Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Ordinariate: The First Fruits of Christian Unity

2054, 43 years from now, will mark 1000 years since the great schism. This is by far the greatest wound in the body of the Christ which is the Church. We have been marking over the last few days the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity the focus of which is often talk of Ecumenism. Too often however there is a misunderstanding about what ecumenism is about. It is not talking about those things on which we agree, it is about working through those things which divide us as Christian people. We are called to restore that unity for which Christ prayed the night he was betrayed. That unity must be sought by all those who call themselves Christian, for we are a greater force against false religion and secularism when we are united that when we are apart.

How significant it would be if that 1000 years of seperation between east and west were never to happen. What a triumph it would be for the great churches of East and West to be reunited, and those ancient patriarchal sees once more to be as one. It seems clear the the present Pope, Benedict XVI, has made a bid for unity with those groups who have said they desire unity with the Holy See. What he has done is not only prophetic but Christ-like. In the gospels we see Christ walking along by the Sea of Galilee, saying to the likes of Simon and Andrew, James and John simply: 'follow me'. Through recent developments the Pope has said precisely that to groups such as Anglicans and the SSPX. The Ordinariate shows the great lengths to which the Papacy is going to see this vision of Christian unity through. It is the first fruits the Age of Unity for which we all yearn. Just as the fishermen followed Christ, so it is our prayer that Christian Groups will follow Christ's Vicar here on earth and through that action restore the unity lost long ago. Once unity has been achieved in small ways, the Church will be entrusted to achieve this in larger ways. The logical conclusion of the Ordinariate experiment could be full Christian Unity of East and West. We all have our part to play.

1 comment:

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