Containing a representative collection of essays and papers written by Bishop Michael Putney, this book represents “an insight into the ecumenical engagement of the Catholic Church over a few decades” (p 243). Written by someone widely regarded as the leading ecumenist in Australia for most of his lifetime, they reveal, according to the editors, a threefold focus on this fundamental aspect of Church life, namely:
First, they show us the characteristics of the ecumenical methodology of the Catholic Church. In this sense, they help us recognise the gifts that Catholics bring to the ecumenical encounter. Second, they show us why ecumenism is at the heart of the Catholic understanding of the church and its mission and not just an appendix that is for the devotees of ecumenism. Third, these articles give solid foundations for engaging in the tasks that present face the churches. (p 244)
This book was a very enjoyable read, with each article standing entirely on its own but contributing to the greater story experienced and shared by Bishop Michael. For anyone who seeks to understand the Church, and the Catholic Church’s place in ongoing dialogue and conversation with other Christians, this book is a must read.