Cardinal to Anglicans: Church Teaching Is Scriptura


CANTERBURY, England, JULY 30, 2008 (
The episcopal ordination of women will mean a "step backward" for
dialogue between Catholics and Anglicans, warned Cardinal Walter Kasper
at the Anglican Communion's Lambeth Conference.

The president of
the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity addressed today
the once-a-decade gathering of Anglican leaders, under way in England
through this weekend.

L'Osservatore Romano published an
Italian-language transcript of his address, which began with an
assurance of the spiritual closeness of Benedict XVI.

"I know
that many of you are worried, some deeply worried, by the threat of
fragmentation at the heart of the Anglican Communion," the cardinal
said. "We are profoundly in solidarity with you.

"Our great
desire is that the Anglican Communion be united, rooted in this
historical faith, which our dialogue and relationships, over the course
of four decades, have brought us to believe is widely shared."

Kasper directly addressed the two issues that are causing conflict
within the Anglican Communion, and which brought some leaders to
boycott the Lambeth Conference altogether: the ordination of
homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex marriages, and the ordination
of women.

He assured his listeners that the Catholic Church believes its position on both issues is deeply rooted in sacred Scripture.

light of the tensions of past years in regard [to questions on human
sexuality], a clear declaration from the Anglican Communion would offer
us greater possibilities to provide a common testimony on human
sexuality and matrimony, a testimony painfully necessary for the world
of today," Cardinal Kasper suggested.

Regarding the ordination
of women to the priesthood and the episcopate, the Vatican official
affirmed: "I have to be clear concerning the new situation that has
been created in our ecumenical relations. If our dialogue has produced
a significant accord on the idea of the priesthood, the ordination of
women to the episcopate substantially and definitively blocks a
possible recognition of Anglican orders by the Catholic Church."

cardinal recalled Church teaching that the practice of ordaining only
men comes directly from Christ, and the Church is not in a position to
change it.

He was clear that the decision to go forward with the
episcopal ordination of women would have dire effects on ecumenical

"We desire the continuation of theological dialogue
between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church," he affirmed,
"but this last step undermines our objective and alters the level that
we are seeking in dialogue. Now it seems that full, visible communion,
as the objective of our dialogue, has taken a step backward, that our
dialogue will have less defined objectives and, therefore, its nature
will be changed.

"Though this dialogue can still produce good
results, it will not be supported by the dynamism that comes from the
realistic possibility of the union that Christ demands of us or of the
common participation at the table of the one Lord, which we desire so