Ut unum sint

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Ut unum sint
Latin : That they may be one
Encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II
John paul 2 coa.svg
Date 25 May 1995
Argument About the ecumenical commitment
Encyclical number 12 of 14 of the pontificate

Ut unum sint (Latin: 'That they may be one') is an encyclical by Pope John Paul II of May 25, 1995. It was one of 14 encyclicals issued by John Paul II. Cardinal Georges Cottier, Theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household and now Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Domenico e Sisto the University Church of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum[1] was influential in drafting the encyclical.[2]

Like many encyclicals, this one derives its title from its "incipit" or first few words, which are taken from the prayer of Jesus in the Vulgate translation of the Gospel according to John. It deals with the Catholic Church's relations with the Orthodox Church and other Christian ecclesial communities. This document reiterated that unity of these two sui juris churches is essential, as well as further dialogue and unity with the Protestant churches. This document shows that the Catholic Church is officially moved to unity. It has become a common piece of study in ecumenical classes.

In paragraph 54 [3] the Pope wrote that "the Church must breathe with her two lungs!" In paragraph 79, five subjects are noted to be important for "more clear" understanding that will bring unity:

  • The relationship between Sacred Scripture, as the highest authority in matters of faith, and Sacred Tradition, as indispensable to the interpretation of the Word of God;
  • The Eucharist, as the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, an offering of praise to the Father, the sacrificial memorial and Real Presence of Christ and the sanctifying outpouring of the Holy Spirit;
  • Ordination, as a Sacrament, to the threefold ministry of the episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate;
  • The Magisterium of the Church, entrusted to the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him, understood as a responsibility and an authority exercised in the name of Christ for teaching and safeguarding the faith;
  • The Virgin Mary, as Mother of God and Icon of the Church, the spiritual Mother who intercedes for Christ's disciples and for all humanity.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/2003/documents/ns_lit_doc_20031021_titoli-diaconie-cardinali_en.html Accessed 17 February 2013; http://www.vatican.va/news_services/press/documentazione/documents/cardinali_biografie/cardinali_bio_cottier_gjmm_en.html Accessed 17 February 2013
  2. ^ In an interview in "30Days", 3-2004 Cottier remarked:"Going back to the early years, the first “big” text I worked on was the social encyclical Centesimus annus. And then the Ut unum sint on ecumenicalism, the moral encyclical Veritatis splendor, and the Fides et ratio… also the Catechism of the Catholic Church" http://www.30giorni.it/articoli_id_3545_l3.htm Accessed 17 February 2013
  3. ^ Ut unum sint official text from the Vatican website