School of Theology and Seminary Faculty Publications

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Catholic Studies | Christianity


The quest for Christian unity is entering a new phase amidst the movement’s many voices, perspectives and tensions. Christians are witnessing the advent of an emerging ecumenical paradigm, which, because it is not fully realized, is still realizing its full definition. The paradigm operates in a global context rather than a Eurocentric one, and even as it is more global, it is simultaneously more local. It cultivates shared praxis while being less concerned with the comparison of dogmas. Ecclesiology is also entering a new paradigm which shares many features with its ecumenical counterpart, particularly its global perspective and interest in shared praxis ahead of dogmatic questions. Even though ecumenism and ecclesiology share common trajectories, their journeys are unfolding in largely parallel rather than cooperative and mutually-enriching ways. This raises the question: What opportunities might arise from examining the shifts in ecumenism and ecclesiology together? This article examines how new methodological and practical developments in these two fields can form and inform one another. It studies the shift to synodality in the Catholic Church and the turn towards discernment in the ecumenical sphere as manifestations of similar theological commitments and a common interest in cultivating participatory processes. The seismic changes reshaping the religious landscape are transforming the relationship between ecumenism and ecclesiology; yet a strong connection between them endures and illumines paths forward for the church in the third millennium.


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