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Cardinal calls for 'crucial' formation of laity in ecumenism

Pesident of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Walter Kasper, has said lay Catholics - and not just theologians and bishops - must be trained to engage in ecumenical dialogue.

He warned that if such formation is not carried out, the consequences will be "simplification, relativism, cheap irenic forms, and the plurality of principles that prevails in our civilisation today."

Such positions compromise, rather than promote, unity, the German cardinal said as he addressed a seminar held in Rome last Friday and Saturday.

The seminar, organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, involved movements including Communion and Liberation, L'Arche, Scouts, Chemin Neuf and Renewal in the Spirit.