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Cardinal: Ecumenism a “Movement of Prayer”

Says ’08 Theme Synthesizes 100 Years of Unity Work

ROME, JAN. 18, 2008 ( The ecumenical movement is a movement of prayer, Cardinal Walter Kasper said during the 100th Week of Prayer of Christian Unity.

Speaking to Vatican Radio today, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity commented on the theme of the week — “Pray Without Ceasing” — which he said “synthesizes the entire ecumenical movement of the last 100 years.”

The week of prayer begins today and ends Jan. 25, feast of the conversion of St. Paul. The 2008 celebration of the week marks the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of the “Church Unity Octave.”

“These 100 years have been very rich, under the action of the Holy Spirit,” said the cardinal. “This week of prayer has been very helpful because ecumenism is not our work, but is of the Holy Spirit, and without him it is impossible to have unity.”

Prayer for unity, he acknowledged, “has been very widespread in these 100 years and takes place in the entire world. Above all, in recent years, prayer networks have been instituted between monasteries, spiritual communities, bishops, priests and laity.”

“The ecumenical movement is, therefore, truly a movement of prayer,” said Cardinal Kasper.

Today, he said, Christians are “undoubtedly” more united as “brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, together on the path toward full communion.”

“The ecumenical movement dates back to the cenacle in which Jesus prayed that all may be one,” explained Cardinal Kasper.

He added, “Ecumenism means making this prayer of Jesus our own.”

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