Kaspar: Ecumenism Must Be Faithful To Christ

"…If the search for Christian unity is a search to fulfill Christ’s will, then ecumenism must focus on becoming more faithful to Christ and his teaching, said Cardinal Walter Kasper.

The cardinal, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, presided Jan. 25 over a prayer service marking the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

During his homily at Rome’s Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, the cardinal said, “Jesus Christ is not only the foundation, but also the aim of our ecumenical commitment. In him we will be one.”

Cardinal Kasper said Christians must ask themselves if strengthening faith in Christ is still the focus of their ecumenical efforts and if they are doing enough to ensure faith is not eroded “by so-called liberal interpretations, which call themselves progressive, but are really subversive.”

“Today, when in a postmodern society everything becomes relative and arbitrary and everyone can create his own religion a la carte, we need a solid foundation and a common point of reference,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Kasper said he believes ecumenical progress will come from greater attachment to the Scriptures, a commitment to living the Christian faith and an increased love for the church as the body of Christ.

Questions about the authority of the Bible and the practice of an individual reading and meditating on the Scriptures were part of the original dispute between Catholics and Protestants, he said, “and it is only through reading, studying and meditating on the Bible that we can find unity again.”

“The best ecumenism consists in reading and living the Gospel,” Cardinal Kasper said.

Christians already have a basic communion that flows from baptism into Jesus Christ, he said.

“Therefore, we must reflect together: What does it mean to be baptized from the point of view of faith, but also from the point of view of life? What does it mean for our daily lives and for the responses we give to urgent ethical questions?” he said.

“We run the risk – and sometimes the risk is already a sad reality – of further dividing ourselves over new ethical questions,” the cardinal added.


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