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A tribute to an ecumenist and lay theologian: brother Jeffrey Gros, FSC (1938-2013).


This essay reviews succinctly and selectively the oeuvre of Prof. Bro. Dr. Jeffrey Gros, F.S.C. In particular, his contributions that are examined relate to (1) ecumenical education in the Catholic tradition, the Pentecostal tradition, and for a wider ecumenical readership; (2) official dialogues, reports, and the cultivation of ecumenical relationships between/among communions; and (3) contemporary and future trajectories in ecumenism and ecclesiology. The commemorative essay begins with an introduction to his vocational calling and service, and it concludes with essential lessons he might have shared to orient aspiring ecumenists.

"I Believe Despite Everything'--J. M. R. Tillard (1)


"It is Christ, stupid! Not the culture wars." While this statement that appears in several of Jeffrey Gros's writings may sound uncharismatic, it does not fully describe my esteemed senior colleague, ecumenical mentor, and friend. It does describe my colleague's theological priority of Christ, love for the church, and the wisdom to know when to choose battles, which for him should never be between cultures. Those of us who knew the man and even those who were mildly acquainted with him would remember this learned and humble servant of God who possessed a charitable, ecclesial spirit. Having lived out his faith joyously, his last years were an example of faithfulness to his vocation as a religious, fortitude in the face of suffering, and continued service to the Catholic Church and the whole ecumenical movement.

With the passing of distinguished professor Jeffrey Gros, FSC, known as "one of this era's leading ecumenists," (2) we have experienced a deep void, which will remain in our hearts until our eschatological reunion. I would like to honor Brother Jeff in his vocation as an ecumenist and a lay theologian in this short Gedenkschrift, although I also recognize that a monograph could be written to honor him and to delineate his legacy for posterity. (3)

As a roadmap for this commemorative essay, I will succinctly and selectively review his oeuvre as it relates to his contributions to (1) ecumenical education; (2) official dialogues, reports, and the cultivation of ecumenical relationships; and (3) contemporary and future trajectories in ecumenism and ecclesiology--following a brief introduction and a tribute to him. The essay concludes with essential lessons he might have shared to orient aspiring ecumenists.

1. Background and Tribute

The accolade "theologian of the Church" brings to mind a few thinkers in Christian history: Augustine, Gerson, Aquinas, Erasmus, and, closer to our century, the weighty contributions of Reformed dogmatician Karl Barth; the late Dominican Friar Yves Congar, OP; and the Romanian Orthodox theologian, Fr. Dumitru Staniloae. Without necessarily comparing Congar's matchless ecumenical and ecclesial contributions with Gros's stellar contributions, the lay ecumenist tirelessly laid foundations for important ecumenical work. To honor Brother Jeff as a theologian and ecumenist is thus a positive term of endearment in recognition of his faithful service and gilt to the Church since he entered the novitiate of the Christian Brothers in Glencoe, MO, in 1955, with his final vows of profession in 1963.

Gros's passion and influence in the late twentieth century, especially with regard to North American ecumenical development, cannot be more evident. He had an impressive publication record of more than 350 essays and innumerable book reviews published in more than fifty-five peer-reviewed theological journals and periodicals, as well as more than forty-three articles in edited books, to add to a few single-authored books, along with seventeen joint-authored and co-edited ecumenical publications. He was also a prolific speaker, especially at the National Workshop on Christian Unity (NWCU) and at state and local councils of churches throughout the country, from 1981 on, and for priests' study/retreats in many (arch)dioceses since 1994. (4)

Gros was an interdisciplinary and learned ecumenist, researcher, and practitioner. The ecumenist demonstrated broad and profound knowledge of philosophy, history, and theology across different ecclesiastical traditions and ethnicities in his multiple teaching appointments as distinguished professor of ecumenical and historical theology at Memphis (TN) Theological Seminary (1975-81, 2005-11), adjunct professor at Catholic Theological Union, and Catholic studies scholar in residence at Lewis University, Romeoville, IL (2011-13). His other teaching appointments include Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TN (1968-69, 1972-81, 2009); Visiting Kenan Osborne Professor at Franciscan School of Theology, Graduate Theological Union (2009-10); and St. Mary University, Winona, MN (1974, 1975, 1977, and 1978) among others.

In higher-level ecumenical and administrative leadership, he was director of the Commission on Faith and Order of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (NCCC) for a decade (1981-91) and associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for fourteen years (1991-2005). He also served as president of the Society of Pentecostal Studies (2011-12), dean of the Catholic Institute for Ecumenical Leadership (2006-13), and consultant to both the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches (WCC) (1983-93, 2004). He was a board member of Christian Brothers University (1986-95), the Catholic Theological Society of America (1996-98), the North American Academy of Ecumenists (1995-97, as well as its secretary, 1998-2004, and as associate editor of J.E.S. till his death), the Collegeville Institute of Ecumenical and Cultural Research (2008-13), and the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Committee on Hispanic Affairs (2005- 07).

Prior to these significant ecumenical roles, Gros held many other appointments. He chaired the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission (Memphis, TN, 1972-81), the Christian Brothers Religious Education Committee (St. Louis Province, 1974-77), and the Christian Brothers University Theology Department (1968-69). He served as local chairperson for the NWCU and the National Jewish-Christian Relations Workshop (1975-76) and as national chair of the NWCU (1987).

Gros participated in various task forces: Christian Methodist Episcopal/Catholic Reconciliation (1977-81), Presbyterian/Catholic Covenant (1977-81), Lutheran/Catholic Augsburg Confession Celebration (1979-81), Permanent Diaconate Training for the Diocese of Memphis (1974-81), Research and Development Committee for the National Association of Ecumenical Officers (1978-81), Presbyterian-Reformed/Catholic Task Force for the National Association of Diocesan Ecumenical Officers (1980-81), Education in Ministry and Church for the College Theology Society (1975-79), and board member for the National Association of Diocesan Ecumenical Officers (1979-81).

He was also an active member in various diocesan commissions and committees: Diocesan Religious Education Commission (Joliet, IL, 1966-67), Archdiocesan Religious Education Commission (St. Louis, MO, 1967-68), Archdiocesan Social Research Committee (St. Louis, 1967-68), Theological Task Force for the Association of Permanent Diaconate Directors (1977-79), National Christian Brothers Religious Education Committee (1974-81), Provincial Council of the Christian Brothers (1974-75, 1977-81, 1987-89), Diocesan Peace and Justice Commission (Memphis, TN, 1972-81), and the Theological Unit of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis (1972-81).

In parish and diocesan work, he served at St. Augustine Parish, Bronx, NY (1970-72) and taught for Diocesan Adult Religious Education (1972-74) and Diocesan Deacon Training (1973-81), even as he informally conducted regular parish and diocesan courses (1972-81) along with courses for lay leaders and ecumenical groups (1968-81).

He studied at St. Mary University of Minnesota, Winona, MN (B.A. in religious education cum laude, 1959; and M.Ed. in biology education, 1962); Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (graduate work in science, 1961-62); Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (graduate work in biology, 1962-64); Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI (M.A. in theology, 1965); and Fordham University, Bronx, NY (Ph.D. in theology, 1973).

Clearly, this De Le Salle Christian Brother (for fifty-eight years) entered a vocation in Christian ecumenism even when the Vatican had not clarified its position on unity with those outside the Catholic Church. (5)

II. Ecumenical and Ecclesial Theology: A Review of Grosian Trajectories

Unlike Congar's systematic and dogmatic investigations, Reformed dogmatician Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics, or the Doxology of the still active but retired Duke University Methodist systematician Geoffrey Wainwright, Gros left us no systematic ecumenical theological program. Instead, he passed on to posterity a collection of works. These writings complement the accomplishments of theologians from the past and present, introduce and report on dialogues and progress in Christian unity, and broaden the reach and impact of ecumenism.

An in-depth analysis of the ecumenist's oeuvre will be a project for another occasion. In this section, albeit limited to a selective and succinct review of what I consider to be his most lasting contributions, I propose that three major trajectories undergirded Gros's remarkable contribution as an ecumenist and ecclesial theologian. I am aware that neat categorizations may not necessarily capture the synergism and complexity of interweaving ideas such as were evident in his publications, especially given his far-reaching contribution to ecumenism. Nonetheless, for academic review purposes, some form of arbitrary classification is at least helpful to delineate this theologian's works, so as to facilitate later assessment and retrieval. I submit that his stellar work may be summed up in terms of ecumenical education; official ecumenical participation, dialogues, and relationships; and investigations and analyses of historic and contemporary ecumenism and ecclesiology. These trajectories interconnect in nearly of all his peer-reviewed publications and may finally be read in a way that proposes a Grosian ecumenical orientation for aspiring ecumenists.

III. Ecumenical Education

The theologian's passion as an ecumenical educator is demonstrated in Gros's voluminous literature. Many of these publications sought to educate clergy and the Christian public about the progress of the churches toward unity.

A. For Catholic Educators

In Handing on the Faith in an Ecumenical World, Gros explained the Catholic vision, heritage, and theological bases for ecumenical formation. Successful ecumenical efforts require joint support from institutional administrators, curriculum planners, and parish directors of religious education. He further analyzed Catholic education in elementary, secondary, and higher education as it concerns students, parents, and faculty members regarding an ecumenical Catholic vision. (6)

In That All May Be One." Ecumenism, written primarily for parishes and catechists, the ecumenist encouraged educators to embark on the process of ecumenical conversion using simplified materials that speak of the ecumenical project and progress. (7) His essay, "Catholic Priestly Formation for the Unity of Christians," may also be read as a programmatic sketch of ecumenical educational formation for the Catholic communion. For a tradition that prior to Vatican II regarded itself as the bearer of ecclesiality (defined as what makes the church the Church), Gros promoted the necessity of ecumenical formation, writing that "an initial formation in ecumenism opens a door and calls for life-long learning and spiritual conversion.... If there is no spiritual commitment to the Church's ecumenical project, however, intellectual content or canonical guidelines can be of little use." (8)

He admonished ministerial candidates who would not be converted to "the Catholic call to ecumenical sensitivity and commitment" to rethink their perspective; can a faithful Catholic, let alone a presbyterate candidate ignore "the magisterial commitments to ecumenism and the results of the [official] dialogues"? (9) Here, the ecumenist stands with the call of Pope John Paul II's papal encyclical Ut unum sint for a spiritual, pastoral, and Catholic commitment to ecumenism and for making ecumenical bilateral and multilateral statements of achieved agreement the "common heritage" for Catholic seminary formation and ecclesial traditioning, as is evident in the postconciliar Programs of Priestly Formation (10) and Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism. (11)

In "Learning the Ways of Receptive Ecumenism," Gros added the importance of pedagogical and catechetical considerations to his previous appeals concerning the necessity of cultivating ecumenical (and, by implication, relational) receptivity in presbyterate formation. He suggested that Vatican II's ecumenical and ecclesiological principles, especially regarding the language of "subsistit in" in Lumen gentium, no. 8, carry historical implications for evaluating the sacramental life of the Reformation churches in ways that would "require a total recasting of standard Catholic interpretations of Protestant sacramental life." (12) TO this list we add John Baptist de La Salle (13) and Lasallian Ministry and the Unity of Christians, wherein he presented a historical retrieval of the founder of his order as a model of ecumenical spirituality. (14)

B. For Pentecostal Educators

In his presidential address to the Society of Pentecostal Studies in 2012, Gros affirmed the calling of scholars who serve with an ecclesial vocation. He stated that "the scholar is called to help church leadership discern appropriate directions for mission, ministry, and authentic teaching. This means that the scholar in the church will often be caught up in dialogue, discernment, and occasional conflict." This is especially true when the scholar has "to question regnant interpretations and to utter a prophetic challenge" in order to "support, mentor, and correct one another in the presentations of the truth of the Gospel, the interpretations of our biblical and ecclesiastical testimony, and our prophetic witness to the world," (15) with the hope that the church may then fulfill its role in "promoting peace, justice and solidarity with creation in a sinful and exploitive world." (16) He shared from his experience as a board member of the Catholic Theological Society of America when the board was called upon to clarify the Vatican's official teaching about the ordination of women; the board had to sort through a range of formulations, interpretations, and distortions against the official teachings so as to communicate strategically the society's conclusions to their various audiences.

President Gros reminded the Society of Pentecostal Studies of three challenges facing this community of scholars, especially as Pentecostals step up their participation in official ecumenical dialogues and contribute to the production of ecumenical convergence texts. His hopes were that Pentecostals could renew their appreciation of their history against the larger backdrop of renewal movements in Christian history, deepen the sacramental character of Pentecostal doxology, and articulate an ecclesiology of renewal conceived as a balance of restorationism and primitivism in its biblical call to visible unity of all Christians, both for the movement and for the wider Christian communities as a service to the churches. He specifically noted that Pentecostals could instruct the historic churches on "how better to discern the Holy Spirit's role in the variety of catholic renewal movements in history," (17) and, in so doing, the church at large might fulfill its prophetic witness and ministry to a hurting world.

