Perspectief 2014-26

2014-26 Catholicity under Pressure: 7 Reag eer day ended with a pleasant agape in the courtyard of the church, where the participants had a chance to meet some of the local church dignitaries and to greet old friends and colleagues. Perspectives on Catholicity The next couple of days were devoted to the theological/ecclesiological notion of “catholicity”. While practically all churches understand themselves as being “catholic”, they are still divided in what the concrete meaning and implication of this nota ecclesiae is. These difficulties, but also the convergences achieved thanks to the Ecumenical Movement in the past decades, were touched by all speakers of the conference. Particularly in the challenges provoked by the modern individualisation and pluralization of the communities and churches, the sense of a certain “catholicity” is highly at risk. The problems of a “changing world” were well illustrated in the presentations of Risto Saarinen (Helsinki, Lutheran) and Georgios Vlantis (Munich, Greek Orthodox). How particular churches look at “catholicity” was an important aspect of the conference. Dorothea Sattler (Münster, Roman Catholic) and Henk Bakker (Amsterdam, Baptist) addressed the topic of “catholicity” from a fresh and promising Roman Catholic and Baptist perspective. Both lecturers agreed upon the fact, that “catholicity” can never be seen as something already realized. It should rather be approached as a gift with strong eschatological accents. “Catholicity” understood as gift makes possible and even fosters manifestations of this “catholicity” in different ways. “Catholicity” should therefore never be used as an argument for promoting uniformity, it is rather the basis for a reconciled diversity of the Church. Still, the globalised and polycentric world challenges the traditional concepts of “catholicity”. In a second stage of the conference, this particular issue was investigated by dealing with the relation between pneumatology and mission (Kirsteen Kim, Leeds, Presbyterian), with non-theological concepts of diversity and unity (Wolfgang Lienemann, Bern, Reformed), and with new possible models for the sometimes ambiguous relation between diversity and unity inspired by Second Vatican Council (Henk Witte, Tilburg, Roman Catholic). At this point there was a need for a useful clarification of the terms “World Christianity” and “Global Christianity”, which were indeed offered by the two