Cardinal Urges Christian Unity

 — Dec. 3, 19853 déc. 1985

by Kenneth A. Briggs, special to the New York Times

[Vatican City] Johannes Cardinal Willebrands, head of the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity, called today for greater efforts to bring Roman Catholics and other Christians together.

The Dutch Cardinal, speaking at a news conference in connection with the Synod of Bishops here, also said conditions were not yet right for the church to ask Jews to forgive Catholics for past persecution.

Cardinal Willebrands said relations between the church and Jews must improve further in order for such a declaration to be well understood and well received. A petition asking for such action had been sent to the Cardinal by Catholics in the Rome area.

He emphasized that the Second Vatican Council had condemned all forms of anti-Semitism and any persecution of Jews.

Issue of Ecumenism

The issue of ecumenical relations was prominent in preparations for the Synod, which was called by Pope John Paul II to review the work of the Second Vatican Council.

The church’s opening toward other faiths after centuries of hostility was seen as one of the most remarkable achievements of Vatican II.

But many non-Catholic religious leaders have asserted that ecumenical initiatives have nearly halted under John Paul II. In addition, there have been assertions that the Vatican seeks to downgrade the Secretariat for Christian Unity.

The presence of 10 Protestant and Eastern Orthodox observers at the Synod, at the invitation of the Pope, and the Pope’s warm reception of them at a luncheon were cited as hopeful signs by proponents of increased ecumenism.

Defense of Secretariat

Archbishop Samuel E. Carter of Kingston, Jamaica, has been among the staunchest defenders of the Secretariat. He said plans to downgrade it reflected meddling by the Curia, the Vatican’s administrative body.

Cardinal Willebrands today urged closer Vatican collaboration with the World Council of Churches, a Geneva-based organization of Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches. The Roman Catholic Church works with the council in exploring doctrinal questions but is not a full member.

The Cardinal said he did not favor full membership but added that Vatican cooperation with the council should be increased.

Posted: Dec. 3, 1985 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: Christian unity, Vatican
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Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Christian unity, Vatican

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