Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items:
 Headlines
 News Briefs
 Stories
 Movies
 Word To Life
 More News:
 Vatican
 Africa
 Special Sections:
 2006 in review
 Inside the Curia
 Archives:
 Vatican II at 40
 John Paul II
 Other Items:
 Client Area
 Links
 Origins
.
 Did You Know...

 The whole CNS
 public Web site
 headlines, briefs
 stories, etc,
 represents less
 than one percent
 of the daily news
 report.

 Get all the news!

 If you would like
 more information
 about the
 Catholic News
 Service daily
 news report,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 cns@
 catholicnews.com
 or
 (202) 541-3250

.
 Copyright:

 This material
 may not
 be published,
 broadcast,
 rewritten or
 otherwise
 distributed.
 
 Copyright
 (c) 2007
 Catholic News
 Service/U.S.
 Conference of
 Catholic Bishops.

 CNS Story:

KASPER-ORTHODOX Nov-14-2007 (440 words) xxxi

Cardinal calls it 'breakthrough' that Orthodox discuss authority

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The "real breakthrough" in a new Catholic-Orthodox dialogue document lies in the fact that the Orthodox were willing to discuss how authority was shared and exercised on a universal level in the early church, said Cardinal Walter Kasper.

The cardinal, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, spoke with Vatican Radio Nov. 14 about the document on the unity of the church and how authority is shared and exercised on a local, regional and universal level.

After finalizing the document during a meeting in Ravenna, Italy, members of the dialogue commission planned to release the text Nov. 15. But a Web site associated with the Russian Orthodox Church, whose delegation abandoned the Ravenna meeting, published the text in late October.

Cardinal Kasper said that the Catholic delegates were "very saddened and concerned" that the Russians left the meeting, "but the absence of the Russian Orthodox Church does not take away the validity or the legitimacy of this document."

In the document, he said, "the real breakthrough is that for the first time the Orthodox were ready to speak about the universal level of the church" and not simply about the reality of the church on a local or regional level under a patriarch or archbishop.

The document recognizes there must be "synodality" -- responsibility exercised by all the bishops together -- on the universal level, but also that one bishop must hold the place of honor as the primate and that, in the ancient church, that position was held by the bishop of Rome.

The document said, however, that Catholics and Orthodox disagree on how his leadership translated into a concrete exercise of authority and jurisdiction over other bishops.

Cardinal Kasper said the agreement reached in Ravenna was important, but "it is only a first step."

The next phase of the dialogue will be to examine the role of the bishop of Rome -- the pope -- in the first millennium when Catholics and Orthodox still were united. After that discussion, they will need to look at how Catholic and Orthodox teaching on authority diverged and, particularly, on the development within the Catholic Church of the idea of papal infallibility.

"This will not be an easy dialogue," Cardinal Kasper said. "I think it will need a whole decade" to reach agreement.

The Ravenna document, he said, "is an important first step, a basis, but not more. And we hope with God's help and the prayers of many faithful we can go on with this ecumenical pilgrimage with the Orthodox churches."

END


Copyright (c) 2007 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250