Ecumenist Cardinal's high hopes for new document

Cardinal Walter Kasper of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has said the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission's new document on the Blessed Virgin Mary can be a powerful "instrument of reconciliation".

Catholic News Service has reported on a message from the Cardinal in which he calls for immediate "wide-ranging reflection on the document itself", so that Anglicans and Catholics can say together that it expresses their beliefs about Mary.

The text was prepared by Cardinal Kasper, but delivered on Sunday at Rome's All Saints Anglican Church by Council Secretary Bishop Brian Farrell, as the Cardinal was ill.

The ARCIC document, Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ, was released last week in Seattle.

"As it is read and studied, it must be our profound hope and prayer that it will serve as an instrument of reconciliation, providing further theological foundations upon which relations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church can be strengthened," the cardinal's homily said.

Cardinal Kasper highlighted the scriptural basis used by members of the dialogue team to overcome "the consequences of not sharing a common faith about the one we both believed to be the Mother of God."

The document used Scripture and the early tradition of the church particularly to explore the basic contents of the Catholic dogmas of Mary's Immaculate Conception and her assumption, body and soul, into heaven.

Cardinal Kasper said the document's "most important statements" about common belief flowed from the way the Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians looked at a text from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, which speaks of God knowing each person from eternity, setting a path, calling, saving and glorifying him or her.

Vatican ecumenist: ARCIC document on Mary could help reconciliation (Catholic News Service 23/5/05)

24 May 2005