Cardinal Kasper’s Appeal for an Ecumenical Catechism

John ArmstrongMissional-Ecumenism, Roman Catholicism

Speaking at a Vatican symposium, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that an ecumenical catechism would help Catholics and members of major Protestant communities adhere more faithfully to the foundations of the Christian doctrine. Such a catechism would promote "an ecumenism of basics that identifies, reinforces, and deepens Christians' common foundation in Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity as expressed in our common creed and in the doctrine of the first ecumenical councils."

At the site www.Catholic I found the following comments from people who are donors to this conservative Catholic voice. The range of reactions below will give you a good feel for how many conservatives in the Catholic Church react to the idea of "ecumenism." If I took these same comments, changed just a few words in them, and then posted them with Protestant "fear" words towards the idea that we could actually learn from deep relationships with Catholics it would provide the same sense that you get from reading these all too typical responses of some conservative Catholics. Here were the comments, with my own thoughts inside the brackets [ ] following. These comments had been posted by late on Wednesday, February 10:

I guess I'm going to be the "strange voice" here, in that I agree with the proposal of Cardinal Kasper. I believe it is within the parameters already given in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" with regard to the Church's official teaching regarding Ecumenism and Christian Unity. It also seems consistent with Pope Benedict XVI's earlier work as Joseph Ratzinger titled "The True Meaning of Christian Brotherhood." [Note: I am guessing that this comment may have been submitted by a reader of this blog who is, as you will see in reading all the comments that follow, the only sympathetic post re: Cardinal Kasper's encouragement to develop an ecumenical witness through a new catechism.]

The Reader's Digest Catechism! Contributions accepted at $120.00 for jokes (prudent ones published), $75.00 for "Quotable Quotes" (pro Christian) and the section of books and reality stories would be open to publish "reality based stories" that show the complexities of everyday Christian life. This may be a best seller publication. The real question is this: will this publication get Christians to salvation and a place in the heaven with Jesus or to Hotel California prime accommodations? [The cynicism expressed here is astounding.]


The Church has a Catechism already–end of story.

Walter Kasper is in the upper echelons of the Church. That is scary indeed. If the Church embraced it's patrimony and rid herself of the people who held heretical ideas than she wouldn't be in this mess. This near exclusive focus on ecumenism has got to stop or the Church will keep losing more people including me. [The church is in a mess and leaders are always to blame! This is a very unCatholic response actually.]

I don't like the attempts to change The Catholic Church into a church more acceptable to Protestants. Our Church is the church Jesus Christ founded. It is unchangeable and anyone wanting to research our beliefs has only to go to The Catechism of The Catholic Church. That says it all! [Note: Our church is "unchangeable," a view that still refuses to accept the significant role of Vatican II.]

This smells suspiciously like the pie-in-the-sky vision of C.S. Lewis for "Mere Christianity." Sorry, that is an unattainable and unreasonable objective. Mere Christianity, when you boil it all down, is exactly what the Catholic Church has. Take anything away and the whole structure collapses.

Why isn't this man given his papers?

Its stuff like this that makes me seriously consider becoming Orthodox and leaving Catholicism altogether. There is too much compromise and worldliness and has been ever since Vatican II and it is starts right in the highest levels of the Church on down. Pray for me too.

Bad idea Walt. [Protestants clearly have no corner on disrespect for their spiritual leaders!]

I agree completely with Ave Maria. I think we should all pray fervently for a soon retirement of Cardinal Kasper.

This frightens me. As a Catholic convert from the Protestants I can only consider this as the watering down of the teachings of the Church. [When all else fails many people will appeal to "fear."]

I recommend The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Anything else would be watered down. Unity is not found in the least common denominator, but in the fullness of the truth. Cardinal Kasper should resign.

My reason for posting this news, and the comments posted on the Catholic site, is to show Protestant readers how many Catholics react to any kind of ecumenism with fear and loathing. Sadly, this spirit is not limited to Protestants or Catholics. Only the grace of God and the fresh breeze of the Holy Spirit will alter people who fear so deeply loving and respecting those who are not in our communion. These quotes are as sectarian as those you would find on the most conservative Protestant fundamentalist sites. What must we do? Love and pray for unity, which will not come about by the work of the human flesh but by the work of Christ through all Christians who are prepared to humble themselves before the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. O Lord haste the day!