C. For a Wider Ecumenical Readership

Several of Gros's jointly authored and jointly edited works that introduce readers to Christian ecumenical theology have either become standard ecumenical textbooks or are necessary supplements to graduate-level course work on ecumenical theology. The co-edited reader, The Ecumenical Christian Dialogues and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (18) complements the first of its kind: the jointly authored Introduction to Ecumenism. (19) The latter has been an irreplaceable textbook on ecumenism for nearly two decades. Gros recently co-authored Evangelization and Religious Freedom, an analysis of Ad gentes and Dignitatis humanae. (20)

At the end of this commemorative essay, I will consolidate from these and other works what I perceive to be the fundamentals of a Grosian orientation for aspiring ecumenists. Suffice it to say for now that Gros's goal for ecumenical education occurs in two phases. He called these "ecumenical conversion" and "education." (21) First, conversion to the ecumenical mandate of recognizing Christ as the center of the Christian message and the fundamental bond that unites all Christians, as Jesus prayed in John 17, would lead participants to turn away from a sectarian, polemical isolation mentality and, with the help of the Spirit, to seek more fully the bond of koinonia with the body of Christ. Second, with adequate education, Christians and churches would recognize that full, visible unity of "the diversity of gifts of tradition and culture" is part of Christ's call for the Church; therefore, they will recognize ecumenism as an internal affair. In other words, in conflict situations, members will internalize both sides of the conflict so as to find irenic resolution as a family rather than approaching conflicts and disagreements as "external affairs" outside of one's own ecclesiastical tradition. (22)

IV. Official Ecumenical Participation, Dialogues, and Relationships

To provide substantive content to ecumenical education, Gros conscientiously sought with the help of colleagues and ecumenical press agencies to make accessible the proceedings of bilateral and multilateral dialogues at international, national, regional, and local levels. As an ecumenical leader, he also participated in official ecumenical dialogues, both in his official roles representing various agencies and later in his own capacity as a seasoned ecumenist. (23) His commitment demonstrated the ecumenist's desire to concretize ecumenism at practical levels instead of teaching ecumenism as an abstract, recta-theoretical, theological construction. The work of ecumenical research (historical and contemporary) and the task of collating and analyzing the official developments toward full ecclesial communion are hallmarks of his conviction and calling, even as Gros the theologian cultivated trust as a Catholic ecumenist with Reformed, Methodists, Lutherans, Orthodox, and those at the fringes of ecumenism or subcultures of Christianity and society, including certain Evangelical and Baptist communities, as well as Pentecostals (the latter were at one time at the fringes but have since become a global force of Christianity).

In all these ways, he performed his roles with three concurrent principles: in the spirit of the mature ecclesiological neutrality principle of the modern ecumenical movement, especially the explicit aim delineated at Toronto in 1950 by the first executive committee of the WCC; in adherence to the unitive conciliar fellowship principle articulated by the WCC's assemblies in New Delhi (1961) and Canberra (1991); and in faithfulness to his Catholic tradition.

A. Reflecting on Convergence Texts

Gros interpreted convergence texts, such as studies on Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry (BEM), and reflected on the interpretation of the churches' response to one another in the context of the Faith and Order Commission. For instance, in The Search for Visible Unity, he clarified the text of BEM and its methods and premises and specified areas of further study for overcoming disagreements as a necessary step toward the ecumenical goal. (24) He explained in another article the interpretive value of both the content of the documents and the process that produced them: "The theological content of these texts, and also the processes of the churches' responses, have been important for ecumenical theological reflection. The careful theological program that gave rise to convergences, the way they were presented to the churches, and evaluation of their responses have all taught us a great deal about the ecclesiological and ecumenical presuppositions of the churches." (25)

The processes of dialogue toward consensus and agreement and the production of convergence texts are important steps toward growth in agreement between and among communions, even though many disagreements remain unresolved today. Gros repeatedly reminded ecumenical officers and observers not to take these developments lightly. The churches' willingness to enter into official dialogues and the subsequent production of convergence texts (which are submitted to the churches for their responses) are already significant ecumenical milestones. Any of these developments, however small the steps may have been, would demonstrate that the churches have substantively advanced on the stage toward the progress of fuller unity amid present imperfect communion among the churches. (26)

B. Reporting on Official Dialogues and Their Proceedings

Gros jointly edited reports on the progress and development of official ecumenical dialogues with avid ecumenists from other Christian traditions. These texts serve not only to educate the wider Christian body on ecumenical progress but also to provide resources and contexts for each tradition to be enriched by the detailed proceedings of the official dialogues. Indirectly, these materials supplement international, national, regional, and local quests to make sense of ecumenical developments, even as these resources provide materials for further studies, especially with regard to mutual agreements, consensus, and areas for further investigation on matters that still stand in the way of full recognition and reception between communions.

Older co-edited publications include Growing Consensus, (27) Common Witness to the Gospel, (28) Building Unity, (29) and The Fragmentation of the Church and Its Unity in Peacemaking. (30) Official church dialogues in the United States include Growing Consensus II (31) and The Church as Koinonia of Salvation. (32) Other significant official dialogues at international and national levels between and among communions include the co-edited Growth in Agreement 11, (33) Growth in Agreement III, (34) and Growth in Agreement IV, on which Gros was working closely with Thomas F. Best, Lorelei F. Fuchs, John Gibaut, and Despina Prassas. (35) Gros's article, "A Primatial Grace for a Baptismal Church," informed readers as to the significance of current developments and their impact on the future exercise of the papal office, both ecumenically and within the Catholic Church, in light of historical and ongoing theological challenges. The article is mostly a report on Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Orthodox, and Evangelical responses to John Paul II's invitation for all Christian communions to dialogue with the Roman Curia on reforms needed in the Primacy so that the Petrine office might function adequately as an instrument of Christian unity. (36)

Given the complexity of multilateral, international, national, and regional levels of these official dialogues and agreements, I will not attempt to summarize these developments in this commemorative review. (37) I must however share my observation on these senior ecumenists' work of collating and compiling these ecumenical documents. I was given the privilege to preview an April, 2012, working copy of parts of the forthcoming Growth in Agreement IV and observed that much laborious work was involved in compiling and editing the forthcoming text. The "track changes" showed that much painstaking work has preceded the drafting, correcting contents, and accurately reflecting about the ecumenical and confessional ramifications even before the document was typeset. Not least, Gros wrote the critical first draft of the introductions to both Growth in Agreement III and Growth in Agreement IV. On behalf of all who have benefitted and will benefit from previous and forthcoming official proceedings, I applaud and thank Gros and his colleagues for collating and making accessible these ecumenical documents.

C. Ecumenical Agencies

In an article on the multilateral assessment of "The Requirements and Challenges of Full Communion," Gros claimed that unity on a smaller scale--at a national level or between only two dialogue partners, for example--already contains significant theological ramifications for all Christians on the road to fuller visible unity. Reflecting on various ecclesiological developments toward deeper communion, he reminded his readers about the necessary contribution from such agencies as Faith and Order in both the WCC and the NCCC. Specifically, he affirmed Faith and Order's multiple roles in "serving unity through theological research." (38) He urged that Faith and Order continue to commission study groups and forums to facilitate the reception of texts, the reception of new and marginal voices in and outside the ecumenical movement, and the coordination of Christian world communions, so as to provide platforms for expediting the ecumenical progress and agreements between churches that were already evident in bilateral dialogues. The later task would include "providing bridges to theologians from churches that would otherwise have no access to the Faith and Order church-unity discussions." (39)

In another essay, Gros further nuanced that "the primary work of Faith and Order U.S.A. is the reception of the wider ecumenical work." In keeping with the founding principle of the NCCC, the former director of its Faith and Order work reminded us that the NCCC is better seen not as an ecumenical flagship of unity but for it to operate as a "cooperative agency" that fulfills "a minor but important step toward the reception of the theological ecumenical vision of church unity." (40) As he celebrated the productive years and pioneering work of the NCCC on clarifying the role of scripture and tradition, ecclesiology, etc., Gros urged that there remains much work for younger theologians to complete. He wrote, "While ecumenical scholars leave a rich legacy[,] as long as the churches are divided there is no dearth of possibilities for service, research, and ecumenical reconciliation." (41)

The roles that ecumenists fill in ecumenical agencies are manifold. Hence, Gros reminded us that, because "it is a complex, specialized, frustrating and exhilarating task, in service to the Church and its Lord," not many are called to this vocation even though all are called by virtue of their calling as Christians to embrace Christian unity (and hence the various tasks of the ecumenical movement). He wrote:
   There is one ecumenical movement, and some are called to social
   advocacy, some to ecumenical education, some to common evangelical
   witness, and some to common witness in service to the community.
   Few are called to build the agreements from which the unity of the
   church can emerge. Widely published Protestant theologians have
   dropped out of Faith and Order because mastering Orthodox theology
   was too much of a stretch. Some Catholics would prefer to talk to
   Buddhists rather than to Pentecostal fellow Christians. A call to
   ecumenism does not necessarily mean a vocation to Faith and Order
   dialogue and research. (42)

However, Gros never detracted from what he saw as the main role of the Faith and Order Commission, U.S.A., even as he modeled his ecumenical role after post- conciliar principles of Catholic ecumenism. (43) In addition to its role in the reception of the conciliar movement's theology by the NCCC, he also expressed clearly the U.S. Commission's twofold task as it pertains to ecumenical reception:

1. The first is the reception of theological work of other dimensions of the one ecumenical movement: church union, bilateral and World Council results; both by evaluating them and communicating them to U.S. Christians; and by providing U.S. voices into these discussions, voices that might be muted otherwise.

2. The second is the reception and outreach to new voices previously absent from the Christian discussions. Until all Christians are at the table, our work is not complete; and until there is one visibly united church, Christ's prayer will not reach its full realization.

I see these as a (1) convergence, centripetal dimension of Faith and Order work, and a (2) centrifugal, outreach dimension. (44)

In a sense, what Gros articulated in these two articles is one and the same, with a slight nuance in light of his audience. Specific to Faith and Order, he concluded "Fifty Years and Running" with these hopes and caveats:

1. The best service Faith and Order can provide to the rest of the U.S. National Council is (a) to help to advise on building an ecumenical constituency from U.S. churches as wide as that in Faith and Order, to supplement NCCCUSA member churches in their common witness; (b) to help identify church-dividing issues to which the Life and Work dimensions of the U.S. National Council need to give their theological and dialogical attention; and (c) to help Life and Work colleagues design theological consultations that will have the ecumenical breadth and theological depth needed to support the common witness of ecumenical life.

2. Care must be taken not to become a general think tank for the member churches of the U.S. National Council, or a place where legitimating theology is formulated for public policy decisions already made elsewhere in the council. (45)

From time to time, Gros expressed gratitude for the work of other ecumenical agencies. These include the official Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC, especially for their studies that contributed to the reflection on the universal-contextual dimensions of ecclesiology. (46) In step with John Paul II's 1995 invitation, Gros also postulated that the papacy could serve the unity of the churches even when theological agreement on the papal office has not been reached ecumenically. Gros opined that the Petrine office could be instrumental for resolving contentious debates on human sexuality because of "the convening- potential of this international office," even as other "[i]nternational instruments of communion" explore how to create neutral spaces for listening, learning, and cross-cultural, interdisciplinary investigations. (47)

D. The Catholic Church

As an ecumenical and ecclesial historian cure theologian, Gros registered the significant ecumenical shifts, ecclesiologically speaking, since the postconciliar developments. (48) For instance, instead of "separated brethren," Ut unum sint uses "fellow Christians" to describe Christians outside of the Catholic Church, even as Unitatis redintegratio recognizes that "elements of the true Church" are "saving" and "alive" in these other communities whose ecclesiality has been wounded by the scandal of division, which nonetheless "subsist in" the Catholic Church. Also, the Directory of Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism recognizes the "common baptism" that Catholics and Protestants share together in our common faith. Instead of the older Catholic ecumenical approach of urging other churches to "return to the Mother Church," Catholic ecumenism now seeks "mutual respect, using dialogue as the means for disclosing our agreements as well as those things needing resolution on the common pilgrimage toward that unity for which Christ prayed." (49)

Most importantly, Gros reminded his Catholic audience that, from the time of John Paul II, Catholic ecumenical relations with non-Catholic churches have been integral to Catholic life and the catechetical mission of the church and that this integrative ecumenical orientation should not be seen or practiced only at the bilateral commissions. The analyst cautioned that Catholic engagement with ecumenism could be inhibited by internal tensions within the Catholic Church's diverse perspectives on ecumenical work:
   For those who too closely identify the Church with the Roman
   Catholic Church, its formulations of the faith and the current
   institutional arrangements, the part of dialogue, reform, and
   reconciliation becomes more difficult. On the other hand, for those
   who do not take sufficient account of the truth claims of Catholic
   ecclesiology in dialogue, proposals for institutional and
   theological reform, and approaches to other Christian communities,
   the results of the dialogue will not have a wide credibility. (50)

