centro Pro Unione Semi-Annual Bulletin 73 (Spring 2008): 15-20.
The President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity reflects on the history and legacy of the Week of Prayer and spiritual ecumenism for the 21st century. “The unity of the church is like an icon of the Trinity.”

Nepi, Loredana, comp. “A Bibliography of Interchurch and Interconfessional Theological Dialogues: Twenty-third Supplement – 2008.” Centro Pro Unione Semi-Annual Bulletin 73 (Spring 2008): 21-45.
This is the 23 rd installment of a comprehensive bibliography of international and national bilateral and multilateral dialogues, coded by confessional families, churches and councils. Each section includes information about the dialogues, texts and papers of the dialogues, and reflections and reactions.

Radano, John A. “The Catholic Church, Faith and Order, and BEM.” Centro Pro Unione Semi-Annual Bulletin 73 (Spring 2008): 3-14.
This paper summarizes the Catholic Church’s relationship with the World Council of Churches and the Faith and Order movement, addresses the Catholic Church’s official response to the Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry document of 1982, and summarizes how the convergence achieved in the BEM document will impact future ecumenical relations.

Radano, John A. “The Future of Our Journey: Issues Facing Ecumenism.” Ecumenical Trends 37 (May 2008): 4-10.
This is the published text of the paper on the future of ecumenism that Monsignor Radano presented at the 50 th anniversary NCCC Faith and Order Conference in Oberlin in summer 2007.

Schreck, Paul A. “Under One Christ: Implications of a Roman Catholic Recognition of the Confessio Augustana in C.E. 2017.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 43 (Winter 2008): 90-110.
A Lutheran proposes that the next step for Lutheran-Roman Catholic rapprochement after the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification ought to be a mutual acceptance of the Augsburg Confession as an authentic confession of the catholic faith.

Sheldrake, Philip. “A Spirituality of Reconciliation: Encouragement for Anglicans from a Roman Catholic Perspective.” Journal of Anglican Studies 6 (June 2008): 107-26.
A Roman Catholic professor of theology from the University of Durham, England offers insights on reconciliation and discernment from the Rule of St. Benedict and the Eucharist for the current conflicts in the Anglican Communion. “The Eucharist is the laboratory of reconciliation,” he writes.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism April 2008

Bush, John C. and Jeffrey R. Gros. “Journey in Faith: Forty Years of Reformed-Catholic Dialogue: 1965-2005.” The Ecumenical Review 59:2-3 (2007):293-314.

Clapsis, Emmanuel. “Towards a Mystical and Prophetic Spiritual Life.” The Ecumenical Review 59:2-3 (2007): 189-206.

A Greek Orthodox perspective on the elements of ecumenical spirituality: liturgy, community, tradition, love of God and neighbour, openness to the activity of the Holy Spirit, mysticism, and prophecy.

Davies, Susan E. “Christian Unity in the Face of God.” Ecumenical Trends 37:3 (2008): 33-36.

The author, co-chair of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Faith and Order Commission, reflects on the connections between ecumenism and work for justice.

Del Colle, Ralph. “Mary, the Unwelcome (?) Guest in Catholic/Pentecostal Dialogue.” Pneuma 29 (2007): 214-225.

Kasper, Walter. “The Current State of Ecumenical Dialogue.” Origins 37 (December 20, 2007): 450-454.

An address by the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in which he asserts that “Ecumenism is not an option but a holy obligation,” and analyzes three “fields of ecumenism”: Roman Catholic relations with the Orthodox, Reformation churches, and Pentecostal Christians.

Tavard, George H. “A Theological Exploration of Ecumenical Hospitality.” The Ecumenical Review 59:2-3 (2007): 242-256.

A preeminent Roman Catholic ecumenist uses hospitality as a “paradigm of our relationship with God” and thus with one another, through koinonia ecclesiology, for the sake of unity and reconciliation.

Voss, Klaus Peter. “Source of Renewal or Sign of Stagnation? A Brief Look at the Week of Prayer.” The Ecumenical Review 59:4 (2007): 423-429.

In an issue focused on the 100 th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, a member of the international committee reflects on the impact of the Week of Prayer observance on the ecumenical movement and the life of the church.

New Journal Articles of Note on Ecumenism as of January 2008

“Bishops as Ecumenical Leaders,” Catholic Theological Society of America Panel. Ecumenical Trends 36 (December 2007): 166-175.

  • Skylstad, William S. “Our Common Reconciling Ministry,” 166-169.
  • Anderson, H. George. “Bishops as Leaders in Ecumenical Dialogue,” 170-172.
  • Brown, Tod D. “Bishops as Leaders in Ecumenical Dialogue: Reflections on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations,” 173, 175.

In this panel discussion from the Catholic Theological Society of America’s annual convention, Bp. Skylstad presents a Roman Catholic perspective and Bp. Anderson a Lutheran perspective, with response from Bp. Brown, a Roman Catholic.

Christian Orient: A Journal of Eastern Churches for Creative Theological Thinking 28 (December 2007).

This entire issue is dedicated to papers on ecumenism, including articles on an Indian perspective on future church, differing understandings of apostolic succession, and questions on ecumenism raised by modern philosophy.

Crossin, John W. “What Does God Want Us to Do? A Meditation on Discernment.” Ecumenical Trends 36 (November 2007): 145-149.

The executive director of the Washington Theological Consortium elucidates spiritual ecumenism through the elements of spiritual discernment: prayer, humility, reconciliation and healing, spiritual friendships, and obedience.

Ferguson, Thomas. “Apostolicity, Apostolic Succession, and the Historic Episcopate: Reconciliation of Ministries in the Church of North India and Implications for the United Methodist-Episcopal Dialogue.”The Anglican 36 (July 2007): 15-26.

This paper, by the Associate Deputy of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Episcopal Church, explores potential learnings for current United Methodist-Episcopal dialogue from the Church of North India ’s experience with reconciliation of ministries.

Ford, John T. “Ecumenical Agreements: Material for a Retreat?” Ecumenical Trends 36 (October 2007): 129-133.

The ecumenical movement’s current expert in methodology (see following entry) suggests helpful approaches to the study of ecumenical documents in parish and seminary settings, as well as identifying some specific temptations that threaten effective reception of these documents.

Ford, John T. “Oberlin 2007: The Need for an Expanded Methodology?” Ecumenical Trends 36 (September 2007): 117-120.

Fr. Ford, professor in the School of Religious Studies at Catholic University of America, has used his vast ecumenical experience to develop a methodology for assessing the effectiveness of ecumenical conversation using the categories of “resonance” (agreement despite differing terminology), “dissonance” (disagreement masked by the use of similar terminology), and “nonsonance” (confusion resulting from the dual lacunae of understanding and of communication). This important article furthers Ford’s ecumenical nomenclature by adding a fourth category: “ordinance,” to describe receiving ecumenical agreements and incorporating them into the life of the church.

Journal of Ecumenical Studies 42 (Fall 2007).

This exceptionally useful issue is devoted to papers from the Oberlin II Conference celebrating 50 years of Faith and Order in the U.S. and papers from the 2005 and 2006 North American Academy of Ecumenists conferences. The general theme is “widening the circle of ecumenical conversation.” A veritable ecumenical feast!

Lewis, Dick. “The Dublin Conference: Aspects of Reconciliation.” The Window: The Anglican- Lutheran Society, Issue 84 (December 2007): 1.

The Anglican-Lutheran Society is an international ecumenical society dedicated to furthering relations worldwide between Anglicans and Lutherans. This issue of the journal reports on the biennial conference, held in Dublin in September 2007. This issue also includes Gillian Kingston’s presentation to the conference on “Ireland Today: An Introduction to Irish History and Culture.” The U.S. chapter is the International Lutheran-Episcopal Society , U.S. ; website: http://www.alsocietyusa.org/.

MacDonald, Timothy. “A History of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.” Ecumenical Trends 36 (September 2007): 113-116.

Schattauer, Thomas H. “Liturgical Studies: Disciplines, Perspectives, Teaching.” International Journal of Practical Theology 11 (2007): 106-137.

A comprehensive overview of the “landscape” of the liturgical movement: its history, theology, and pastoral aspects in conversation with six key scholars: Paul Bradshaw, Robert Taft, Gordon Lathrop, Geoffrey Wainwright, Mark Searle, and Lawrence Hoffman. The author’s integrative teaching approach, based on liturgy as “communal practice,” could be useful in many denominational contexts.

Root, Michael. “Bishops, Ministry, and the Unity of the Church in Ecumenical Dialogue: Deadlock, Breakthrough, or Both?” Catholic Theological Society of America Proceedings 62 (2007): 19-35.

The premier Lutheran ecumenist analyzes the current state of the question re Roman Catholic non-recognition of Lutheran episcopacy and proposes a “scalar” approach (recognition as “real but imperfect”) as a way forward.

Page Three: Costs [Registration Form] The 2012 AAIF Biennial Conference Collegeville, MN

Registration Form ~ Page Three: Costs

Please copy and paste this page to be mailed in with your registration form and payment in the same envelope.

Please print clearly

The 2012 AAIF Biennial Conference

Collegeville, MN

July 13(5 PM) – July 15, 2012 (1:30PM)

“Interchurch Families: ‘Listen…with the ear of your heart”

Fees are all inclusive and per person, beginning with supper at 5 PM on Friday, July 13, 2012 and going through lunch, 11 AM – 1 PM on Sunday, July 15, 2012

Conference fees include: Housing, Meals and AAIF Membership dues for July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013

Add together the column at the far right to find your total amount due

Adult Conference 

Fees per person:  $ 195  X _________ Number of Adults    =  _____________

Children age 10 and younger

Fees per person:  $  45   X  ________ Number of Children  =  _____________

Babies who sleep in a pack ‘n play that their parents bring for them and who are not eating table food (age under three): No Charge

To find your grand total due,  Please add up your totals from the right hand column.

Then enter the amount due on the line for “Total amount due” at the right.

                                                                         Total amount due =___________________

Please make checks payable to:  AAIF and mail them to:

c/o Lamar Burton, AAIF Secretary                                                                                               1124 Grazing Meadows Lane                                                                                        Louisville, KY 40245-4594

Kindly have your envelopes with payment enclosed post marked on or before: June 30, 2012

Flying into the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport?

Please phone directly to Executive Express to make those arrangements directly with them

Phone Number: 320 – 253 – 2226

It will be about 1 hour 40 minutes driving/riding time from the Minneapolis – Saint Paul area to Collegeville, MN at Saint John’s University

http://www.executiveexpress.biz/City/43/St.%20John’s%20University.aspx  (Or reserve online)

Attendees will be in charge of their own travel expenses and arrangements – This information is only to help people plan in case you will be flying into MSP

The more people in the van, the cheaper it is per person

Also, reservations can be made online for the shuttle between the MSP airport and Saint John’s University


Baby sitting services may be arranged upon request.

The American Association of Interchurch Families, founded by Father George Kilcourse – A Brief History of the role of Father Kilcourse

Father George A. Kilcourse, Jr. Ecumenist and Author ““whatever is truly Christian never conflicts with the genuine interests of the faith; indeed, it can only result in more ample realization of the very mystery of Christ and the church.”

Fr. George Kilcourse

Fr. George Kilcourse is a scholar in the fields of Thomas Merton studies, ecumenism, and religion and literature. His latest book is Flannery O’Connor’s Religious Imagination (Paulist Press, 2001), and previous books are Ace of Freedoms: Thomas Merton’s Christ and Double Belonging: Interchurch Families and Christian Unity (1993) . He is the former editor of and frequent contributor to The Merton Annual and has written dozens of scholarly articles.

