Card. Kasper: Anglican conversions – fruit of authentic ecumenism

From CNA:

Vatican City, Nov 23, 2009 / 01:22 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, explained last week that the entrance of  Anglicans into the Catholic Church is the fruit of authentic ecumenism inspired by the Second Vatican Council.  [I must admit, I didn’t think I would hear this from him.]

On the eve of a scheduled meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the leader of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams, Cardinal Kasper commented on the openness of the Catholic Church to Anglicans who asked to be admitted into full communion.

Ecumenism is not an “option” that the Church can accept or reject but is rather “a sacred duty,” he said.

Ecumenism is not an appendix of our pastoral obligations or a luxury. The principles of the Vatican II decree ‘Unitatis redintegratio,’ that is, ecumenism in truth and love, are also valid for the future. This decree is the magna carta of our ecumenical journey towards the future,” the cardinal said.

The decree "Unitatis redintegratio” states that “promoting the restoration of unity between all Christians is one of the main ends proposed by the sacrosanct Vatican Council II,” he added.

Cardinal Kasper added that the effort to reach out to Anglicans is in complete conformity with the decree, “which distinguishes between conversions and ecumenism as dialogue with the other churches for the purpose of full communion.”

He reiterated that the decree does not represent “a new ecumenism,” but rather the fruit of the ecumenical dialogue of recent decades, “a strong drive to move ahead in our ecumenical commitment.”


Might we say that this is the fruit of a true ecumenism?

Remember!  Liberals want to be the ones to define what ecumenism and who may be involved.  Generally they only want people involved who are themselves liberals. 

But Pope Benedict is the Pope of Christian Unity.  He is the herald of true ecumenism.

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  1. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    I must admit that neither did I expect that he would ever admit such a thing. Might we say that the Pope of Christian Unity is having an effect on him in regard to true ecumenism? Cosi sia!

  2. Supertradmom says:

    This is a great article, albeit short. I am so pleased at Cardinal Kasper’s comments. I sincerely hope these words have an effect on others in the Church. The Catholic Church is regaining Her missionary “light”, hidden under the bushel of “political correctness” and false compassion for years and years. Thank you for posting this.

  3. Peter says:

    I can see the benefit of these statements. However I must confess to a certain amount of cynicism. These comments attempt to regain credibility for the shape-shifting that has been ecumenism.

    I must also confess to not having read the documents to which he refers, but if this quote is from them “which distinguishes between conversions and ecumenism as dialogue with the other churches for the purpose of full communion.” I have to wonder if the SSPX haven’t been onto something all along.

    What does the rituale for the Extraordinary Form contain – the Reception of CONVERTS.

    The reality has remained the same – communion with [conversion to] the Catholic Church secures one the sure path to salvation. However the post-V2 language obscures this reality.

    I’m also disquieted by using the descriptor ‘sacrosanct’ for V2.

  4. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Ecumenism should lead to union if you’re doing it right.

    Endless conversations merely produce hot air.

  5. The Astronomer says:

    “…sacrosanct Vatican Council II>”

    And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, sums up what apparently constitutes the entirety of the Magistrium for His Eminence.

  6. kgurries says:

    In other words, enterance into the Catholic Church (i.e., “conversion”) is the fruit of true ecumenism. That is its goal and direction. Its not about “dialogue” as an end in itself — but it oriented towards something greater. Nice affirmation by the Cardinal.

  7. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    It is a useful practice to go back every now and then and reread the various documents of Vatican II (though I confess I find Gaudium et Spes to be so very dated). What Cardinal Kasper is saying is right in line with Unitatis Redintegratio. Looking especially at UR 4, we find a three-step process described as true ecumenism: 1) avoid harsh words and misrepresentation of our separated brethren; 2) respectful dialogue between competent scholars with a view toward better understanding of what we believe in common and where our real differences lie; and 3) “when the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion have been gradually overcome, all Christians will at last, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, be gathered into the one and only Church in that unity which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning.” Too many professional ecumenists are stuck at step 2. Cardinal Kasper says it’s time (for those in the Anglican tradition who are ready) to move on to step 3.

  8. For years I have discussed with Catholics that if the ecumenical dialogue was to be fruitful, the non-Catholic party would have to accept Catholicism. I don’t believe that Cdl Kasper was admitting that point at all, insisting that the non-Catholic party could remain in their sect or denomination. Perhaps that is why he was not present in either Rome or Canterbury when the announcement of Anglicanorum Coetibus was made.

  9. rinkevichjm says:

    Ecumenism may have opened their eyes however the truth given by apologetics and far more importantly renewal of the world by the grace of the Holy Spirit responding to the many prayers of the faithful brought about this conversion to the Church.

    It always seems like every apologist is surprised he had any part in anyone’s conversion but every ecumenal supporter claims even the most remote ones as converted by ‘his’ efforts. Only the Holy Spirit can convert hearts, apologists are well aware they chase people away, and ecumenical efforts often cause people to fall away. Keep on praying!

  10. MichaelJ says:

    If “the entrance of Anglicans into the Catholic Church is the fruit of authentic ecumenism inspired by the Second Vatican Council” (and I believe it is), it follows that there has also been a “rotten fruit of counterfeit ecumenism”. Otherwise, the distinction of “authentic ecumenism” is rather meaningless.

    George Weigel take note. Before demanding that anyone “accept ecumenism as defined by the Vatican II Council”, make sure that you truly understand what authentic ecumenism really means.

    I daresay that had “authentic ecumenism” truly been implemented, practiced and explained as the good Cardinal just has, there would have been no objections to “ecumenism” by certain groups.

  11. Davidtrad says:

    So, if its a success, then its because of VCII. He’s covering his bases.

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