Earlier, he examined debates about emphases on theologies of communion within the Roman Synod, as a contribution to ongoing theological and ecclesiological self-understanding of the Catholic Church ecumenically. (51) Elsewhere, he also examined the extent of hierarchical communion and ecclesial authority for both Catholics and Christians from other communions in the pursuit of a unitive faith. (52)

Gros was equally concerned that Catholic traditioning draws from the wisdom of other Christian traditions. I will mention one of his suggestions, taking the case of Reformed-Catholic relations, even though more can be said about Gros's perspectives of Catholic relations with other confessional Christian traditions. (53) Reformed synodical episcopacy was proposed as a solution for resolving an internal Catholic debate between Joseph Ratzinger's prioritization of the universal church over local Catholic ecclesiology and Walter Kasper's simultaneity of local and universal elements in Catholic ecclesiology. On that note, Gros concurred with George Tavard's analysis that, despite fruitful years of Reformed-Catholic dialogues internationally and on local levels, John Calvin's works remained unfamiliar to Catholic theologians. Thus, he urged that the deepening of communion between Catholics and Reformed Christianity could begin with a ressourcement of Calvin, even as Catholic theologians articulate sacramental ecclesiology with a People of God ecclesiology. (54)

E. Reformed Traditions

Gros acknowledged with gratitude the assistance provided by Reformed churches and colleagues (such as W. A. Visser t'Hooft, Lukas Vischer, Robert McAfee Brown, and Douglas Horton, among others) during the period of Vatican II (1962-65), which he read as impetus for encouraging the Catholic Church's involvement in the modern ecumenical movement. These "observers" at the Council also served as "important advisors, especially in the debates on religious freedom, divine revelation, appropriate ecumenical theology, and strategies of reception." (55) Gros opined, "It is my view that in our five centuries of alienation from one another, the loss of a vibrant conciliar and collegial dimension to our Catholic life was one of the tragedies of the Reformation." (56) He deemed that Presbyterian synodical government, episcopacy of local and communal accountabilities, and the participatory structures of ministry preserve communion between the congregation and other dimensions of ecclesial life. Thus, he expressed gratitude to the Reformed churches for helping the Catholic Church "reappropriate these dimensions of the catholic tradition [which were] reaffirmed at" Vatican II. (57)

Nonetheless, as an ecumenist grounded in the Catholic tradition, Gros reminded his Reformed counterparts that their responses on a number of issues have raised questions about Reformed ecclesiology, especially for Catholic and Orthodox traditions, which embrace universalistic ecclesiological perspectives. If internally, Reformed churches are reluctant then and now to embrace the proposals of the then World Alliance of Reformed Churches' (WARC) to accept recent German theologians' reinterpretation of the justification by faith doctrine and to lift the sixteenth century's mutual condemnations (see Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification), and if Reformed churches decide in "continuing soteriological fragmentation," (58) they have essentially chosen not to proceed with reconciliation. Under such circumstances, what could the Catholic Church do to repair ecumenical relations? If Reformed traditions would underestimate the intention of the papal office's 1995 invitation for the other Christian communities to a "patient and fraternal dialogue" (so as to evaluate the Petrine office's instrumentality for the unity of the Church), then in what ways are Reformed churches contributing to the continual scandal of Christian division? (59) As can be seen, Gros called difficulties and indifferences for what they are. Of course, Gros, who kept informed of current scholarship, would have known of the next WARC general secretary's receptivity to the Holy See's invitation on papal reforms. Elsewhere, he positively appraised the positive development toward full and mutual recognition of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Christian Reformed Church, and Hungarian Reformed Church. (60)

F. Methodists

Drawing upon the publication of the United Methodist-Catholic Dialogue in the United States, Through Divine Love: The Church in Each Place and All Places, Gros analyzed that both Catholics and United Methodists, the largest ecumenically oriented churches in the United States, have begun to receive each other as gifts to one another. For instance, the participatory character of United Methodist governance, the eucharistic piety of Methodism, and the affective holiness discipleship model inspired by John Wesley could enrich Catholic understanding of participatory subsidiarity, the role of bishops, and the sacramental life. Gros postulated that if bishops in the Catholic Church could embark on an itinerant rotation whereby bishops move from one jurisdiction to another every four years, the leadership would not only develop better appreciation of local issues, but it would also instill in these bishops a better appreciation of the universality and the particular local dimensions of the Church.

Elsewhere, he reminded his readers about the proposal of United Methodist Bishop William Boyd Grove on how the papacy can be a resource for unity through the example of Wesley's role in the Methodist movement. From Grove's witness, Gros also learned the importance of dialogue, as well as how to partner with the lay ministry as equals with ordained ministries for healing the wounds of the church; he believed that the churches' healthcare ministry functioned sacramentally as an instrument of "peace and justice of the human family and the healing of God's creation." (61) Most of all, as it relates to the World Methodist Communion, he celebrated the World Methodist Council's decision to join the Lutherans and Catholics in affirming the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. (62)

Even as I have annotated only Gros's recent reflection on the Methodist contribution to Catholic ecumenical relations, especially in the United States, that is not all that Gros wrote about the subject. (63) In another paper, he examined the development of the United Methodist concept of ordination and the ordained ministry and its impact on churches locally and globally, both within the Methodist confessional family and with other confessional communions. (64)

G. Lutherans

Gros acknowledged that "the Lutheran dialogue in the United States has been a pace setter." (65) In The Church as Koinonia of Salvation (co-edited with Randall Lee), Gros situated ministry and its structures within an ecclesiology that accounts for local/congregational, regional/diocesan-synodical, national, and universal aspects of service and communion. For Gros, the ecumenical process that led to agreements in the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification showed how research and prayer contributed to resolving "what have appeared intractable issues over the centuries, and in cultures where the monuments and memories of past hostilities continue to encourage a 'profile' ecumenism." (66)

In "Hope for Eternal Life: The Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue," Gros examined the text, The Hope of Eternal Life. Common Statement of the Eleventh Round of the U.S. Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue (October, 2010), with a view to explaining the problem and conclusion of the text, examining outstanding issues from the dialogue among the partners, and providing some background to locate the text. (67) This analysis built on his earlier review. (68)

H. Orthodoxy

At a glance, Gros's impressive resume of published works contained no significant essays on Orthodoxy. This is not to say that he was unfamiliar with or not interested in the Orthodox Church. After all, he collated many volumes of international ecumenical dialogues that contained proceedings of meetings in which the Orthodox Church was a participant. (69) He also contributed essays to books about the historic Christian communions, which included Orthodox contributors and, in some cases, were intended for an Orthodox-Catholic audience. (70) We may simply deduce that he saw his vocational expression to communities outside of the already well-established Catholic-Oriental churches research and dialogue, so he was comfortable not to expend his energy there. It is perhaps here that we await more narratives and stories to pour to fill in this lacuna on Gros's many unrecorded perspectives and involvements with the Orthodox Church, in the United States, in Romania, and around the Eastern Bloc of dominant Orthodox communions.

I. Ecumenical Development at the Fringes

Several times in his career, Gros reminded the ecumenical communities to reach out to churches that have not been receptive to the ecumenical movement, including communities that were at the margins of Christianity. Although these confessional, Evangelical, Holiness, Pentecostal, and African American Christian communities had been outside the institutional ecumenical movement until recent decades, he showed that there were individual theologians and communities within these "American born churches" who have held strong convictions concerning the reconciliation of the churches. (71) He later became a member of National Evangelical Alliance, and his involvement with both Catholic Pentecostal/Charismatic renewal and non-Catholic Pentecostals grew to a point where he become president of an academic society for the global renewal movement, the Society of Pentecostal Studies. We can see the bridge-building, ecumenical, charitable spirit of Gros especially when, as a non-Charismatic Catholic, he immersed himself within a Pentecostal/Charismatic society and eventually exercised presidential leadership, albeit for only a year due to failing health. (72) Gros also played an important mediatory role for the 5,000,000 predominantly African American believers in the Church of God in Christ denomination within the renewal tradition.

Gros's keen interest in the marginalized and peripheral peoples of the church, such as the U.S. Hispanic community, led him to study and make recommendations as to how the church may reconcile and build a common future together. (73) In the latter, he urged a more thoughtful outreach, reminding the church that the newer Hispanic immigrants were mostly inactive Catholics who have no concept of ecumenical Christianity, and, if they are Protestants, they are likely to be Protestant Pentecostals who have inherited an anti-Catholic perspective, having experienced the marginalization by a Catholic majority in their former homelands; if they are Catholics, they would most probably have embraced a Tridentine conception and would not be aware of Vatican II's embrace of receptive ecumenism or the teachings of John Paul II calling Catholics to appreciate the common heritage with all Christians. (74) Gros's sensitivity to the margins led him to explore how he could encourage his Catholic tradition to be bridge-builders for the realm of God on earth.

Affirming the validity of the WCC's Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation mission as standing in line with Gaudium et spes and Catholic Social Teaching, in more recent years Gros's ecumenical passion extended to the pursuit of religious liberty. He investigated and made proposals on how to cultivate civil religious freedom and equality in the Chilean and Colombian societies, because he believed that such initiatives toward peacemaking and reconciliation are prerequisites for a future in which society will be more open to pluralism and common witness. (75) Unlike the need for cultivating secular civility in the Colombian societies, Gros recommended that Catholics build bridges with the majority of non-Catholic, unecumenical Evangelicals and Protestants so as to encourage the popular expression of Christianity, in order to follow the witness already present in the core ecumenical leadership in Pentecostal, Catholic, Orthodox, and traditional Reformation churches.

J. Evangelical and Baptist Christianities

Gros's appreciation of evangelical Christianity was noted on several occasions, especially its conservative contribution to the ecumenical movement despite its ambivalence toward any ecumenical goals of unity--due to the history of persecution and alienation on both sides of Evangelical and Catholic Christianities. (76)

In a recent essay, "The New Evangelization," he reminded the churches of the contributions of three colleagues: Dr. Lamar Vest, president of American Bible Society and general superintendent of the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee, who is also a member of the National Association of Evangelicals, U.S.A.; Dr. Timothy George, dean of the Beeson School of Divinity, a Southern Baptist and Evangelical ecumenist; and the Rev. Geoffrey Tunnicliffe, general secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance. (77) Over the years, Gros wrote essays contributing to Festchriften of notable evangelical leaders engaged in ecumenical work, such as United Church of Christ evangelical theologian Gabriel Fackre, Jamaican Baptist ecumenical leader Horace Russell, and Pentecostal evangelical historian Donald Dayton. (78) Evangelical leaders such as John Armstrong and Baptist ecumenists such as Steve Harmon have spoken favorably of their encounters with him since his demise--only a few of the examples of the friendships he forged outside the De La Salle brotherhood and the Catholic fold. (79)

More importantly, Gros registered his esteem for Evangelicals, showed understanding of the complexities underlying evangelical dispassion about ecumenism, as well as prospects for a more positive evangelical conception of ecclesiology and Christian ecumenism. (80) These were demonstrated in an essay written during his appointment at Memphis Theological Seminary, which was revised for recent publication in Celebrating a Century of Ecumenism as "Evangelical-Catholic International Dialogue: Opening New Frontiers." (81) Gros asserted the significance of two historic texts as contribution to both ecumenical literature and to Catholic and Evangelical dialogue: Evangelical Roman Catholic Dialogue on Mission (1983), and Church, Evangelization, and Koinonia between the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Evangelical Alliance (drafted in 2002 and published in 2003). As a church historian, he demonstrated the importance of two foundational texts that were crucial for appreciating the prospects of ecumenical development between Evangelicals and Catholics, The Lausanne Covenant (1974) and Pope Paul VI's post-synodal exhortation, Evangelii nuntiandi (1975). Gros also recognized the Global Christian Forum as another avenue that has contributed to the building of Catholic-Evangelical relations since the Holy See's occasional correspondence with Evangelicals on Bible translations in the 1960's.

