Online lecture on Yves Conger’s ecumenical theology

DLMPES students took part in the online meeting with Fr. Dr. John Berry, Professor of the University of Malta. Father is the lecturer of the Dogmatic and Fundamental Theology; he is also a theological expert to the Archdiocesan Commission for Interreligious Dialogue. Fr. John presented a topic on Yves Congar’s ecumenical theology.

Fr. John Berry with his excellent discourse managed to interest students with the theological legacy of Yves Congar, one of the brilliant theologians of the XX century, one of the pioneers in the ecumenical movement from the part of the Catholic Church. Professor told about life of the French theologian, his ecumenical experience which gave him incentive for his further theological reflection. For Congar ecumenism should consist of service and dialogue, he “speaks of a spiritual or ethical call that was always more important than strictly intellectual intuitions”.

Father John also touched some aspects of the ecclesiological vision of the great French theologian. Some of these aspects left imprints at the Second Vatican Council’s decisions, “he was too much in demand for the texts dealing with ecclesiology; because a new generation of ecumenists was at hand, around Cardinal Bea; perhaps because something inside him had been broken, that it was obvious to others, and that it could not be mended...” The publication during the Council and later of books such as Dialogue between Christians and Diversity and Communion, reveals, as we shall see, a significant evolution in his ecumenical thinking.

Citing Y. Congar, Fr. John summed up in the end of the lecture that ecumenism is an enterprise of faith, a chapter of sacred history, and not a human enterprise demanding competent, well-organized people, and all of the rest of it. It is an enterprise similar to the apostolate, of the order of the history of salvation, which supposes that God comes to awaken consciences and lead them where he wills.

The lecture was finished with many questions from the students and a small discussion on the topic. Many expressed their hope to have more lectures with Fr. Berry.