Fr. Kilcourse has been recognized as a Wyatt Fellow by the University for his excellence in teaching and is a graduate of Bellarmine College.


Father Kilcourse visited the PCPCU in Rome in 2005


Fr. George Kilcourse, Professor of Theology at Bellarmine College in Louisville and the founder of the American Association of Interchurch Families (AAIF) in 1990, commented on Fr. Orsy’s presentation. ‘He has contributed new insight and perspective to the dilemma faced weekly by authentically interchurch families,’ said Fr. Kilcourse. ‘Fr. Orsy is a distinguished canonist and theologian who invites all of us in the Catholic Church–interchurch families, bishops, ecumenists, canon lawyers, and pastoral ministers–to recognize how we can responsibly progress toward the full communion to which the Second Vatican Council committed us. This insight opens new doors. We begin to see interchurch families as not merely a problem but also as a gift – as Fr. Orsy so aptly named them, “a grace offered for the healing of the churches.”‘

*       *      *       *       *

Ecumenism in interchurch marriage

Nov. 27, 2009

When Steve and Jo Ann Schweitzer, a Cincinnati couple in a Catholic-Presbyterian marriage, first presented a workshop 13 years ago on what canon law still refers to as “mixed marriages,” one couple attended. Today similar workshops draw 75 couples or more.

Deacon Fred Merritt of the Cincinnati archdiocese’s family life office told NCR he estimates that nearly 40 percent of marriages there are interchurch.

“We approach these marriages like any marriage. The couple requests a wedding date at the parish and then they enter into the parish’s specific marriage preparation process.”

He said many times a deacon is asked to prepare and preside at the wedding, since they are usually marriages outside of Mass.

In those cases where a couple would like to be married in a non-Catholic facility, permission from the archbishop must be obtained. The Catholic party in the wedding is asked to sign a document indicating the intention to teach the children about the Catholic faith. In those cases where the non-Catholic party is not baptized, a dispensation must be obtained through the chancery, according to Merritt.

Merritt said that there are as many interchurch marriages between Catholics who seldom attend Mass as there are with those who frequently attend. “I find that many times the interchurch engaged couples attend each others’ liturgy together on a regular basis to try to better understand how it could affect their own practice in the future.

“Unfortunately, many couples who do this tell me they feel more welcomed at the non-Catholic liturgy than at the Mass. The non-Catholic often feels like an outsider while the Catholic is welcomed at the non-Catholic liturgy.”

In the Savannah, Ga., diocese, an area where Catholics are fewer in numbers, the split between Catholic and interfaith marriages is about even, said Pat Brown, a sister of St. Mary of Namur and director of the family life office. “From 1998 to 2009 pretty consistently we have had almost 50/50 Catholic and interfaith marriages. In 2009 there were 236 Catholic marriages and 178 interfaith marriages. In the Hispanic community we find most of the marriages are Catholic.”

She said marriage preparation in the diocese does not focus specifically on or offer a special session for interfaith couples, “although that would be ideal. Many of our couples find it difficult to schedule even the one-day workshops since many are military, students or young professionals, so we haven’t offered an additional workshop for them. We do encourage discussion of spirituality, religious values and decisions around raising children while respecting each other’s faith.”

Interdenominational, ecumenical, interreligious, interchurch — all these terms are used. “Some involved in ministry prefer ‘interchurch’ because it defines each partner’s commitment to remain true to his or her religious heritage while working to restore unity among Christian churches,” said Elizabeth Bookser Barkley, professor at Cincinnati’s Mount St. Joseph College who writes about Catholic marriage.

“Whatever you call them, these marriages can enrich both partners and their churches if couples, along with their faith communities, acknowledge early on that they’ll have to work to keep both faiths intact.”

Couples in interchurch marriages “don’t like to see their marriages treated like problems,” says Fr. George Kilcourse, professor of theology at Bellarmine College in Louisville, Ky., and founder of the American Association of Interchurch Families. “The problem is not their marriage, but the division between churches into which they’ve been baptized. We need to start putting the emphasis where it belongs: Christian churches’ indifference to unity.”

The Second Vatican Council’s “Decree on Ecumenism” speaks of the scandal of baptized Christians and churches being divided, according to Kilcourse. “For that reason, the church irreversibly committed itself to the visible restoration of full communion. In the same way, the council’s reference to ‘the separated brethren’ suffers from misunderstanding. Such a separation or division of Christians implies an anomaly. It is a situation which ought not to exist among baptized persons.”

It’s not that Protestants have arrogantly separated themselves from the Catholic church; Catholics and Protestants alike are victims, Kilcourse said.

He cited the words of the “Decree on Ecumenism,” which said: “The children who are born into these communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection.”

Kilcourse said that a pair of steps could move the church toward healing this division with regard to interchurch marriages.

  1. “First, Catholics need to recognize the integrity with which interchurch families constitute a ‘domestic church,’ a church of the home that responds to Christ’s universal call to holiness.”
  2. Second, bishops need to embrace and put into practice all the pastoral possibilities envisioned in the Vatican’s 1993 “Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism.”

“The extraordinary possibility of limited eucharistic sharing is pastoral care especially relevant for authentically interchurch couples. They are very different from ‘mixed marriage’ couples because they conscientiously remain active in their own church, participate to varying degrees in their spouse’s church, and both take an active role in the religious education of children. They bring both extraordinary gifts and unique needs to the church.”

Newly married interchurch couples benefit from open-mindedness, listening to one another’s religious story, and making visible in their relationship the unity that Christ wills for the church, according to Kilcourse.

“I often remind such couples that in the marriage rite we affirm, ‘What God has joined, we must not divide.’ In that sense, we priests and deacons who witness interchurch marriages are defenders of the bond in a special ecumenical sense. The church even delegates to the Protestant spouse a special ministry in the church — to see that children are raised according to the law of Christ and the church. In light of Vatican Council II’s ‘Declaration on Religious Liberty,’ a Protestant spouse is free to make an equivalent promise as the Catholic about baptizing and then raising the child in his/her own church.

“So couples need to work out, in the context of their unique relationship, the religious identity of children in a way that respects their ecumenical, or interchurch, identity.”

The council reminded us, Kilcourse said, that “whatever is truly Christian never conflicts with the genuine interests of the faith; indeed, it can only result in more ample realization of the very mystery of Christ and the church.”

Rich Heffern is an NCR staff writer.


Double Belonging: Interchurch Families and Christian Unity [Paperback]                 by George A. Kilcourse Jr. (Author)

In a work that’s useful to both interchurch families and their pastoral ministers, the author addresses such issues as marriage preparation, joint celebration of sacraments, children’s religious education, selection of “home churches” and more.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This excellent and prophetic book deals with the practical difficulties of marriage among Christians of various churches as well as implied theological issues. It will be useful to couples planning or involved in such marriages, to clergy ministering to church members with spouses in another denomination, and to anyone concerned about future directions in Christian ecumenism.

Kilcourse emphasizes that these couples are not the problem: Christian disunity is. While written from a Roman Catholic perspective, the book has a deep understanding of issues and could aid all Christians.

Essential for public and seminary libraries; recommended for academic libraries.

Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Paperback: 179 pages

Publisher: Paulist Pr (March 1992)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0809132923

ISBN-13: 978-0809132928

Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches

Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces

Double Belonging Interchurch Families and Christian Unity
Author: George Kilcourse
Double Belonging explains the theological, psychological, and pastoral issues involved when two people who are deeply committed to their own different faiths plan to marry. This new thinking in the church sees a role for both to remain faithful to their own churches and raise their children in a truly “interchurch” family. These are the dedicated Christian families, Catholic and Protestant, who belong doubly to two churches.

Fr. George Kilcourse explores the pastoral implications of these families, including the needs and attitudes of engaged couples, their in-laws and the newlyweds themselves. In Double Belonging, Kilcourse strengthens the identity of these families by examining the “gifts” they have to offer their now-divided churches. His persuasive pastoral theology supports “interchurch” families who actively participate in the churches of both wife and husband because the children and spouses of these families create a unique “double-belonging” by virtue of a common baptism and an active church life. Denominational boundaries are removed in the joint cooperation and common goals of the family, and the ecumenical future becomes brighter than ever before.


Conversazione at Caravita – Rome

21 April 2009, Tuesday • 6.30 PM (18.30)
Interchurch Families:
Challenges and Opportunities for Common Witness

The Rev. George Kilcourse
Professor of Theology, Bellarmine College, Louisville, USA
Founder of the American Association of Interchurch Families

A Reception will Follow • All are welcome


Flannery O’Connor’s Religious Imagination: A World with Everything Off Balance [Paperback]     by George A. Kilcourse Jr. (Author)

Book Description

Publication Date: November 1, 2001

Flannery O’Connor’s deep Catholic faith permeated her writing, sometimes in unexpected ways. Indeed, her very imaginative and sometimes grotesque characters were often searching for redemption, many seeking God’s grace through unusual, even bizarre means. Flannery O’Connor used many tools in crafting her work, especially the use of irony and the darker dimensions of humor. She strongly opposed the increased secularism of the modern world, and what she saw as its pervasive nihilism.

George Kilcourse, Jr., uses Flannery O’Connor’s correspondence with her friends and associates to help define her approach to writing, and to give insight into her literary characters. Her roots in the deep South color much of her work.

This book provides important insights into the life, work, and faith of Flannery O’Connor. It will be ideal for use in college theology or literature classes, although the general reader will also benefit from it. Indeed, anyone wishing to explore the religious dynamic in O’Connor’s writing will appreciate this fascinating book.


George Kilcourse shows O’Connor’s deep theological kinship with the great Catholic minds of her time. — Ralph C. Wood

It will enrich your appreciation of an important modern writer. — The Courier-Journal

This book succeeds in showing Flannery O’Connor as imaginatively gifted and theologically learned. — America

About the Author

George A. Kilcourse, Jr., a priest of the archdiocese of Louisville, holds a Ph.D. from Fordham University. He is professor of theology at Bellarmine College, Louisville, KY.

Product Details

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Paulist Press (November 1, 2001)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0809140055

ISBN-13: 978-0809140053

Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.6 x 0.1 inches




Ace of Freedoms: Thomas Merton’s Christ [Hardcover]   by Father George A. Kilcourse, Jr.

From Library Journal

According to Kilcourse (theology, Bellarmine Coll.), Merton’s quest for his own identity was rooted in his kenotic Christology and contributed to his ability to lead readers to find their own identity.

Kilcourse develops this thesis from an examination of Merton’s poetry, as well as his various prose genres. Through the kenotic Christ, Merton “discovers the epiphany of Christ in the human experience of poverty, in historical discontinuities, at the margins of Christendom, and in the rejection and vulnerability of the world’s scarred victims and despised outcasts.”

This book is both a reappraisal of Merton as writer, critic, and spiritual leader and spiritual reading in itself. Highly recommended for all libraries.

Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Univ of Notre Dame Pr; First edition (January 1993)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0268006369

ISBN-13: 978-0268006365

Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches




About Thomas Merton

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Iris Garden

Prades 2000

By Ginny Bear
Redmond, Washington

Prades’ first spring in the new millennium was well underway as thirty Merton pilgrims arrived for a nine-day program to Thomas Merton’s birthplace. A little further up the slopes of Mt. Canigou, the flowers had already dropped from the peach trees on the mountain side of the Abbey of St. Michel de Cuxa, and the iris garden on the town side was a mass of colour.