Of the many highlights that Gros analyzed and noted, two developments stand out. With regard to the first text examined, Gros explained how the Holy See, in sponsoring the early stages of the dialogue with Evangelicals, found commonality in the understanding around the theme of Christian mission. Likewise, he noted how participants found convergence in how various theological emphases could serve Christian mission. Hence, Evangelical-Catholic relations could avoid the historic polemics over scripture, tradition, initiation, and salvation, which proved to be effective for engagement with denominations that see institutional unity and ecumenical theological agreement as alienating and compromising to their understanding of the gospel. Equally important, the text mentioned items that were still divisive, including distortions of each other's traditions that needed clarification and work so as to overcome impediments to their common witness. In the 2002 text, both WEA and PCPCU found theological consensus on biblical understandings of fellowship and possibility for cooperative work (in areas of Bible translation, study of theological and ethical issues, social work, and political action) on grounds of the trinitarian character of ecclesial communion and a common commitment to the biblical gospel. Still, both Evangelical and Catholic dialogue partners acknowledged differences in understanding the communion of saints, sacramentality, sanctification, justification, the eschatological character of koinonia, and issues related to repentance, conversion, evangelism, and religious freedom. Gros appraised and applauded the development of the 2002 text, which concluded with an affirmation that "to the extent conscience and the clear recognition of agreement and disagreement allows, we [WEA and PCPCU] commit ourselves to common witness." (82)

K. Pentecostal Traditions

When the Pentecostal tradition was still on the fringe of the ecumenical movement, Gros supported the emergence of Pentecostal voices for their "unique gifts to the Christian family of churches," and urged that they recognize "signs of the Holy Spirit's action in intensifying the bonds of communion already present among all who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior." (83) He proposed that, as Pentecostals participate in the wider ecumenical dialogue, the churches could receive "a rich source of renewal for the Pentecostal churches as well as the renewal of their partners in this pilgrimage." He further argued that, as Christians "pray, witness and serve with other Christians in a dialogue of conversion," they will deepen their love of Christ, made evident in "an openness to a richer understanding of one another" along with the demands of the gospel. (84) Through a detailed examination of Pentecostals' incremental involvement with the ecumenical movement over the years, Gros reminded his colleagues about the Pentecostal ecumenical spirit: Pentecostals participated in the formation of the National Association of Evangelicals in the 1940's, and they have engaged with the WCC since 1961 by contributing in the Canberra Assembly of the WCC, the Faith and Order World Conferences, and Faith and Order within the NCCC.

More recently, after his appointment at Lewis University, Gros also argued for "the significance of global Pentecostalism for Catholic ecumenism" and for the wider ecumenical development of the churches toward "the common heritage" that we all share. (85) Though he did not bring any new insights in this document than what he had expressed in earlier writings, he did provide here in broad strokes why and where Catholic theologians must engage with Renewal colleagues and mentor them toward the ecumenical vision sacramentally, even as Renewalists within this broad Pentecostal/Charismatic movement have something to offer to Catholic thinking regarding ecclesial history, ecclesiology, and bodily aspects of sanctification.

In yet another essay, he recovered the late Cardinal Joseph Bemardin's encouragement to and support of Charismatic Catholic renewal, which implicitly expressed support for the renewal movements in the tradition of Pentecostalism. (86) To aid the development of Pentecostal ecumenical sensibilities, Gros wrote another essay retrieving the medieval Franciscan movement as "a Proto-Pentecostal movement." (87) To ease the concerns of both communions that they do not embrace a similar eschatology, his "Hope for Eternal Life" evaluated perspectives for Pentecostals and Catholics. (88) These efforts revealed the heart of a charitable ecumenist who reached out to encourage a movement that he discerned to enumerate evidences of the Spirit that for him carried the torch for ecumenism into the next generation.

Besides his presidential address to the Society of Pentecostal Studies, Gros elsewhere affirmed the increasing Pentecostal participation in official ecumenical dialogues, as well as Pentecostal input to the production of ecumenical convergence texts and developments. (89) The challenge and its promise remain: how Pentecostals may break out from their former marginal representation in the ecumenical movement, as well as generating theological inquiry and dialogue for receptive ecumenism both in the Catholic community and among Pentecostals that is open to ecumenical dialogue, prayer, and collaboration. (90)

V. Contemporary and Future Trajectories in Ecumenism and Ecclesiology

In nearly all of his papers analyzing ecumenism, Gros never tired of repeating the two tasks of ecumenism in the most animated and lively fashion: to celebrate how far we have come, while pointing out current challenges amid the new developments. Not naive about prospective challenges, Gros reminded his audience at the NWCU in 2007, "Unity is a grace from God, not a good work of our own doing. As we move forward we expect, if not welcome, new challenges." (91) His oeuvre also covers important themes such as ethics, racism, sexuality, peacemaking, new evangelization, and the healing of memories as these relate to ecclesiology and unity.

A. Ethical Concerns

The seventy-five-year-old ecumenist continued to be acutely aware of the latest ecumenical developments, nowhere more so than in his reaction to the recent WCC Faith and Order text, The Church: Towards a Common Vision. (92) Even as he celebrated the production of this text--only the second "convergence document" issued by Faith and Order in its long history, thus on a level with Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry (93) (BEM)--Gros issued a caution. In perhaps his final essay, "Church: Hope and Grace," he noted that the Faith and Order text had gone through "a vast array of input and reflection, with two previous versions placed informally into the ecclesial, academic and ecumenical systems for feedback and improvement (1998, 2005)." (94) He reminded ecumenical officers not to be complacent, even though "[w]ith this 2012 text, the churches should now be well prepared to enter in, together, into the official process of response and evaluation," (95) because "leaders have the precedent of response to BEM, and many have a host of bilaterals to which they have made responses and in some cases entered into new ecclesial relationships of recognition or even of full communion." (96) He explained, "Ethical differences have often caused a break down in ecumenical relations rather than provided a forum for honest difference within a common commitment to Christ." (97) Perhaps Gros was recalling other pieces of work he had submitted on racism, sexuality, new evangelization, and the healing of memories, which we shall now review.

B. Racism

Upon editing in 1973 a 1954 paper by his aging pastor, Msgr. Merlin F. Kearney, Gros thought about an anti-racist rhetoric. His perspective emerged from having worked with Hispanic and African American ecumenism in South Bronx in New York City for three years during his studies at Fordham University. (98) It deepened after he investigated the Faith and Order Movement's role as it pertains to the witness against racism. Gros expressed that "the incompatibility of racism with faith in the triune God is central to any orthodox ecclesiology." He urged, "Until the stigma of racism is eradicated from the church, the church cannot be a credible witness to the apostolic faith or to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church which it is called to be in Christ." Theologically, he held, "A non-racial community is a constitutive dimension of the koinonia of the Christian church." (99)

Although tension still exists between the goal of Christian unity and the prophetic witness of the Church for justice and peace, he held that "a biblical view of the church keeps this tension within its reconciling centre." (100) He thus reminded Catholics and other Christian groups of the importance of working "on receptivity to the quest for racial justice to demonstrate a human solidarity which can give credibility to the communion in sacraments and faith to which we are called together," and, in acknowledging Catholic social teaching's contribution at the forefront of pursuing equality and justice, Gros encouraged the Church to develop "skills and commitments to racial integration, solidarity and understanding." (101) He claimed that these solidarities practiced in the Faith and Order movement ought to be translated into the life of local churches. (102)

C. Sexuality

Sexuality continues to be an issue with sociopolitical, ecclesiological, and ecumenical ramifications for Christian witness. Gros reported at the January, 2007, NWCU his belief that "sexuality is or can be a church dividing issue." Churches have yet to provide alternative explanations to the traditional position on marriage, which has "divided the churches since the Reformation as to sacramentality and divorce." (103) Furthermore, when churches quarrel over issues of sexuality, they are more often drawn by their cultural affiliations than in affirmation of their common confession of the sovereignty of Christ. Because homosexuality and related issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons (LGBT) are "internally divisive," (104) Gros predicted that churches would stand in prayer and solidarity with partner churches only when their positions are aligned, which already implies a broken link in ecumenism.

The Catholic Church, for instance, would have to learn how to continue their efforts in balancing two firm commitments: social justice and heterosexual marriage. The Church, he explained, is committed to advocacy for the rights of all, including gay rights, in light of the historic tradition of supporting the rights of the human person and in light of the importance that the Church gives to an egalitarian principle for all in society. The Church is also committed to heterosexual, procreation-oriented marriage. Thus, how Catholic dioceses may apply the two poles often requires appropriate adaptations to the particularities of the local contexts so that, in the exercise of ecclesiopolitical discernment, what is decided by one Catholic diocese may differ diametrically from the choices of another diocese. The Catholic Church's position of not laying blame on a person associated with a particular "irregular" and nonheterosexual orientation allows its clerical officers and priests in many Catholic dioceses to give priority to advocate human rights in society, while also providing pastoral care with sensitivity to active LGBT persons. (l05)

In other presentations and papers, Gros pointed out that churches in our day are responding to issues of human sexuality in a manner that is similar to how churches reacted to evolution theory in the 1920's. By that he meant that the dialogue is "a slow process of debate, discernment and development in theology, pastoral practice and church teaching" with "no clear consensus on how to deal with gender, human sexuality and pastoral practice, either within any of the churches or among the churches in ecumenical consensus." (106) He recommended "the urgent need for ongoing, honest, dispassionate dialogue." As for the character of this dialogue, he wrote:
   This dialogue needs to take place between theologians and science;
   between those in pastoral ministry with a variety of persons, and
   church leaders and theologians; between church leaders and those
   engaged in public policy formulation; between churches with
   different pastoral and ethical traditions; and among Christians of
   a variety of disciplines: scientific, humanistic, theological,
   legal, political and philosophical. Too often biblical scholarship
   is done in isolation from ethics, systematic theology from history,
   ecclesiology from the sociological study of religion, and the like.

This reveals the multidisciplinary mindset underlying Gros's work, as well. (108)

D. Peacemaking

In a paper presented at Fuller Seminary, Gros, informed by "the inherent sinfulness of all of us," proposed:
   If we are to form for a life of peacemaking, it is essential to
   focus on the very nature of the human person and our capacity for
   violence and redemption; on the core of the Gospel as a graced call
   to responsibility and human community; and on the eschatological
   hope and imperative of building bridges and signs of the kingdom,
   on the journey to that future which only the Holy Spirit can give.

Fulfilling its Christian vocation, the church as a community of dialogue and the church as a community for prophetic witness would entail that Christians "approach political rhetoric even religious political rhetoric with a healthy hermeneutics of suspicion." He explained that "religion is never separated from society and its policy debates," even though societies "have come to separate religion from social controls." (110) Gros reminded his audience that embracing "a strong sacramental sense of Church, the solidarity of the human family, and God's gracious call" are all essential for "building a community of reconciliation and witness, to God's will for the peace of the world."ill He even suggested the use of the media and the arts as tools for fueling Christian imagination toward reconciliation, outreach, and proclamation of the love message, which the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrated. He also recommended retreats at sites of war memorials as opportunities to encourage participants to reflect on how Christians and churches may heal the memories, avoid pitfalls, and nurture a more peace-building future. (112) Finally, he opined about the importance of dialogue for expanding one's vision amid one's own history and that of society. (113)

E. New Evangelization

In a few essays, Gros acknowledged that Christian mission (and the common proclamation of the gospel) lies at the heart of the ecumenical movement and Catholic mission. (114) He reminded his readers about one of John Paul II's pastoral priorities that new evangelization indissolubly includes evangelization and unity and evangelization and ecumenism. The reminder was issued after Gros surveyed the sources of this theme, tracing documents as far back as the 1992 Council of Latin American Bishops; the General Conference on "New Evangelization, Human Development, Christian Culture"; and John Paul II's use of the term to refer to the renewing of the gospel's reach to geographic locations that were once Christian cultures but that have been eroded by the impact of secularization. For this project, Gros also drew from the 2010 inauguration of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization by Pope Benedict XVI and, finally, from the 2012 Roman Synod of Bishop's deepening of its ecumenical engagement and commitment to mission.

In this Catholic conception of the new evangelization, Gros showed his gratitude to Christians from other traditions. He noted, for instance, the invaluable contributions by Vatican II's official Ecumenical Observers, such as Dr. Lamar Vest, and other evangelicals mentioned earlier. Gros also expressed gratitude to Southern Baptist evangelical ecumenical theologian Timothy George for his views that ecumenism is not an end in itself but in service to evangelization, which has to be grounded in the fundamental trinitarian faith, and the necessity of advocating for religious freedom as part of responding to the call for evangelization. Finally, in the same essay, Gros mentioned the significant relationship that the Holy See has with Tunnicliffe (general secretary of the WEA), who publicly affirmed commitment to a modest ecumenical and evangelization history of WEA communities with the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC, as is evident in the production of Christian Witness ha a Multi-Religious World(June, 2012). (115)

In all of these, the message that Gros sent out is clear: As churches enter into a new millennium, ecumenism and collaborative partnership with other Christian churches for the evangelization and re-evangelization of the world as the one body of Christ will become more pronounced. Of course, it is still to be seen if this prediction will come true, even as some collaborative efforts are already well underway, despite the fact that these are often not communicated by the churches to theft members in the pews.

F. The Healing of Memories

Can a Catholic ecumenist cum historian who truly loved the common heritage that Catholics share with Reformation churches ignore the year 2017? Gros was concerned about the effects of the sixteenth century and its legacy as churches move toward the commemorations in 2017, remembering Luther's posting of his ninety-five theses 500 years ago and the All Saints sermon of 1517. Hence, in a few essays, Gros proposed the healing of memories between Catholics and Reformation churches.

