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

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)


Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

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

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

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

Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were formed, who we are, and with what nature we came into the world, and how He Who formed and created us brought us into His world from the darkness of a grave, and prepared his benefits for us before we were born. Since, therefore, we have everything from Him, we ought in everything to give Him thanks, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Clement of Rome