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Church Unity and the Papal Office: An Ecumenical Dialogue on John Paul II's Encyclical Ut Unum Sint [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   174
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.97" Width: 5.99" Height: 0.48"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 22, 2001
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802848028  
EAN  9780802848024  

Availability  111 units.
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Item Description...
Church Unity and the Papal Office provides the first theological and ecumenical response to Pope John Paul II's encyclical Ut Unum Sint ("That All May Be One"). Scholars representing Anglican, Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, and Evangelical churches offer fresh perspectives on this pivotal document calling for a "patient and fraternal dialogue" concerning the ministry of the papal office in the service of church unity. Contributors: Carl E. Braaten Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy Brian E. Daley, S.J. Joseph-Augustine DiNoia, O.P. Robert W. Jenson Richard J. Mouw Stephen W. Sykes Geoffrey Wainwright George Weigel David S. Yeago

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More About Carl E. Braaten

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Carl E. Braaten is professor emeritus of systematic theology at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and former executive director of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology.

Carl E. Braaten currently resides in Northfield, in the state of Minnesota. Carl E. Braaten was born in 1929.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General   [5549  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Important Topic ... Soporific Essays  Dec 8, 2006
Rank: 3.25 STARS

Let me start off by saying that I wish I could have given this book a 5 stars. That's why I bought this book, because I thought I was going to learn a lot from it. Sadly, while there was plenty of material for me to underling and notes to make, I found some of the chapters (which are separate essays and speaches) very soporific. Going to sleep is not what I had in mind, when I wanted to read some practical advice and response from a variety of Christians to former pope John Paul II's encyclical letter of "Ut Unum Sint" ("May They Be One" - first roman-catholic encyclical on Christian Unity).

During June 6-8 1999, Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson, the founders of the "Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology" (a great ecumenical site and small publisher), hosted a theological conference as a response to then pope John Paul II's 1995 Encyclical Letter - Ut Unum Sint. This conference was held at University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota. This book is a collection of the speaches at that conference and the majority of the speakers represent the Roman-Catholic branch, while there is only one Lutheran and one neoProtestant response, and none from the Orthodox division of Christianity.


I will provide a summary of each speach, so please bear with me. You might find some golden nuggets. (numbers in parenthesis refer to the encyclical)

- Introduction:
* "...despite existing separations, 'we [Christians' belong to Christ' (42)."
* "The pope's ecumenical devotion to unity is based on Jesus' highpriestly prayer in Chapter 17 of St. John's Gospel."
* "...if we take Christ's call to unity to heart, 'that all may be one,' 'every factor of division can be transcended and overcome in the total gift of self for the sake of the Gospel (1)."
* "...Christ ardently desires the full and visible communion of all those Communities in which, by virtue of God's faithfulness, his Spirit dwells.(95)"
* "The first part of the Acts of the Apostles presents Peter as the one who speaks in the name of the apostolic group and who serves the unity of the community - all the while respecting the authority of James, the head of the Church in Jerusalem."

- Cardinal Edward Cassidy's speech "Ut Unum Sint in Ecumenical Perspective"
* "multiple efforts being made in many parts of the world, under the inspiring grace of the Holy Spirit, through prayer, word and action to attain the fullnes of unity which Jesus Christ desires."
* "Ecumenism an organic part of her [Church's] life and work."
* "The Church cannot be true to itself unless it is ecumenical."
* "...this commitment is to the full, visible unity of the Christian family."
* "All those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ."
* "...the encyclical Ut Unum Sint asserts once again that 'the one Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church.'"
* "'cumenism is an unavoidable task as an expression of the love of God in Christ.'"
* "as disciples of Christ, we are called to unity, ... 'so that the world may believe (John 17:21).'"
* "... :to what degree are we ready to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches today?"

- Brian E. Daley, S.J.'s speech "The Ministry of Primacy and the Communion of Churches"
* "...the encyclical acknowledges that there is a risk that power may be separated from ministry."
* "The essential pont remain, however, that jurisdiction is only possible by virtue of jurisdictional powers."
* "...those attempting to defend and advance their own power often emphasize its service component."
* "Scholars have long realized tha the 'koinonia' model is christologically and pneumatologically oriented."
* "The root of all true authority is thus the activity of the triune God, who authors life in all its fullness."

- Geoffrey Wainwright (Methodist) speech "'Ut Unum Sint' in Light of 'Faith and Order' - or 'Faith and Order' in Light of 'Ut Unum Sint'"
*** "Diversity in expression of the Gospel, in words and in actions, enrich the common life. Particular emphases today are carried in the life and witness of the different churches: for example, the holiness tradition by the Methodists, the doctrine of justification by faith alone through grace by the Lutherans, the life in the Holy Spirit by the Pentecostals, the ministry of primacy in the service of unity by the Anglican Communion, the doctrine of primacy in the service of unity by the Roman Catholic Church, the value of comprehensiveness by the Anglican Communion, the doctrine of deification coupled with that of 'synergy' by the Orthodox, etc. How far are the different emphases conflicting positions or an expression of legitimate diversity? Does the weight placed upon the different emphases obscure the fullness of the Gospel message?"

