Toward unity

June 13, 2019

Daniel Fachting, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist, Lay Minister at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Clare, and Chancellor for Knights of Columbus Council #3029. He can be reached at fachtingcounseling1@gmail.com or by calling (989) 386-8166.

In our Creed we say that the Church is “one, holy catholic, and apostolic”. In part, this means that most Christians have a similar profession of faith and similar celebrations of worship. Our origins are from Jesus Christ, followed by a long unbroken line of teaching from the time of the Apostles.
What it does not mean is that we must all be the same. Paragraph 814 in the Catholic Catechism states, “From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from the variety of God’s gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the people of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together…there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life…(and) particular Churches that retain their own traditions. The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church’s unity.”

Later in paragraph 818 it states that those who grow up in other traditions that, “the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection of brothers…All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians. And with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”

This is so different from the what I learned from my mother as a child. Then, I learned that those who were not Catholic, really weren’t Christians and were going to hell. When I began to have friends in other churches, I learned that their parents taught them that Catholics weren’t really Christians and were going to hell. It looked like we were all going to hell!
Differences have always existed in the Church and among Christians.

Why do we focus on them? Why not focus on how we are similar? Many non-Catholic churches recite the same creed. We pray to and worship the same Triune God. We celebrate the same sacraments for the most part. We share the same Bible for the most part. We share similar values. We share the same history. Even though we are different in some ways, we are more the same. There is great unity among the different traditions. I challenge you to consider how we are similar in most ways, and different in only a few ways.

I am always proud to stand by my non-Catholic brothers and sisters to play, pray, worship, celebrate, and learn. As Jesus prayed, “That they may all be one.” How different the world would be if all Christians banned together in love! Unity makes us powerful and disunity makes us impotent.

“May the Lord bless and keep you. May He let His face shine upon you, and give you His peace.”

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