Cardinal Kasper reviews the situation on ecumenism and interreligious dialogue

Source: FSSPX News


On September 10, 2005, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the Unity of Christians, told La Repubblica of plans for a meeting between Benedict XVI and the patriarch of Moscow, Alexis II, as well as a summit bringing together the pope and all the heads of the Orthodox Churches.

 “From now on, our meeting together no longer presents a problem. Up until now, Alexis II has maintained that in the first place, we should resolve the problems of Catholic proselytism and of Uniatism. In our estimation, this could be done during the meeting, through a well-prepared joint declaration. We have already stated very clearly that proselytism is neither the intention, the policy or the strategy of the Catholic Church.”

 “In the remote future, we could consider a meeting between the pope and all the patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches.” For this, “a long preparation would be required”: the main question which Catholics and Orthodox must look into, in order to favor their reconciliation, would be that of the relationship between pontifical primacy and synodality.

 “This is a hypothesis, a desire, on our part. Up to now, there is no definite plan for a meeting or a summit, but we are working to make this a possibility,” declared the German cardinal, speaking at the 19th International and Interreligious meeting for Peace organized by the Sant’Egidio community between September 11 and 13 in Lyons, France. He added: “These days, the Orthodox members – of the Joint Theological International Commission – are meeting at Phanar in Istanbul in order to take up once again our work of theological discussions between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church at the end of this Fall, I hope. These discussions, interrupted since 2001, should start again with the Coordinating Commission next November or December, and then with the Plenary Commission in Spring 2006.”

 In the same interview given to La Repubblica, Cardinal Kasper announced the publication next October of a new document, common to Lutherans and Catholics. The text is entitled: The Apostolate of the Church and the Apostolic Succession. “A very solid” document, it speaks of “significant advances towards a consensus” and tackles “open questions, even differences of opinion.”

On May 16, the International Catholic-Anglican Commission had already published a joint document entitled “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ”, marking the will to go beyond the doctrinal divisions on the Virgin Mary.

 The cardinal added that Christianity and Islam were “the two great world religions.” There exist “fundamental differences between them, but in order to ensure peace in the world and above all in Europe, many things depend on relations between these two religions. It could not be a question of syncretism, but of a mutual recognition” He added that Benedict XVI wished to pursue relations in “the sense of a working together.”