Down the hill, 6,000-inhabitant Prades retains its ancient charm. Although the twenty-first century has arrived (to the relief of those who patronized the convenient commercial Internet access shop), the town itself remains the embodiment of a world that was civilized long before Europeans discovered the New World. I had researched the area in books and on the Internet in advance, but it was even more beautiful than promised.

Prades is located in the south of France, in a valley where several rivers meet on their way to the Mediterranean, in the Pyrenees-Orientales administrative department. It is also part of Catalonia, a Catalan-speaking region on both sides of the nearby Spanish border. Thomas Merton was born in Prades, eighty-five years before our visit, on the second floor of an ordinary building, at an unpretentious intersection of Prades’ narrow streets. Although his artist parents had hoped Prades would be a haven, the nearing of the conflicts of WW I as well as money problems led them to the United States a year later. Merton returned to southern France with his father from the ages of 10-13, and later, although he never returned again, kept alive his memories of France as well as his fluency in the language.


This lifelong attachment was all very obvious and reasonable to the members of the second Thomas Merton in France pilgrimage, from the moment we arrived. The majority of us were Canadian, the rest from the U.S. Drawn by the well-known Cistercian (Trappist) spiritual teacher and prolific author, we gathered for a total experience of academic seminars, fellowship, travel, and French hospitality.Donald Grayston and Judith Hardcastle were our tour leaders, competently arranging the academic content as well as serving as regional experts, answering questions ranging from advising those who had hoped to scale Mt. Canigou (not this year, the snow line was still too low), to those who needed to know what kinds of medicine were available at the local pharmacy. Another key person, although not listed on the brochure, was Christine Hicks, of the Prades Tourist Office, English but long resident in Prades. I do not think anyone will soon forget the barbecue held at her home for the local and international Merton Society members, with an endless parade of meats from the grill, and remarkable demonstrations of agility in drinking from long-necked pitchers held high in the air!

Three well-known Merton scholars were part of the pilgrimage: the already mentioned tour leader Rev. Donald Grayston (Anglican), author of several essays and articles on Merton, Fr. George Kilcourse (Roman Catholic), recipient of the 1995 book award from the ITMS for Ace of Freedoms: Thomas Merton’s Christ, and Sr. Donna Kristoff, OSU (Roman Catholic), artist, ITMS board member, and Merton researcher and teacher. It was a unique opportunity to engage with them both formally and as fellow pilgrims.

The rest of us ranged from the irrepressible Sr. Michelle, 50-years professed pride of the Ursulines, to three articulate college students, with a good variety of people in between. The interchange of views was sometimes bracing, but new friendships were made, and each participant had cause to be grateful to that “great and mischievous monk” who drew us all to Prades.

Open-Air Market, Prades

We stayed in two hotels in the center of town. We breakfasted in our hotels, speaking quietly with other participants about the day just past or the day to come. The program was a combination of lecture/discussion seminars, group travel, and free time. Classes were only a few blocks away, either in the old town hall off the town square, or in the Tourist Office. Seminar topics included: Merton as Icon, The Mertons: A Family of Artists, Autobiographical Writings, Contemplative Poet, Merton in St. Antonin, Zen Brushstrokes, French Poems, Frenchness of Merton and Contemplative Social Critic. Only those who were attending for academic credit had a final paper to write.Time passed at a different speed in Prades, and we tried to adjust. Lunch hour was longer than an hour, but that didn’t mean we could wander aimlessly through Prades looking for lunch, since many of the shops closed at mid day. It took a while to understand when we needed to hurry, and when we didn’t. Group meals went on for hours sometimes, as we sampled the cuisine of the area and got to know each other better. Other times, meals were opportunities to go off individually or in small groups, providing occasions to try out high school or more recently acquired French. Although some spoke English, any sincere effort to speak French seemed appreciated by the tolerant townspeople, already accustomed to tourists such as those who come to the annual Pablo Casals music festival.

 Lunch in St. Antonin

We spent one night in picturesque St. Antonin, several hours away by bus. St. Antonin is located in a valley with steep cliffs, next to a river now promoted for kayaking and canoeing. The town has not lost the medieval flavor it had in Merton’s time. Many streets are too narrow for cars, with mysterious gates opening to the river, another street, or not opening at all. A large but architecturally unremarkable church remains at the very center. Like most of the churches we visited, it was very quiet and not recently renovated, and I wondered how much more lively it would be for Sunday masses. We visited the stone house built by Merton’s father, and met the friendly couple who lives there now. The town seemed to draw us all into a meditative wandering of its streets, and we left reluctantly for the bus ride back to Prades.The pilgrimage closed with a last delicious dinner at the hotel, with a clown who did not need English to entertain, and with awards made appropriately and humorously to each person. I don’t remember all of the awards, but mine was “Brave Vegetarian”, and another participant was presented with and graciously wore an appropriately monogrammed papal miter! The following morning we dispersed in all directions of the compass, all grateful for nine precious days in Merton’s French homeland.

Abbey at St. Michel de Cuxa

A year later, I still savor the beauty of Prades and southern France, far from the rolling fields and knobs of Kentucky where Merton spent the second half of his life. But paradoxically, his entrance into the enclosed monastery only strengthened his French ties. Merton could not come to France, so France came to him. The Cistercian order originated in France centuries ago, and it was a matter of monastic obedience for Merton to work with French language materials as well as to serve as French interpreter for visitors. I suspect that this obedience must have also had an element of joy, judging by the relish with which he discusses all things French in his writings.

We too, of the Merton Pilgrimage, gained a taste of that French part of Merton’s joy.

Simon Fraser University will be offering another ‘Thomas Merton in France’ pilgrimage in May, 2004.




Topic: “Resurrecting the Body Ecumenical”
Convener: George Kilcourse, Jr., Bellarmine University
Presenters: Janice Thompson, University of Notre Dame; Ralph Del Colle, Marquette University
Respondents: Joan McGuire, O.P., Director of the Office of Ecumenism & Interreligious Affairs, Archdiocese of Chicago; Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., Loyola Marymount University

Ralph Del Colle developed the theological imperative of ecumenism and growth “toward full communion in truth and charity” in the context of his marriage to an Episcopalian wife. He drew from Vatican Council II teachings, the 1993 Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms of Ecumenism, John Paul II’s encyclical letter Ut Unum Sint., and “Interchurch Families and Christian Unity,” the 2003 Rome paper of the World Gathering of Interchurch Families. The bulk of his remarks focused upon spiritual ecumenism. He forthrightly voiced his “serious reservations over Catholics sharing Eucharistic communion in their spouse’s church.” In support of his thesis, Del Colle pointed out that Catholics are “more sacramentally dense in their spirituality” than other Christians, a fact that poses for him an “enormous” difference. Even though his wife is an Episcopalian, he finds that “we still do not have the same sacramental sensibilities.” Identifying three aspects of ecumenism found in UUS (renewal and conversion, the fundamental importance of doctrine, and the primacy of prayer), Del Colle concluded that, “Ecumenism cannot bypass communion in truth.” He offered the example of developments surrounding the consecration of Gene Robinson to the episcopate as disruptive of ecumenical relations and potentially church-dividing within the Anglican Communion: “What for her [his wife’s] church is a matter of discipline is for my church a matter of doctrine.”

Janice Thompson admitted in her reflections both a challenge and opportunity. She and her husband “have struggled with the rules that each of our two churches impose on the way we are able to worship together and the ways we are able to celebrate or mourn major family events in our two communities.” The Anglican in an interchurch marriage, Thompson insisted on the “special role” they play “in the healing and resurrection of the ‘body’ of the church ecumenical.” Her initiative and success in receiving the local Roman Catholic bishop’s permission for Eucharistic sharing with her husband at Mass on their wedding day (before the Marriage liturgy) met resistance from a Catholic in her husband’s family. The bishop then asked whether her actions appeared to produce more division than unity. She described being “stunned” and “hurt” by the experience; however, the following Sunday her Catholic husband did the most to offer healing by following her for the first time to communion in the Anglican Church.

Thompson reflected on the affirmations of Lumen Gentium and Familiaris Consortio: the family is a “domestic church” and “a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communio,” upholding interchurch family experience as itself an embodiment of church. She singled out the analogy of interchurch families as “connective tissue” to heal the body as articulated at the Rome 2003 Gathering of Interchurch Families—a description of their vocation vis-à-vis divided churches. She described interchurch couples as “inter-personal bridges of understanding and trust” to correct misunderstandings and bring richer understandings to their respective churches: “Because of our commitment to each other, my husband and I have learned to be far more patient and forgiving of each other’s church communities when we run into problems, much like we have to be patient with our in-laws.”

Joan McGuire remarked how Ralph Del Colle and Janice Thompson witness in their lives and reflections to ecumenical principles of self-revelation, distinctions between not only ecumenical relations but also liturgical and non-liturgical Protestant practices, and the necessity of partners to continue loving and communicating when they differ in beliefs and forms of worship. The presentations on spiritual ecumenism, the body ecumenical, and the domestic church suggested to her that a new interchurch “BEM” [Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry] study on Baptism, Eucharist and Marriage is opportune. Aware of the difficulties that interchurch children may experience, McGuire, nevertheless, asked if children raised in one church with a deep appreciation of another church might not result in a generation of well qualified ecumenical dialogue partners. She also expressed hope in actions beneficial to interchurch families from Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Walter Kasper, theologians who have lived in countries with many interchurch families.

Thomas Rausch pointed out how Janice Thompson’s paper “lifts up the pain” experienced in interchurch marriages. He insisted that her in-law who “blew the whistle” on Eucharistic sharing on their wedding day did not understand where the Catholic Church is on this exceptional practice. Rausch remarked that the metaphor of interchurch families as “a connective tissue” between divided churches (“Interchurch Families and Christian Unity,” The Second World Gathering of Interchurch Families, Rome, July 2003) suggests a more organic model of unity. He affirmed Del Colle’s description of Pentecostals as not seeking intercommunion; yet many Pentecostals, Rausch replied, are willing to recognize the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and some want Eucharistic hospitality. He emphasized the difference between a simply “mixed marriage” and a truly conscientious interchurch marriage. Referring to Del Colle’s Episcopalian wife, he admitted that the ordination of Gene Robinson as bishop in the Episcopal Church presents a difficult case. Yet in the Roman Catholic Church, Rausch remarked, there is also division on this issue (especially among younger Catholics).

On the question of intercommunion and Eucharistic hospitality, Rausch found Vatican Council II ambiguous but also noted that the council did not absolutely forbid communio in sacris. He distinguished terms to ask that the Catholic Church reflect on catholicity—not seeing it as “full” or “perfect” communion, but as “universal” vs. “particular.” Such inclusiveness in the church’s catholicity would acknowledge all expressions of Christ, even if not full or complete. He recommended recognizing the ecclesial status of other churches on the basis of creeds, consensus statements on justification, etc. He pointed to ecumenical communities living together (such as Taize and covenant relationships) as signs of growing communion. In He asked, What is to prevent the Roman Catholic Church from recognizing occasionally discreet Eucharistic sharing? Rausch advised that we “push the envelope” because (1) sacramental marriage is a true communion in Christ that merits Eucharistic expression, and (2) discreet permission for Eucharistic sharing in the case of interchurch families who already share faith and life is most appropriate. He cited the February 2005 article in The Tablet, reporting that Swiss bishops have secured Vatican permission for Eucharistic sharing at the marriage liturgies of interchurch couples.

Bellarmine University
Louisville, Kentucky


Virginia 1996

The ninth international conference of interchurch families held at Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk, Virginia, USA, 24-28 July 1996, brought together participants from Canada, England, France, Ireland, Italy and the United States. It was the ninth biennial English-speaking international conference, but the first to be held outside the British Isles.

