“Christ bestowed unity on His Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time. Christ always gives His Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ will for her…. The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit” (n. 820).
The shortest route to a proper understanding of ecumenism in the modern context is to read Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism, which is a relatively brief and eminently clear document. The principles on which the decree is based are rooted in Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, and ideas set forth in modern times by such popes as Leo XIII and Pius XII.
Modern popes have repeatedly insisted on the importance of ecumenism. After thirty years of experience with the mandate of Vatican II, Pope John Paul II issued a longer and deeper document on the subject, Ut Unum Sint (That They May Be One) in 1995.
The Archdiocese of Sydney is committed to building on the relationships we have with our Ecumenical Brethren. As Pope John Paul II said in his encyclical, the aim is to enrich our perspectives, our lives of faith, and the lives of Christians everywhere by moving forward together, recognising our common beliefs as Christians, that is, followers of Christ Jesus.