Things seemed to be going smoothly on the ecumenical front at the beginning of the new millennium. Among many church-unity and church-amity signs was the year-ago burying of the hatchet by Catholics and Lutherans over the once-divisive subject of justification by grace through faith. True, the parties left the hatchet-handle partly exposed, since there still is some work ahead. But we had made real progress.
Then came countersigns like Domine Iesus, the Vatican’s put-down of some Catholic theologians, all world religions and Orthodox and Protestant “sister churches,” now to be downgraded to “daughter ecclesial communities.”