This alone gave a new global dimension to the interchurch family movement. The fact that in 1998 the English-speaking international conference will return to Europe but will join together with the French-speaking movement of foyers mixtes, with simultaneous translation into both languages, will significantly deepen this global dimension.

We offer this number of Interchurch Families as a Virginia Report; a reminder of those days together for those who were present, and a way of sharing in them for those who could not be there. All the texts are shortened, but we give something from each of the main addresses by the Revd Dr Judy Bennett of the Virginia Council of Churches, Nicola Kontzi, who works with Fr René Beaupère, O.P., at the Centre St Irénée, Lyon, Canon Martin Reardon, General Secretary of Churches Together in England, and Fr Ladislas Orsy, S.J., of Georgetown University, a leading expert in canon law. Fr Falardeau, Director of the Office of Ecumenism in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, prepared his text for one of the workshops; it offers a good introduction to the conference theme:

Interchurch Families: Catalysts for Church Unity.

We are grateful to participants who sent in their reactions to the Virginia experience, and sorry they had to be so drastically shortened. There was a wealth of workshop riches which can only be mentioned here: Fr George Kilcourse on interchurch families as a case study in Koinonia; Mitzi Knutzen and Sr Peggy O’Leary on the Minneapolis Lutheran-Catholic Covenant and Guidelines for Interchurch Marriage (details on this in a later issue); Bonnie Mack of the Cincinnati Family Life Office on “Living in the Weaver’s Home” – family spirituality; Barb and Michael Slater on “We all need windows – setting up a local group of AIF”; Fr Philippe Thibodeau, Director of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism, Montreal, on “Reception: what can we do to help the churches?”; Fr Gregory Wingenbach, Director of the Kentuckiana Interfaith Community, on “Beyond dialogue – sharing in marriage and family life”. One regret expressed by a number of participants was that there was too little time for sharing experiences in small groups; some of the worskshops partially fulfilled this need.

We hope to offer other material later – a fuller version of Fr Orsy’s address, workshop material and an update on what has been happening around the world before Virginia and as a result of the conference. Michael Lawler, Director of the Center for Marriage and Family at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, spoke of his research on interchurch families, and we hope to give progress reports. Further reflections on Virginia, post-conference news and suggestions for the way forward for interchurch families on the global level will be warmly welcomed by the editor.

Mention should be made of the great debt of gratitude owed both to Fr George Kilcourse of Bellarmine College, Louisville, for all the work he put in to the organisation of the conference, and also to the local covenanted Church of the Holy Apostles (Episcopalian and Roman Catholic) at Virginia Beach, whose clergy and members shared in parts of the conference and welcomed participants so warmly to their community and to their homes.

Ruth Reardon

Interchurch Families Around the World

In our last number we offered a round­up giving a brief history and current preoccupations of interchurch families in France, Britain and Ireland. As promised, we now extend our view to other parts of the world. We shall continue the process in the Summer 1994 Journal. Please send us your news! (Email it to the Association of Interchurch Families, London, England)


A pluralist society

In his recent book Double Belonging Fr George Kilcourse lecturer in theology at Bellarmine College, Louisville, Kentucky, suggests that interchurch marriage questions were addressed later in the U.S. than in Europe because of the immense complexity of the situation. There are so many church groupings that interchurch families are far more diverse.

In the late nineteen­seventies a Central New York Interfaith Marriage Ministry set up by couples included Christian­Jewish marriages as well as mixed Christian marriages; Dr Richard Lawless, Vicar for Education of the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, NY, tells the story in his book When Love Unites the Church (1982), which draws on his own experience of marriage with Lisette, an Episcopalian.

ARC marriages

The Anglican­Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) was mirrored in the United States by ARC/USA. Its first twelve­year report, Where We Are: a Challenge for the Future, called for some decisive action to follow on from its Agreed Statements. A Joint Committee of Episcopal and Roman Catholic Diocesan Ecumenical Officers (EDEO/ NADEO) got to work by encouraging and evaluating the “ARC Covenants” which were linking some of the parishes of the two communions.

In the early nineteen­eighties they followed up this work with parish covenants by starting to look at the lived experience of “ARC couples”, and brought out several booklets (ARC Marriages, Pastoral Care for ARC Couples) and ARC Baptisms for the use of those concerned with the pastoral care of Episcopal­Roman Catholic families. George Kilcourse was involved in this work at national level, and then in the production of Episcopal­Roman Catholic Marriage Guidelines for the Archdiocese of Louisville and the Diocese of Kentucky in 1985. The two Dioceses of Albany (Roman Catholic and Episcopal) had already brought out a booklet Pastoral Considerations: Episcopal­Roman Catholic Marriages in 1982.

A Lutheran­Catholic group

It was the celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Augsberg Confession in 1980 that led to the formation of a group of Lutheran­Catholic couples in Milwaukee. Three pastors in Brookfield, Wisconsin agreed that a good way of getting Lutherans and Catholics to know each other better would be to start with couples who were partners in interchurch marriages. Thus “Lutheran­Catholic Dialogue Couples” (their logo LCDC formed into the early Christian fish symbol) was born. The group is still going today, and draws from nine congregations in and around Milwaukee. Martin and Ruth Reardon were able to take greetings from English AIF when they visited the group at the home of Ronn and Jacquie Rieger in September 1993.

Ecumenical marriages

When it was not a case of bilateral guidelines or groups, the preferred term to distinguish mixed Christian marriages from interfaith marriages was for a time “ecumenical marriages”. Working with a sociologist at Bellarmine College, George Kilcourse produced a survey called Ministry to Ecumenical Marriages for the Archdiocese of Louisville in 1983, while in 1987 NADEO published hisEcumenical Marriage: an Orientation Booklet for Engaged Couples, Families, Pastoral Ministers, Religious Educators.

In preparation for this booklet, pilot groups of “ecumenical couples” had been established (or discovered) in five cities in the United States, some of them bilateral (Lutheran­Roman Catholic, Episcopal­Roman Catholic), some multilateral, and had used the AIF (England) publication, Two­Church Families as a catalyst for discussion and reflection. “Unlike England”, wrote Fr Kilcourse, “we do not have a single, dominant bilateral model for ecumenical families. And in some significant ways the inherited wounds and attitudes of divisiveness reflected in Two­Church Families are not nearly as deep or scarred in our nation where religious pluralism and ecumenical cooperation flourish.”

Orthodox Family Ministries

In North America the Orthodox­Roman Catholic dialogue had a primarily pastoral focus, and included consideration of mixed marriages and interchurch families. Joint statements were followed up between 1985 and 1990 by the national Office of Family and Pastoral Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, whose Director at that time was Fr Gregory Wingenbach. Guidelines published included Marriage in the Orthodox Church (1987) and Two . . . Yet One in Christ (1989).

An American AIF

In 1988 George Kilcourse was present at the fifth International Conference of Interchurch Families at Lingfield, England and made personal contact (correspondence began long before) with interchurch family movements in Britain and France. He was able to announce the good news of the imminent establishment of an American Association of Interchurch Families (AAIF). The Louisville group, along with other groups with whom he was in contact when preparing Ecumenical Marriage, had unanimously agreed to launch a U.S. network of interchurch families.. NADEO gave a grant for the publication of the first two issues of The Ark, AAIF’s newsletter, and these issues (multiple copies) were distributed through all the Catholic Diocesan Ecumenical Officers. Three couples from Milwaukee, Tideville, and Louisville addressed the Ecumenical Officers at the NADEO National Workshop on Christian Unity at Indianapolis in 1989.

The Louisville group of Interchurch provided the editorial and design staff for The Ark, which first appeared in 1989. They worked closely with Dr Gregory Wingenbach, who in 1990 became Director of the Kentuckiana Interfaith Community in Louisville, and in 1992 The Ark became a pullout from KIC’s newspaper, Horizon. An Interchurch couple from Louisville, Pete and Mary Jane Glauber, with their three children, were present at the sixth International Conference of Interchurch Families at Corrymeela, Northern Ireland, as were Fr Gregory and George Kilcourse.

Roman Catholic/Southern Baptist couples

ARC couples have not been the only ones to get bilateral attention. In parts of the south a high proportion of mixed marriages involve Roman Catholics and Baptists, and in 1990 two sets of guidelines were issued for those involved in preparing such couples for marriage: Southern Baptist­Roman Catholic Interchurch Marriage Guidelines Recommended for the Archdiocese of Louisville and the Long Run Baptist Association and Ecumenical Marriages: a Handbook for Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists in Virginia, the latter sponsored by the Virginia Baptist General Board and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

The Louisville Guidelines were shorter, and were sent out by the Archdiocese and the Association on a trial basis. The dialogue team which prepared them committed themselves both to recruit Southern Baptist­Roman Catholic couples to join them in “peer ministry” programs of marriage preparation, and also to act as facilitators for couples who wished to assess their marriage, at six or eighteen month intervals after their wedding, at a brief Interchurch marriage workshop. The Virginia handbook was issued by the Diocese of Richmond and the Baptist Association of Virginia in a more finished form, it included a commendation of AAIF as a resource body.

Family Life Ministries

Many of the initiatives described above came from the ecumenical side; more recently those concerned with marriage and family life have entered the field. In the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland,Ohio, the Office for Marriage and Family Concerns worked with the Interfaith Commission to produce Guidelines for Interfaith Marriages in 1985; these were concerned with both ecumenical and interreligious marriages.

In 1988 the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska, issued Preparing for an Ecumenical Marriage, a text developed by the staff of the Family Life Of flee specifically for interdenominational couples, and expanded more recently with a section on parents and family members. This was offered as a supplementary program to the standard marriage preparation. However, Omaha did not begin with a text; Sr Jan Mengenhauser of the Family Life Of flee began by gathering a pilot group of couples in 1986 ­an “Interfaith Marriage Support Group”, and this became a parish­based programme in 1988. The supplementary program Preparing an Ecumenical Marriage was implemented in 1989 in three main ways: a trained ecumenical couple were responsible for the five sessions of the general marriage preparation programme, highlighting the special issues and skills important in making their marriages work; two trained couples presented a panel discussion for those who could not get to the five sessions ­ couples already married were invited as well as those preparing for marriage; and ecumenical couples in specific parishes were trained to do a parish­based ecumenical marriage preparation program supplementary to the standard one. The Family Life Office has also offered a retreat day for ecumenical couples, and Omaha couples have acted as facilitators in ecumenical dialogues.

Another Family Life Office which has developed work with Interchurch couples is that of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio. One of the staff members, Bonnie Mack, is herself a Presbyterian married to Tom, a Roman Catholic, so has a personal involvement. The Cincinnati Family Life Office has trained Interchurch couples for marriage preparation, and gradually an on­going group has come into being. In May 1993 Cincinnati and Louisville couples met together for a joint seminar, “Listen to our story”, hosted by the Louisville AAIF chapter. Then in October the Cincinnati Association of Interchurch Families was officially formed at an overnight retreat held at Higher Ground Retreat Centre in Indiana.

Other dioceses are following suit. The Center for Family Ministry in the Diocese of Joliet organized a day workshop in March 1993, with George Kilcourse, for couples involved in marriage preparation, and as a follow­up offered a two evening workshop for couples themselves in the autumn.

And so on

AAIF is trying to keep contact with all the Interchurch family groups and initiatives which can be found in the United States ­ a difficult task in a country of that size. The Ark has reported on groups or chapters in Virginia Beach, in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and in Tri­Boro, New Jersey. A group in Colchester, Vermont, called together on the initiative of the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission, had several meetings n 1991 and 1992, and hopes to meet again in 1994. There are probably others. As in England, groups and chapters will tend to form and disappear depending on who is where when, but all efforts contribute to the lengthy process of getting the spiritual needs of Interchurch families known in all our churches, stimulating pastoral care for such families, and working towards the day when we shall all come together in the One Church of Christ.


