This year's Unity Octave from Jan. 18 to 25 is also the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Editorials and articles in both Catholic papers on the subject reminds us that it's different from the previous octaves.
Once every year Christians remember the prayer of our Lord at the Last Supper: "I pray that they may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me" (John 17:21). We come together to pray for unity. The Roman Catholic Church at the Reformation suffered a division and the scars have never healed. Whatever the reasons that brought the division, today we look forward to a reuniting.
One of the papers has a discussion on the subject between two theologians, a Catholic and Anglican. More than concentrating on what divides us they want to focus on the joy of following Jesus and we will come to an understanding of much that separates us. The theme this year is Reconciliation: "The Love of Christ Compels Us" (2 Corinthians 5:14).
The disunity of Christians is a great obstacle in the work of evangelization. This year they will begin the 3rd Christian Unity Academy to help Christians better understand the different denominations and one of the editorials hopes many will attend the Academy.
One of the priests who is familiar with the workings of Ecumenism within Korean Catholicism laments the lack of interest in many parishes and among priests. He writes that many feel that it is useless and not necessary. Protestants are seen as heretics.
The Second Vatican Council in one of its documents recommends that in seminaries they have regular courses on Ecumenicism but of the seven diocesan seminaries only Inchon has a course of studies for the seminarians, a sign of the little interest the Church has in Ecumenism.
He mentions that the material for the Unity Octave will be sent to all the parishes but many pay no attention to the material. What is necessary is not arguing about who is right but rather to talk about the joy that Christ brings to us. We need to get close to the others who are Christians, to study with them, work with them, and to pray together. Talking to each other is the first stepping stone for progress to take place in achieving unity in Christ.