In Receptive Ecumenism, for instance, Gros recommended that healing could begin by "rewriting our common history." The goal is to present both the historical fracture and the fundamental Christian bond between the two churches, even as the rewritten narrative would necessarily have to account for cultural, popular pietistic, political, economic, and psychological factors that led both sides of the disputes to see that the prospect of reconciliation remains possible. Gros's whole point was that historical work could demonstrate that a genuine ecclesial bond remains unbroken, despite the tragic history of conflict, polarization, and separation between the Catholic and Reformation churches. (116) Ultimately, the challenge as he saw it is how a rewritten history could lay adequate foundations of "finding one another again in Christ" for healing those painful and tragic memories, even as churches build on the centennial successes of the ecumenical movement for a reconciled future. (117) The concern implicitly impacts pedagogical formation and curriculum design, which shows how Gros the theologian is also an educator and ecumenical practitioner simultaneously. (118)

While much more can be said of Gros's remarkably productive accomplishment as an ecumenical historian, theologian, ecclesiologist, and educator, I must leave that for another occasion. Before concluding this commemorative essay, I shall attempt to summarize some fundamental lessons that my ecumenical mentor would have probably shared with aspiring ecumenists as we receive the baton of facilitating progress toward yet fuller communion in the Christian faith.

VI. Fundamentals of a Grosian Ecumenical Orientation

The essentials of a Grosian ecumenical perspective would contain several components: correcting an un-ecumenical tendency, so that churches might embrace true ecumenicity with its attending ecumenical methodology, hermeneutics, biblical vision, adequate understanding about the reception of culture, and, specifically for ecumenical officers, that they would learn (in addition to all that is reviewed in preceding sections of this essay) to interpret results accurately as they steer the present and future pathways of their churches toward Christian unity.

A. Unecumenical Tendency

In a few of his reflections, Gros cautioned against an unecumenical tendency that inhibits the development of true ecumenicity. I will mention only one of these narratives as an example. He wrote that "many of us caricature one another as intransigent because we have deep convictions about our very different emphases in ecclesiology, and because we are sometimes quite content to see our own ecclesiological reality as the norm for all other churches in the ecumenical movement--at least implicitly." (119) The citation is from an essay he wrote about the Reformed-Catholic relationship. Nonetheless, what Gros claimed here may be applied to any Christian community. It is common for churches unconsciously to take a confessional hermeneutic rather than an ecumenical approach. (120) The failure to recognize the ecclesiality of other communions--and especially the tendency to ignore the historical development of their own tradition in relation to other Christian churches and vice versa---implicitly results in a perpetuation of ignorance, even as churches take pride in holding on to their particular "denominational distinctives"; the action itself disregards their relationship with other churches and does not aid the quest for Christian unity. (121) An ecumenist must be learned about his or her own and others' traditions without discriminating against those not of his or her fold. The vocation thus calls for ecumenical conversion, that is, conversion to ecumenical methodology, hermeneutics, vision, and approach to other churches, even as it calls an ecumenist simultaneously to educate his or her own church tradition. (122)

B. Ecumenical Methodology and Distinguishing Types of Ecumenicity

Gros was deeply committed to the modern ecumenical movement's goal of full communion in faith, sacramental life, and witness of the churches. He kept in view the progress of unity, even as he was mindful of the hurdles and challenges toward real ecumenical progress. (123) He said that the ecumenical goal of full visible unity was most likely not realizable within his lifetime, which meant all the more that the vision is worth the pursuit. Christ has to be at the center of an ecumenist's calling; it is not our brilliant labors or ability that unite the churches, but it must be the sovereign work of the Spirit's calling the churches to the unity that already exists among them, albeit imperfectly for now. (124) An ecumenist is thus a conduit of the Spirit to the churches.

Gros also distinguished the goal of ecclesial ecumenical dialogue from the goal of interreligious dialogue. The latter seeks goals different from those of Christian ecumenism. In interreligious dialogue, Christians seek "mutual understanding, peace in society and common efforts on behalf of the human family" without attempting "to resolve doctrinal differences or seek unity in truth and worship." (125) However, the goal of ecumenical unity is full and mutual recognition of the churches-not as an end in itself but in obedience to God, which is to be expressed in faith, sacramental life, and witness. (126) He critiqued Konrad Raiser's use of a theology of religions' paradigm for ecumenical ecclesiology as having truncated the ecumenical vision, because it failed to hold in tension the struggle for visible unity in shared faith, eucharistic fellowship, and shared participation in justice and peace witness. (127) In other words, an ecumenist knows what is central in the dialogue.

For realizing Christian unity, Gros followed an "ecumenical methodology [that] requires the spiritual discipline of dialogue, building mutual relationships of trust, resolving the barriers to full reconciliation in Christ and seeking the truth in love." (128) Elsewhere, he explained his ecumenical methodology by way of John Paul II's concept, "the dialogue of charity." Participants should understand their audience, especially their pieties, cultural differences, historic hurts, and lingering stereotypes, in addition to the chasms in theology and sacramentality that divided and continue to divide the church. Listening to the nature and the purpose of the church as understood by their partners in this dialogue of love, churches could move on to the common exploration of the truth of the gospel in an environment of trust and comparative, mutual understanding as their faithful response to Christ's prayer that the church may be one. (129) He formulated these principles from his years of experience and historical-theological research of evaluating various ecumenical methodologies and interpretive visions of full communion as they relate to the Catholic Church's contribution to the Faith and Order movement and to the wider Christian ecumenical endeavor. (130)

Gros often emphasized the necessity for appreciating the spirituality of Christian ecumenism and of other traditions' history, spirituality, and cultural traditions in this dialogue of charity. (131) I need to cite only one example from his address at the 2011 NWCU:
   As ecumenical leaders we call our people into a spiritual life that
   keeps Christ's prayer for unity central to conversion. We help our
   people understand and appreciate the piety of others, even when
   they do not share it. We call for a dialogue that will heal
   spiritualities, as well as intellectual/doctrinal and
   institutional/ecclesiological divisions. And finally, we help build
   a common ecumenical spirituality that cultivates the zeal for the
   unity of Christians in service to the healing of a broken world.

Gros acknowledged the mentorship for ecumenical leadership that he received from the Rev. Dr. Robert K. Welsh (president of Council of Christian Unity, Christian Church [Disciples of Christ]), the Rev. Dr. William G. Rusch (distinguished Lutheran ecumenist, member of the WCC and other Faith and Order Commissions, and later teaching at Yale Divinity School), and Fr. Thomas F. Stransky (retired rector of Tantur Ecumenical Institute and an original staff member of the then- Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity), among others. (133) An ecumenist readily recognizes his or her need to be mentored by leaders of other traditions, even as the aspirant leader labors to research and reconcile past and present wounds.

C. Ecumenical Hermeneutics (134)

Ecumenical conversion may be teased out more clearly as we discuss ecumenical hermeneutics. Essentially, Gros saw the importance of ecumenical hermeneutics as containing two aspects. The first is the task of responsible ressourcement of ancient church councils and later synods, even in re-reading these documents. John Paul II provided an example when the papal office invited joint examination of the Petrine office. (135) The meaning of this office should be connected with testimony representing a wide range of witnesses to the faith of the ages.

The second aspect of ecumenical hermeneutics consists of educating especially those who have not been converted to the biblical call to unity to the ecumenical vision and theological benchmark such as provided by the New Delhi text of 1961. Gros claimed that effective ecumenical programs seek inclusivity and commitment to conciliar membership or constitutional commitment to the unity of the churches. He urged that churches embrace an ecumenical hermeneutic more than a mere confessional tone in an ecumenical context. (136)

For churches and theological partners new to the ecumenical table, Gros reminded that "it is often necessary to go through the comparative stage of mutual understanding, respect, clarification, and working out a common theological method before a common goal and a common christological focus on scripture and history are possible." (137) The process of taking communities new to the ecumenical movement via a comparative-ecclesiology approach would enable these churches to examine for themselves whether they might accept "an irreducible plurality in the Christian expressions of church" as representing the common faith through the ages. (138) More importantly, the process would enable churches minimally to recognize "elements of trinitarian theology and ecclesiology" before they discuss specificities of reconciliation. (139)

What Gros said about the responsibility of examining convergence texts carefully is also true in this case of ecumenical hermeneutics: "Those evaluating this text [reference to The Church, 2012] will need to know this history and the ecclesiological content of their church's ecumenical pilgrimage." (140) Reflecting on the fundamental question that is printed with the convergence text, he proposed that churches must in their respective ecclesiological self-understanding satisfy the criterion of "the faith of the Church through the ages." As he explained, "The Christian faith, with its foundation in the Scriptures and the common Tradition, and not the particular canonical, denominational or cultural expression of the present age, is the theological basis of the Church." (141) It is absolutely necessary on the quest toward unity that ecumenical officers and churches both know the ecclesiological development of the churches of each tradition represented at the ecumenical table and consider deeply each tradition's ecclesiological self-understanding in relation to "the faith of the Church through the ages." All these are part of the laborious work of an ecumenist. (142)

D. Biblical Ecumenical Vision

In studying various models, stages, movements, and agreements in the course of realizing full communion across different Christian traditions within the ecumenical movement, the ecumenist noted a lacuna that has not yet been filled in ecumenical literature and its project of reconciliation. The gap pertains to biblical reflection on the concept of "fullness" in ecclesiological understanding and its ecumenical implications, especially as it relates to the "eschatological character of salvation and the church's role therein." (143) The fullness of communion must begin with "recognizing the church as the fullness of Christ" as "a corrective to any view of fullness of communion that focuses too narrowly on formulations, structures, and relationships achieved and to any view that would spiritualize the church so that it was seen as anything less than the embodiment of the Incarnation itself." (144) He also attempted to offer a re-reading of Teilhard's concept of omega vision as a resource for contribution to "Full Communion in Christ." He drew a parallel between how the Catholic Church in recent centuries corrected their former repudiation of older science and religion paradigms and the ecumenical quest for unity. Gros suggested that the biblical vision is a pleroma of the penultimate of ecclesial fullness, where by "all earthly embodiments of full communion are penultimate to the fullness of the kingdom to which all church life is oriented, the ecclesiological Christic omega point," and, hence, even "the fullness of any one communion agreement" would only represent "an ecclesial act" of "a provisional step, a grace of God on the pilgrimage toward full reconciliation." (145) All this is to say that an ecumenist must constantly keep before him or her the biblical vision of full unity of all churches, even as successes are celebrated, or disappointments and setbacks are encountered. E. Reception and Culture

The theologian is mindful that any call for visible unity means that churches will also have to face cultural challenges in the process of ecumenical reception. Gros wrote:
   Reception involves not only texts, authors of the texts, and the
   evaluations of those who read them but also the internalization of
   formulations of the faith in the spirituality, discipline, worship,
   and catechesis of the churches and the recognition and
   transformation of the whole People of God. It entails new, concrete
   relationships and bonds of unity as well as affirmations of
   formulations. Therefore, cultural as well as theological and
   church-order issues must be taken into account. (146)

The reception of ecumenical development, however, is more than an abstract concept. He explained from The Local and the Universal Dimensions of the Church, a text produced by the Reformed-Catholic dialogue, three important dimensions of reception. The notion pertains to "1) the concrete reception of international texts, critiqued, adapted and amplified by local contexts; 2) the importance of different confessional traditions in different cultures approaching the same issue with their unique methodologies and histories; and 3) the complementary character of global and local theological work especially on the theology of the Church, global and local." (147)

Another example from one of Gros's writings suffices to show the importance of recognizing the interface of ecumenical reception and the influence of piety and culture. The material was taken from a paper in which he examined Pentecostal and Catholic eschatologies comparatively.
   It is the position of this author that the core of the faith in
   Christian hope in the last things is held in common by Catholics
   and Pentecostals, with different emphases. However, as any
   attentive student of religion will recognize, personal piety even
   when not at the center of the revealed faith in the death and
   resurrection of Jesus Christ, often has more power in the popular
   imagination of the majority of Christian people than the clear
   formations of theologians, or the objective teaching of the Word of
   God. Therefore, understanding one another's popular beliefs and
   imaginative world views informed by faith, is a necessary step in
   the process of reconciliation and embarking, together, on a common
   eschatological pilgrimage as the people of God toward the future
   promised by Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. (148)

As can be seen, one may reasonably claim that for the ecumenist, reception represents the tool that lies at the heart of all ecumenical endeavors, which all ecumenists must master in their toolkit.