Interchurch and mixed couples would be helped by seeing the churches working together in marriage preparation and support.

If the churches could come together for marriage, they would both be supporting Interchurch families and fulfilling a mission which is of great urgency today. This is the conclusion which the Group for Local Unity of Churches Together in England reached in its report which is due to be published in 1994, the International Year of the Family.

Starting from the other end, beginning not from a concern for Christian unity but for the survival of marriage, a similar plea for the churches to get together for marriage preparation and support has recently been made in the United States (see Marriage Savers, by Michael McManus, Zondervan, 1993). In some parts of the United States local churches have covenanted together in a Community Marriage Policy, agreeing on minimum standards for the preparation and support of marriages celebrated in church ­ any church in the area. They have drawn on the best experience right across the denominations, and agreed to use it together, in a common policy.

Fr. George Kilcourse

  • In April 2009 Dr. Kilcourse presented a paper entitled “‘Revelation’ and the Good under construction: Ruby Turpin’s Entry into the Purgative Way,” at Reason, Fiction and Faith: An International Flannery O’Connor Conference at Pontificia Universita della Santa Croce, Rome, Italy.
  • His review essay on Kenneth Paul Kramer, Redeeming Time: T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets,” appeared in Spiritus [Journal of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality] VIII:2 (Fall 2008), 238-41.

Beatitudes for Interchurch Families

Blessed are the interchurch spouses who participate also in the church of their partners from another Christian tradition; theirs is the Kingdom of God.

Blessed are the interchurch parents who share fully together in the religious education of their children; such children will grow to see the unity of the Body of Christ.

Blessed are the sorrowing interchurch families who have not found pastors to accept and minister to their needs; they will be comforted.

Blessed are the merciful interchurch couples who patiently work with their pastors and help to awaken them to Christ’s presence in their marriage; they will know mercy.

Blessed are the interchurch spouses who are pure of heart; their marriage will be recognized as a sacrament of Christ.

Blessed are the interchurch couples who minister to engaged and newly married interchurch couples; on them God’s favor rests.

Blessed are the interchurch families who hunger and thirst for the unity of the Body of Christ; they will be satisfied.

Blessed are interchurch spouses when they persecute you and utter all kinds of slander against you because you have married a Christian from another tradition; you will be called daughters and sons of God.

Offered by Fr George Kilcourse,
Professor of Theology at Bellarmine College,
Louisville, Kentucky

Fr George composed these beatitudes for a presentation which he made in California in 1997. He writes: “In my preparation, I spent time in prayer reflecting upon how often our AIF work gets derailed with intricacies of church bureaucracies and laws. So instead of writing a new Decalogue or Ten Commandments for Interchurch Couples, I decided that it would be more in the spirit of Jesus to proclaim Blessings. Interchurch families are indeed a genuine grace in the life of the churches. And these modest Beatitudes are an attempt to celebrate their faith-filled lives. “



International conferences of interchurch families

The Association of Interchurch Families in England (founded 1968) has always wanted to know what was happening to similar families in other countries. In 1969 the second national conference included speakers from Holland and France, priests involved in the pastoral care of interchurch couples.

Rydal 1980
The first English-speaking international conference was held in 1980, at Rydal Hall in the English Lake District. The purpose was consultation between the three interchurch family associations in England, the Irish Republic (founded 1973) and Northern Ireland (1974). A couple from Australia also participated. The conference sent a letter to the Synod of Bishops that met in Rome in 1980 on the subject of Marriage and Family Life, with a copy to Cardinal Willebrands, President of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. Interchurch families were encouraged by the Cardinal’s intervention on mixed marriages in the Synod debates. The 1980 meeting showed them that on the international as well as on the national level it was valuable to meet for mutual support, and also to find a common voice.

International conferences in Britain and Ireland, 1982-1994
From then on, English-speaking international conferences were held every two years, and the French foyers mixtes, based on Lyon, regularly sent two French couples as participants. The following conferences were held between 1982 and 1994:

  • 1982 at Corrymeela, Northern Ireland, on the theme: Authority: marriage, baptism, communion.
  • 1984 at Dunblane, Scotland, again focusing on Authority: personal and institutional values.
  • 1986 at Bellinter House, Navan, Irish Republic, on the theme of ‘Double Belonging’.
  • 1988 at Lingfield, England, on Faith and its expression in beliefs and practice.
  • 1990 at Corrymeela, Northern Ireland, on Spirituality.
  • 1992 at Perth, Scotland, on Telling our story.
  • 1994 at Bellinter House, Irish Republic, on The Nurture of Mixed and Interchurch Families.

Virginia 1996

In 1996, largely thanks to Fr George Kilcourse, who had participated in Lingfield 1988 and subsequent conferences, and had been joined by a few other Americans and a Canadian couple, Joy and Edouard Bédard, the ninth conference moved to the United States. It was held at Norfolk, Virginia, on the theme Interchurch Families: catalysts for Church Unity. Some Canadian interchurch families participated.

Meanwhile, the first francophone international meeting had been held at Versailles in 1995, and a second at Lyon in 1997. Previously, French-speaking conferences were held regionally in different parts of France, in Switzerland and in Italy (see Interchurch Families 2000,10,2, pp.9-10, for the series of Franco-Swiss-Italian conferences held in northern Italy between 1970 and 1999). There was a third francophone conference at le Rocheton, near Paris, in 2000. A fourth is planned for 2004.

First World Gathering of Interchurch Families, Geneva 1998
Virginia 1996, the first international English-speaking conference held outside Europe, and Lyon 1997, the second francophone international conference, were followed in 1998 by the first World Gathering of Interchurch Families, organised in Geneva by French and Swiss foyers mixtes. It was the first bi-lingual conference, with French and English on equal terms, and some German used too. The theme was Interchurch Families and the Churches (see Interchurch Families 1999, 7, 1).

Edmonton 2001
Following Geneva, the French did not wish to commit themselves to a conference in Canada, but French- and English-speaking groups agreed to follow up Geneva 1998 together, with a second world gathering in or near Rome in 2003. The Canadians planning Edmonton 2001 were very ready to provide English-French simultaneous translation, but it was not needed since the Canadian interchurch family groups have as yet no wholly French-speaking couples in membership. Two of the main speakers were, however, French-speaking Canadians, Brother Gilles Bourdeau OFM, Director of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism in Montreal, and Bishop Marc Ouellet PSS, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Their addresses were given in English.

Edmonton 2001 was thus the tenth in the series of English-speaking international conferences that have brought together interchurch families mainly from Britain and Ireland, North America and Australia. There have regularly been a few others, and Edmonton was enriched by participants from Germany and Austria, besides a Ghanaian priest working in Canada who presented a beautiful Ghanaian cloth to interchurch families worldwide. It was used as an altar-cloth in Edmonton and will go to Rome. The January 2002 number of Interchurch Families (10,1) was devoted to the Edmonton conference.

Second World Gathering of Interchuch Families, Rome 2003
As for Geneva 98, we are using in English a direct translation of the French description Rassemblement Mondial to distinguish this multilingual gathering from the series of English-speaking international conferences from Rydal to Edmonton. The planning group (Preproma) is working in four languages: English, French, German and Italian; these will be the languages of the conference. The first meeting of the planning group was held in Luserna near Torre Pellice in July 2001 and decided the theme of Rome 2003: United in baptism and marriage: interchurch families/ foyers interconfessionels/ konfessionsverbindende familien/ famiglie miste interconfessionali – called to a common life in the Church for the reconciliation of our churches.

The second full meeting of Preproma took place in Lyon in July 2002. The four language-group co-ordinators have met several times. A preparatory group has worked on the paper printed in this number of Interchurch Families (pp.1-7) by email and postal correspondence, with a final meeting in Zurich in September 2002. The Rome World Gathering will take place in the Better World Centre at Rocca di Papa, 24-28 July 2003. There is regularly updated information on the interchurch families world web site,



Interchurch Families


2-4 MAY 1992

This year Scottish AIF bravely agreed to host the seventh international conference of interchurch families. They made up for small numbers by their enthusiasm, and masterminded a lively weekend. St Mary’s Redemptorist monastery on Kinnoull Hill, Perth, with wonderful gardens and far-reaching views, was an ideal setting.

In 1990 we met in Ireland. Unfortunately the Northern and Southern Irish associations were unable to send representatives this time, but two couples came from the French Foyers Mixtes and Fr George Kilcourse, founder of the American AIF, joined us as he has done twice before, together with Orthodox priest Fr Gregory Wingenbach from the Kentuckian Interfaith Community. Dan O’Connor, Scottish Episcopalian priest and director of Scottish Churches House, acted throughout the weekend as a valued observer; we were grateful for his quiet encouragement.

Telling our Stories

On Saturday national groups presented the current situation within each association. Thanks to a timely detour off the M6, the English group were able to show the very first copy, hot off the reels, of the new AIF video, accompanied by a brief description of our current Development Appeal and of Mary Bard’s book in preparation: Telling our Story.

The Scots, mostly young families, presented a telling sketch. The group emigrated to the moon, each member having a different reason – to find a church where they really felt they belonged, to get away from parents’ well-meaning comments, to find an encouraging priest, and so on. Fortunately, they all agreed to return to earth rather than forming a new church on the moon, and to keep trying!

The two French couples represented different generations. They used their own experience to show how things in France have changed over the years with regard to marriage, baptism, religious education and eucharistic sharing. The children of the older couple had been baptised into the French Reformed Church, as the parents felt this gave them more options – interestingly, the opposite of what is often decided in England, perhaps explained by similar attitudes of the Roman Catholic Church in England and the French Reformed Church towards the ‘majority’ church.

Double Belonging

On Sunday morning George Kilcourse spoke on the ‘Telling our Story’ theme. His recently published book Double Belonging narrates the experience of many interchurch families, together with a theological commentary. He underlined the fact that, as the climate in the churches as a whole becomes more ecumenical, the more interchurch families are able to attend and hold ecumenical workshops and meetings, and the more people will appreciate the contribution interchurch families can make. The text of his talk is given in the Centrepiece of this newsletter.

Fr Greorge, looking at the U.S. situation, said that interchurch marriages, although growing in number, are still seen as an unwelcome phenomenon, a problem rather than a resource. But a high degree of ecumenical and interfaith co-operation is taken for granted, and couples find that their impact on hesitant or hostile clergy is greater if they affirm positively that interchurch marriage is the fruit of the Holy Spirit across the whole church. The church recognises and blesses that which is holy. Couples acting in co-operation with God are bringing themselves into the presence of God.

In our discussions we talked a lot about the vulnerability of interchurch couples – especially through their children – at different stages of their marriage, and therefore of the reluctance of the couples to be exposed because of this. George felt that the associations should act as the memory and conscience of the church, and by using video and various publications should tell the story of vulnerability and faith to illustrate the success of the interchurch family.

When Dan O’Connor summed up his feelings about the conference, he stressed that telling our stories needs to be linked with telling The Story (Jesus got into trouble about the rules because he put human need first). The new ecumenical instruments which have been set up in Britain show that the churches have committed themselves to moving forward together, so we may now call them to account when they seem to move too slowly, and to forget the needs of those who suffer most from christian divisions. As we have said so many times before, the disunity of the churches is the abnormality, not the marriage of interchurch couples.

