Remember to refer to Pope Benedict as "the Pope of Christian Unity"… for indeed he is.
Liberals will try to cling to what they perceive as their right to define what ecumenism means as well as with whom and how we may engage.
Benedict XVI has other, clearer ideas about ecumenism, in line with a hermeneutic of continuity rather than of rupture.
The other day the Holy Father addressed the plenary meeting of the most important of the Vatican dicasteries, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Here is part of the VIS report relevant to our interest in Benedict XVI as "the Pope of Christian Unity".
My emphases and comments.
VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2010 (VIS) – Participants in the annual plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the president of which is Cardinal William Joseph Levada, were received this morning by the Holy Father. In his address to them he highlighted the fact that their dicastery "participates in the ministry of unity" which is primarily entrusted to the Pope through his "commitment to doctrinal fidelity. [In explaining his moves with both the SSPX and Anglicans Benedict XVI underscored his role, as Peter, as one of unity. He will not compromise anything that is essential in the regula fidei... he cannot. But he can be flexible with structures in the Church to facilitate the unity of those who would otherwise hold themselves apart from fullness of membership in the Church Christ founded.]
"Unity", he added, "is first and foremost unity of faith, upheld by the sacred tradition [Why continuity is so important...] of which Peter’s Successor is the primary custodian and defender. … This is an indispensable service upon which depends the effectiveness of the Church’s evangelising activity unto the end of time.
"The Bishop of Rome", the Pope explained, "must constantly proclaim that … Jesus is Lord". The Roman Pontiff’s "potestas docendi" requires "obedience to the faith, so that the Truth that is Christ may continue to shine forth in all its grandeur, … and that there may be a single flock gathered around a single Shepherd".
The goal of a shared witness of faith among all Christians "represents, then, a priority for the Church in all periods of history. [Ecumenism is not an option for us... but it must be ecumenism properly understood. Pope Benedict gets to determine what that is and his first collaborators are in the CDF. It is not by chance that the structures for the Anglicans were developed by the CDF and the Pont. Comm. Ecclesia Dei were placed directly under the CDF.] … In this spirit, I trust particularly in your dicastery’s commitment to overcoming the doctrinal problems that still persist in achieving the full communion of the Society of St. Pius X with the Church".
Benedict XVI then went on to thank the members of the congregation for their efforts towards "the full integration of groups and individuals of former Anglican faithful into the life of the Catholic Church, in accordance with the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution ‘Anglicanorum coetibus’. The faithful adherence of these groups to the truth received from Christ and presented in the Magisterium of the Church is in no way contrary to the ecumenical movement", [RIGHT! This is the point. Liberals want to determine what ecumenism involves. That is over now.] he said, "rather, it reveals the ultimate aim thereof, which is the realisation of the full and visible communion of the disciples of the Lord".
On the Eve of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Pope of Christian Unity, Benedict XVI, vigorously defended his two initiatives spear-headed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (of which he was Prefect) has been in the forefront: unity with members of the Society of St. Pius X and unity with traditionally-minded Anglicans who – sua sponte – petitioned Rome for a dignified place within the Roman Catholic Church.
He corrected critics inside and outside of the Catholic Church about ecumenism.
The Constitution [for Anglicans] "is in no way contrary to the ecumenical movement. Rather, it reveals the ultimate aim thereof, which is the realisation of the full and visible communion of the disciples of the Lord".