This afternoon I went to a purely Catholic housegroup meeting in our local Convent. The aim was to do a bit of Lectio Divina and to discuss a talk about Catholicism which had been given in the Church the week before.
It was an interesting contract with the other Lectio Divina group which I have quite often attended in our Church. The difference is that the latter group is open to Christians from other denominations, while the former isn’t.
Not for the first time I noticed that there is a very different dynamic between Catholic groups and ecumenical groups. In the ecumenical groups I very quickly get frustrated with the limited view of Christianity that seems to be the norm. I’ve characterised this before as “We’re all nice people, and God is a jolly nice person too”. In Catholic-only groups there seems to be a much greater willingness to engage with the full spectrum of Christianity.
However true or untrue my perception of this may be I usually come away from a Catholic group feeling satisfied and built-up, and from an ecumenical group feeling frustrated and unhappy.
One of the things I feel very strongly about, as a convert, is that Catholicism is not “just another denomination” - it is radically different from the other denominations. I don’t have enough experience of the Orthodox churches to know whether the same would apply to them - but I suspect that an ecumenical Catholic-Orthodox group might be challenging rather than frustrating!