Our worship during the weekend included songs from the Iona community and a lively dramatisation of the gospel by the children, who had also created decorative altar and lectern frontals. Moments of quiet prayer and of sharing the eucharist together united us in the peaceful oratory. We were also united in a visit to Scone Palace, an energetic ceilidh and our enjoyment of a robust Scottish diet.

Looking Ahead

The next international conference in 1994 coincides with the United Nations International Year of the Family, and we hope to focus on the theme of the nurture of mixed and interchurch families, while in 1996 we are invited to meet in the United States. The different emphasis in each national association enables us all to put our own situation into clearer perspective. It is good to know that the American association is growing fast, and that new groups are starting in New Zealand and Canada. Perhaps next time they will be with us too. Melanie Finch


Ethics As Fiction’

Flannery O’Connor’s Sacramental Art

The Catholic fiction writer from Georgia, Flannery O’Connor (1925-64), once volunteered that it would be 50 years before readers understood her stories. Half a century after the publication of her first novel, Wise Blood (1952), and the inaugural collection of her short stories, A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1955), interpreters of O’Connor gain well-timed momentum through Susan Srigley’s stimulating, cogent analyses.

Flannery O’Connor’s Sacramental Art breaks significant new ground, exploring the ethical implications of O’Connor’s sacramental view of reality. Srigley describes her task: “to approach ‘ethics as fiction.’” Defining Christ’s love as “love that serves one’s neighbor, a love for neighbor that equals or surpasses love of self,” she proposes such love as the source of O’Connor’s “ethic of responsibility.” Her analysis suggests how O’Connor’s attention to the interiority (ethos) of fictional characters either gives rise to responsible action or exhibits a vacuous inertia.

The first chapter assesses the influence of Jacques Maritain and Thomas Aquinas. Such scrutiny is wisely aimed, because O’Connor described herself as a “hillbilly Thomist.” Srigley translates challenging philosophical and aesthetic principles into lean, illuminative sentences. A Canadian who teaches religions and cultures at Nipissing University, in North Bay, Ontario, she mines Maritain’s sense of “the habit of art,” and “the work of the intellect to make it live” as key to understanding O’Connor’s métier.

The chapter “Sacramental Theology and Incarnational Art” renders a Catholic understanding of the intellect as integral to the soul’s movement toward mystery. Contemporary Catholics who bemoan the fundamentalism of catechisms and narrow moralizing will take heart from O’Connor’s caveat, duly noted in Flannery O’Connor’s Sacramental Art: “We Catholics are very much given to the Instant Answer. Fiction doesn’t have any.” No wonder she identified the great Catholic sin as “smugness.”

O’Connor finds the compass for her fiction writing in the marriage of transcendental beauty, the beauty that God beholds, with aesthetic beauty, the beauty perceived through the human senses. In her vision of reality, the horizon of the visible world opens to the invisible world. The physical unites with the spiritual, challenging the dominant culture’s ignorance of spiritual reality. (Srigley seems unaware of O’Connor’s debt to William F. Lynch, S.J., although she interweaves references to the analogical imagination and the interpenetration of finite and infinite.)

Srigley takes issue with critics who radically separate O’Connor’s theological inquiry from her fictional landscapes and characters. She demonstrates how the two are integrally connected in the religious artist’s imagination. Individual chapters on O’Connor’s two novels, Wise Bloodand The Violent Bear It Away (1960) and the short story “Revelation,” from the posthumously published collection Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965), offer Srigley’s interpretations in terms of an “ethic of responsibility.”

One disappointment I have about Flannery O’Connor’s Sacramental Art is that it evaluates so few short stories (her forte) vis-à-vis the ethic of responsibility. Her stories were frequently nominated for the O. Henry Award, which she received numerous times. Granted that “Revelation” is a signature O’Connor work (and Srigley’s analysis proves insightful about Ruby Turpin’s “purgatorial vision”), discussing this one short story only alongside two novels is a marked imbalance.

A substantive concern is Srigley’s interpretation of Hazel Motes, the protagonist of Wise Blood. She concludes that Hazel’s self-blinding “reveals his continued misperception of spiritual reality” and that his atonement by ascetic practices implies a return to his family’s religious views. Along with Richard Giannone and other O’Connor scholars, I perceive authentic conversion beyond his philosophical quest, as he confronts false religion and its surrogates with the exclamation, “It ain’t true.” O’Connor insisted that something in storytellers and their listeners “demands the redemptive act…demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored”—as well as the costly grace that measures “the price of restoration.” I would also suggest that Tarwater’s drowning-and-baptism of Bishop in The Violent Bear It Away is a more intentionally ambivalent action than Srigley seems to think. If the novel is truly “a minor hymn to the Eucharist” as O’Connor described it to one correspondent (a quotation Srigley surprisingly omits), then the form of words for the meaning of sacrament bears more theological significance than she allows.

As a theologian who has used Flannery O’Connor’s fiction in teaching undergraduates and graduate students for over a decade, I applaud Srigley’s approach to “ethics as fiction” and look forward to more of her provocative and intelligent interpretations of Flannery O’Connor.

Rev. George Kilcourse, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., is a professor of theology at Bellarmine University there and the author of Flannery O’Connor’s Religious Imagination (Paulist, 2001).




History of LARCUM 

Bishops’ Ecumenical Dialogue 

1.  1991 Bishop James R. Crumley, Jr.  “The History and Challenges of the Ecumenical Movement”

2.  1992  The Rev. George Kilcourse  “When Our Members Marry”

3.  1993 Dr. Janice Love “Sign Post on the Road to Unity: Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry”

4. 1994 The Rt. Rev. Roger J. White “Covenants and Covenanting”

5. 1995 Dr. H. Frederick Reisz, Jr. “Envisioning, Feeding, and Ministering Hope”

****Covenant Signed by the Bishops****

6. 1996 The Rev. Gerard Austin, OP “The Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist) The Making of Christians

7. 1997 Panel Representatives from Each Diocese “Race Relations: Searching to be Faithful to the Gospel”                                                                                                      *****Joint Declaration Against Racism Signed by the Bishops*****

8. 1998 Dr. Scott Jameson Jones “Implications for the Whole Church in light of Recently Released Ecumenical Documents”

9. 1999  The National Institute for Dialogues on Multi-Culturalism and Anti- Racism (Sandra Peters and Charlie Virga) “In the Name of God: The Churches Stand Against Racism”

10. 2000 The Rev. Dr. Daryl S. Everett and Dr. Robert D. Hawkins  “Supporting the Interchurch Family: Ecumenical Marriage”

11. 2001 Avery Cardinal Dulles and Dr. David S. Yeago  “Justification Today: What is the Spirit Saying to the Church?”

 12. 2002 – Spring  The Reverend Elizabeth S. Gamble    “Living Faithfully as Christians in a Multifaith World”

13. 2002 – Fall The Reverend Georg Retzlaff, PhD  “Embracing the Culture of Life – The Death Penalty in Theological, Biblical Context”

14. 2003 –Winter Dr. Michael Root  “Authority Ecumenical Challenge”

15. 2003 – Fall  The Most Reverend Placido Rodriguez  “Welcoming the Stranger Among Us”

 16. 2004 Dr. Carl Evans   “Who are our Neighbors? The Changing Religious Landscape in South Carolina and the Challenges for Communities of Faith”

 17. 2005 – Dr. Michael Root and Dr. J .Robert Wright  “In One Body Through the Cross (the Princeton Proposal)”

 18. 2009 – Brother Jeffrey Gros  “Moving Beyond Isolation: Embracing an Ecumenical Vision



The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University is hosting a conference focusing on Thomas Merton’s poetry on Friday and Saturday, October 19-20, 2007.

The Merton Center is the official archive of Thomas Merton’s manuscripts and is the repository of the most complete collection of Merton materials in the world.

Participants in this conference will have the opportunity to visit the Thomas Merton Center. Special exhibits in the W.L. Lyons Brown Library and the Merton Center will focus on Merton’s poetry. There will also be opportunities to listen to recordings of Merton reading his own poetry.

In the Dark Before Dawn: New Selected Poems.

by Thomas Merton, edited with an introduction by Lynn Szabo.

Published by New Directions

George Kilcourse.

George A. Kilcourse is Professor of Theology at Bellarmine University and Director of the MA in Spirituality Program in conjunction with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is the author of Ace of Freedoms: Thomas Merton’s Christ and Flannery O’Connor’s Religious ImaginationA World With Everything Off Balance (2001). From 1993 until 2003 he served as co-editor of The Merton Annual.



Exodus 33:12-33;
I Thessalonians 1:1-10;
Matthew 22:15-22

One day, an 8 year-old was absent-mindedly walking home from school. He gazed at the little pencil in his hand. It was small, just 3 inches long. Thinking it was too small to use, he absent-mindedly threw the pencil away.

That evening, he told his grandfather that he needed a new pencil. “Why?” the old man asked, “you had a perfectly good one this morning.” “It was too small,” the boy argued. “Let me see it,” the grandfather asked.

The boy casually explained that he threw the pencil away. “You’ll have to find it,” the grandfather told him. So he handed the 8 year-old a flashlight, told him to retrace his steps, pay attention, and find the pencil. The boy retraced his path to school. He searched bushes and gutters. People thought he’d lost something valuable. When he told them it was a pencil, they laughed. Two hours later the boy found the 3 inch stub of a pencil and raced home to show his grandfather.

The old man was glad the boy had found it. He told his grandson, “Sit beside me and I will explain why I made you find it.” “Always remember that wasting anything is a bad habit,” he said. “Imagine if millions of people around the world threw away perfectly good pencils everyday. Hundreds of thousands of trees are chopped down every year for pencils. People work hard in pencil factories. To throw away a pencil is violence against nature. Today you threw away a pencil; tomorrow you will throw away something else that is still of use. Ask yourself, ‘Am I justified in throwing it away?’”

Grandfather explained the second lesson: “You need to learn that affluent people in affluent societies can afford to buy everything in large quantities. Since they have an abundance, they think they have the license to waste.” When we over-consume the world’s resources we steal from the poor. He pointed out how this imbalance gives rise to crime, violence, and prejudice. Then he gave the 8 year-old a new insight into human nature: “When people cannot get what they need through honest hard work, and when they see others having too much or wasting what is precious to the poor, they feel justified in taking it by force.” So the boy learned that the world can produce enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. The grandfather concluded,“Our greed and wasteful habits perpetuate poverty, which is violence against humanity.”

The boy in the story I just told you is a native of India. His name is Arun. I met him and worked with him for a week in June at an institute in Boston where we were both teaching this summer. His grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi, awakened the world to the damage done by our “passive violence“–which is the root of all physical violence. It’s frighteningly easy to think that some generic communal confession of sins makes for reconciliation. Reconciliation is the “root canal” surgery of our spiritual life. We resist forgiveness with every nerve in our body. Revenge appears so much more satisfying. Some people even destroy themselves–and others–rather than take the initiative to be reconciled. It’s a form of pride–because we resist being vulnerable enough to admit our complicity in evil, our fault in the quarrel, the argument, the slight, or the sting of what went wrong between people. Revenge is fuelled by anger. And anger is like electricity: if you aren’t intelligent enough to harness and respect it, electricity can destroy; once you respect electricity, it has so many wonderful uses.

I know a person who has spent a second career in Hospice work. (Hospice people are the angels of our culture–I cannot say enough to praise them!) This person–I’ll call her Alice–tells about one middle-aged woman–I’ll call her Wanda–who was dying. Observing her rapid decline, Alice knew the end was near. Wanda had a rural background and was without many city friends. So she asked Wanda if there was any ‘unfinished business’ she had. After about ten minutes of stony silence she said, “Yes, it’s been 12 years since I’ve seen either of my children.” Alice went into action. She located the daughter, who was in the military; but never found Wanda’s son.