- David S. Yeago's speech "The Papal Office and the Burden of History: a Lutheran View"
* "In the present situation, I think it needs to be said that we cannot assume that widespread Protestant admiration for the pope as man and Christian witness translates into a positive attitude toward the papacy as an institution and an order of church governance."
* "...papal infallibility has turned out to be something of a red herring in the ecumenical discussion."
* "The crucial ecumenical issue is not the philosophical hermeneutics of infallibility but the essentially ecclesial-political problem of authority."
* "...the Reformers were critical of accounts of magisterium that seemed to suggest a one-sided dependence of the faithful on the teaching office, a clerical monopoly on the true knowledge of Christ. The apostles have delivered the holy gospel to the whole church, and 'all' the faithful take part in various ways in the transmission of the apostolic tradition from age to age."
* "...the Reformers believed, because the devil never ceases to attach the apostolic gospel, attempting by open or covert means to deprive the church of the true knowledge of Christ."
*** "...: the reconciliation of the churches will require not only advances in theological insight but also profound changes in their lived and practiced sense of mission."
** "How better for Lutherans to affirm concretely that we no longer regard the pope as an outright enemy of the 'evangelica veritas'? Luther was willing to kiss the pope's feet if he would allow the pure teaching of the gospel. Now that we agree that he does allow it, why should we not be willing on significant occasions to ask his [the pope] advice and listen to his counsel?"

- Richard J. Mouw's (Pres. of Fuller Theological Seminary) speech "The Problem of Authority in Evangelical Christianity"
* "We evangelicals are often accused of having a weak ecclesiology."
*** "It is currently fashionable to speak of evangelicals as having an 'under-developed eclesiology': perhaps it might be suggested that it is others who have over-developed ecclesiologies?" (quoting an Anglican evangelical)
** "A central concern on the evangelical agenda,..., is the link between ecclesiology and soteriology."
** "...the 'evangelical' label functions best as a theological modifier rather than as a noun."
*** "We evangelicals at our generic worst suffer from theological amnesi. Our narratives about "the old time religion" tend to leave whole centuries - even whole millennia - out of the story of how God has led his church into new understandings of the truth of the gospel."

- George Weigel "The Church's Teaching Authority and the Call for Democracy in North Atlantic Catholicism"
* "While a denomination is something we create by joining it, the church ..., is a divinely ordered and Spirit-sustained reality..."
* "...the episcopate was a uniquely 'ecclesial' office and the charisms necessary to fulfill its obligations were evangelical and theological..."
* "...the college of bishops and the Petrine primacy within the college are both divinely ordered and constitutive elements of the church."
* "...the pastors of the church and its theologians are servants, not masters."

- Joseph Augustine Dinoia, O.P.'s speech "Ecumenism and the New Evangelization in 'Ut Unum Sint'"
* " essential element in the exercise of Petrine ministry to foster unity as an instrument of evangelization."
* "'The destiny of egangelization is certainly bound up with the witness of unity given by the Church. ... division ... 'openly contradicts the will of Christ, provides a stumbling block to the world, and inflicts damage on the most holy cause of proclaiming the good news to every creature.'"
* "...missionary activity has always been part of the church's ministry, the designation of this activity as evangelization is new." ("...Karl Barth's emphasis on the need for a renewed proclamation to address the increasing secularization of Western society.")
** "For, the Church seeks nothing for herself but the freedom to proclaim the Gospel." (Ut Unum Sint, 3)

***"Believers in Christ...cannot remain divided ...they must profess together the same truth about the cross...of Jesus, the one redeemer of man." (Ut Unum Sint, 1,2)


Church Unity has been an important subject since the great Schism of 1054. As a result of former pope John Paul II's encyclical "Ut Unum Sint" (the first Catholic encyclical on unity and Christian ecumenism; available for free from the vatican's website) in the mid 1990s there has been a lot of discussion about its ideas and implications. This book offers mostly Catholic views and some are very specific to a particular aspect (American-Catholicism, view of ecclessial power, interpretation of Petrine office) and not necessarily a general approach. I wish I could give it more stars but the material was in some cases too academic and less pragmatic than I had wished. Also, I had to struggle and finish some speaches because they were too soporific for me.
Great introduction to the subject  Jan 18, 2003
THis work comes out of the "Braaten/Jenson Ecumenical Center" which has provided so many great books on Christian reunion. The center isn't called that, but those two untiring Christians have done so much that it should be named after them!

Now this book doesn't solve any problems per se, but it does put them into context and it avoids the unhelpful, silly, and unscholarly straw man arguments that the cheaper scholarship throws out as to why we should be Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox or "Protholidox"! WHile it is a great book for those interested in reunion, it is certainly a must-read for those who have read Ut Unum Sint, "that all may be one".

See my review of Brian Tierney's "Origins of Papal Infallibility" for a great selection of books that deal indepth with the subject of reunion between east and west as it relates to the papacy. Enjoy!


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