Understanding Reception: A Backdrop to Its Ecumenical Use

Understanding Reception: A Backdrop to Its Ecumenical Use

Understanding Reception: A Backdrop to Its Ecumenical Use

Understanding Reception: A Backdrop to Its Ecumenical Use

Excerpt

This study will surface some uses of "reception," allowing them to contribute to an understanding of the term in ecumenical contexts. Principal among the variety of uses of the word is the ecclesial one, to which most attention will be given. There are however, many other applications of "reception" within a host of disciplines, as well as a frequency of appearances in ordinary human situations. Some of these, it is considered, contribute to a richer understanding of reception's ecclesial and ecumenical meanings.

The work is not so constructed as to argue to just one, or to a limited number, of conclusions. While some recommendations are highlighted in the final chapter, each of the preceding six chapters does offer its own explanatory definitions of reception and a number of applications to ecclesial and ecumenical situations. To reach for a completeness in understanding reception at this point would be premature, for its ecclesial use is only now being restored and its ecumenical focus is just beginning to emerge. This work aims to make a modest contribution to the dual process.

The first chapter, after establishing that reception is not infrequently seen in ecumenical contexts, recognizes its twin ecclesial and human foundations. The contemporary reception of the ecumenical movement by the Roman Catholic community is cited as an example of the former, while the science of communication illustrates the latter. Whatever the situation, a new creation or a point of conviction comes about which means that reception is being accomplished.

The principal focus of the second chapter is ecclesial reception's divine base. The church's existence is received and her actual placement as local communities where Christ's story is heard and understood, calls for an ongoing process of vertical and horizontal reception. The scriptures amplify this foundational story and the Fathers verify that the same pattern continued in post-apostolic times.

Taking up the human story again is the particular task of the third chapter. The Gospel had, early on, to find ways and means of being received. Preaching, therefore, continued to occupy pride of place as the vehicle of communication. Before the written word found ready and . . .

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