F. Interpreting Ecumenical Results

Specifically for ecumenical officers, Gros urged the necessity of discerning ecumenical development appropriately. To discern forms of ecumenical participation, he repeatedly reminded his colleagues to distinguish among official agreements, consensus proposals to the churches from officially commissioned dialogues, and convergence texts submitted to the churches for evaluation. The first represents authoritative resolutions to historical differences. The second represents authoritative responses of the churches from which the reports were submitted. The third proposes a convergence but not full agreement or consensus. On the basis of the convergence and responses from respective authoritative structures of the churches, an international commission is then able to proceed to the next step to produce an expanded and deeper investigation of a subject, to be submitted later to the churches for response and deliberation as to whether it may lead to consensus and official agreement. It is also from these documents that churches and theologians may be able further to study areas of disagreements that it is hoped will contribute to the eventual full and mutual recognition and reception by the churches. The skills of an ecumenist, then, also include an interpretative component: He or she should learn to locate ecumenical developments accurately in their respective historical and contemporary contexts, so as to make informed decisions on the needed efforts to facilitate the progress toward unity of truth and grace.

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(1) J. M. R. Tillard, I Believe Despite Everything: Reflections of an Ecumenist, tr. William G. Rusch (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000). This preamble is appropriate in that Gros, the ecumenist, was also a passionate educator on reception, who was familiar with the warnings in J. M. R. Tillard, '"Reception': A Time to Beware of False Steps," Ecumenical Trends 14 (November, 1985): 145- 148. Gros's involvement with the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches (1983-93, 2004) may be seen as following in the steps of Tillard (1927-2000), former Vice Moderator and Vice President of the Commission (1977) and consultant to the Pontifical Council of Christian Unity.

(2) Tribute in news from Collegeville (MN) Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research (founding president, Fr. Kilian McDonnell) at seminars/insights/noted-ecumenist-dies/. For many other tribute notes, see John Borelli's eulogy, "Remembering Brother Jeffrey Gros, FSC," Ecumenical Trends 42 (November, 2013): 5-7, 15.

(3) He mentored me as the third reader for my Ph.D. dissertation on interdisciplinary ecclesial recognition, which formally began in January, 2012. This relationship was special to both of us in the sense that, among other things, 1 have now become his last, official doctoral student on ecumenism, even as I have just completed my dissertation. He will always be fondly remembered as an endearing and engaging senior colleague who shared his life, knowledge, and experience generously with me beginning in October, 2008. He even celebrated in person my winning the prestigious Annual Student Essay Contest of the North American Academy of Ecumenists in Allentown, PA, in September, 2011. For the privilege of being mentored by a prolific North American ecumenical theologian, I owe my gratitude to evangelical-ecumenical systematician and emeritus professor Gabriel Fackre, Andover Newton Theological School, for introducing me to Gros.

(4) He regularly made presentations on Christian unity to the NWCU and to the councils of churches in thirty-seven states. His presentations to priests' study retreats include (arch)dioceses in twenty cities across the U.S.

(5) Jeffrey Gros, "Vatican II, Ecumenism, and Religious Freedom," video lecture recording,

(6) Jeffrey Gros, Handing on the Faith in an Ecumenical World (Washington, DC: National Catholic Educational Association, 2005).

(7) Jeffrey Gros, That All May Be One: Ecumenism (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 2000).

(8) Jeffrey Gros, "Catholic Priestly Formation for the Unity of Christians," p. 71; available at (from Memphis Theological Seminary's Seminary Journal)

(9) Ibid., p. 75.

(10) Programs of Priestly Formation (Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1993). The 5th ed. (2006) is available at priestly-formation-fifthedition.pdf.

(11) Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism (1993); available at docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_19930325_directory_en.html.

(12) Jeffrey Gros, "Learning the Ways of Receptive Ecumenism: Formation and Catechetical Considerations," in Paul D. Murray, ed., with Luca Badini-Confalonieri, Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning." Exploring a Way for Contemporary Ecumenism (New York and Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 442-455. It is Gros's conviction that the language of "subsistit in" is a positive formulation in comparison to earlier language that rejected the ecclesiality of the Christian communities separated from the Catholic communion. For a more moderate and realistic reading of this positive reading, see Timothy Lim, "Toward Ecumenical Unity: An Analysis and Preliminary Proposal," J.E.S. 47 (Summer, 2012), 397-408.

(13) Carl Koch, Jeffrey Calligan, and Jeffrey Gros, eds. and intro, John Baptist de La Salle: The Spirituality of Christian Education (New York and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2004).

(14) Jeffrey Gros, Lasallian Ministry and the Unity of Christians, MEL Bulletin 10 (Rome: Brothers of the Christian Schools, 2004) (also published in French and Spanish).

(15) Jeffrey Gros, "It Seems Good to the Holy Spirit and to Us: The Ecclesial Vocation of the Pentecostal Scholar," Pneuma, vol. 34, no. 2 (2012), p. 173.

(16) Ibid., p. 174.

(17) Ibid., p. 183.

(18) Jeffrey Gros and Daniel S. Mulhail, eds., The Ecumenical Christian Dialogues and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York, and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2006).

(19) Jeffrey Gros, Eamon McManus, and Ann Riggs, Introduction to Ecumenism (New York and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1998; repr., 2001).

(20) Stephen B. Bevans and Jeffrey Gros, Evangelization and Religious Freedom: Ad gentes, Dignitatis humanae, Rediscovering Vatican II (New York and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2008).

(21) See Jeffrey Gros, "'Discerning the Gospel: Dialogue in the Catholic Church," The Christian Century 107 (May 2, 1990): 463. In this essay, Gros also defended Joseph Ratzinger (prior to his becoming Pope Benedict XVI) and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) against the negative portrayals in the popular press of the CDF's role in the Catholic Church.

(22) bid.

(23) E.g., he was acknowledged as a Catholic participant in the Reformed- Catholic dialogue in the 1989-98 sessions on "Laity in the Church and in the World"; see "Journey in Faith: Forty Years of Reformed-Catholic Dialogue, 1965-2005," available at

(24) See Jeffrey Gros, ed., The Search for Visible Unity: Baptism, Eucharist. Ministry (New York: Pilgrim Press, 1984).

(25) Jeffrey Gros, "Toward Full Communion: Faith and Order and Catholic Ecumenism," Theological Studies 65 (March, 2004): 37; see full article, pp. 23-43.

(26) While these statements are crafted in my own words, those familiar with Gros would immediately recognize his irenic tone and extremely careful, yet charitable phraseologies-- not naive, but definitely hopeful and encouraging. "It is not the stage toward fuller unity," as he would often say, but the caveat is that the churches are already "on the stage of progressing toward the development of fuller unity." I recalled once asking him if there really is a difference between the two phrases. He replied, "Yes. Because we are not there yet, to claim that we are already progressing toward unity is too presumptive, but it is all right to celebrate the small milestones and hence to report that the churches are on the stage of progressing toward (not fuller unity but) the development unto fuller unity."

(27) Joseph A. Burgess and Jeffrey Gros, eds., Growing Consensus: Church Dialogues in the United States. 1962-1991 (New York and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1995).

(28) Jeffrey Gros, Rozanne Elder, and Ellen Wondra, eds., Common Witness to the Gospel: Documents on Anglican-Roman Catholic Relations, 1983-1995 (Washington, DC: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1997).

(29) Joseph A. Burgess and Jeffrey Gros, eds., Budding Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue with Roman Catholic Participation, Ecumenical Documents 4 (New York and Mahwah, N J: Paulist Press, 1988).

(30) Jeffrey Gros and John D. Rempel, eds., The Fragmentation of the Church and Its Unity in Peacemaking (Grand Rapids, MI, and Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001).

(31) Lydia Veliko and Jeffrey Gins, eds., Growing Consensus H: Church Dialogues in the United States. 1992 2004, Ecumenical Documents 7 (Washington, DC: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005).

(32) Randall Lee and Jeffrey Gros, eds., The Church as Koinonia of Salvation: Its Structures and Ministries. Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue 10 (Washington, DC: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005).

(33) Jeffrey Gros, Harding Meyer, and William G. Rusch, eds., Growth in Agreement 11: Reports and Agreed Statements of Ecumenical Conversations on a World Level. 1982-1998, Faith and Order Paper 187 (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2000).

(34) Jeffrey Gros, Thomas F. Best, and Lorelei F. Fuchs, eds., Growth m Agreement III: International Dialogue Texts and Agreed Statements. 1998-2005, Faith and Order Paper 204 (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2007; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2008).

(35) Forthcoming from WCC Publications.

(36) Jeffrey Gros, "A Primatial Grace for a Baptismal Church," in Lizette Larson-Miller and Walter Knowles, eds., Drenched in Grace: Essays in Baptismal Ecclesiology Inspired by the Work and Ministry of Louis Weil (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2013), pp. 143-160.

(37) See the Growth in Agreement series mentioned above.

(38) Jeffrey Gros, "The Requirements and Challenges of Full Communion: A Multilateral Evaluation?" J.E.S 42 (Spring, 2007): 219.

(39) Ibid., p. 237.

(40) Jeffrey Gros, "Fifty Years and Running: Oberlin '57, Back and Beyond," in Antonios Kireopoulos, ed., with Juliana Mecera, Ecumenical Directions in the United States Today: Churches on a Theological Journey, Faith & Order Commission Theological Series (New York and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2012), p. 59.

(41) Ibid., p. 60.

(42) Ibid., p. 61.

(43) In another essay similar to the themes he briefly teased out in "Fifty Years and Running" and "The Requirements and Challenges of Full Communion," he examined the Faith and Order movement as well as Catholic historical development since Pope Benedict XV, who declined official Catholic participation to the Faith and Order delegation of the ecumenical movement in 1919, through to the Catholic commitment to Faith and Order (despite its not being a member of the WCC) since 1968, and to postconciliar ecumenical programs in the last fifty years with Pentecostal, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant and Evangelical churches. This is one of Gros's most historic pieces as an ecumenical, ecclesial historian, wherein he traced the Catholic involvement in ecumenism; analyzed the shift in ecumenical methodology between convergence and consensus and the question of reception; summarized the contributions of Faith and Order in the development of koinonia ecclesiology, apostolic faith and the hierarchy of truth, sacramental convergences, and authority; and outlined future challenges (see Gros, "Toward Full Communion: Faith and Order").

(44) Gros, "Fifty Years and Running," p. 62.

(45) Ibid., p. 68.

(46) See Jeffrey Gros, "Inculturating Receptive Ecumenism," a paper presented on January 12, 2009, at the Second Joint International Receptive Ecumenism Conference and the Third Annual Gathering of the Ecclesiological Investigation Network, at Durham (U.K.) University; available at http://www.academia .edu/2175949/Contextualizing_Receptive_Ecumenism.

(47) Jeffrey Gros, "ELCA and Sexuality Debate: Discerning God's Will in Changing Times," p. 7 in an online version available at http://www.academia_edu/2175808/ELCA and Sexuality_Debate.

(48) See Jeffrey Gros, "'The Roman Catholic Church and the Contribution to Christian Unity," in Anthony J. Cemera, ed., Vatican II: The Continuing Agenda (Fairfield, CT: Sacred Heart University Press, 1997), pp. 53-70; and idem, "Ecumenism: From Isolation to a Vision of Christian Unity," in John Deedy, ed, The Catholic Church m the Twentieth Century: Renewing and Reimaging the City of God, A Michael Glazier Book (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), pp. 131-147.

(49) Jeffrey Gros, "The Healing of Memories: Finding One Another Again in Christ," in Eduardus Van der Borght, ed., The Unity of the Church: A Theological State of the Art and Beyond, Studies in Reformed Theology 18 (Leiden, and Boston, MA: Brill, 2010), p. 194.

(50) Ibid., p. 204: see full article, pp. 189--210.

(51) See Jeffrey Gros, "Theological Debates: Synodical and Conciliar," Ecumenical Trends 15 (February, 1986): 18-20.

(52) See Jeffrey Gros, "Can We Call God's Order Sacred?" Ecumenical Trends 17 (December, 1988): 161-164; and idem, "Bonds of Communion," Ecumenical Trends 28 (September, 1999): 1-8.

(53) For Gros's substantive treatment of Catholic relations with ecumenical agencies and their structures and with various Christian World Communions (e.g., Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Anglican Communion, Lutheran World Federation, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Baptist World Alliance, Evangelical World Alliance, and Mennonite World Conferences), see Jeffrey Gros, "Reception and Roman Catholicism for the New Millennium" (undated, but written between 2004 and 2005, based on the latest sources cited in the footnotes and the indication that he wrote it while he was associate director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops); available at of Catholicism into the Modem_Ecumenical_Moveme nt/.

(54) See Gros, "Healing of Memories," pp. 196-197; and idem, "Theological Debates: Synodical and Conciliar," p. 18. It is unclear why Gros believed that Catholic ecclesiology would need the help of Reformed People of God ecclesiology to enrich Catholic ecclesiological traditioning. My comment is because of Gros's familiarity with the Congarian lay ecclesiological model and Vatican II's sacramental-communion ecclesiology, which balances hierarchical authority with a focus on the mission of the laity-especially evident when one reads Lumen gentium and Gaudium et spes together. Furthermore, Gros elsewhere teased out the development of Catholic ecclesiology, which included conceptions of the Church as the perfect society, mystical body, sacrament, People of God, and communion (see Gros, "Toward Full Communion: Faith and Order," and his review of James Heft, ed., After Vatican II: Trajectories and Hermeneutics [Eerdmans, 2012], in J.E.S. 47 [Summer, 2012]: 495-496, among others). Thus, it is not clear what he had in mind when he claimed that the Reformed traditions' People of God ecclesiology could offer something to Catholic ecclesiological development. On continuity/discontinuity views of Vatican II ecclesiology, see Susan K. Woods, "Continuity and Development in Roman Catholic Ecclesiology," Ecclesiology 7 (May, 2011): 1-25; available at Tent.egi?article= 1034&content=theo_fac.

