WELCOME...

to Bishop David's blog. Here you can find news, information, articles and pictures about the Church of England Diocese in Europe. We have over 300 congregations or worship centres serving Anglican and (mostly) English-speaking people in Europe, Morocco, Turkey, Russia and some central Asian countries.


For official diocesan information please click the diocesan logo on the right.



Saturday, 31 July 2010

Palestinian to Head the Lutheran World Federation


Bishop Munib Younan (above right) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL), was elected on Saturday 24 July to beh the President of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). He received 300 votes (there were 23 against and 37 abstentions). The LWF is a global family of over 120 Churches. I have known Bishop Younan for many years, beginning from my first visits to the Holy Land. He is a passionate voice for justice and peace, not only in his homeland the Middle East, but around the world.

His election is good news for Anglican-Lutheran relations here in Europe, strengthened in recent years by the Porvoo and Meissen agreements. Bishop Younan is a strong advocate of the ecumenical commitments of the LWF; he is personally well aquainted with ecumenical life in our continent. After his ordination he studied and earned a degree in Helsinki, and speaks fluent Finnish!

In his acceptance speech, Bishop Younan recalled that he was first introduced to the LWF through a cup of chocolate milk. He and his family were Palestinian refugees in the 1950s. At the Martin Luther School in Jerusalem, through a gift of the LWF, a daily cup of chocolate milk was offered to the students. Bishop Younan explained, “The chocolate milk physically nourished us refugees and was the answer to our prayer, ‘Give Us Today Our Daily Bread.’ It also nurtured in us knowledge of the theology of the Lutheran communion; it taught us about God’s love.” His election to the LWF's top post will give the dimished and beleagered Arab Christian community in the Holy Land and other countries new courage.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Europe and the Cross

Crucifix Gerbépal.Image via Wikipedia

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is facing widespread opposition to its ruling from last November against the display of crucifixes in Italian schools. An additional 20 countries have now joined Italy in defense of the public display of the cross.

At first 10 countries asked the court to annul the November decision: Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Romania, Russia and San Marino. Lithuania compared the banning to the religious persecution it suffered under communism, when religious symbols were similary banned from the classroom. Now another 10 countries have called the decision of the court into question: Albania, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, FYR Macedonia, Moldavia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. The governments of these countries have requested that national religious identities and traditions be respected, pointing out that in many countries, religious identity is a basis of the values, and a source of European unity.

There are 47 member states in the Council of Europe. With Italy, there are now 21 which publicly oppose November's ruling. Ironically, the Council of Europe states in its founding charter that there is an "unbreakable attachment" of the peoples of Europe to "the spiritual and moral values that make up its common patrimony."

(The Diocese in Europe has a presence in all these countries with the exception of Albania, Lithuania, Moldavia and San Marino).
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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Petertide Ordinations: The Revd Tony Lane

Some further pictures have been sent from Crete, so it is appropriate to mention a further word about the other ordinand, the Revd Tony Lane, who was ordained to the priesthood on 3 July. (I mentioned in a previous post that Fr Tuomas Mäkipää, Assistant Curate in St Nicholas's Helsinki was ordained at the same service).

Priests from Greece, Crete, Turkey, Finland, Austria and the UK participated in the laying on of hands at the ordination, at which the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw was the preacher. The Revd Frances Hiller was the deacon for the celebration and Mrs Christine Saccali, a reader from Athens was my chaplain.

St Thomas's Church was built by Fr Tony and serves the growing Anglican community in Crete. It comprises a smaller building in traditional Cretan style, and an open-air space for worship which incorporates an old grain threshing floor. While Fr Tony continues to serve the congregation as an Assistant Curate in the Greater Athens Chaplaincy, St Thomas's has now grown to the extent that plans are now being made to appoint a resident priest-in-charge. This growth and development is a credit to Fr Tony's pioneering work and pastoral vision.

In the photo below is (a slightly sunburnt) Fr Tuomas (left) with Fr Tony (right).





The website of St Thomas's Church Kefalas is here.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

St Catherine's Stuttgart Hosts Visitors from LWF Assembly


A mixed group of Anglicans and Lutherans, delegates and guests at the Lutheran World Federation Assembly in Stuttgart, descended on our own St Catherine's Church for the eucharist on Sunday 25 July. Close to 1000 people are at the Assembly and they were free to visit local congregations in the vicinity for Sunday worship. Naturally most were hosted by Lutheran parishes. It was good that our own Anglican parish could welcome a delegation. Even though our congregation is temporarily meeting in the Leonardskirche while renovations are being carried out to St Catherine's Church itself, the usual warm welcome awaited us, as well as cake and refreshments in the parish centre afterwards. The delegation remarked to me afterwards how much they felt at home in our very multinational and multicultural parish.

Pictured above from left to right: The Revd Dr David Pfrimmer (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada), Ms Inge Marie Nordstrand (Church of Norway), Fr Michael Naidu (St Catherine's), Fr Ken Dimmick (St Catheriine's), Bishop Trevor Mwamba (Botswana), and Deacon Ulf Kundler (Church of Sweden).

Dr Pfrimmer is an old friend. Close to 25 years ago we worked together in Canada on the Inter-church Committee on Human Rights in Latin America. He now teaches Ethics at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. Inge Marie is probably the Assembly delegate from the point furthest north on the globe. She lives in Tromsø, and is also a representative of the Sami community within the Church of Norway. Deacon Ulf is known to many in our diocese as he was formerly the chaplain to the Bishop of Visby, our companion diocese. He now lives in Stockholm. Bishop Trevor is a member of the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission. (He also appears in Alexander McCall Smith's No.1 Ladies Detective Agency Series and in the BBC TV programmes based on the books). He lives in Gabarone.

