Intra-Faith: Communion with Other Christian Churches
The Catholic parish of Lockleys is a community of Jesus followers united in baptism with each other, in communion with other Catholic faith communities through the Bishop. Through our Bishop we are in communion with other local communities (Dioceses) with their Bishop. Together we are in communion with the Bishop of Rome. The Second Vatican Council’s 1964 Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium reminded us that the Church of Christ ‘subsists’ in the Catholic Church and “elements of sanctification and holiness are found outside its structure” (#8).
This principle laid the foundation for the call to ecumenical union with other churches and those with whom we are in communion through the Sacrament of Baptism. Together, we are the Church of God throughout the world. We are brothers and sisters in Jesus through baptism.
In 1995, Pope Saint John Paul II wrote an Encyclical Letter, Ut Unum Sint (“That they may be one”): On Commitment to Ecumenism. He stressed the importance of ecumenism and the recognition of the Catholic Church to repentance as it seeks the path of Christian unity:
At the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church committed herself irrevocably to following the path of the ecumenical venture, thus heeding the Spirit of the Lord, who teaches people to interpret carefully the "signs of the times" . The experiences of these years have made the Church even more profoundly aware of its identity and its mission in history. The Catholic Church acknowledges and confesses the weaknesses of its members, conscious that their sins are so many betrayals of and obstacles to the accomplishment of the Saviour's plan. (# 3)
Pope John Paul II unequivocally stated,
Together with all Christ's disciples, the Catholic Church bases upon God's plan its ecumenical commitment to gather all Christians into unity. (# 5)
The Catholic Parish of Lockleys commits its mission in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council to continue this call to build up unity amongst churches and all the baptised in our local area.
There are many helpful resources and links that reflect the ongoing vibrant work of ecumenical dialogue especially between the Catholic Church and other churches. The following are representative (and definitely not exhaustive):
The South Australian Uniting Church—Roman Catholic Dialogue which has been meeting for over 30 years has produced many helpful documents and resources.
The movement of “Receptive Ecumenism” offers a pathway to Christian unity. It is sponsored by many churches and promoted by South Australian Churches Together. Further, Embracing the Other is a resource for Receptive Ecumenism produced by a team served by Churches Together in England. It is free for anyone to use. It is intended for groups of people, perhaps from different church traditions.
The national Australian Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue which has met in Adelaide, South Australia, since 1975.
The Catholic parish of Lockleys is committed to friendship and hospitality to people of all Faiths, especially with Jews and Muslims, as we seek to honour more tangibly the ethical injunctions that emerge from our respective traditions to work towards social harmony and world peace.
The Second Vatican Council’s 1965 Declaration, Nostra Aetate: The Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions is seminal to the movement that sprang up in which the Catholic Church sought ways to honour its heritage and bond with Judaism, and the importance of dialogue with other religious traditions.
Our parish priest, Fr Michael, offers an overview here of the history, principles and practice of inter-religious dialogue between Christians and Jews.
The International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), the Australian Council of Christians and Jews, and the South Australian Council of Christians and Jews are bodies that promote inter-religious dialogue and action between Christians and Jews. The ICCJ has a long and revered history that grew out of WWII and the aftermath of the holocaust. It has produced many important documents to assist in the promotion of inter-religious understanding and dialogue. The most important one is “A Time for Recommitment”.
A rich resource concerned with inter-religious matters is Dialogika. This is an online library that chronicles the evolving conversation and relationship between the Christian and Jewish communities. Maintained through the collaboration of the USA’s Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR) and the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, it provides a comprehensive cyber-archive of official statements, historic documents, educational resources, and current information.
In 2019 an important, ground-breaking statement was jointly signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi. Entitled “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together” Pope Francis and the Grand Imam urged,
We, who believe in God and in the final meeting with Him and His judgment, on the basis of our religious and moral responsibility, and through this Document, call upon ourselves, upon the leaders of the world as well as the architects of international policy and world economy, to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace; to intervene at the earliest opportunity to stop the shedding of innocent blood and bring an end to wars, conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline that the world is presently experiencing.
From a Muslim perspective, the above joint statement reflects aspects of the 2016 Marrakesh Declaration on the rights of Religious Minorities in predominantly Muslim majority communities.