Vatican Official Says Unity Among Christian Denominations is Advancing Despite Small Groups of ‘Mutual Rejection and Contention’

Festive ecumenical service in the Augsburg Cathedral marking the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. | (Photo: LWF / D.-M. Grötzsch)

Unity among the many denominations within Christianity is making progress despite a few holdouts of “mutual rejection and contention” among some, according to a Vatican City official.

Irish Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, had a column published last week by United Kingdom-based Catholic publication The Tablet regarding the state of Christian ecumenism.

Bishop Farrell argued that there were “undeniable signs of continuing progress in relations between the divided churches” despite some “signs of frustration and even retrenchment.”

“Pockets of mutual rejection and contention remain, but most of the world’s Christians have come to recognise one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, united in a common baptism, and giving a common witness in serving the needs of suffering humanity,” wrote Farrell.

Farrell noted as examples that in recent times there have been several interdenominational dialogues on theology “as well as international meetings organised by the World Council of Churches and the Global Christian Forum and other ecumenical associations.”

“Rightly, the churches continue to commit important human and financial resources to theological dialogue, because every serious ecumenical advance involves overcoming remaining substantial doctrinal differences,” Farrell continued.

“This dialogue continues in the 14 bilateral theological dialogues with other Christian bodies in which the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity is involved, and in numerous other regional or multilateral meetings, conferences and studies.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski