Christian unity, Catholic incoherence and Pell’s remedy – Catholic Herald

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

The week of prayer for Christian unity can be, for many, one of the most depressing weeks of the year; so much aspiration deflated by so little achieved.

The week of prayer for Christian unity can be, for many, one of the most depressing weeks of the year; so much aspiration deflated by so little achieved.

Yet the Christian journey and the life of the Church are made up of such paradoxes, some of which verge on outright contradiction. 

How is it that a personal encounter with the living God can be one of the most dynamic and transforming experiences in a lifetime, but some religious events, which are intended to contain and articulate it, can be so dull and ineffective?

The annual evening ecumenical services for the local councils of churches hosted in rotation during the week of prayer for unity remain the most difficult social and religious encounters in my memory; they represent religion at its least appealing.

Of all the hard sayings of Jesus in the Gospel, few are more ambitious than his prayer in John 17 that “they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Truth and unity ought to be symbiotic in the life of the Church. But, in practice, one person’s idiosyncratic interpretation of the faith in their search for Truth can be the cause of immediate threat to unity. In the fractured fallen-ness of our conflicted humanity, truth and unity often find themselves in opposition to one another, as a stand-off between idiosyncrasy and pride.  

It ought to be different in the Church. And to some extent it is. From the very first Council of Jerusalem, where the ground-breaking change of allowing gentiles to be Christian was presented, truth and unity were placed in tension with each other. The more profound the development of doctrine, the harder it is to achieve consensus and preserve the unity of the Church. The Church has always been faced with choices on her journey, between a deeper apprehension of truth on the one side, and seductive misapprehensions on the other.

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Christian unity, Catholic incoherence and Pell’s remedy – Catholic Herald

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