Josemaría Escrivá Obras

You also wanted to know how Opus Dei fits into ecumenism. Last year I told a French journalist — and I know that the anecdote has been retold, even in publications of our separated brethren — what I once told the Holy Father John XXIII, moved by the affable and fatherly kindness of his manner: 'Holy Father, in our Work all men, Catholics or not, have always found a welcome. I have not learnt ecumenism from your Holiness'. He laughed, for he knew that way back in 1950, the Holy See had authorised Opus Dei to receive in the Association as Cooperators people who are not Catholics or even Christians.

In fact there are many separated brethren who feel attracted by the spirit of Opus Dei and who cooperate in our apostolate, and they include ministers even bishops of their respective confessions. As contacts increase, we receive more and more proofs of affection and cordial understanding. And it is because the members of Opus Dei centre their spirituality simply on trying to live responsibly the commitments and demands of Christian Baptism. A desire to seek Christian perfection and to do apostolate, endeavouring to sanctify their own professional work; the fact of living immersed in secular reality and respecting its proper autonomy, but dealing with it with the spirit and love of contemplative souls; the primacy which we give in the organisation of our apostolate to the individual, to the action of the Spirit upon souls, to the dignity and freedom which derive from the divine filiation of Christians; the defence of the legitimate freedom of initiative, within a necessary respect for the common good, against the monolithic and institutionalistic conception of the apostolate of the laity; these and other aspects of our way of being and acting are so many points of easy contact with our separated brethren. Here they find, put into living practice, a good many of the doctrinal presuppositions in which they, and we Catholics, have placed so many well-founded ecumenical expectations.

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