Apostolic Nuncio to India and Nepal, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli released a handbook on a better understanding of ecumenism in New Delhi, India, on August 31. The book titled 'May They All Be One: Ecumenism in Catholic Perspective' is a guide to re-establish visible unity among all the baptized.
Speaking on the occasion, the Vatican Ambassador, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli said, "The book proposes a common call for Christian unity made by the Second Vatican Council through prayer and dialogue. Adequate formation for the ecumenical dialogue needs to be fostered among all the churches in India. The Church is open to ecumenical endeavour for the witness of unity among all people." Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli as the apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal in March 2021.
The new book will "help Christian faithful and pastors in their day-to-day ministry of building up the Body of Christ in the local Church by healing the wounds of division inflicted by history," said a press note on the CBCI website.
The book intends to assist pastors in promoting Christian unity "by supporting (ecumenical) activities and initiatives."
The Italian prelate released the book in the presence of Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi, Archbishop-Bishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara of Faridabad, Reverend Subodh C. Mondal, Delhi Episcopal Area, Methodist Church in India, Reverend John Mor Irenaeus of Believers Eastern Church, Delhi Diocese, Father Jervis D' Souza, Deputy Secretary-General of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) and Father Stephen Alathara, Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI).
"If ecumenism is to make any progress in India, the theological formation imparted in faculties of theology, seminaries and formation houses of the religious should have an ecumenical thrust along with the ongoing formation of priests and religious," said Anil Couto, the Archbishop of Delhi.
The book is a textbook for answering challenging questions like: "Haven't divisions weakened the Body of Christ? Are we not all in some way responsible for the mistrust and often even open hostility towards members of Churches other than our own? The book targets tiny 2.35% of Indian Christian population not as an exercise in archaeology, rather as a means to be more informed and involved," the press note stated.
The book builds on the "sound premise that what unites all churches as members of Christ's Body is much more than what divides them as individual ecclesial units. It traces the long history of both church unity and church division. In tracing out this history, it honestly affirms that due to lapses on the part of many leaders and members of the churches. There have been conflicts and schisms which need to be resolved in a true spirit of fraternity and forgiveness," the press note adds.
The book is the outcome of the long and in-depth research by the CCBI Commission for Ecumenism by Archbishop Anil Couto, Archbishop Felix Machado, Bishop Selvister Ponnumuthan, Fr. Jos De Cuyper S.J., Fr. Gilbert De Lima, Fr. Gilbert Aranha, Fr. Anthoniraj Thumma, Fr. Joseph Sugun Leon and Fr. Errol A. D' Lima S.J.
Bishop Francis Serrao S.J., of Shimoga and Chairman, CCBI Commission for Ecumenism, wrote the book's foreword. Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao of Goa and Daman and the President CCBI wrote the preface for the book.
Copies are available in online book store: https://joyofgifting.com/product/may-they-all-be-one/