NEW YORK—Walter Cardinal Kasper discussed the challenges and opportunities of ecumenism after accepting an honorary doctorate of humane letters at a special convocation on March 16 in McNally Amphitheatre at Fordham Law School.
“It is not a matter of choice for us whether we wish to continue to work ecumenically or if we should say goodbye to ecumenism. Ecumenism is our duty and our obligation” said Cardinal Kasper in his address, “Ecumenical Situation, Ecumenical Problems, Ecumenical Perspectives.”
Cardinal Kasper has devoted much of his life to interreligious dialogue, and in 2001, Pope John Paul II appointed him president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and president of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. Cardinal Kasper is also an accomplished theologian and the author of many books and articles about Christian ecumenical relations, including Leadership in the church: How Traditional roles Can Serve the Christian Church Today (Crossroads, 2003).
“Our world is becoming increasingly unified in regards to technology and the economy,” said Cardinal Kasper. “But at the same time the peaceful co-existence of individuals and peoples is profoundly threatened by religious conflicts—or rather ethnic, political or other conflicts under the guise of religion. At such a time, the dialogue between churches and religions is a prerequisite for the survival of humanity in peace and freedom.”
Special guests attending the event included Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, who delivered the benediction; Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham; and His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, the spiritual leader of Greek Orthodox Christians in the United States.