(The following is a summary of Unitatis Redintegratio, of the Second Vatican Council. It retains the original chapter and numbering according to the actual ordered sections of the document.)

Decree on Ecumenism
Unitatis Redintegratio


1. The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principle concerns that the Second Vatican Council. All wish for unity and long for the one visible Church of God. This council wishes to set before all Catholics the ways in which they can respond and take action.

Chapter 1 – Catholic Principals on Ecumenism

2. Christ, the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit each bring a wonderful communion to the faithful. Christ selected Peter, that on him he would build his Church. The Church, then, is God’s only flock.

3. There have been certain rights and dissensions in the history of the church, but the church remains a perfect body in Christ, though its believers are imperfect themselves. We can see elements of the endowments of Christ himself visible outside of the Catholic Church, for those churches were separated have not been deprived of the mystery of salvation.

4. This Council exhorts all Catholic faithful to recognize the signs of the times and to take an active an intelligent part in the work of ecumenism. Catholics must pray for and stay informed about their separated brothers and sisters, and also must gladly knowledge and esteem the true Christianity common to our separated family.

Chapter 2 – The Practice of Ecumenism

5. The attainment of unity is the concern of the whole Church.

6. It is in fidelity that this concern is grounded. Deficiencies and moral conduct and continual reformation must be corrected and formulated.

7. There can be no ecumenism worthy of the name without a change of heart. Therefore we should pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying in service to others.

8. Holiness of life should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and Catholics should also joined in prayer with their separated brethren.

9. We must now get to know the outlook of our separated brethren, from such dialogue the situation of the Catholic Church is truly understood.

10. Sacred theology and other branches of knowledge must be taught with due regard for the ecumenical point of view, not one of polemic nature.

11. The way we express our fate should never be an obstacle to dialogue with our brethren, and also, doctrine should be clearly presented it in its entirety. Therefore the catholic faith must be explained profoundly and precisely.

12. When all Christians confess their faith in the Triune God for all men without exception are called to work together but most of all Christians that bear the name of Christ.

Chapter 3 – Churches and Ecclesial Communities Separated from the Roman Apostolic See

13. There are two chief types of division: First, that of the East who separated in the dogmatic formulae of the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, and later when communion between Eastern Patriarchates and the Roman See was dissolved. Second, the West, stemming from the events of the Reformation.

I. The Special Consideration of the Eastern Churches
14. The Churches in the East hold a special closeness to the Catholic Church in liturgy, ecclesiology, and history. Eastern Christianity stems from proper apostolic teaching, communicated with differing form and matter. Anyone wishing to restore unity is well off when relying on these facts.

15. Everybody knows of the great love which the Eastern Christians celebrate the sacred liturgy, especially the Eucharist. Their communion with the than other is made manifest through this, and some form of common worship is not only possible but encouraged.

16. This holy Council solemnly and declares that the churches of the East have the power to govern themselves according to the disciplines proper to them, which is one of the essential prerequisites for any restoration of unity.

17. The East and West have followed different methods and have developed differently to our understanding and confession of God’s truth. The heritage of their spirituality, liturgy, and their discipline of theology, are declared to belong to the full Catholic and apostolic character of the Church.

18. For unity, it is necessary to impose no burden beyond what is essential, and this Council commends those who develop a closer relationship with those who are no longer living in the East are far from home.

II. Separated Churches and Ecclesial Communities in the West
19. Churches in the West have retained a close affinity with the Catholic Church, though they differ in teachings in matters of doctrine, which is where describing them adequately is extremely difficult.

20. We rejoice to see that our separated brethren look to Christ as the source in center of Church unity.

21. A love and reverence of the scriptures lead our brothers and sisters to a constant meditative state of the sacred text, though these books do often differ from ours.

22. Whenever the sacrament of baptism is duly administered a person is truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ, and though they do not recognize the Eucharistic mystery in its true reality, day due regard that it signifies a communion with Christ.

23. A the daily Christian life of these brethren is one of private prayer, meditation on the bible, solid family life, in a community gathered to worship.

24. Now that we have briefly set the conditions for ecumenical action we look forward to the future with confidence, toward that fullness to which Our Lord wills His Body to grow in the course of time.

Click here to read the full version at he Vatican website.