Cardinal: Protestants overreacted to Vatican

12th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 July 2007, VATICAN CITY (AP) _ The cardinal in charge of relations with other Christians said Wednesday that Protestants overreacted to a Vatican document and sought to reassure them that Rome is committed to dialogue with other Christian denominations.

12 July 2007

VATICAN CITY (AP) _ The cardinal in charge of relations with other Christians said Wednesday that Protestants overreacted to a Vatican document and sought to reassure them that Rome is committed to dialogue with other Christian denominations.

Cardinal Walter Kasper said the document released Tuesday contained nothing new and that there was no "objective reason for indignation or motive to feel themselves harshly treated."

The document, in which Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, said other Christian communities were either defective or not true churches and that Catholicism provided the only true path to salvation.

The statement brought swift criticism from Protestant leaders. "It makes us question whether we are indeed praying together for Christian unity," said the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, a fellowship of 75 million Protestants in more than 100 countries.

"It makes us question the seriousness with which the Roman Catholic Church takes its dialogues with the reformed family and other families of the church," the group said.

Kasper made his comments to Vatican Radio in German, directed to an audience where Protestants were angered by the insinuation of defects in Christian denominations other than Catholicism.

He said a careful reading would show that the Vatican does not deny that Protestant churches are churches, but only stated that the Vatican definition of what constitutes a church is one that is traceable through its bishops to Christ's original apostles.

"Without doubt at the basis of dialogue is not what divides us but what unites us, and that is larger than what divides us," Kasper said.

AP

Subject: German news

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