Rome in 'almost full communion' with Antioch
- An interesting, but disturbing, comment from a leading RC Cardinal on
Rome's relationship with the Church of Antioch. See particularly the
fifth to last paragraph.
Vatican disinformation? - or........
ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome
The Crisis of Ecumenism, According to Cardinal Kasper
A Delicate Project "Totally Different from Relativism"
ROME, MARCH 7, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The ecumenical movement risks
losing young people unless it can produce a vision for the future,
says the cardinal who oversees the cause.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for
Promoting Christian Unity, recently delivered an address evaluating
ecumenism. The address appears in the latest edition of the Italian
biweekly Il Regno.
"To a certain degree, the crisis of the ecumenical movement is the
consequence of its success," the German cardinal writes.
"The more we come closer to one another, the more painful is the
experience of not yet being in full communion among ourselves, which
creates a certain dissatisfaction and frustration," he states.
Moreover, "the new generation of faithful and priests has not lived
through the council and does not understand how things have changed,"
Cardinal Kasper observes.
In this context, he mentions three key challenges:
--"In the first place, we must promote ecumenical formation and the
reception of ecumenical results. The results of ecumenical progress
have yet to penetrate the heart and flesh of our Church and of the
--"In the second place, we must clarify and renew the ecumenical
vision. We need a new ecumenical language and impulse. We run the
risk of losing a whole generation of youths if we are not capable of
giving them a vision."
--Third, Cardinal Kasper appealed for the harmonizing of dialogue and
identity. In this context, he emphasizes, "One can see what the
problem and advantages of ´Dominus Iesus´ are, which highlighted the
question of identity."
"Dominus Iesus" was the August 2000 declaration by the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith on the uniqueness and salvific
universality of Jesus and the Church. Though criticized for sounding
less than ecumenical, it basically reiterated magisterial teaching on
the nature of the Catholic Church.
"We must underline clearly that serious ecumenism is something
totally different from confessional indifference and relativism; it
tends to gravitate around the highest common denominator," Cardinal
The cardinal then reviews the situation of relations between
Catholics and other Christian confessions.
"We are increasingly conscious of the fact that an Orthodox Church
does not really exist," he contends. "At the present stage, it does
not seem that Constantinople is yet capable of integrating the
different autocephalous Orthodox Churches; there are doubts about its
primacy of honor, especially in Moscow."
He continues: "With Moscow, dialogue at the universal level at
present is very difficult; the situation is improving with Greece; in
the Middle East, in the territory of the ancient See of Antioch, the
situation is completely different and there already is almost full
Cardinal Kasper points out the tensions within the Lutheran world on
the question of ministries as well as tensions in the realm of the
Given the above, he believes that over the next few years, ecumenism
must progress "at two, or even more, speeds."
However, he cautions, "we must avoid giving the impression of ´divide
et impera.´ We would engage in bad ecumenism if we created new
divisions in the other Churches or confessional families, or if we
tended to a new form of ´Uniatism.´" The latter -- considered a
pejorative term in the East -- signifies the Eastern Christians who
left the Orthodox Church to join Rome.
"A two-speed ecumenism is something very delicate. However, in the
present situation there is no realistic alternative," Cardinal Kasper