Handbook Offers Guidelines for the "Soul" of Fostering Christian Unity

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 16, 2007 (Zenit.org) - At the heart of the whole ecumenical movement is spiritual ecumenism, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

In A Handbook of Spiritual Ecumenism, Cardinal Walter Kasper presents guidelines grounded in documents from the Second Vatican Council, Pope John Paul II's "Ut Unum Sint" and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Spiritual ecumenism is the "soul of the whole ecumenical movement," Cardinal Kasper explains in the handbook, published recently by New City Press.

He encourages readers to contemplate Jesus who, during the Last Supper, prayed "that they may all be one."

Desire and prayer

The introduction of the volume explains: "The quest for Christian unity is, above all, a desire that must be kept alive and a prayer that must be nourished."

The prelate wrote the book, called for by his council's 2003 plenary assembly, with some of his collaborators. He especially acknowledges the help of Monsignors Johan Bonny and Donald Bolen.

The cardinal points out that the text results from personal experiences and cooperation with a group already practicing spiritual ecumenism.

Cardinal Kasper says he hopes "it will contribute to unite us more with our brothers and sisters, in a common prayer around Christ, our only Lord."


Teachings of Christ

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)


When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Go and have pity on all, for through pity, one finds freedom of speech before God. 

Abba Pambo