VATICAN CITY (CNS): In most parts of the world, ecumenical dialogue and co-operation are a reality, although suspicion among Christians has not disappeared everywhere, said the Vatican’s top ecumenists.
Cardinal Walter Kasper and Bishop Brian Farrell, respectively, the president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, wrote about the state of Catholic ecumenical efforts in the January 17-18 edition of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
Cardinal Kasper said the Church had reached an “intermediate stage” in which most Catholics are aware of and share the Church’s commitment to Christian unity, but sometimes they are impatient with the progress made.
However, the cardinal wrote, “ancient prejudices” based on past errors continue to block progress in some areas.
Among the new challenges to ecumenism, Cardinal Kasper listed “relativism and post-modern qualitative pluralism”, which are content to accept things without questioning whether they conform to the Gospel, and the problem of “an aggressive fundamentalism” on the part of Christian sects.
In addition, he cited “a sort of doctrinal and, especially, ethical liberalism that creates new dissension both within some communities as well as between them and the Catholic Church”.