Today, “ecumenism” refers to the idea of a Christian unity—that there should be a single Christian Church. This is promoted strongly by The Roman Catholic Church which believes that they are the Universal Church.
The World Council of Churches formed in 1948, the National Council of Churches in the USA in 1950 are two major ecumenical groups.
In 2006, theological dialogue was resumed between representatives of the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches…
“…The Second Vatican Council…presented the basic elements of the Catholic faith in a more understandable, pastoral language, without changing the teachings of the Church.”—Catholic Encyclopedia 1967
“…In various discussions before the Council actually convened, Pope John XXIII…invited other Christian Churches to send observers to the Council. Acceptances came from both Protestant and Orthodox Churches.
—Sullivan 2002, p.17, 21
Seventeen Orthodox Churches and Protestant denominations sent observers. More than three dozen representatives of other Christian communities were present at the opening session, and the number grew
to nearly 100 by the end of the 4th Council Session.
Part of Pope Paul’s purposes for the second session of Vatican II in the fall of 1963 was to restore unity among all Christians and to start a dialogue
[a means of ecumenism] with the contemporary world.
Perhaps the most famous and most influential product of the council is the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium.
Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium
In the first chapter, “The Mystery of the Church,” is the famous statement that “the sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic…’the pillar and mainstay of the truth.’
“…The document immediately adds: ‘Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines.'”
“In the second chapter, titled ‘On the People of God’, the Council teaches that…All human beings are called to belong to the Church. Not all are fully incorporated into the Church,
“but ‘the Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christ,
“but who do not however profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter’ (Lumen Gentium, 15)
“and even with ‘those who have not yet received the Gospel,’ among whom Jews and Muslims are explicitly mentioned (Lumen Gentium, 16)…
“The chapter on Mary was the subject of debate. Original plans had called for a separate document about the role of Mary, keeping the document on the Church ‘ecumenical,’ in the sense of ‘non-offensive’ to Protestant Christians…
“However, the Council Fathers insisted, with the support of the Pope, that, as Mary’s place is within the Church, treatment of her should appear within the Constitution on the Church.”
Some 10,000 Christians gather in Taize for funeral of Brother Roger VCT issue, August 26, 2005
Taize, France (CNS)—Some 10,000 Christians of various denominations traveled to the Church of the Reconciliation in the village of Taize, in the eastern Burgundy region of France, for the funeral of Brother Roger Schultz, the renowned ecumenical leader…
Brother Roger’s principal message had always been one of unity, and it was the Vatican’s chief ecumenist, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who celebrated the funeral Mass…
The Taizé Community started by Frère Roger
The Taizé Community is an ecumenical Christian monastic order, founded in 1940, by Frère Roger in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France. The ecumenical community is made up of more than a hundred men from many nations representing Protestant and Catholic branches of Christianity. Life in the community focuses on prayer and Christian meditation.
Benedict issues statement asserting that Jesus established ‘only one church’. MSNBC News Services July 10, 2007
“…Benedict, who attended Vatican II as a young theologian, has long complained about what he considers the erroneous interpretation of the council by liberals, saying it was not a break from the past but rather a renewal of church tradition…
“The Church is not backtracking on ecumenical commitment,” Di Noia
told Vatican radio.
“But, as you know, it is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot
be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be.”