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Sweden: Christian Council, document explaining the meaning of ecumenism. “Working for unity in a troubled time”

“The work for Christian unity has never been and can never be an end in itself. There are many reasons to work for unity, especially in our troubled time”. This is the beginning of a document that the Christian Council of Sweden has published both in the Dagen and in the Sändaren to explain the meaning of ecumenism. The Church’s history can be described “through divisions”, like the Reformation which “has caused the biggest split in the history of the Church” after “the great schism between Rome and Constantinople”. Although “mutual distrust” has long marked the relations between the Catholic and Protestant Churches, “the ongoing reconciliation process” is “a source of hope”. The “power” of the celebration in Lund, on 31 October 2016, with Pope Francis and the leaders of the Lutheran World Federation “is of great importance for the future of ecumenism”. The Ecumenical Movement in Sweden, the document reads, was established by Lutheran Archbishop Nathan Söderblom in 1925. Today the Christian Council brings together 27 member Churches, “something unique” among national ecumenical bodies, and is an important “place of encounter”, which is all the more significant insofar as the Churches “speak with one voice on social issues” and carry out “common projects such as prison and hospital pastoral care”. “Working for unity is not a choice, but a need for the good of the world, for the credibility of the Church in the world, and for the Churches themselves”, the 27 Swedish leaders wrote.

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