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64 Jurist 6 (2004)
Peter and Paul Seminar: A Follow up by the Theologians and Canon Lawyers to the Groupe des Dombes Publication for the Conversion of the Churches

handle is hein.journals/juristcu64 and id is 10 raw text is: THE JURIST 64 (2004) 6-20

When in Spring, after a severe winter with months of rain and cold, na-
ture once again reveals its vitality in many colourful blossoms, in a
greenness that seems particularly bright, in the smell of freshly mowed
grass, and in rising temperatures, many of us feel a new zest for life. We
awaken from what feels like hibernation and we make plans to change
things: this summer I will do outdoor sports; I will lose weight or will
register for a summer school. We go on the internet and check our op-
tions. We are enthusiastic, but somehow-a few months later when the
air is filled with the first signs of Fall-we realize that we did not accom-
plish what we intended. Our good intention remained what it was: an in-
tention. It did not become part of our life, it did not shape our life because
we did not act on the plans and the vision we had for ourselves. When a
vision is not followed by action, the vision will remain just that: a beau-
tiful vision.
When Pope John XXIII convoked Vatican II he asked the bishops of
the world to reflect with him on the needs of the church and the task of
the church in the world. The bishops gathered in Rome; and they ac-
quired many new insights and formulated these insights in conciliar doc-
uments. As the Council closed, the bishops packed their suitcases, left
Rome and were filled with a new zest for life as they returned to their
dioceses. Since Vatican II had not been held 'behind closed doors', the
whole church was aware of what had happened and was thus hoping and
expecting with the bishops that things would change. The time had come
to implement the vision and thus to shape the life of the people, the life
* Theological Faculty, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.
The editor gratefully acknowledges the receipt of permission from Dr. Freek
Bakker to reprint this text, which initially appeared in Rethinking Ecumenism: Strategies
for the 21st Century, ed. Freek Bakker 1IMO Research Publication 63 (Zoetermeer:
Meinema, 2004) 229-241. This work is afestschrift in honor of Dr. Anton Houtepen, a
Dutch theologian and ecumenist.

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