**Cardinal Kasper to unveil new work on papal primacy
ARTICLE: Oct. 11 (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, will unveil a new work this week: a book entitled The Petrine Ministery, containing the work of both Catholic and Orthodox scholars.
The book, for which Cardinal Kasper served as editor, contains presentations delivered at a May 2003 symposium in Rome. Responding to an invitation from Pope John Paul II, who had called for new reflections on the proper exercise of papal authority, the symposium brought together a dozen theologians, equally divided between Catholic and Orthodox, to discuss papal primacy.
Msgr. Eleuterio Fortino, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, explains that the purpose of the symposium-- and thus of the new book-- was not to solve disputes over the nature of papal authority, but to sharpen the definition of the questions at issue-- “to identify the real problems, as well as the evangelical foundation for the primacy.”
The question of papal primacy has been one of the main problems in ecumenical dialogue, particularly with the Orthodox churches. The problem became more acute with the proclamation of papal infallibility by the First Vatican Council. During his visit to Rome in June of this year, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the leader of the Orthodox world, remarked: “It is necessary to speak in depth about the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, papal infallibility, the position of the Pope in the structure of the Christian Church in its totality, because this is the most difficult point in our relations, which still bars the way to full communion.”
Official theological dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox churches has been suspended since the last meeting of a joint international theological commission, held in Baltimore in 2000. At that meeting, the main topic of controversy was the status of the Eastern Catholic churches, which the Orthodox are loath to accept.