When the daughter entered the apartment a week later, she was hesitant and stiff. She and Alice talked for half an hour. Finally, Alice led the daughter to her Mother’s bedside. Both Wanda and the young woman looked at each other from across the bedroom. Neither made a move or spoke. Alice was confused. She waited five minutes, then said she was going to fix coffee for everyone–and left the room.

After a minute or so, the daughter looked at her mother and asked, “Why? How could you do it?” Her mind was fixed on events twelve years earlier. As a ten year-old girl she had returned home from school early one afternoon (complaining of a stomach ache) and seen her mother, Wanda, shoot and kill her stepmother. The police never thought to ask the ten year-old about the crime because she had run back to school and then came home at the regular time–paralyzed by fear.

In a matter of moments both Wanda and her daughter were in tears. Wanda reached out and said, “I’m so, so sorry!” and cradled her sobbing daughter in her arms. Alice walked in and saw the dying woman stroking her daughter’s red hair. That’s what reconciliation looks like–violence and alienation are emptied out, and a gentle hand rhythmically strokes the head of someone much beloved. I’ve no doubt that the father of the Prodigal Son stroked his unruly hair and caressed his head just like this Mother was doing for her daughter days before dying.

The law of revenge tells us, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” And suddenly all the world is toothless and blind. Violence answered with violence always spirals out of control and leads to worse violence. We have such a slow learning curve when it comes to this truth.

Our “passive violence” is the root of all physical violence. Our ignorance of the ways we are responsible for other people’s physical suffering, for their emotional and spiritual wounds–this is sin that clamors for healing in reconciliation.

Gandhi perhaps understood Jesus as well as any modern person. He found Jesus’ Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount to be the fullest expression of spiritual life. Someone asked him, “Then why don’t you become a Christian?” He answered, “I don’t find Christians living these beatitudes”–being meek, hungering and thirsting for justice, being clean of heart, being peacemakers. As soon as they do, said Gandhi, “I will be the first to be a Christian.”

Matthew’s gospel today turns to a conflict story between Jesus and the ruling religious parties. Jesus is approached by opponents who challenge him with a question about ‘political authority.’ He, in turn, poses a counter-question to compel his antagonists to declare first their own loyalties concerning divine authority.

Jesus asks: “Whose inscription and image is on this coin?” This text has been the long-standing object of misinterpretation by persons who would impose a “two-kingdom” theology upon it. The issue is not one of compatibility between the claims of “heavenly” and “human” authority, but ofconflict. The question of whether to pay taxes to Rome was indeed a “test.” As far as Jesus was concerned, the question is not his but theirs. So he forces them to “own up” to their collaboration. As a devout Jew, Jesus would not even carry a Roman coin. So he asks them to produce a coin. The image of Caesar on the coin would have settled the matter. Palestine minted its own coins used by Jews who resisted the Romans occupying their land. The inscription on Roman coins extolled Caesar as the “august and Divine Son”–a god! The rival authorities of God and Caesar could hardly be stated more sharply. This text does not exhort Jews to pay Roman taxes. Jesus escapes a trap by challenging his antagonists to reveal their own political allegiances.

Most of the pivotal episodes in the gospels are composed around questions to, by, or about Jesus. Jesus is not the sage who explains life’s mysteries but the great interrogator of public and private arrangements of privilege and power: “Can Satan exorcise Satan?”; “What will the owner of the vineyard do?”; Is a lamp brought indoors to be put under a basket?”; “Should wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?” So skilful is Jesus at turning the questions around that the gospel declares, “no one dared anymore to press questions to him.”

Like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. practices Jesus’ ability to question and to expose false allegiances. Liberal clergy asked him to halt his 1963 civil rights campaign in Birmingham, to withdraw from demonstrations–calling them unwise and untimely. In his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” King wrote these lines:

I must make two honest confessions of faith to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderates. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to “justice,” who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice, who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with you methods of direct action,” who paternalistically believes that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom.

As Dr. King stated, it is our responsibility to probe with our questions the discrepancy between rhetoric and reality, between stated values and practice. “Speaking truth to power” has never seemed so relevant or necessary as in our times.

–Who gives the United States (my country!) the right to “police” the globe?

–Why are more and more women and children living in poverty?

–With the United States facing such financial difficulties, why is spending on military personnel and weapons not cut severely?

–Why do so many of our churches simply mirror the dominant culture?

Now is the time to reclaim the early Church’s hallmark: “see how they love one another.” Love applies to our relationships with each other as “church,” and to our outreach to every other human person.

May God give us the greater courage to be both recipients and agents of the mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation that we wish to see in our world. So that we might gather one day together to feast at the great banquet of God’s Kingdom: Christians with one another, with Jews and the peoples of Islam–even with those whose way is the great religions of Asia.

George Kilcourse

The Catholic Virginian

August 14, 2006 | Volume 81, Number 21


‘Double belonging’ families affirmed at Virginia Beach

Group pictureBy Barbara Hughes
Special to The Catholic Virginian

Married couples from Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia were affirmed for their unity as a couple at the recent conference of the American Association of Interchurch Families held at Virginia Wesleyan College in Virginia Beach.

“As the smallest expression of church, your unity as a married couple images the unity for which the Church longs,” Dr. H. Richard McCord, Jr., executive director of the Secretariat for Family, Laity, Women and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops told them at the opening session.

“The family is holy not because it is perfect, but when it recognizes God’s grace at work in it,” Dr. McCord said, speaking as both a husband and father. “Families celebrate the sacred within the ordinary and moments of God’s love shine through when we least expect it,” he added. He commended the couples for “Double Belonging,” a term which has been applied when both husband and wife are registered members in both their own denomination as well as that of their spouse.

For many this commitment means not only attending their spouse’s church, but being active participants in study groups and ministries. These couples regard their commitment to support one another as a sign of their union with Christ.

Encouraging members of the audience to share their views, Dr. McCord said they play a key role in shaping the message he would take back to the Catholic bishops. In response to Dr. McCord’s invitation, couples shared the strengths and challenges of being an interchurch couple as well as lessons that the bishops and the larger church could learn from their example and experience.

One woman referred to what she called “The Protestant Shuffle” describing how the non-Catholic member of the family had to shuffle to the end of the pew while other family members received Communion. Not being able to share Eucharist was high on the list of painful situations that interchurch couples encounter.

Another was the lack of support on the parish level for their situation and what seems to be a lack of sensitivity by the use of language that is often hurtful to persons of other faiths. “Even the term ‘non-Catholic’ implies that if you are not Catholic you don’t count,” said one person. Since 40 to 60 percent of marriages taking place in the Catholic Church are mixed marriages, couples felt the high number merited its own office within the USCCB.

On Saturday morning (July 22), Father George Kilcourse, Professor of Theology at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, reported on the meeting that took place October 11, 2005 between delegates from nine countries and the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity (PCPCU) in Rome.

During the meeting Father Kilcourse was appointed Interchurch Families’ Liaison to the PCPCU and the delegation was charged by that body to educate bishops and priests regarding the use of the Ecumenical Directory of 1993.

Father Kilcourse explained that Roman Catholic Canon Law is pastoral by nature and takes into account and provides for exceptions. “Bringing the perspective of exception regarding Eucharist means that limited ‘Eucharistic sharing’ may, under certain conditions, be offered to baptized believers of other Christian denominations when there is a bona fide need,” the priest explained. He cited situations where children have chosen to refrain from receiving First Communion because one of the parents was denied Eucharist. “That constitutes a bona fide need,” said the priest.

Another example could be during the Sacrament of Matrimony when celebrated in the context of a Mass. Referring to the 1993 Directory on Ecumenism, Father Kilcourse said, “the Vatican’s 1993 Ecumenical Directory explicitly states that the question should be raised whether Eucharist may be offered to the Christian bride or groom who is not Catholic since the couple is united sacramentally in Marriage.”

Another outgrowth of the meeting was a theological working group headed by Dr. Thomas Knieps of the American College in Louvain, Belgium, himself a Catholic in an interchurch marriage.

The purpose of the project is to further explore (1) the reality of the “domestic church” within the context of interchurch families; (2) issues of authority that divide; (3) ethical issues such as medical experimentation, and (4) the definition of marriage. The goal is to have the rough draft completed by April of 2007. The draft would then be circulated internationally for feedback and presented at an international event in 2008.

Father Kilcourse summed up his hope for interchurch families: “These couples and their children bring unique gifts to the church. As Pope Benedict XVI said recently in Poland, they are living ‘laboratories of ecumenism.’ “The U.S. Bishops are currently drafting a Pastoral Letter on Marriage. Interchurch families deserve similar affirmation and support in this important Pastoral Letter.”

Copyright © 2006 The Catholic Virginian Press.

This article is displayed on the AAIF Web site with permission of The Catholic Virginian.

Effects of Constant Change

One Opinion:

The Mystery of the Swiss Synod Eucharistic Prayer
Procedural Ambiguities and Theological Questions Plague the Latest Optional Canon

 By Father Jerry Pokorsky and Helen Hull Hitchcock

“It was only recently that I was in a religious goods store and I saw this beautiful booklet on Eucharistic prayers and I thought, where did this come from?”, Bishop Walter F. Sullivan of Richmond remarked to his fellow bishops at last November’s plenary meeting. He was speaking of the Eucharistic Prayer for Masses for Various Needs and Occasions, usually called the “Swiss Synod” prayer because it originated in the Swiss conference of bishops.

Bishop Sullivan’s question reveals the confusion about this most recent addition to a growing number of options and choices of Eucharistic prayers for use in the United States. And this raises significant questions about the effect of constant change and the procedures by which changes are accomplished.

Background on the “Swiss Synod” Prayer
The Holy See had approved the original prayer in 1974, and the text eventually appeared in German, French and Italian. In 1991, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued a Latin “typical edition” of the text, making it available to the universal Church for translation into the vernacular.

Two years ago, in November 1994, the American bishops had approved the English version of the Swiss Synod Eucharistic Prayer with little opposition. The English version of the text of the Swiss Synod prayer, translated by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy [ICEL], was confirmed by the Holy See in May 1995.

In 1996, the Liturgical Press of Collegeville, Minnesota published the Swiss Synod Eucharistic Prayer. Monsignor Alan F. Detscher, then executive director of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy (BCL) had previously certified that the text agreed with the Latin “typical edition”.

There are many vexing problems surrounding the Swiss Synod prayer: it contributes to the confusing proliferation of liturgical options, it raises questions of translation principles, liturgical procedure and theological integrity, and it is not yet clear that the published text actually does conform to the typical edition.

Proliferation of Eucharistic Prayers
The recent introduction of the Swiss Synod prayer is simply the latest example of the growing number of Eucharistic prayers recently approved by the Church for universal use. The Eucharistic prayer, or canon, is at the heart of the Mass. Until 1965, the Roman Canon was the only Eucharistic prayer available for universal use in the Latin rite.

Today, thirty years after the Council, there are at least ten Eucharistic prayers approved for use in the US. (See “From One Eucharistic Prayer to Many“, by Father Cassian Folsom, OSB, Adoremus Bulletin, September 1996.)

It is interesting to note that no mandate for the composition of additional Eucharistic prayers is to be found in conciliar decrees. One scholar familiar with liturgical questions wrote, in private correspondence, that in 1965 he had “personally heard” Chicago Cardinal Albert Mayer explain that the Council had decided to permit some use of the vernacular in worship, but that “the Canon of the Mass will remain in Latin until the end of the world”.

