Pursue ecumenical dialogue on the synodal journey

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The central theme of the synodal process points to communion – koinonia, a key element of ecumenism.

03 dec. 2021

Filipino worshipers light candles outside a church in Manila during Holy Week. (News photo LiCas / Maria Tan)


MANILA:
The central theme of the synodal process points to communion – koinonia, a key element of ecumenism.

Roman Catholic faith communities must also see the ecumenical relevance of the synodal process. While it is important to deal with the internal aspects of “fellowship” first, the overall spirit of “koinonia” should not be forgotten. Vatican II, as the nursery for this synodal journey, has since underlined “in Christ, the Church is like the sacrament, that is to say the sign and instrument of the most intimate union with God and of the unity of all mankind. “(LG 1) The Preparatory Document of the Synod declares:” A synodal Church is a Church ‘going out’, a missionary Church ‘whose doors are open’ (EG, n ° 46). This includes the call to deepen relationships with other Churches and Christian communities, with which we are united by the one Baptism […]”

As local churches (or the archdiocesan / diocesan phase of the synodal journey) are already beginning the synodal process, they should not relegate the “ecumenical element” to the margins or “footnotes” of documents.

Pope Francis cautioned against formalism in embracing synodality and suggested “the concreteness of synodality” – real involvement of ecclesial communities.

We must not wait for the end of the synod and do the formalities with the existing guides and documents. Better to start opening our churches. In Germany, some Catholic and Protestant churches facilitate common prayers with different religious denominations (and even with Islamic and Jewish prayers).

The practice of ecumenism encourages us to contextual renewal, for “Christ calls the Church to continual reform while she sojourns here on earth”. (Unitatis Redintegratio, §6)

Common gains in the pursuit of unity
On the world stage, further ecumenical dialogue is being undertaken by the major (organizational) Christian churches, namely the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 2022.

The WCC community is preparing for its 11th Assembly in September 2022 in Karlsruhe, Germany, on the theme “The Love of Christ Leads the World to Reconciliation and Unity”.

During the October 12, 2021 virtual meeting of the Executive Committee of the Joint Working Group (JWG) between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches (WCC), the discussion focused on the ecological involvement of churches as well as on recent recommendations to the churches on the documents: Peacebuilding in Conflict Situations and Migrants and Refugees – Ecumenical Challenges and Opportunities.

In Taiwan, Catholic and Buddhist communities gathered on November 13, 2021 for The Way of Livin ‘in Love in ZhenFuShan, Kaoshiung for a 34 km interfaith pilgrimage and thanksgiving liturgy for the COVID response in the country. Interfaith groups help each other in programs related to disaster response, ecological actions and unity prayer.

“We unite in the common prayer of our various traditions. Unity is never impossible, ”said Father Joel Dequilla, a Philippine missionary to Taiwan who attended the gathering.

In the Philippines, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) and the Roman Catholic Church affirmed in a signed statement that “the IFI and the RCC thus express their desire for more ecumenical cooperation in the midst of diversity. . As church leaders, we ask and pray for mutual forgiveness for all hurts inflicted in the past. We will strive to heal and purify the memories among our members. ”

At that meeting, an accompanying statement called for a “mutual recognition of baptisms” between the IFI and the Catholic Church, even though the Trinitarian baptismal formula of the IFI has already been recognized by the Catholic Church in its list of validly administered baptisms, forging prospects for a more positive reconciliation of the Churches.

On October 9, 2021, religious leaders from Negros Oriental gathered for a prayer and ecumenical event “Hiniusang Ampo alang sa Kinaiyahan (Joint Prayer for the Environment): An Ecumenical Sunrise Service for Creation”, organized for express the collective concern of Christian churches and communities against the 174 hectare reclamation project off the coast of Dumaguete city.

Future together
There are common areas where dialogue can be fruitfully improved as there are no limits in ecumenical dialogue, as long as identity, tradition and historicity are respected in the name of unity.

The plurality of churches serves the plurality of cultures in society – all are important in the dynamism of the uniqueness of the Christian faith; and we are all reminded that what is important is the unity of the Church, not the division of the Church.

“A synodal Church is a prophetic sign, above all for a community of nations incapable of proposing a common project, through which to pursue the good of all: practicing synodality is today for the Church the most obvious way of being. “The universal sacrament of salvation” (LG, n ° 48), “sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of all mankind” (LG, n ° 1) “(Preparatory document §15 ). Pope Francis called for a “different Church”, “a Church open to the newness that God wants to suggest”.

Saint Augustine affirms: “This body of Christ, this one church of Christ, this unity that we are – this is what cries out from the ends of the earth” (in. Ps., 60, 3). – Licasnews.com

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