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March 18, 2022
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v2.1 Reference

Church and Communion, second edition

An Introduction to Ecumenical Theology

This book is about ecumenism, from a Catholic point of view. The first part, chapters 1 and 2, describe the history of divisions within the Church, as well as of the efforts to bring about Christian unity. The second part examines Ecumenism from a systematic theological perspective.

This first part takes into account the different factors that led to definitive ruptures within the Church, which usually are not only theological. The text gives useful information about what happened after the respective divisions as well as about the various attempts to restore unity, the development of the Ecumenical Movement in the 20th Century, and the current situation of ecumenical dialogue within the Catholic Church. While offering insight into the sad history that has led to the present disunity, this work also highlights the way Christians have sought to bring to fulfill the petition of Christ that his disciples might be one, as He and the Father are one.

The second partchapters three, four and fiveoffers a systematic theological analysis of unity in the Church, from the point of view of dogmatic theology. We find here an explanation of the Catholic concept of ecumenism, of how Catholic theology understands the unity of the Church, and, finally, of the Catholic principles which sustain the efforts for regaining unity in the Church. The Second Vatican Council, and particularly the Constitution Lumen gentium and the Decree Unitatis redintegratio, are at the foundation of these reflections. At the same time, since the theology of the Church and the life of the Church are intimately connected, there is a profound link between this dogmatic section and the earlier historical section.

The last chapter, about the practice of ecumenism, is also written from a theological perspective, but with more links with life and spirituality. The chapter recalls that ecumenism can never simply remain a set of theological principles, but rather inspires an attitude and action in charity which are essential to the Christian life.

About the Author

Philip Goyret is Ordinary Professor of Ecclesiology at the University of Santa Croce, Rome. Joseph Thomas is assistant chaplain, Aquinas Institute, Princeton University.


"Provides a sweeping overview of the modern ecumenical movement...brings together a vast amount of material from many sources and provides a vast overview of ecumenical concerns today."—Rev. Ronald G. Roberson, CSP, Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, USCCB

"In this excellent introduction to ecumenism, Goyret offers a distinctively Catholic view of the historical events that led to the schisms that wounded Church unity, as well as the ecumenical rapprochement that took place in the last sixty years. He methodically presents the historical, theological, practical, and pastoral Catholic principles of ecumenism, rooted in the vision of the Second Vatican Council. With this book, Goyret contributes to the goal of full communion that can only be realized gradually, increasing the partial communion that is already present, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and enlightened by the Paschal Mystery."—Radu Bordeianu, Duquesne University

"Church and Communion, well-translated from the Italian edition and revised to include many English sources, is a very helpful introduction to ecumenical theology. Goyret provides a survey of major non-Catholic denominations and a history of successes and failures over the centuries, climaxing in ecumenism as a 'mutual journey of conversion and reform.' This ecumenism is centered on the triune God's loving plan for his church as a multifaceted communion with God and each other, Catholic and catholic in its principles and practice. Goyret's book will be indispensable for a time trapped within ignorance of what has been accomplished in the movement toward Christian unity, despair over the obstacles that still remain, and indifference over Christian ecumenism in the face of the many challenges to Church and communion today."—James Buckley, Loyola University Maryland

"A thorough study of Christian ecumenism on the basis of Roman Catholic participation, doctrine, theology, and pastoral considerations."—Catholic Books Review

The Catholic University of America Press
second edition

9780813234632 : church-and-communion-2nd-edition-goyret
Paperback / softback
238 Pages
$34.95 USD

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