God 'determined to call together in the holy Church those who believe in Christ'

Lumen Gentium


Unity, practical guidance


In his encyclical letter, Ut Unum Sint (“That they may all be one.”), Pope John Paul II wrote (20) “Thus it is absolutely clear that ecumenism, the movement for promoting Christian unity, is not just some sort of ‘appendix’ which is added to the Church’s traditional activity. Rather, ecumenism is an organic part of her life and work, and consequently must pervade all she is and does; it must be like the fruit borne by a healthy and flourishing tree which grows to its full stature.”

So it is clear that all Catholics must be involved in some way in promoting Christian unity. Often it will be in simple things like prayer, meeting with other Christians and co-operating with them in works of charity.

Many Catholics are already involved in these and similar work and indeed there are some who ask questions about what more they can do to further ecumenism in the local situation.

They are keen to do something but seek guidance because they do not want to do anything of which the Church might disapprove.

The commission has produced two leaflets entitled Christians Growing Together and the first of these, Spiritual Ecumenism might provide such people with guidance.

The second leaflet, “Liturgical and Sacramental Sharing” offers guidance for Catholics who, because of family and other ties, become involved in the worship of other Christian traditions at baptisms, weddings and similar events.

There is also guidance for those rare occasions when Catholics have no recourse to a priest and, conversely, when a Christian of another tradition asks to receive the sacraments in a Catholic church.

These leaflets are a very short summary of the relevant chapters of the 1993 Ecumenical Directory. For convenience they are reproduced below and may be freely down loaded and copied.

Christian Unity Leaflet 1 (16.0 KiB)

Christian Unity Leaflet 2 (14.4 KiB)

(Photo of Catholic and Anglican leaders together at the London Charterhouse by Simon Caldwell, St Gabriel News and Media)