Cardinal Kasper joins landmark interfaith summit

As G8 leaders prepare to meet in Moscow in mid-July, Cardinal Walter Kasper and religious leaders from all major world religions have arrived in the Russian capital for a major interfaith summit in an unprecedented event for the Orthodox world.

AsiaNews reports the need to work together "despite differences" is what the Cardinal expects to see as the outcome of the World Religious Summit that opened yesterday in Moscow.

The Cardinal, who is chairman of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, heads the high-profile Vatican delegation attending the summit.

The event, unprecedented for the Orthodox world in terms of scope and number of participants, has attracted more than 200 delegates, including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim leaders, from 44 countries.

They have arrived in Moscow on the invitation of the Russian Orthodox Church to discuss issues such as terrorism, poverty, racism, human rights, the defence of life, ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, which challenge faith in today's world.

In addition to Cardinal Kasper, the Vatican also sent four other cardinals: Paul Poupard, Roger Etchegaray, Godfried Danneels and Edgar McCarrick.

Tensions between the Russian patriarchate and the Holy See have held up Pope Benedict XVI's invitation.

Despite the tensions, Cardinal Kasper said that Catholic-Orthodox relations are good. The prelate stressed that "both churches understand that we live in a secular society, and new challenges face us" and "feel that other religions are challenging them in the interreligious dialogue."

Cardinal Kasper explained that the presence of a Vatican delegation at the Moscow summit "is a positive sign, which highlights the improvement of relations."

The Moscow summit will end with the release of a document addressed to G8 leaders whose summit is scheduled to take place in mid-July in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

Despite differences inter-faith summit opens in Moscow in the name of working together (AsiaNews 3/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Russia witnessing second wind in its spiritual revival (Interfax 20/4/06)

Pell to host Muslim cleric at Cathedral Interfaith Prayer (CathNews 31/3/04)
Nun on Downer's interfaith dialogue mission (CathNews 13/3/06)

Vatican Statement to Summit of Religions, "Open Houses Which Can Teach and Practice Dialogue" (Zenit 3/7/06)
Pontiff wishes success to World Religious Summit in Moscow (Tass 3/7/06)
Russia's Putin calls for interfaith dialogue to oppose extremism (RIA Novosti 3/7/06)

4 Jul 2006