The Ecumenical Gift Exchange
In his encyclical on the Church's commitment to ecumenism Ut unum sint, Pope John Paul II writes, "Dialogue is not simply an exchange of ideas." In some way it is always an "exchange of gifts." In topical essays, The Ecumenical Gift Exchange looks at what ecumenical dialogue can teach us about the papacy, teaching authority, feminism, dissent, infallibility, Eucharist, grace, women's ordination, and the future of the Church. Ecumenical dialogue allows the many Christian communions to enhance and exchange their distinctive gifts so that divisions can be overcome. In its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, the Second Vatican Council says, ". . . through the common sharing of gifts and through the common effort to attain fullness in unity, the whole and each of the parts receive increase." Done in a spirit of repentence and renewal, the exchange of gifts enables the healing and enrichment of all Christian communions. The essays in The Ecumenical Gift Exchange are erudite yet accessible and relevant to a wide audience. Since the essays are topical, they can be used independently in courses or discussion groups. Readers?theology professors and students, members of ecumenical dialogues, ecumenical officers of Christian Churches, ordained ministers, religious educators, and interested laity?will find Dr. O'Gara's analogy of ecumenism as a gift exchange intriguing and encouraging. The Ecumenical Gift Exchange is a call to action for all Christians. The work of unity is the vocation of all Christians and the work of the Holy Spirit among us. The essays: "On the Road toward Unity: The Present Dialogue among the Churches," "Purifying Memories and Exchanging Gifts: Recent Orientations of the Magisterium in Ecumenism," "Listening to Forgotten Voices: The French Minority Bishops of Vatican I and Infallibility," "Reconceptualizing Infallibility in Ecumenical Dialogue: Epistemology, Ecclesiology, and the Issue of Reception," "Reception as Key: Unlocking ARCIC on Infallibility," "Understanding 'A Certain, Though Imperfect' Communion between Anglicans and Roman Catholics," "Ecumenism, Dissent, and the Roman Catholic Church: Shifts Below the Surface of the Debate," "Ecumenism and Feminism in Dialogue on Authority," "Formation for Transformation: The Ecumenical Directory Sets a Big Agenda," and "Roman Catholic Theology Today: A Guide for the Perplexed in a Time of Renewal."". . . a serious theological reflection and a great gift to the ecumenical movement." Emmanuel"Her insights constantly caused me to put the book down to think about issues from new perspectives she had proposed." The Catholic Register"This is an excellent presentation of the problems and opportunities for ecumenism in the Catholic Church on the eve of the third millennium. It will be invaluable for advanced students and a suggestive resource book for priests and lay ministers in the ecumenical formation of parishes." George H. Tavard"It was a good idea to print together these essays. They will help people to better understand how serious the ecumenical task is." J. M. R. Tillard, O.P."I know of no more reliable guide on the ecumenical journey than Margaret O'Gara. She offers us the kind of creative insights that are desperately needed if the quest for Christian unity is to be given new life. Her book is itself a marvelous contribution to the 'gift exchange' that she celebrates." Richard J. Mouw President Fuller Theological Seminary"With consistent clarity and persuasive examples, Professor O'Gara demonstrates how ecumenical dialogue is truly an exchange of gifts not relinquishing identity nor compromising truth." Joann Wolski Conn Neumann College
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