His reasoning is as follows: the 'barque of Peter' (thx M.L.) began its journey as one community of faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah. It must be so again when Christ returns. To authentically recreate that nascent community of belief, all who profess salvation through one baptism into the paschal event of Christ as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all creation must be united in one "Catholic" Church, brought together in faith under the guidance/leadership of the petrine office. Sounds pretty closed-minded to me... which is why I continued reading with some trepidation to happily find that there is another authentic interpretation this papal encyclical.
The Roman Catholic Church will not demand that its separated brethren acquiesce in submission. Rather Cardinal Levada uses the image of a "blending" that unites and yet changes each in the process. Whether one think of it as a braiding of threads or a melding together of individual instruments blending together into a symphonic shout of faith and joy. Thus the addition of each individual instrument will change the expression of the community of faith - the orchestra will sound different.
In the cardinal's extensive explanation of ecumenism, he used the symbol of an orchestra.Again I say here as I have said before: if one reads what these two Popes have written, and consider how these teachings are being currently being interpreted and applied, John Paul I, II, and Benedict XVI will more likely be judged from the terminal encounter with Christ to have been seminal in bringing about the rapprochement that must take place, before that day comes upon us.
"[V]isible union with the Catholic Church can be compared to an orchestral ensemble," he said. "Some instruments can play all the notes, like a piano. There is no note that a piano has that a violin or a harp or a flute or a tuba does not have. But when all these instruments play the notes that the piano has, the notes are enriched and enhanced. The result is symphonic, full communion. One can perhaps say that the ecumenical movement wishes to move from cacophony to symphony, with all playing the same notes of doctrinal clarity, the same euphonic chords of sanctifying activity, observing the rhythm of Christian conduct in charity, and filling the world with the beautiful and inviting sound of the Word of God.
"While the other instruments may tune themselves according to the piano, when playing in concert there is no mistaking them for the piano. It is God’s will that those to whom the Word of God is addressed, the world, that is, should hear one pleasing melody made splendid by the contributions of many different instruments."
Cardinal Levada went on to offer concrete examples of these contributions, noting examples from the Orthodox Church, those of the Reformation, and, of course, the Anglican Communion.
Check out the full article in today's Zenit offerings.