Posts Tagged ‘Ecumenism’
Cardinal Walter Kasper, the genial Schwabian who leads the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, passed the retirement age for Curial department leaders, two years ago. He turns 77 this year. It is interesting to note that the names doing the rounds in Vaticanista gossip are mostly from German-speaking countries.
Senior Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli has mentioned Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller of Regensburg as well as the Bishop of Basel Kurt Koch who had an audience with the Holy Father on Saturday.
+Mueller, from Mainz, is a professional ecumenist and the President of the Commission for Ecumenical Relations of the German Bishops’ Conference. His doctoral thesis was on the Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and entitled “The Church and Sacraments in Religionless Christendom. Bonhoeffer’s Contribution to an Ecumenical Sacrament Theology”. He served as professor of Dogmatic Theology at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilian University and still holds an honorary professorship there.
Tuesday’s news—that the Holy See is offering a canonical structure Anglicans wishing to become Catholics, but keep aspects of their identity—has set the Christian (and secular) interweb a-humming.
A million different interpretations of the statements made both in Rome and in London about the Apostolic Constitution, the highest form of Papal decree, abound, while experts attempt to unravel the process and the politics behind the Vatican move. Speculation is varied: Does this announcement mean the end of the Anglican Communion? Was Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, hopping mad over the news? Had he been implacably opposed to the idea? How will the hierarchy of England and Wales react? Was the Vatican fishing/poaching from the Anglican pool? Showing a vote of no confidence in the Anglican Communion? Is this the end of the ecumenical process? Will it make the Catholic Church more conservative? Will it put an end to mandatory celibacy? Will it foreshadow a structure which the SSPX could adopt if it were to return to the fold after the conversations start on Monday? Is the Pope simply moving forward in his greater plan for Christian unity?
Cardinal Walter Kasper — the gap-toothed Swabian official in charge of the Vatican’s ecumenical department (or Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity as it is known for short)—has launched a book celebrating 40 years of Catholic-Protestant dialogue this week.
Even the people who worked on the book were “positively surprised at how much has been accomplished in these years. It is a very rich harvest that overcomes the polemics and the great historical problems of the Reformation”, the cardinal said.
He said that although there had been great progress, there were some “even among some members of the curia” who held a less than positive view of ecumenism. They believe, he said, that ecumenism “has not borne any fruit and left us with our hands empty.”
Harvesting the Fruits: Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue comes at an interesting time for ecumenical dialogue in Cardinal Kasper’s native Germany, where ecumenical relations have, until the last week, been on the rocks. Read the rest of this entry »