Cardinal Affirms Common Goals With Orthodox

Visits Belarus for Christian-Jewish Dialogue Congress

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MINSK, Belarus, NOV. 12, 2009 ( The head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is affirming the enemies of believers are secularism and godlessness, not members of other faiths.

Cardinal Walter Kasper stated this Tuesday during a meeting with the bishops’ conference of Belarus. The prelate arrived Sunday to this country for a visit at the invitation of Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk.

Along with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, the Vatican official participated in a conference on Christian-Jewish dialogue that ended Wednesday.

On the day of his arrival, Cardinal Kasper gave the homily in an opening Mass, in which he recalled that this is his second visit to Minsk, his first taking place Dec. 14-18, 2002.

He affirmed that he visited “the Belarusian capital to meet with the Most Reverend Metropolitan Filaret and lecturers of the Institute of Theology of Belarusian State University.”

The prelate stated: “We already became good friends as we are guided by the same objective: to work together in order to reach full communion of the Catholic and the Orthodox Church.”

In his meeting with the Catholic bishops’ conference, Cardinal Kasper stated: “We need to listen to other people, change our way of thinking and hearts. Only then will it be the true ecumenism.”

He described three columns of ecumenism: dialogue with the Orthodox Church, dialogue with Protestant communities — such as that with the Anglicans that has been recently furthered by the document on those wishing to enter the Catholic Church — and working with new movements in the Church.

The cardinal affirmed: “Our enemies today are not other confessions, but secularism and godlessness.

“This is why we need a joint answer to the challenges of the present.”

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