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Office of Unity
Posted By Eric Sammons On March 9, 2009 @ 7:06 am In Ecumenism,The Church | Comments Disabled
One of the great tragedies of Christian history is that the papacy, whose primary purpose is to be an office of unity, has instead become the primary object of disunity within Christendom. By having a singular head, Christ intended Peter and his successors to be the visible sign of unity among his followers. But it is in fact that very office which many non-Catholics consider to be the principal stumbling block to a reunified Christian Church.
But this is not the case with all non-Catholics. A former Episcopal bishop has converted to Catholicism and become a Catholic priest and has credited the role of the papacy in his conversion :
For Father Steenson, the role of the pope as the successor of St. Peter, the servant of church unity and the guarantor of the church’s fidelity to tradition was key to his decision.
Father Steenson recognized the importance that Christ’s Church be one, as Christ desired it to be, but also realized that his former way of life was in fact contrary to that desire:
“The frustration with being a Protestant is that every morning you get up and have to reinvent the church all over again,” Father Steenson said.
This is an unfortunate reality for the religious groups who trace their origin to the Protestant Reformation (including the Anglicans): when every individual is able to authoritatively interpret Scripture with regard to doctrine and liturgical practice, then unity is simply impossible. Man is not able to maintain such unity; we are naturally more prone to Babel than Pentecost. But God in His loving mercy has given us an office which ensures the unity of the Church. By the Grace of God Father Steenson realized that.
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 has credited the role of the papacy in his conversion: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0901044.htm
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