Internationale Kirchliche Zeitschrift vol:103 pages:64-89
A Roman Catholic ecclesiologist is able to find strong support for his plea to keep the concerns of mission and unity together in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. After having made a more lengthy analysis of the attention for both aspects in the opening chapters of Lumen Gentium I also commented upon a few interesting passages in both Unitatis Redintegratio, the decree on ecumenism, and Ad Gentes, the decree on mission.
A concern not to neglect the attention to mission in documents focusing on ecclesiology is also the hallmark of recent ecumenical dialogue statements.
It has been easy to defend this thesis as far as the Faith & Order statement on The Nature and Mission of the Church (2005) and the IARCCUM document Growing together in Unity and Mission (2007) are concerned.
I also wanted to find out the reason why so few explicit statements on the necessity to engage in common witness are found in the work of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. The crisis related to the so-called ‘problem of Uniatism’ made the so-called Balamand Document (1993) negatively focus on the danger of proselitism rather than making concrete plans for missionary cooperation. Luckily the latest dialogue statement, the so-called Ravenna document (2007), and especially the latest fruit of the U.S. Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, Steps Towards a Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future (2010) show that this dialogue is now also becoming convinced of the need to be engaged in common witness.