May They Be One! Will 2013 Be the Year of a Lutheran Ordinariate?
ranging and insightful interview with the Cardinal which can be read in its entirety here. Here is an excerpt:
"ZENIT: You are the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The dialogue with Protestants is, in fact, very important in Germany. In your opinion, what progress has been made recently in Germany and what can be expected concretely from the Synod?"
"Cardinal Koch: The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification signed in August of 1999 was undoubtedly a great step forward in the ecumenical dialogue with Lutherans. The task remaining now is to discuss the ecclesiological consequences of this Joint Declaration. What is clear, in fact, is that the Evangelicals have another understanding of the Church in regard to Catholic Christians. It's not enough to recognize one another mutually as a Church. What is needed, rather, is a serious theological dialogue on what constitutes the essence of the Church."
"ZENIT: Is a solution similar to the Anglicanorum coetibus for Anglicans possible for Evangelical Christians?"
"Cardinal Koch: Anglicanorum coetibus was not an initiative of Rome, but came from the Anglican Church. The Holy Father then sought a solution and, in my opinion, found a very broad solution, in which the Anglicans' ecclesial and liturgical traditions were taken into ample consideration. If similar desires are expressed by the Lutherans, then we will have to reflect on them. However, the initiative is up to the Lutherans."
Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity. He has placed the commitment to the full communion of the Church at the forefront of his Papacy. This is evident in his love, respect and repeated overtures toward our Orthodox brethren, whom we recognize as a Church and whose priesthood and Sacraments we also recognize.
However, this love is also evident in his outreach to the separated Christians of the Reformation communities of the West. On the 4th anniversary of the death of his predecessor, John Paul II, Pope Benedict reminded us of John Paul's passionate commitment to the full communion of the Church. That teaching is summarized in the Encyclical Letter "May they be One" (Ut Unum Sint).
To be Catholic is to enter into the prayer of Jesus for the Unity of His Church. In Pope Benedict XVI's first Papal message he signaled his commitment to this kind of unity: "Nourished and sustained by the Eucharist, Catholics cannot but feel encouraged to strive for the full unity for which Christ expressed so ardent a hope in the Upper Room. The Successor of Peter knows that he must make himself especially responsible for his Divine Master's supreme aspiration. "
"Indeed, he is entrusted with the task of strengthening his brethren (cf. Lk 22: 32). With full awareness, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome which Peter bathed in his blood, Peter's current Successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers. This is his ambition, his impelling duty."
The teaching of the Catholic Church is rooted in an ecclesiology of communion. Blessed John Paul II wrote: "It happens for example that, in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, Christians of one confession no longer consider other Christians as enemies or strangers but see them as brothers and sisters. Again, the very expression "separated brethren" tends to be replaced today by expressions which more readily evoke the deep communion linked to the baptismal character which the Spirit fosters in spite of historical and canonical divisions."
"Today we speak of "other Christians", "others who have received Baptism", and "Christians of other Communities". The Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism refers to the Communities to which these Christians belong as "Churches and Ecclesial Communities that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church. The broadening of vocabulary is indicative of a significant change in attitudes" There is an increased awareness that we all belong to Christ."(#42)
John Paul also wrote: "Relations between Christians are not aimed merely at mutual knowledge, common prayer and dialog. They presuppose and from now on call for every possible form of practical cooperation at all levels: pastoral, cultural and social, as well as that of witnessing to the Gospel message. Cooperation among all Christians vividly expresses that bond which already unites them, and it sets in clearer relief the features of Christ the Servant".
"This cooperation based on our common faith ...
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Anglican ordinariate, Lutheran ordinariate, Cardinal Koch, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Pope Benedict XVI, Prayer for Christian Unity, Ut Unum Sint, Deacon Keith Fournier
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