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Cardinal Kasper on Anglican-Catholic dialogue

January 26, 2011

Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, the head of the Anglican Communion, has awarded the Lambeth Cross to Cardinal Walter Kasper. The award, begun in 1939, is given to non-Anglicans who have worked to promote Christian unity.

Cardinal Kasper, who served as president the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity from 2001 to 2010, recounted in his address:

I always was eager to understand better Anglicanism. Once you donated me one of your interesting books on "Anglican identities". I said: "O good, since long time I want to understand, what is the Anglican identity." You answered: "Look on, it's about Anglican identities." I know, here I touch a problem, a problem which is not only yours but ours, because when one member suffers, the whole body of Christ is suffering …

Cardinal Kasper added that he saw two “fundamental problems” to face in ecumenical dialogue. The first is “What does it mean to confess the one holy, catholic and apostolic Church and therefore what does it mean to realize this catholicity in its non confessional but all embracing original meaning. What does it mean to be the one Church of Christ in the many churches?”

The second is “How to approach with our message the present modern or postmodern mentality in our secularized and pluralistic Western society. Here difficult ethical and pastoral problems arise and our faithfulness to the Gospel message is challenged. But what means faithfulness beyond fundamentalism and liberalism? These are not easy common questions even the answers are sometimes different.”


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  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Jan. 27, 2011 1:19 PM ET USA

    While Jews and Muslims have their sects too, I always wondered how apologists might approach one of thesm and ask that they consider the Catholic (or one of the thousands of Protestant faiths) brand of Christianity. It's a hard thing, this command of ours, that we go into all the world, teaching and baptizing the nations.