I have posed a question to FB in a religious dialogue page. Here it is:
I truly would like to see how both sides of the Tiber respond.
Since Christ desires true unity among believes (that all are one in belief and discernment), and since that is already a tenet of Catholicism in its goal of ecumenism in the true sense of the word, how might that actually be accomplished?
[NOTE: please don’t naively give the false platitude that we already ‘agree’ on ‘basics’. There is no agreed-upon list of actual basics. And Christ did not ask for agreement on a few things that we might be able to see the same…unity is MUCH deeper than that]
One gentleman, I believe, was laying a philosophical bear trap for me. He asked if I meant spiritual unity, organizational unity or both.
Not being fond of having to gnaw at a foot to get free, I decided to give as thorough an answer as possible:
That is an excellent point and question. It’s the Chicken- Egg Dilemma. If there was authentic spiritual unity, there would be no real reason or benefit to organizational disunity. And in matters of faith, it would be virtually impossible to be united organizationally if spiritual unity did not exist.
So, it is imperative to seek the answer by reminding what Christ prayed to the Father [that they will be one, as you and I are one]. Were the Son & Father merely superficially one in organization, but disconnected spiritually? Or were they spiritually connected, but had no organizational unity (the Trinity is a clue)?
A family is connected in values (spirit) and physically (organization). How much moreso ought the Family of God be!
A family also protects their unity when it is endangered from the outside. One look at the early Church points to them living this out. In the heirarchy of the organizational aspect [bishops, priests, and teaching body], they thwarted dangers both physical [ex: Ananias & Saphira] and spiritual [various heresies] that threatened the Family.
In answer, then, one is imperfect without the other. Spiritual unity’s result is organizational unity. Organizational unity complements and completes spiritual unity. BUT…the spiritual must come first.
Back to the question: how can that be acheived?
I believe that this is the key question that needs to be addressed for ecumenism and achieving the oneness Christ intended. With that, I leave you with a personal challenge…
What are you doing to this end in your corner of the world?