We are in the midst of the Octave of Christian Unity, which runs from January 18th through the 25th. We have compiled some prayers and resources for the octave that you may find helpful, that focus specifically on East-West unity. We also have an Online Handbook of Denominations that has gotten some recognition from Catholic ecumenical organizations.
I have been really busy this week, and still am, so I wish had time to reflect more on the Catholic view of unity. Nonetheless, I often express our view of unity and ecumenism in terms used by Family-Systems Theory (My B.A. is in Psychology). Catholics practice a self-differentiated ecumenism, which is to say we will work with others when possible, pray together, and work for unity, but we aren’t going to pretend serious differences don’t exist just to achieve some sort of false “feel good” unity, when there really are fundamental differences. To use another Family-Systems term, we avoid “fusing,” i.e. losing our individuality to get along with someone else. Unfortunately, many of the mainlines have taken the view that we should unify first, and ask questions later, which is really not an honest and open form of communication, if you ask me. Given Jesus’ emphasis on both unity and truth, I think he valued both, so sacrificing one for the other strikes me as unbalanced. This being said, I work for unity a lot. Heck, I spend most of my time in my classroom and with my family, and both are very religiously diverse places! I would like to think that all of us have enough respect for each other that we can work together and pray together, but also be honest with each other about the limitations of unity at this point.