Academic journal article International Review of Mission

Evangelii Gaudium and Ecumenism

Academic journal article International Review of Mission

Evangelii Gaudium and Ecumenism

Article excerpt

Pope Francis does not spend a lot of space in his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium talking about ecumenism. In a long document of almost three hundred paragraphs, Francis devotes only three to ecumenical dialogue, and these appear relatively near the document's end (244-246).

Nevertheless, these two paragraphs are significant. If Christians respond to Jesus' prayer that all may be one, Francis says, the Christian message would have much more credibility in the world, and so he recognizes the connection between ecumenism and mission. Ecumenism, he says, is "an indispensable path to evangelization." Francis speaks of Christians seeking unity as "pilgrims journeying alongside one another," and insists that Catholics "must have sincere trust in our fellow pilgrims, putting aside all suspicion or mistrust." Speaking specifically about ecumenism in places where ecumenism has experienced difficulties, Francis calls Christians to concentrate on common convictions so that they will find ways to proclaim, serve, and witness to the gospel together. "How many important things unite us! If we really believe in the abundantly free working of the Holy Spirit, we can learn so much from one another!"

This issue of International Review of Mission takes these last words seriously. It recognizes that we do indeed have much to learn from one another, and proposes to explore the wealth that we share by reflecting on Evangelii Gaudium in the light of the two major documents on mission that have been published in the last several years: the CWME's own Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes (2013) and the Lausanne Movement's The Cape Town Commitment (2010). …

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