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."