Switzerland: the challenge of interreligious dialog

Source: FSSPX News


Interviewed by the ecumenical press agency ENI, pastor Konrad Reiser, outgoing Secretary General of the World Council of Churches (WCC), feels that interreligious dialog will be an “ecumenical challenge because it calls on the churches to reexamine their conception of the place of Christianity in a world of religious pluralism. The expectation, the dream, the underlying vision of a Christian hegemony which could have stimulated and inspired the ecumenical movement of previous generations has certainly come to an end. And that’s why the Christian community, the Christian churches must rethink their place so as to avoid becoming a source of interreligious problems and in order to contribute to their solution.”

Speaking about relations with the Roman Catholic Church which, even if it is not a member, has representatives in the heart of the two commissions of the WCC, Konrad Raiser remarked that certain signs show that “the advances have slowed over the course of the last ten years”. While one can understand that the Vatican has taken the decision not to join the WCC, “hopes for a building up of areas of cooperation have not materialized. In fact, a good number of bonds, made after Vatican II, have been undone since then.” However, he remarked, one can observe that sections of the Roman Curia seem interested in reestablishing contacts with the WCC, and that a debate has begun regarding “a new configuration of the organized ecumenical movement” which will go beyond the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church.

Raising the question of the future, Konrad Raiser said he believed in “the ecumenism of the people”. We must no longer, he said, “allow ourselves to get bogged down by very abstract problems because our leaders can only urge patience and prayer. It’s not enough any more, he said. I think that we must get beyond the institutionalized confines of organized ecumenism which, having become too burdensome, absorbs too much of our energy, in order to free the potential which exists among the people of God.”

Pastor Konrad Raiser retired January 1, at the age of 65, leaving it to his successor, the Kenyan pastor Samuel Kobia.