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The Singular Grace of Division's Wound

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Given the persistence of ecclesial unity—that the Church is one—as a fact of grace, is it possible to understand the concurrence of division between Christian communities as a provision of providence? A hallmark of the ecumenical movement has been its consciousness, at least, of this uncomfortable question, granting, as it does, the evangelical authenticity of various self-differentiated 'churches'. In this context, one may understand the spiritual intelligence of the Catholic Church's solution to the problem at and after Vatican II, writ in terms of the body of Christ. Christian divisions are wounds, Catholic leaders have suggested, that would form the faithful in their vocation of mutual self-offering and -emptying 'in' Christ crucified, 'in' one body. Such an approach to ecumenical reconciliation seems both requisite and promising, as may be seen with reference to the present 'lexicon' of Anglican-Catholic engagement.

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