(55) Gros, "Healing of Memories," p. 190.

(56) Ibid., p. 191.

(57) Ibid.

(58) Ibid., p. 209

(59) Ibid., p. 206.

(60) See John C. Bush and Jeffrey R. Gros, "Journey in Faith: Forty Years of Reformed-Catholic Dialogue (1965-2005)," The Ecumenical Review 59 (April-July, 2007): 293-314; and Jeffrey Gros, "A Journey of Faith: Reformed and Catholic," Reformed Review 52 (Spring, 1999): 235-253.

(61) Jeffrey Gros, "A Healing Church in an Era of Dialogue," a paper presented to the Catholic Health Association Sponsorship Institute, Tampa, FL, on January 14, 2011; available at https:// in an Era of Dialogue.

(62) E.g., see Jeffrey Gros, "The Vision of Christian Unity: Some Aspects of Faith and Order in the Context of United States Culture," Midstream 30 (January, 1991): 1-19; and Jeffrey Gros, "By Grace Alone Are We Made Whole: Toward Full Communion in Faith, Life, and Witness," Keynote Address, NWCU, Washington, DC, January 30, 2007 (published as "Ecumenism 2007: The Challenges," Origins 36 [February 8, 2007]: 541-547).

(63) See Jeffrey Gros, "Toward Full Communion: Roman Catholics and Methodists in Dialogue," Quarterly Review (United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Mission, Nashville, TN) 14 (Fall, 1994): 241-262.

(64) See Jeffrey Gros, "United Methodist Ordained Ministry in Ecumenical Perspective," Quarterly Review 24 (Winter, 2004): 381-398. Readers may be interested to note that the discussion was twofold: United Methodist-Catholic dialogue and the impact of the United Methodist's conception of ordination and ministry upon the other nine partnering Protestant and Anglican churches in the Consultation on Christian Union (COCU) in their journey toward reconciliation, and the full recognition of each other's ministry. COCU later became the Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) in 2002, which to date has eleven covenanting denominations, one of which is "a partner in mission and dialogue."

(65) Gros, "Inculturating Receptive Ecumenism," p. 7.

(66) Ibid., p. 6.

(67) See Jeffrey Gros, "Hope for Eternal Life: The Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue," J.E.S. 46 (Spring, 2011): 259-269. Note that Gros wrote another essay also titled "Hope for Eternal Life" as it pertains to Pentecostal and Catholic perspectives, which 1 will briefly mention below.

(68) See, e.g.. Jeffrey Gros, "The Lutheran Catholic Pilgrimage toward Visible Unity," Exchange. Journal of Misstological and Ecumenical Research, vol. 29, no. 1 (2000), pp. 23- 36; available at .

(69) E.g., see Anglican-Orthodox dialogue and Orthodox-Catholic dialogue in Growing Consensus, pp. 339-373,485-565: and the discussion on Eastern churches in William G. Rusch and Jeffrey Gros, eds., Deepening Communion: International Ecumenical Documents with Roman Catholic Participation (Washington, DC: U.S. Catholic Conference, 1998), pp. 24-25 and 487.

(70) See Thaddeus D. Horgan, ed, Apostolic Faith in America, Faith and Order Series (Grand Rapids. MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998); S. Mark Helm, ed., Faith to Creed." Ecumenical Perspectives on the Affirmation of the Apostolic Faith in the Fourth Century--Papers of the Faith to Creed Consultation. Commission on Faith and Order. NCCCUSA. October 25-27, 1989, Waltham, MA, Faith and Order Series (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. 1991; Theodore Stylianopoulos and Mark Helm, eds., Spirit of Truth: Ecumenical Perspectives on the Holy Spirit: Papers of the Holy Spirit Consultation, October 24-25, 1985. Brookline. MA (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1986); and Paul Fries and Tian Nersoyan, eds., Christ in East and West (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1987)--among many others.

(71) See Jeffrey Gros, "Faith on the Frontier: Understandings of Apostolicity among American Born Churches," One m Christ, vol. 39, no. 2 (2004): 28-48; and idem, "Initiation into Christ in the Western Catholic Tradition," in Ted A. Campbell, Ann K. Riggs, and Gilbert W. Stafford, eds., Ancient Faith and American-Born Churches: Dialogues between Christian Traditions, Faith and Order Commission Theological Series (New York and Mahwah, N J: Paulist Press, 2006), pp. 190-198.

(72) We would have to acknowledge that his theology, especially of trinitarian faith, and the pneumatological dimension of the Christian faith and ecclesiology in particular led him to see no conflict of conscience in this collaboration. See Jeffrey Gros, "'How Catholics and Protestants Seek Common Ground, We Actually Share Many Goals," Catholic Digest, February, 1996; and idem, "The Gospel Call to Common Witness," in Timothy George, ed., Pilgrims on the Sawdust Trail: Evangelical Ecumenism and the Quest for Christian Identity, Beeson Divinity Studies (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), pp. 113-124.

(73) See Jeffrey Gros, "Reconciliation and Hope: 'The Contribution of the US Hispanic Community'--Recovering a Reconciling Heritage," Ecumenical Trends 35 (November, 2006): 1-6, 13; and idem, "Reconciliation and Hope: 'The Contribution of the US Hispanic Community'-- Building a Common Future," Ecumenical Trends 35 (December, 2006): 1-4.

(74) See Jeffrey Gros, "Ecumenism in the US Hispanic/Latino Community: Challenge and Promise," in Peter Casarella and Raul Gomez, eds., El Cuerpoo de Cristo: The Hispanic Presence in the U.S. Catholic Church (New York: Crossroad, 1998), pp. 197-212.

(75) See Jeffrey Gros, "Struggle and Reconciliation: Some Reflections on Ecumenism in Chile," International Review of Mission 97 (January/April, 2008): 50-64; and idem, "The Challenge of Pluralism and Peace: The Changing Relationships among the Churches in Colombia," International Review of Mission 98 (August/October, 2009): 342-359.

(76) See e.g., Jeffrey Gros, "Evangelical Relations: A Differentiated Catholic Perspective," Ecumenical Trends 29 (January, 2000): 1-9; idem, "Catholics and Evangelicals: Understanding Each Other," The Catholic World 241 (February, 2007), 2 pp., available at /centers/boisi/pdf/f09/Catholics and Evangelicals Understanding_Each_Other.pdf; idem, "Evangelicals and Ecumenism," Ecumenism, no. 120 (December, 1995), pp. 10-16; and idem, "Recent Evangelical Engagement in the Ecumenical Movement," Ecumenical Trends 19 (July/August, 1990): 101-103.

(77) Gros, "The New Evangelization: Unity in Proclamation and the Proclamation of Unity," available at

(78) See Jeffrey Gros, "Pilgrims toward the Unity of God's People," in Skye Fackre Gibson, ed., Story Lines: Chapters on Thought. Word, and Deed for Gabriel Fackre (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002), pp. 139-145; idem, "A Pastor to the Professors: A Tribute on His 2010 Jubilee," in honor of Horace Russell whom Gros praised as more knowledgeable of patristics and better equipped than an Orthodox metropolitan or a Catholic prelate and nonetheless a firm Baptist, available at; and idem, "Towards a More Inclusive Ecumenism: Response," in Christian T. Collins Winn, ed., From the Margins: A Celebration of the Theological Work of Donald W Dayton, Princeton Theological Monograph (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2007), pp. 323-328.

(79) See the blog site of John H. Armstrong, founder of Act3 Network and adjunct professor of evangelism at Wheaton College, wherein he dedicated three consecutive reflections in memory of Gros:,, and /?p=5261. See also Steve Harmon's tribute in his Ecclesial Theology blog site at http://ecclesialtheolo

(80) I would like to register two qualifiers at this point. (1) Based upon the scanty evidences that I have laid out, Gros saw himself as a friend to Evangelicals. This did not, however, prevent him from challenging Evangelical colleagues, especially those who rejected the ecumenical movement without first having read and interpreted the voluminous ecumenical documents correctly. I recall his saying on at least two occasions that he publicly corrected certain prominent evangelical theologians who had not only condemned the ecumenical movement and its progress without their having actually read any of the ecumenical literature or official ecumenical documents that were issued by any of the significant ecumenical agencies but had also refused to be informed by the ecumenical developments even as they continued in their ignorant and degradatory comments about a movement they hardly knew. Those of us who have seen how Gros handled tensions publicly later in his vocation (which is only what I witnessed on a few occasions) would remember the charitable and gracious spirit in which he de- escalated challenges with remarkable patience and attentiveness (as one would have expected of an effective and seasoned ecumenist), even as he did not capitulate on matters of truth and faith. To complete this loop, suffice it to say that he held the highest esteem for colleagues who made efforts to understand the ecumenical movement and its developments, even if they chose thereafter to focus on other aspects of the Christian calling. (2) Gros said that Evangelicals had no ecclesiology--the comment is not to be read as pejorative--though as a Catholic reading the inadequacies of evangelical ecclesiological contributions (see Timothy Lim, "Typologles of Evangelical Conception of Ecclesiology and Ecumenism," presented at Evangelical Theological Society, November, 2009).

(81) See Jeffrey Gros, "Evangelical-Catholic International Dialogue: Opening New Frontiers," in John A. Radano, ed., Celebrating a Century of Ecumenism: Exploring the Achievements of International Dialogue, in Commemoration of the Centenary of the 1910 Edinburgh World Missionary Conference (Grand Rapids, MI; and Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2012), pp. 218-235.

(82) Gros, "Evangelical Catholic International Dialogue," p. 232.

(83) Jeffrey Gros, "Toward a Dialogue of Conversion: The Pentecostal, Evangelical, and Conciliar Movement," Pneuma 17 (Fall, 1995): 189.

(84) Ibid., p. 191.

(85) Jeffrey Gros, "The Significance of Global Pentecostalism for Catholic Ecumenism"; available at Pentecostalism for Catholics.

(85) See Jeffrey Gros, "Reception, the First Three Decades: The Contribution of Cardinal Bernardin"; available at http://www.academi&edu/2175500/Cardinal_Bemardins_Ecumenical_Contribution. Joseph Bernardin (1928-96), Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, was the first General Secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1968-72), now the U,S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He also served as Co-Chair of the WCC-Vatican Joint Working Group (1970-72) and as a member of Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity (1985-96).

(87) Jeffrey Gros, "Ecumenical Connections across Time: Medieval Franciscans as a Proto-Pentecostal Movement?" Pneuma, vol. 34, no. 1 (2012), pp. 75-93.

(88) See Jeffrey Gros, "Hope for Eternal Life: Perspectives for Pentecostals and Catholics," in Peter Althouse and Robby Waddell, eds., Perspectives in Pentecostal Eschatologies: World without End (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2010), pp. 249-272. This essay and his "Ecumenical Connections across Time" reflect Gros, the historian, retrieving parts of ecclesial history in juxtaposition with contemporary themes and issues faced by the churches. His conviction was that, just as ecumenical work cannot ignore historical development, an effective ecumenist must necessarily be a student of history. I am reminded of a four-hour conversation that we shared after an intense morning session at the Ecclesiological Investigation Network Annual Conference at the University of Dayton (OH). We discussed how contemporary ecclesiological trends and especially the less-than-ecumenical spirit in certain factions of Christian churches toward the modern ecumenical movement has antecedent roots in the ecclesiality of Augustine and how Jean Gerson--albeit an ecclesial theologian on the fringe especially after the shutdown of conciliarity in post-Florence councils--could provide a resource for rethinking conciliarity with churches outside the Catholic communion in our time. See Timothy Lim, "Medieval Ecclesiology: A Realist-Idealist Relational Ecclesiality in Dialogue with Augustine and Jean Gerson for the Contemporary Church," paper presented at the Ecclesiological Investigation Network, University of Dayton, May 21, 2011.

(89) See Jeffrey Gros, "A Pilgrimage in the Spirit: Pentecostal Testimony in the Faith and Order Movement," Pneuma 25 (Spring, 2003): 29-53.

(90) Sec Jeffrey Gros, "The Church in Ecumenical Dialogue: Crucial Choices, Essential Contributions," Wesleyan Theological Journal 39 (Spring, 2004): 35-45; and idem, "Pentecostal Engagement in the Wider Christian Community," Midstream, vol. 38, no. 4 (1999), pp. 26-47.

(91) Gros, "By Grace Alone," p. 543.

