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Members of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches hold talks on the papacy

2009-10-19

But the papacy isn’t the only issue dividing the two Christian denominations.

Card. Walter Kasper
President, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

“I think it will still be a long way. It’s not only a doctrinal question because they are emotional questions of people and you cannot turn around the mind of people from one day to the other. It needs patience and lot of prayers”.

Cardinal Kasper is the man in charge of dialogue between the Vatican and the rest of the Christian denominations. In theory, the process of dialogue would end when the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and other Christian denominations like Anglicans, Lutherans and non-denominational Churches agree on sharing the same doctrine of faith.

Card. Walter Kasper
President, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
“The main problems that need to be addressed are the ones of Ecclesiology: what is the Church, where does it find itself? Who are its ministers? Apostolic Succession, etc. These problems have consequences in the Eucharist, for example, because the ordained person is the minister of the Eucharistic celebration.”

Relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are less tense than with protestant denominations. Mainly because of changes coming from within protestant churches themselves like, female priests, the ordination of gay bishops and divorce as an accepted practice.

Card. Walter Kasper
President, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

“I think ecumenical dialogue is probably going to go on for longer than we thought at the beginning.”

However, the process of dialogue in the coming months will be a positive phase. Cardinal Kasper says the pope may visit a Lutheran church and meet with the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, but these meetings have yet to be confirmed.

PVB/RS