Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has spoken for the first time about Anglicanorum Coetibus, the apostolic constitution for Anglicans.
In an interview with L’Osservatore Romano over the weekend, the cardinal began by talking about a late night telephone call he received from Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury. Cardinal Kasper was, at the time, in Cyprus for the latest round of the joint Catholic-Orthodox theological commission.
“We talked about the meaning of the new apostolic constitution, and I reassured him about the continuation of our direct dialogue, as indicated by the Second Vatican Council and as the Pope wants,” Cardinal Kasper said. He added that the archbishop replied by saying “that this reaffirmation was very important to him.”
The cardinal said Williams “has maintained a balanced attitude since he was informed. Our personal relations are friendly and transparent. He is a man of spirituality, a theologian. Actually, today the only obstacle to ecumenical dialogue comes from internal tensions in the Anglican world.”
The apostolic constitution, he stressed, “is really understood as coming from the Second Vatican Council and the direct dialogue” that has come from it. He said there had been “great hopes” the Church and the Anglican Communion would come closer in relations, also because of a common tradition. But the expectations were “a little disappointed, especially recently” because of internal developments in the Anglican Communion, and he highlighted the problems over the ordination of women, women bishops, the consecration of a homosexual bishop, and the blessing of same-sex unions.
Cardinal Kasper said it wasn’t only pro-Catholic Anglicans who have been critical of the Anglican Communion’s direction; most of them are evangelicals, but he said they are not likely to become Catholics.
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