(92) The Church: Towards a Common Vision, Faith and Order Paper 214 (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2013); also available at commissions/faith-andorder-commission/i-unity-the-church-and-its-mission/the- church-towards-a-common-vision?set_language=en.

(93) Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry, Faith and Order Paper 111 (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1982).

(94) Jeffrey Gros, "Church: Hope and Grace," p. 1. This article was produced during his final appointment at Lewis University. I am unable to trace whether this paper was published. It was recovered from his research account (8 pp.), available at http;// WCC. From his record, a few other essays also written during his appointment at Lewis University include: "The New Evangelization" (note 77, above), "A Century of Hope and Transformation, Mission and Christian Unity in Catholic Perspective" (note 112, below), "Reception, the First Three Decades: The Contribution of Cardinal Bernardin" (note 86, above), and "The Significance of Global Pentecostalism for Catholic Ecumenism" (note 85, above). Of the last essays written at Lewis University, "Ecumenical Connections across Time" was published in Pneuma (note 87, above).

(95) Gros, "Church: Hope and Grace,"' pp. 1-2.

(96) Ibid., p. 4.

(97) Ibid., p. 3.

(98) See Gros, "'Inculturating Receptive Ecumenism," p. 1.

(99) Jeffrey Gros, "Eradicating Racism: A Central Agenda for the Faith and Order Movement," The Ecumenical Review 47 (January, 1995): 42.

(100) Ibid., p. 43.

(101) Gros, "Inculturating Receptive Ecumenism," p. 7.

(102) See Gros, "Eradicating Racism," pp. 42-51.

(104) Gros, "By Grace Alone," p. 543.

(104) Ibid.

(105) See Gros, "Disceming God's Will" (note 47, above).

(106) Jeffrey Gros, "The Unity of the Church and Contentious Debate," paper presented at the 28th Annual Lutheran-Anglican-Roman Catholic Conference, May 10-12, 2010, at Bishop Hodges Pastoral Center, Huttonsville, WV, p. 6; available at Compare this with his similar "Discerning God's Will" (note 47, above).

(107) Ibid"

(108) Though this is not the place for an extended discussion on either multi- or interdisciplinarity, in comparison with Allen F. Repko's Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory (New York: SAGE, 2011), Gros's approach represented a multidisciplinary-track investigation, although he believed that science and other disciplines have something valuable to offer theology. Ultimately, Gros as an ecclesial theologian would relegate all other fields to a secondary, albeit important, role. See "Interdisciplinary Forum II," What's a Leader To Do? A Casebook for Leaders of Religious Institutes (Chicago: The Center for the Study of Religious Life, Catholic Theological Union, 2009), pp. 57-106.

(109) Jeffrey Gros, "Formation for Peace in an Age of Conflict," paper presented at Lord's Day Alliance Conference, Just Peacemaking an Agenda for the 21st Century, October 4-5, 2010, at Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, CA, p. 1; available at for Peacemaking.

(110) Ibid., p. 2.

(111) Ibid., pp. 2-3. in ibid., p. 11, Gros acknowledged the contribution of Fuller Seminary's Evangelical leadership under Dr. Richard Mouw, Mennonite John Howard Yoder, and the peaceful resolutions of the Mennonite-Vatican dialogues in choosing to heal memories and in focusing on common peace witness rather than on church-dividing theological concerns.

(112) Here, Gros offered a caveat: "I do not know that such a retreat would help us discern what God was doing in our past and calling us to in our future, but it would give us the opportunity to dialogue with the history that is our burden, and the challenge which is our Gospel hope. It could enliven our imaginations to help us transcend, without avoiding, our heritage and ponder how artists and society have attempted to contribute to our healing" (ibid., pp. 7-8).

(113) He wrote, "Experiences of dialogue, with one's own tradition, with one's own history and with the wider histories of the human family.., can enable the growth toward that zeal for peace, healing and reconciliation that are at the heart of the Christian calling" (ibid., p. 8).

(114) Gros, "The New Evangelization"; and Jeffrey Gros, "A Century of Hope and Transformation: Mission and Christian Unity in Catholic Perspective," available at 2175461/One_Hundred_Years of Catholic_Mission. I am not making any evaluation in this essay as to the differences between Protestant and Evangelical conceptions of evangelism and evangelization in the context of Roman Catholic tradition and especially Vatican 11 developments. For the latter, other than Bevans and Gros, Evangelization and Religious Freedom (see note 20, above), see also Rino Fisichella, The New Evangelization. Responding to the Challenge of Indifference (Leominster, Heffordshire, U.K.: Gracewing, 2012); Avery Cardinal Dulles, Evangelization for the Third Millennium (New York and Mahwab, N J: Paulist Press, 2009); Steven Bouguslawski and Ralph Martin, eds., The New Evangelization: Overcoming the Obstacles (New York and Mahwab, N J: Paulist Press, 2008); and Richard Gaillardetz, The Church in the Making. Lumen Gentium, Christus Dominus, Orientalium Eccleiarum (New York and Mabwab, NJ: Paulist Press, 2006).

(115) Gros, "The New Evangelization," pp. 3-4.

(116) Jeffrey Gros, "Toward a Reconciliation of Memory: Seeking a Truly Catholic Hermeneutic of History," Journal of Latino/Hispanic Theology 7 (August, 1999): 56-75. For an outline of reconstructing the sixteenth-century narrative toward receptive ecumenism at a curricular level, see Jeffrey Gros, "Building a Common Heritage: Teaching the Reformation in an Ecumenical Perspective," Ecumenical Trends 35 (May, 2006): 11-15; and idem, "Indulgence and Our Common Understanding of Grace," Emmanuel 115 (September/October, 2009): 426-429.

(117) Subtitle of Gros, "Healing of Memories."

(118) Gros offered specific curriculum designs and tools to overcome the often inaccurate readings that have resulted in the much polarized perspectives historically. To Protestant students, for instance, he emphasized the varieties of Catholic reformations, especially in Spain and Italy before Luther. To Catholic students, he stressed the content and context of Trent and for moving beyond the stereotypes that were residues of certain interpretations from Vatican I, the 1917 Code of Canon Law, and Vatican II. In his words, "the dialogues initiated by [Vatican If] provide us with the resources for re-receiving the councils of Trent, Lateran IV, Lyons, and Florence" (Gros, "Learning the Ways of Receptive Ecumenism," p. 451 [see note 12, above]).

(119) Gros, "Healing of Memories," p. 193.

(120) Gros "Reception and Roman Catholicism," p. 5 (see note 53, above).

(121) Gros, "Church: Hope and Grace," p. 5.

(122) For more on ecumenical education through a Grosian lens, see Jeffrey Gros, "The Ecumenical Calling of the Academic Theologian to Spiritual Pilgrimage in Service of Gospel Unity," J.E.S. 44 (Summer, 2009): 367-382.

(123) Jeffrey Gros, "Ecumenism: Steps Forward, Steps Backward," The Priest 43 (March, 1987): 1-19.

(124) See Gros, "By Grace Alone."

(125) Gros, "Catholic Priestly Formation," p. 74 (see note 8, above).

(126) See Jeffrey Gros, "Our Hunger for Communion at the One Table of the Lord," Mid-Stream 41 (January, 2002): 1-16. Also see "Future of Ecumenism," The Boston Theological Institute, available at

(127) See review by Jeffrey Gros of Konrad Raiser's Ecumenism in Transition: .4 Paradigm Shift in the Ecumenical Movement? in The Christian Century 109 (July 29-August 5, 1992): 718- 719.

(128) Gros, "Catholic Priestly Formation," p. 74.

(129) See Gros, "Inculturating Receptive Ecumenism."

(130) See Gros, "Toward Full Communion: Faith and Order."

(131) Jeffrey Gros, "Towards a Hermeneutics of Piety for the Ecumenical Movement," Ecumenical Trends 22 (January, 1993): 1-2, 9-12. In Gros, "Reception and Roman Catholicism for the Millennium," he demonstrated among other things how the Catholic Church has been more ecumenical in its approach and hermeneutics than other churches in ecumenical settings. He also observed that Catholic ecumenical charitability was not matched by other churches in the dialogue.

(132) Jeffrey Gros, "One in Faith, Sacramental Life, and Piety," NWCU, Closing Luncheon Address, 2011, p. 4; available at

(133) He also generally acknowledged ecumenical colleagues--Episcopalians, Methodists, Pentecostals--who have taught him much. He wrote: "We are colleagues in this ecumenical task, mentoring each other on how best to interpret a) ourselves, b) our partners, and c) the ecumenical stage we are at, and the future for which we hope, at every step of the way. We know who our friends and mentors are, and they are not always the colleagues with whom we work most routinely or with whom we have had the longest relationship" (ibid., p. 6).

(134) Gros explained hermeneutics in agreement with its use, quoting from "The Ecumenical Dimension in the Formation of Those Engaged in Pastoral Work," no. 11 (Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, March 26, 1995; available at ils/chrstuni/general-docs/rc_pc__chrstuni_doc_19950316_ecumenical- dimension_en.html): "Hermeneutics is understood here as the art of correct interpretation and correct communication of the truths which are found in Holy Scripture and in the documents of the Church: liturgical texts, conciliar decisions, the writing of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and other documents of the Church's teaching authority, as well as in ecumenical texts. Furthermore, ecumenical dialogue, which prompts the parties involved to question each other, to understand each other and to explain their positions to each other, can help determine whether different theological formulations are complementary rather than contradictory and so develop mutually acceptable and transparent expressions of faith. In this way a common ecumenical language is emerging" (quoted in Gros, "Catholic Priestly Formation," p.77).

(135) Gros, "Ways of Receptive Ecumenism," p. 458.

(136) See Gros, "Catholic Priestly Formation," pp. 77-80.

(137) Gros, "Requirements and Challenges of Full Communion," p. 220.

(138) Ibid., p. 221. For an extended treatment, also see Gros, "'Church in Ecumenical Dialogue" (note 90, above).

(139) Gros, "Requirements and Challenges of Full Communion," p. 223.

(140) Gros, "Church: Hope and Grace," p. 4.

(141) Ibid.

(142) David Heim, executive director of The Christian Century, highlighted a conversation with Gros that explains the importance of the hard work of an ecumenist: "A casually expressed opinion about some church figure or church body would usually elicit from Jeffa friendly but incisive correction: if you knew the internal debates within that church, you would understand that X had to say Y in order to let Z know that relations with church W were not being influenced by Q. You got a glimpse then of ecumenism as a fascinating dance of politics, tradition and theology--and of how much study and conversation were required to properly appreciate it" (available at

(143) Gros, "Requirements and Challenges of Full Communion," p. 235.

(144) Ibid., p. 236.

(145) Jeffrey Gros, "Full Communion in Christ: Our Journey into the Unity of the Church--Sign of the Omega Vision," p. 12, paper presented at a Conference on Teilhard for a New Generation, Santa Clara University with Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, CA, November 18-19, 2010; available at Sacrament and Unity.

(146) Gros, "Requirements and Challenges of Full Communion," p. 224.

(147) Gros, "Inculturating Receptive Ecumenism," p. 4. See Jeffrey Gros, "The Universal and the Particular Christian Unity in a Post-Modern World," in Exchange: Journal of Missiological and Ecumenical Research, vol. 37, no. 4 (2008): 444-455. Also see "The Local and the Universal Dimensions of the Church, Reformation-Catholic Dialogue Commission," pp. 396-443, in that same issue.

(148) Gros, "Hope for Eternal Life," p. 251 (see note 88, above).

Timothy Lira T. N. (Bethesda Chapel of the Brethren Network Fellowship, Singapore) is completing his dissertation ("A Constructive Ecclesial Recognition: An Interdisciplinary Proposal") at Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA, where he anticipates receiving his Ph.D. in 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the National University of Singapore; and an M. Div. (2005) from Biblical Graduate School of Theology, Singapore. Since 2012, he has been an online lecturer for King's Evangelical Divinity School in London, and an adjunct professor at Regent University School of Divinity. Since 2009, he has taught adult theology classes at a Presbyterian church in Virginia; from 2003 to 2006, he preached in Brethren and Baptist churches in Singapore, and was an assistant pastor. He was the editorial manager of PNEUMA: Journal for the Society of Pentecostal Studies (2009-11) and has been the volunteer book review editor for The Evangelical Review of Theology and Politics since 2012. He has presented numerous papers at professional meetings in North America and Europe and has published articles, encyclopedia entries, review essays, and reviews in Testimoni della fede nella Chiese della reforma (Rome, 2010), J.E.S., Evangelical Review of Theology and Politics, Blackwell Reviews in Religion and Theology, and PNEUMA. He has a chapter in If I Could Only Preach One Sermon (ed. J. T. K. Lim; Singapore, 2013); online articles in The Christian Post, Singapore, The North American Academy of Church History Blog, and Renewal Dynamics Blog; and numerous book notes in Religious Studies Review.
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Date:Sep 22, 2013
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