A search for love, unity and understanding in the world

May 22, 2012

“The attainment of union is the concern of the whole Church, faithful and shepherds alike. This concern extends to everyone, according to his or her talent, whether it be exercised in his or her daily Christian life or in his or her theological and historical research. This concern itself reveals already to some extent the bond of brotherhood between all Christians and it helps toward that full and perfect unity which God in His kindness wills.” 

Unitatis Redintegratio 
Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964

As the Catholic Church approaches the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, and the start of the “Year of Faith” in October 2012, there is a need for a recommitment to the Ecumenical and Interreligious movement and our search for understanding among religions. 
Our mandate and mission can be found in Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism, “Unitatis Redintegratio” and the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, “Nostra Aetate.”
The Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs carries out the mission of the Church to reach out to other Christians in prayer, dialogue and service and to the Jewish community and other communities of faith in order to promote greater understanding and cooperation. The office, as designated by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, represents the Archdiocese at a variety of events and programs, and serves as a resource to other agencies, parishes, schools, groups and individuals within the Archdiocese.
Blessed John Paul II writes in his Encyclical, “Ut Unum Sint” (1995), “The unity of all divided humanity is the will of God. For this reason He sent His Son, so that by dying and rising for us He might bestow on us the Spirit of love... Division openly contradicts the will of Christ, provides a stumbling block to the world, and inflicts damage on the most holy cause of proclaiming the Good News to every creature.” 
As we enter the “Year of Faith” and celebrate the achievements of Vatican II, the Catholic community has a mandate to reach out to the various communities in our Archdiocese to bring about the spirit of love and unity.
I would encourage every Catholic of our Archdiocese to become aware and familiar with the extensive Church documents on Ecumenism and Interreligious affairs. There is a wealth of resources from the many Catholic offices such as the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

“The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these [non-Christian] religions... The Church, therefore, exhorts her children, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these people.” 

Nostra Aetate 
Declaration On The Relation Of The Church To Non Christian Religions 
POPE PAUL VI on October 28, 1965

Father Reginald Wayne Samuels is the pastor of St. Hyacinth Church in Deer Park.