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Bishop Ablondi: Ecumenism Must Evolve
from Cooperation to Communion

Bishop Alberto Ablondi, one of the frontrunner figures of ecumenism in the Italian Episcopate, directed the 15th Week of Ecumenical Formation in Trent (1977). The speeches delivered on that occasion compose the book The Announcement of the Kingdom to the Poor. In his “message of openness,” he advocates that ecumenism should completely unite Catholics with heretics and schismatics. The present stage of cooperation should give way to a new "communion" that Ablondi characterizes as being “solidarity in co-substantiality.”

Right, the cover of The Announcement of the Kingdom to the Poor, the Italian text follows at right below, and at left below is our translation of the Italian excerpts highlighted in yellow.

I think that ecumenism should help churches pass from community to communion. It is true that we have already traveled the road from anathema to dialogue. But there is still the whole road that goes from the cooperation to communion that remains open. In fact, when we exchange experiences among ourselves when we meet together, when we create occasions for a deeper relationship … all this makes us pass from community to communion. We need an ecumenism that is not satisfied with community, but ravenous for communion.

In this tension of ecumenical communion, an appeal must be made for ecumenism in the Catholic world to not be confined to a group of specialized persons, but that it become a dimension of the local church …

I believe that we must genuinely overcome the danger of the community’s stagnation in satiety and wealth, and move toward a ceaseless hunger for communion. Then we will no longer be content with out inter-confessional meetings.

Oh! How beautiful the word ‘inter-confessional' is as I read it on the cover of the translation if the New Testament! … But I believe that we must go beyond this inter-confessional relationship and move toward a greater reality where each one participates in the reality, sufferings, poverty and separation of the others. I believe that the only image that can move this journey beyond the inter-confessional step is that of solidarity in co-substantiality.

(Alberto Ablondi, "Messagio di apertura," in L'Annuncio dei regno ai poveri, Turin: Elle Di Ci, 1978, pp. 20-21)

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Posted on November 29, 2008

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