Why Ecumenism Matters in India
Archbishop Felix Machado
Archbishop Felix Machado's knowledge of Ecumenism and his involvement in the Ecumenical Movement at various levels and in different capacities is truly formidable. To mention some of the highlights of his illustrious career in the field of Ecumenism – he has been a member of the Joint Working Group (Holy See and WCC) for two terms. He was appointed by the Holy See to be part of the Catholic delegation to the General Assembly of the WCC held in Busan, South Korea. He was elected Chairman, OEIA-FABC (Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Federation of the Asian Bishops' Conferences) for two terms. He has also been elected Chairman, Commission for Ecumenism of the CCBI for two terms and elected Chairman, Desk for Ecumenism of the CBCI for two terms.
This mini-Compendium is the fruit of his deep expertise and vast experience. It is a compilation of insights from various documents, thematically arranged so as to provide invaluable insights for a meaningful ecumenical involvement today. Brother John of the Taize Community, France, a Biblical scholar and theologian, describes succinctly the immense contribution of this Compilation: "The quest to recover the unity of Christianity divided by history is more urgent than ever… In this well researched and quite accessible book, Archbishop Felix Machado offers a vision of the ecumenical task that avoids simplistic solutions, while giving concrete suggestions for the clergy, religious and laity to attain this goal - being one so that the world can believe."
In the Preparatory Document for the Synod 2023, Pope Francis highlights the significance of Ecumenism, when he reminds us that the dialogue between Christians of different confessions, united by one Baptism, has a special place in the Synodal journey.
It is precisely in this context that we realise the timely work of Archbishop Felix Machado! And so, beginning with what is ecumenism and what is not, he highlights the decisive role of the Spirit who enables us to actualise the mission of the Church and assists her to promote ecumenical relations. Starting from the teachings of the Conciliar and the post-Conciliar documents, as well as the ground-breaking interventions of the Popes over the years, he presents the undying commitment of the Church to ecumenical unity. He then highlights the crucial role of the bishops, priests and laity in this regard. He follows this up with significant milestones in the Catholic Church's relations with Evangelicals and Pentecostals, Protestants, the Anglican Communion and the Orthodox Church.
Archbishop Felix Machado's seminal work, while being a mine of information for ecumenists, professors and students of ecumenism, will also be very useful to the lay reader who desires to understand in greater depth the mind and the engagement of the Church in this vital area of apostolate and mission. It is a marvelous combination of theory spurring us on to practice!
Incidentally, the book is only a hundred pages, and also reads easily. Hence, it can be a seminary/house of formation student companion to the recently published text-book on Ecumenism by the CCBI, for which Archbishop Felix Machado has collaborated with other authors.
(The book can be purchased online through ATC publications: https://joyofgifting.com/product/why-ecumenism-matters-in-india/)
Fr Gilbert De Lima