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Bid to Heal Ecumenical Relations

WASHINGTON (CNS): The Australian-born head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, has admitted that a recent Vatican document “has had a very negative impact” on ecumenical relations around the world, but expressed confidence that the harm can be repaired.

In a candid exchange with students and faculty at The Catholic University of America in Washington on November 15, Cardinal Cassidy said: “We must try to rebuild bridges which have been a little bit damaged”. He was responding to a question about “Dominus Iesus”, the document on the Catholic Church’s role in salvation issued in September by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The document stresses the universal validity of Catholic Christianity and warns of the dangers of “religious pluralism” in dialogue.

Cardinal Cassidy, who has been president of the Christian unity council since 1989, said negative reaction to “Dominus Iesus” led officials of the Anglican Communion to decline an invitation to join Pope John Paul II on October 31 as he proclaimed St Thomas More the patron saint of politicians.

It also caused the cancellation of a planned march of reconciliation from Assisi to the catacombs that would have involved leaders of many Christian religions, he said, adding, “Everybody said no”.

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