from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A movement promoting unity among Christian churches or denominations.
- n. A movement promoting worldwide unity among religions through greater cooperation and improved understanding.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Ecumenical doctrines and practices, especially as manifested in the ecumenical movement.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a movement promoting union between religions (especially between Christian churches)
- n. (Christianity) the doctrine of the ecumenical movement that promotes cooperation and better understanding among different religious denominations: aimed at universal Christian unity
Although the term ecumenism is widely used outside Catholic circles to refer to efforts at mutual understanding among all religions, or even between religion and atheism, the Catholic Church treats relationships with non-Christians very differently, because non-Christians have a fundamentally different relationship with Catholics than do other baptized Christians.
But if we allow "ecumenism" to become a code word for "You do your thing and I do mine," we're in trouble.
I want to argue, however, that ecumenism is much more fundamental than that.
Unfortunately, there are some who wish to proclaim the Gospel but who think ecumenism is contrary to that task; there are also some who talk endlessly about unity but never want to address essential differences and difficulties.
True and rightly oriented ecumenism is not the dilution of differing doctrines, because that would ultimately mean diluting and thereby falsifying the one true Church.
Good ecumenism is not a C.S. Lewisian reduction of Christianity to an arbitrary set of “mere” attributes in order to achieve unity.
Now 05 September, 2009 16:54 you say that 'there is a general term ecumenism, but not all that is called ecumenism is Catholic ecumenism.'
For Catholics, the word ecumenism refers to all of the activities and initiatives of the Church and her members to promote mutual understanding and, ultimately, unity among all Christians.
As I've already said, not all that is called "ecumenism" is really ecumenism, that is, is ecumenism from a Catholic perspective, which is the only perspective that matters in this context.
-) There is the general term ecumenism, but not all that is called ecumenism is Catholic ecumenism and not all that passes for Catholic ecumenism is really that either) -- that is, not all ecumenism is really ecumenism from the perspective of the Catholic faith, that is, from the perspective of divinely-revealed truth.