Sunday 19 February 2006

Ecumenical colloquium in Durham

Last week an international colloquium of 140 senior church leaders and theologians from the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox and Methodist churches met for six days at Durham University.

In the keynote address, the Roman Catholic Cardinal Walter Kaspar (pictured) stressed that “unity is symphonic”; unity in the New Testament is “unity in the diversity of charisms, offices, local churches, and cultures.” It is “communio sanctorum, that is, shared participation in the holy, in the life of God, in the Holy Spirit, in the Gospel, in the one baptism, and in the one eucharistic body of the Lord.”

On the first full day of the colloquium, N. T. Wright presided and Cardinal Kasper preached at an Anglican eucharist, and then Wright preached at a Roman Catholic eucharist the following day.

Catholic theologian Eamon Duffy described the colloquium as the most remarkable event in living memory. And N. T. Wright described it as theologically “jaw-dropping.” He remarked: “There are very serious voices within the Roman Catholic Church saying we are not three or four different Churches; we are all part of the one single Church which has some serious internal problems to be addressed. That’s a very different way of stating the ecumenical jigsaw than we have been used to.”

Other participants of the colloquium included Mario Conti, Terence Brain, Kevin Dunn, Michael Evans, Joseph Famerée, David F. Ford, Bernd Hilberath, Linda Hogan, Fergus Kerr, Nicholas Lash, Hervé Legrand, Andrew Louth, Paul McPartlan, Paul Murray, Brian Noble, Patrick O’Donoghue, Ladislas Örsy, James Puglisi, Thomas J. Reese, Stephen Sykes and Mary Tanner.

For further details of the colloquium, see the reports here and here.


Anonymous said...

sounds like a great conference with genuine steps forward. "jaw-dropping" is a strong word! i look forward to reading about it, especially given my own interest in protestant (reformed) and catholic ecumenism.

T.B. Vick said...

I would have love to have been a fly on the wall at that conference. I'm surprised that Wright described it as "jaw-dropping." I am assuming he meant very surprising in a good sense and not in a shocked, I can't believe someone said that nonesense sense.

Ben Myers said...

Yes, Wright definitely meant "jaw-dropping" in the best sense. Here's an excerpt from one of the reports:

The Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright, hailed it as a new chapter in ecumenism. He [said] that for years the quest for unity had felt unfocused and over-bureaucratic. Not any more.

“When we get a leading cardinal saying that receptive ecumenism is the name of the game and we are looking at the question of what gifts other Churches can give us that we need in order to be more complete than we were before, then this is like a curtain being opened and we can see a new bit of landscape out there. It is very exciting,” said Dr Wright. He drew great hope from a revival of interest in exploring the central tenets of the faith across the traditions.“If we celebrate that and live by that, who knows what is going to grow?” he said.

T.B. Vick said...

Yes, I finally had a chance to read both articles that you posted. There seems to be a bit of tension remaining over certain issues, but overall very positive.

Thanks for posting this Ben, I have already e-mailed it out to several people.

D. Marco Funk said...

This is exciting stuff; I hope Mennonites will enter the conversations somewhere along the line.

Anonymous said...

'I am an agnostic; I do not pretend to know what many ignorant men are sure of.'
Clarence Darrow

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