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Roman Catholic Understanding of Christian Unity and Fellowship

Jure Zečević   ORCID icon ; Catholic Theological Faculty, Zagreb

Puni tekst: engleski, indd (1 MB) str. 91-102 preuzimanja: 304* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Zečević, J. (2008). Roman Catholic Understanding of Christian Unity and Fellowship. Kairos, 2 (1), 91-102. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Zečević, Jure. "Roman Catholic Understanding of Christian Unity and Fellowship." Kairos, vol. 2, br. 1, 2008, str. 91-102. Citirano 18.10.2021.
Chicago 17th Edition
Zečević, Jure. "Roman Catholic Understanding of Christian Unity and Fellowship." Kairos 2, br. 1 (2008): 91-102.
Zečević, J. (2008). 'Roman Catholic Understanding of Christian Unity and Fellowship', Kairos, 2(1), str. 91-102. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 18.10.2021.)
Zečević J. Roman Catholic Understanding of Christian Unity and Fellowship. Kairos [Internet]. 2008 [pristupljeno 18.10.2021.];2(1):91-102. Dostupno na:
J. Zečević, "Roman Catholic Understanding of Christian Unity and Fellowship", Kairos, vol.2, br. 1, str. 91-102, 2008. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 18.10.2021.]

With regard to the question of unity and fellowship, Roman Catholics, like members of other Christian churches, find themselves between two extremes: on the one side is phobia and exclusivity, and on the other all differences are relative making all questions related to unity and fellowship actually already resolved and therefore irrelevant. The Catholic position is that foundational unity among Christians already exists, but that lacerations in the body of unity also exist; lacerations, blows, indentations and wounds which mar the wholeness and completeness of that unity. Rather than talking about a schism, alienated brethren and the absence of unity, it is more appropriate to speak of the state of incomplete and/or imperfect unity. Since that which connects Christians is greater than that which divides them, it is not only more appropriate but also more correct to describe other Christians and designate them by that which is greater (unity) rather than by that which is lesser (dividedness). This must become reality and enter into general practice at all levels. With regard to ecumenism as an effort towards complete or sufficient unity and fellowship, its goal is not to establish unity which is at present an absolute non-entity, but to achieve several aims related to the still and already existing unity: 1) That it lives and actualizes itself through appropriate degrees of inter-Christian unity; 2) That it becomes more complete and more perfect to the degree that it also enables the visible fellowship of the altar (Eucharist and communion) and the pulpit (proclamation). Christianity is either ecumenical or it is not Christianity. The Church of Christ is either una sancta, “one holy,” or it stands in serious opposition to Christ’s will expressed in the Holy Scripture. Unity exists – it has to be recognized. Unity is not complete – it has to be fulfilled. Incomplete unity is here and it results in incomplete fellowship “in sacris,” in the sacraments, in the holy. Growth in unity causes an almost proportional increase in attainable and lived unity. Unity that is lived provides genuine witness to the world for Christ and the God of unity and love, and enables a more effective (re)Christianization of the world and its penetration and saturation with the Good News (new evangelization). However, the presupposition without which complete unity will not be accomplished is “spiritual ecumenism,” an ecumenism of a spiritual experience and true clinging of all Christians to Christ. Only the realization of ecumenism as the true experiential fellowship can make the discovery of other brothers and sisters in Christ possible, as well as our fellowship with them. The way of ecumenism thus emerges as the way to healing and a renewal of global Christianity.

Ključne riječi
unity; fellowship; inter-confession; the criteria of being a church; “communion in sacris; ” “intercommunion”

Hrčak ID: 215415


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