Index > Interconfessional Dialogues > M-RC > Dublin Rep. 1976 | CONT. > sec. 3
  section 1 (INTRODUCTION) - select
Spirituality - sec. 3
  section 5 (MORAL QUESTIONS-EUTHANASIA) - select
  section 6 (THE EUCHARIST) - select
  section 7 (MINISTRY) - select
  section 8 (AUTHORITY) - select
  section 9 (CHURCH UNION NEGOTIATIONS) - select


   26. It has been recognized from the beginning of our dialogue that among the "more solid grounds for affinity" between our two traditions the first was "the central place held in both traditions by the ideal of personal sanctification, growth in holiness through daily life in Christ"9. This recognition was not voiced in any exclusive or pharisaical spirit, but simply as a fruit of our emergence from a long period of comparative estrangement. Hence section III of the Denver Report10 was based in the first place on the work of a sub-commission done in accordance with a careful brief given by the joint Commission as a whole11.

   27. Two or three points may be re-emphasized about this, perhaps the most mature section of the Denver Report:

a) It recognized the need for both an historical and a contemporary treatment, the one complementing the other.
b) It was not seen as unconnected with the preceding section on "Christianity and the Contemporary World", or even as merely complementing it, but as being interwoven with it.
c) It frankly recognized certain lacunae and certain obstacles in our discovered affinity
d) It offered its own set of practical suggestions

   28. It might be argued that the very first fruit of this practical-minded section was the address given by Cardinal Willebrands at Denver and so generously received there14 It was a development of the theme of our shared tradition of concern for holiness which must find a leading place in any bibliography of this dialogue, and its influence on the second phase of our conversations is undoubted.

   29. It may at first sight seem disappointing that in the present report we have no substantial addition of our own to offer to what was presented and said at Denver, but must rather point to several examples of work in progress. But the aim of Denver's words was not simply to provoke more words, nor to boil down everything to committee language; the program offered at Denver - and it was offered not simply to the renewed Commission but to the two world-wide communities - was an exploratory program aimed at mutual enrichment. Spiritual richness like any other, lies partly in variety, and we were reminded at our Venice meeting that in the Catholic Church, however "monolithic" it may have seemed from some points of view, there is a long tradition of rich variety in spirituality - sometimes given institutional form in the various religious congregations, but as often manifesting itself in Christian living at the heart of "the world". Nor did Methodists repudiate the idea of such fruitful variety in their own tradition.

   30. Hence it is not surprising that, among the examples we have to report of work in progress in this joint exploration there should be interesting contrasts. Taking them in chronological order we begin with the work of the Ecumenical Institute of Spirituality in America which, based in Evanston, Illinois, brings Catholics (of various spiritual families) into collaboration with Methodists and with some of other traditions in spiritual dialogue and exploration.

   31. The Institute organised in 1974 the "Wingspread" conference whose specific aim was to examine the implications of section III of the Denver Report, and the Commission was able to benefit directly from the Institute's work when the Institute's Director of Protestant Spirituality, the Methodist Dr. E. W. Gerdes, gave a paper at our Venice meeting and did much to enliven our discussions. Here is one form of collaboration, a continuing one.

   32. Another form, and an important one, is represented by the paper, "The Ordained Ministry," which deals with the question of holiness and spirituality. Unfortunately the final draft arrived too late to be considered by the Commission; it is published in Origins, January 22, 1976, and we hope it will be widely read. It is the joint work of the U.S. team appointed by the Catholic Bishops' Conference and the United Methodist Church, a work which has been going on since 1971. As the authors stress, their limiting of their theme aims at a deepening, not a " clericalist" narrowing of our joint concern with spirituality. The aim is achieved and it is to be hoped that the title will not mislead anyone as to the scope and importance of this very wise joint reflection, which not only contributes to our study of growth in holiness but also enriches our shared ideal of Ministry15 The paper seems to the Commission an outstanding example of the kind of work it was charged by the Denver Report to promote.

   33. A third form of collaboration, that of an individual and wide-ranging mind from either side, in which a mutual sympathy clearly develops and finds expression, is represented by a paper "Towards a Spirituality for Today", which was commissioned from the Rev. Gordon Wakefield and Fr. Emmanuel Sullivan, S.A. They describe their approach thus: "We propose to take seriously the insistence of the Denver Report that the contemporary situation be regarded and assessed and we would like to lift the discussion out of the old entrenchments and try to discover the essential characteristics of ecumenical spirituality for our time. The questions are not so much ‘what have we in common-where do we differ and what may we learn from each other'? as ‘what kind of Christian does God want us to be'"? Their discussion of contemporary trends takes place against a background of theology.

   34. This paper would have suffered especially from being drained of blood by the clumsy surgery characteristic of committees, and we hope that it will be published so that it also may be wildly read. More perhaps than any others, the papers discussed in this section suggest that justice to our dialogue and to our collaborators demands re-addressing our attention to the suggestion made in the Denver Report, Para. 121, "provided the status of papers be clearly established (working papers e.g.) they might be circulated among responsible and qualified people, and summaries made of them might be incorporated in reports."



  1. Ibid., §§ 6-7, p. 41.

    Back to text
  2. Ibid., §§ 51-68, pp. 49-53.

    Back to text
  3. Cf. ibid., § 51, p. 49.

    Back to text
  4. Ibid., §§ 62-7, pp. 52-3.

    Back to text
  5. Ibid., § 68, p. 53.

    Back to text
  6. Ibid., pp. 266-76.

    Back to text
  7. Cf. infra, §§ 76-105.

    Back to text

Index | Centro Activities | Course | Publications | Conferences
Week of Prayer | Library | Interconfessional Dialogues
Directory of Ecumenical Study Centers | Society of the Atonement
Guest Book | Credits | Site Map

1999-2004 © - Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, Inc.
Remarks to Webmaster at webmaster@pro.urbe.it