The fathers of the Council who granted permission for use of the vernacular in Catholic worship, and other necessary changes to the liturgy, could not have foreseen the current proliferation of Eucharistic Prayers. (Even the decision to insert the name of Saint Joseph into the Roman Canon, which occurred during the Council, involved the intervention of the pope!)

The Canon as the Rule of Prayer
Why would increasing the number of Eucharistic prayers cause concern? Doesn’t a multiplicity of options make it possible to serve the “pastoral needs” of each parish better? What is the significance of the Eucharistic prayer, or Canon of the Mass?

The word “canon” comes from a Greek word meaning a rule, measure or standard. The Canon of the Mass is the standard of thanksgiving and blessing in the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Eucharist. It is the most essential part of the Mass.

During the Canon the great mystery of transubstantiationthe changing of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ takes place. Because the Canon is at the heart of the Mass, the maxim, lex orandi, lex credendi, the law of prayer is the law of belief, applies to it in a special way.

The Canon, especially the Roman Canon (now usually called Eucharistic Prayer I), is made up of the words of Our Lord, of the tradition of the apostles and the legislated prayers of the Church over the centuries. The Roman Canon is truly a living historical artifact of Catholic prayer.

Effects of Constant Change
With the multiplication of Canons (or Eucharistic Prayers) there occurred also a multiplication of “rules” or standards of worship. The factors to be considered in changing the rule of worship, the law of prayer, is analogous to that of changing any law.

Saint Thomas Aquinas warns that even when a human law needs to be changed, there is danger of reducing the binding power of the law as a consequence of the change. Hence, laws should not be changed unless the existing law is “clearly unjust” or its observance “extremely harmful”:

human law is rightly changed, in so far as such change is conducive to the common weal. But, to a certain extent, the mere change of law is of itself prejudicial to the common good: because custom avails much for the observance of laws, seeing that what is done contrary to general custom, even in slight matters, is looked upon as grave.

Consequently, when a law is changed, the binding power of the law is diminished, in so far as custom is abolished. Wherefore human law should never be changed, unless, in some way or other, the common weal be compensated according to the extent of the harm done in this respect. Such compensation may arise either from some great and very evident benefit conferred by the new enactment; or from the extreme urgency of the case, due to the fact that either the existing law is clearly unjust, or its observance extremely harmful” (ST I-II, q. 97, art. 2, Volume II, Trans. by the English Dominican Province, page 1023).

What effect has the introduction of so many changes and options (especially in the Eucharistic prayers) in the Mass had on the devotional and faith life of the laity? Has the “binding power” of liturgical prayer, the law of prayer, been diminished as a result of the changes?

A Roper poll commissioned by Catholic World Report in February reveals that the majority of Catholics disagree with Church teaching on abortion, although the same poll showed that most Catholics prefer standard, not neutered, English in Catholic worship. The reason for this apparent contradiction may at some point be worth examining in detail. But for now it is enough to observe that the poll’s findings on pervasive dissent reveals that the “rule of faith” is in crisis. [editor’s note — to see more on this poll, click here.]

It would be an exaggeration to blame the breakdown of the rule of faith entirely on changes in the liturgy, such as the multiplication of Eucharistic Prayers or flawed translations. However, it is impossible not to see a strong correlation between the breakdown in the “law of belief” and the evident breakdown of the “law of prayer”.

Pope John Paul II evidently believes there is a connection. In December 1993, he addressed several American bishops, reminding them that:

One of your responsibilities in this regard [i.e., the revision of liturgical texts]… is to make available exact and appropriate translations of the official liturgical books so that, following the required review and confirmation by the Holy See (cf. CIC, can. 838, para. 2-3), they may be an instrument and guarantee of a genuine sharing in the mystery of Christ and the Church: lex orandi, lex credendi…. The arduous task of translation must guard the full doctrinal integrity and, according to the genius of each language, the beauty of the original texts.

Stability of the Sacral Vocabulary
The way language is used can have a profound effect on the doctrinal integrity of liturgical texts ­ a point that has surfaced repeatedly during the debate over the ICEL revision of the Sacramentary. The Swiss Synod prayer suffers from the same flaws found in other contemporary liturgical texts, whether original and translated. One of the problems is “desacralizing” the traditional language of prayer.

One example of this tendency is in the Eucharistic Prayer for Masses with Children, which attempts to use the language of children: “He loved everyone and showed us how to be kind.”

The language of the Swiss Synod prayer is not for children, but it uses the same kind of cozy, prosaic expression, as the following excerpt shows:

You are truly blessed, O God of holiness:
you accompany us with love
as we journey through life.
Blessed too is your Son, Jesus Christ,
who is present among us
and whose love gathers us together.
As once he did for his disciples,
Christ now opens scriptures for us
and breaks the bread.

This falls far short of Pope John Paul II’s 1993 call for dignified and beautiful liturgical prayer:

When so many people are thirsting for the living God [Ps 42:2]whose majesty and mercy are at the heart of liturgical prayerthe Church must respond with a language of praise and worship which fosters respect and gratitude for God’s greatness, compassion and power. When the faithful gather to celebrate the work of our redemption, the language of their prayer free from doctrinal ambiguity and ideological influenceshould foster the dignity and beauty of the celebration itself, while faithfully expressing the Church’s faith and unity.

Many words have special meanings which are derived from Christian theology and tradition. Some examples of this “sacral vocabulary” are words like “beseech”, “righteous”, “merit”, certain lovely words like “handmaid”. Words acquire religious connotations from use in the liturgy, somewhat in the same way as objects such as a chalice or a candle become endowed with special religious meaning.

Use of such words lends a certain stability to the liturgy. And the words we use in the liturgy influence the way we speak and pray when we are not reading the actual texts. When was the last time you heard a homily on the “salvation of souls” or “merit” or the theological virtue of charity (as opposed to “love”)? The rule of prayer is the rule of faith.

Replacement of this vocabulary in most re-translations with “contemporary” equivalents, has been justified by a 1969 Vatican document on translation principles, known by its French title, Comme le prévoit: (“as foreseen…”). For example

so long as the teaching of the Gospel remains intact, not only must inappropriate expressions be avoided, but others found which express a corresponding meaning in modern words. The greatest care must be taken that all translations are not only beautiful and suited to the contemporary mind, but express true doctrine and authentic Christian spirituality.

What is Lost in Translation?
The multiplication of Eucharistic prayers (including, besides those four printed in missalettes, the Swiss Synod prayer, the three Eucharistic prayers for Masses with children and the two Masses of reconciliation) may intend to anticipate every “contemporary need”. But surely there is an even more compelling “contemporary need” to transmit the Catholic faith intact, and to link the Church today to her rich theological tradition.

ICEL’s flawed translation of the Roman Canon (approved by the US bishops in June 1995) highlights the close connection between the law of prayer and the law of faith. For example, ICEL translated the phrase (from the Roman Canon) pro redemptione animarum suarum (for the re-demption of their souls) as “for our well-being and redemption.” ICEL failed to translate “soul”.

After the Consecration, the Canon uses a beautiful phrase in reference to the consecrated Host: offerimus hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam. Here ICEL retained the flawed 1973 translation, “this holy and perfect sacrifice.” The Latin is considerably more vivid (pure, holy, spotless) and more obviously connects the epithets of the lamb of sacrifice with the Eucharistic action. But these images of faith are lost in translation.

At the June 1995 bishops’ meeting, Cardinal James Hickey of Washington, DC, called for a more accurate translation of the Roman Canon (or Eucharistic Prayer I). His amendment was narrowly defeated; however, the close vote probably led to the withdrawal of Cardinal Bernardin’s motion to permit standing during the entire Eucharistic prayer.

Who Changed the Swiss Synod Prayer?
The Swiss Synod Eucharistic prayer also raises questions about how liturgical texts are approved. The text the US bishops approved is not exactly the same as the published version. The final version of the Swiss Synod prayer includes an innovation in which the people, at various points, are invited to “take up the acclamation” such as “Blessed are you, holy and faithful God.” This interruption of the Canon was not included in the original text presented to the bishops for vote.

Traditionally, the Canon of the Mass is recited by the celebrant alone. This signifies his distinction from the people in the exercise of his priestly office. He is like the high priest of the Old Testament who once a year entered the holy of holies alone to offer sacrifice (Heb. 9:7).

The repeated interruptions, besides being distracting, also have the symbolic effect of engaging the congregation in the Eucharistic prayer of admitting the people into the “holy of holies” reserved for the priest who alone confects the Eucharist.

Evidently the acclamation was added after the bishops’ vote, presumably either by ICEL, the liturgy committee or the Vatican. The acclamation made its appearance when the “Eucharistic Prayer for Masses for Various Needs and Occasions” was published in 1996. No explanation was given as to the origin and authority of the inserted acclamations.

How did this happen? If ICEL or the liturgy committee inserted the acclamations before Rome received the prayer for confirmation, on whose authority were they included? Why didn’t the bishops vote on the acclamations? Did the Vatican know that the bishops did not vote on the changed text? Were the bishops informed of the change when the acclamations were inserted into the text? So far, the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy has not responded to Adoremus’ request for clarification.

Are we quibbling over a minor matter? Not when the effect is to further blur the distinction between priest and people and reduce the role of the priest to one of a mere “presider” or “leader of the assembly”. There are serious questions of ecclesiology and authority here that should be acknowledged and addressed.

Effect of Confusion on Evangelization
In the early 1990s, the liturgy committee changed the response to the proclamation of the readings at Mass. The translation of Verbum Domini, “This is the Word of the Lord” was changed to “The Word of the Lord”. The bishops approved this minor change and the Vatican confirmed it. The liturgy committee painstakingly informed the dioceses of the United States and priests were informed of this change with a flurry of letters.

At the time, most people did not understand why mandating this change was regarded as so important by the BCL. In retrospect it seems clear it was intended to prepare the ground for the confusing avalanche of proposed translations, adaptations and changes to the liturgy that followed. The ambiguity which now surrounds the Swiss Synod prayer suggests that yet another problem has emerged: apparently unauthorized changes to liturgical texts are being justified.

What will happen if legitimate procedures are simply bypassed by those impatient for change? What effect might this have on the unity of the Church and the integrity of the liturgy? What effect is it intended to have?

Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee remarked, during the NCCB meeting in November 1993, that the bishops can easily “get lost in the maze of detail.” Bishop Sullivan’s mystification at the appearance of the Swiss Synod prayer attests to this confusion.

Bishop Donald Trautman, former chairman of the BCL, expressed impatience with the Holy See, even as the latest Vatican consultation on the proposed Lectionary was in progress. In late February, Bishop Trautman told an audience at the University of St. Thomas (Houston) that it would be a “sad day” for the Catholic Church in the United States and for Catholic biblical scholarship if the Holy See did not approve language that “includes women”.

Bishop Trautman warned that unless an “inclusive language” version of the revised Lectionary for Mass is approved by the Vatican, people will change the texts anyway, improvising according to their personal preferences. His warning implicitly acknowledges the breakdown liturgical discipline ­ an inevitable result of disregard for liturgical tradition and endless accommodation of supposed “contemporary needs”.

The Holy Father has called the Church to a “New Evangelization” by the year 2000. But perpetually shifting liturgy impedes the bold proclamation of the Gospel. Constant changes to the “law of prayer” inevitably undermines the “law of belief”.

(Father Pokorsky is a priest in the Arlington diocese, and a member of the editorial committee of Adoremus. Helen Hull Hitchcock is Editor of Adoremus Bulletin and President ofWomen for Faith and Family.)