Monday, May 24, 2010

Cardinal Kasper in Liverpool: 'Ecumenism requires courageous risks'

From Liverpool-

More than two thousand Christians from throughout Merseyside and region gathered at Liverpool's two Cathedrals on the Feast of Pentecost in a visible celebration of their unity. They were joined on their ecumenical journey between the two Cathedrals along Hope Street by Cardinal Walter Kasper, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who had travelled from Rome for the occasion.

He preached at the Two Cathedrals service which began at the Anglican Cathedral and following the procession along Hope Street, concluded at the Metropolitan cathedral. It was at Pentecost in 1982 that Pope John Paul II visited Liverpool and processed along Hope Street between the two Cathedrals and celebrated Mass, and since that time, the Two Cathedrals Service has regularly taken place on Pentecost Sunday, with thousands of pilgrims celebrating unity by walking along Hope Street.

Another significant landmark was the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Covenant of Unity, signed by Merseyside's church leaders in the Anglican Cathedral in May, 1985.

Cardinal Kasper referred the challenges of ecumenism and the importance of walking in unity 'on the road of hope' in his sermon, before joining in the walk along Hope Street.

He said we read in the Acts of the Apostles how everybody heard the apostles in their own language and were united in listening to the same message. 'But this new unity and new universality was not at all a uniformity, it meant unity within diversity and diversity within unity. And what else is the goal of ecumenism today other than this kind of unity within diversity of all believers in Jesus Christ.'

But as we all know, said the Cardinal, there does not exist only unity and love. 'This reality is against Christ's will, is against the testament he left us on the eve of his death when he prayed that all be one...this reality of a divided Christendom is sin and is a scandal. It damages the holy task that is the mission given by the Spirit to spread the Gospel all over the world in order to reconcile peoples and to bring them together.'

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