Ecumenical Formation of Laity Is Crucial, Kasper Says

Cardinal Warns of Need to Avoid Relativism

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ROME, JUNE 25, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Dialogue between Christians is a commitment for the laity, not just for theologians and bishops -- but one that demands formation, Cardinal Walter Kasper says.



The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity warned that if formation in ecumenical dialogue is not carried out, there is a risk of "falling into simplification, relativism, cheap irenic forms, and the plurality of principles that prevails in our civilization today."

Such positions compromise, rather than promote, unity, the German cardinal said as he addressed a seminar held in Rome last Friday and Saturday.

The seminar, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, focused on topic "Associations of Faithful: The Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue."

Seminar participants included groups and ecclesial movements such as Communion and Liberation, L´Arche, Scouts, Chemin Neuf and Renewal in the Spirit.

Leonardo Emberti of the Sant´Egidio Community said that the laity can give singular witness through "friendship, closeness and attention to specific problems."

As an example, he said that after a visit to Sant´Egidio by Anglican Archbishop George Carey, "we decided to work together in Africa to combat AIDS." Ecumenical prayer can also become shared mission, Emberti added.

Emberti is preparing an interreligious meeting for peace, to be held Sept. 2-4 in Barcelona, Spain, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Assisi Day of Prayer for Peace.