Ecumenism, or the movement to develop unity among various Christian denominations, has its historical roots in the early twentieth century. Its theological roots extend much further back, as St. Paul noted in his Letter to the Ephesians: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one Baptism” (Eph 4:4-5).

The Second Vatican Council summarized the case for Christian unity, a call taken up by St. John Paul II, Pope Francis and countless Christians who have labored in service of the Holy Spirit.

In this set of articles from our partner Catholic News Service, we survey ecumenism over the past century, and look at pastoral strategies for gathering the body of Christ into one.

The long, steady journey to Christian unity
Many Catholics and Protestants may be surprised at how far ecumenical relations have developed, and over how many decades. The search for unity among Christian denominations began decades before the Second Vatican Council, and has gained new momentum in recent years.

Ecumenism puts the body of Christ to work for the world
Catholics are not alone in responding to the divine call of building up the kingdom of God, and working with other Christians to serve those in need provides a powerful witness to the love of God.