'Communion not stumbling-block'12 June 2012
One of Ireland's leading Anglicans has warned that it is "fruitless to hit our heads against a brick wall" over intercommunion.
Michael Jackson, who is the Church of Ireland's Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough, told The Tablet that Christians need instead to concentrate the aspects of communion with which their common baptism resonates.
"Pilgrimage, reconciliation, dialogue and prayer are very important in the expression of communion flowing from baptism," he said.
He also described ecumenism as a "blunt word" and said the ecumenical experiment and experience happens at a range of levels, such as the organic lived experience of ecumenism, in which people express their togetherness in their daily life and celebrate it through events such as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Archbishop Jackson added: "Sometimes it takes the institution a little bit longer to gather the courage to give that public expression." He added that the day dedicated to ecumenism at the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin was a "public expression" of this togetherness in faith.
Earlier, Archbishop Jackson led the ecumenical Liturgy of the Word and Water at the Congress. He told pilgrims that the importance of the Eucharistic Congress was in its ability to speak to the broader picture of the life of communion flowing from baptism. Baptism, he said, enables distinct Christian communities to have "a shared life conjoined in the missionary purpose of God".
An address written by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk was delivered by Dublin-based Russian Orthodox priest, Father George Zavershinsky. In it Metropolitan Hilarion said all the Churches had reason to be concerned by the fact that today's world is moving away from Christ and that Europe is gradually abandoning its Christian roots.
He regretted the fact that this "destructive process" was accompanied by negative social factors such as "extreme individualism, consumerism and self-indulgence, atomisation of society and a hostile attitude to traditional values".
In contemporary society, the Russian Orthodox prelate said, the word 'god' could designate anything and the period of the 'death of God' was replaced by one of "obscure pseudo-theological concepts called to gratify 'people's individual needs'." Having 'killed' God, the [Western] civilisation which rejected him, has made an attempt to 'reanimate' Him but in a new form, which he said, was linked to the dominant cult of consumerism and self-indulgence which needed a new impersonal and morally indifferent god.
Other speakers at the RDS exhibition centre in Dublin on Monday included Br Alois Löser, Prior of the Taize Community in France. He warned that "ecumenism can't be primarily a human effort to harmonise different traditions", saying instead that the first ecumenical effort is to seek to live in communion with God. He referred to calls for priority to be given to whether someone is baptised rather than which denomination they belong to.
Br Alois' address was followed by Maria Voce, leader of Focolare, who recalled the movement's foundation by Chiara Lubich during the Seond World War, and her own experience learning from other Churches while living in Turkey.
The Vatican's Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Dublin-born Bishop Brian Farrell, also attended Monday's service and events at the RDS.
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