In the picture below is also the Revd Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan (in blue), the Director of Unity, Faith and Order of the Anglican Communion with former St Catherine's Churchwarden John Thomson pointing out some sights in the city.



There was one other official Anglican guest at the Assembly, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, who had already returned home, but is pictured below right in the photo of the 4 Anglican guests. Archbishop Hiltz is the Co-chairman of the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission.



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Saturday, 24 July 2010

General Synod - Decisions Made (Besides Women Bishops!)

I have already posted an article about the Church of England General Synod's recent work on women bishops. The meeting in York from 9 to 13 July did cover some other matters as well! Here is a short digest:

Clergy Terms of Service
As part of new legislation introducing "common tenure" for clergy in 2011, provisions for maternity, paternity, and adoption leave were made.The new common tenure legislation will only be applied by analogy in the Diocese in Europe as the employment status of our clergy is different from England and varies in almost every country we serve.

Liturgical business
Final approval was given to an Additional Weekday Lectionary. This provides "stand alone" Bible readings that are especially suitable in length and content for services at which occasional worshippers are present – for example, choral evensong in cathedrals.

Five new commemorations were added to the Common Worship Calendar:
18 January - Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, spiritual writer,
24 March - Paul Couturier, Priest, Ecumenist, 1953
24 April - The Seven Martyrs of the Melanesian Brotherhood, Solomon Islands,
12 May - Gregory Dix, Priest, Monk, Scholar, 1952
3 October - George Bell, Bishop of Chichester, Ecumenist, Peacemaker,

Two other anti-slavery campaigners, Olaudah Equiano and Thomas Clarkson, are to be celebrated with William Wilberforce on 30 July.

Clergy Pensions
Synod agreed in February 2010 to make certain changes to the clergy pensions scheme, including increasing the pension age from 65 to 68 and increasing the accrual period for future service from 40 to 41.5 years. Also the Scheme is to be contracted into the State Second Pension Scheme (S2P.) The full pension from the Clergy Scheme jn consequence will be reduced from two-thirds of National Minimum Stipend (NMS) to half of NMS for future service. The understanding is that members would thereby earn a smaller scheme pension but a higher state pension for future service, resulting in a broadly neutral effect on total pension entitlement from all sources. Clergy in the scheme in our Diocese in Europe cannot contract into the S2P. Senior Staff are preparing some guidance for our clergy and congregations so that a similar broadly neutral effect on total pension can be maintained.

Job Sharing in Ordained Parochial Ministry
A motion was carried requesting the Archbishops’ Council to bring forward legislative proposals for enabling job sharing arrangements between clergy in parochial ministry, especially by married couples.

Fresh Expressions
Synod carried a motion requesting the Archbishops’ Council to identify sources of funding for the production of an online library of resources.

Relations with the Church of Scotland
The Synod endorsed the report Our Fellowship in the Gospel, which sets out ways in which the Church of England and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland can consult and co-operate as two national or established Churches.

Structures
The Synod agreed to the formation of a new Faith and Order Commission, to carry on the functions of the Faith and Order Advisory Group, the House of Bishops Theological Group and the Doctrine Commission.

Background papers for each debate, alongside links to an audio archive of each session, are available at: http://www.cofe.anglican.org/about/gensynod/agendas/july2010/

Friday, 23 July 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury at the Lutheran World Federation


Photo courtesy of Árni Svanur
On 22 July the Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the keynote address at the Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Stuttgart, Germany. He reflected on the Assembly's theme Give Us Today Our Daily Bread and explored a number of interpretations of this line from the Lord's Prayer:

"The bread that is shared among Christians is not only material resource, but the recognition of dignity…and to recognise human dignity in one another is indeed to share the truth of what humanity is in the eyes of God.  We feed each other by honouring the truth of the divine image in each other.”
Archbishop Williams also spoke of the close connection in the Lord's Prayer between the prayer for bread and the prayer for forgiveness. He described forgiveness as
"the exchange of the bread of life and the bread of truth; it is the way in which those who have damaged each other’s humanity and denied its dignity are brought back into a relation where each feeds the other and nurtures their dignity".
The Archbishop reflecting on the Eucharist, said:

"The Lord's Supper is bread for the world – not simply in virtue of the sacramental bread that is literally shared and consumed, but because it is the sign of a humanity set free for mutual gift and service. The Church's mission in God's world is inseparably bound up with the reality of the common life around Christ's table, the life of what a great Anglican scholar called homo eucharisticus, the new 'species' of humanity that is created and sustained by the Eucharistic gathering and its food and drink. Here is proclaimed the possibility of reconciled life and the imperative of living so as to nourish the humanity of others. There is no transforming Eucharistic life if it is not fleshed out in justice and generosity, no proper veneration for the sacramental Body and Blood that is not correspondingly fleshed out in veneration for the neighbour"..  
After the address, the Archbishop answered questions from the assembly on a number of topics, including:

  • on Christian unity: "When we join hands to take risks together for the sake of the Gospel, then we advance the Kingdom"
  • on interfaith dialogue: "Engaging in interfaith dialogue is about sharing a vision of humanity, and joining with those of other faiths in humanising our environment"
  • on loneliness and isolation: "Churches remain the one place where we are reminded we belong to each other. Your life and your death are with your neighbour".
  • on God's love: "in the language of the prophet Hosea, God says "I cannot give you up, I cannot stop giving my love, for I am God and not a mortal"
  • on sacraments: "the energy of the redeeming God is everywhere. In the sacraments a veil is lifted and we see God's activity in Christ".
The Lutherans were deeply moved by the spiritual teaching of our Archbishop and the President of the Lutheran World Federation, Bishop Mark Hanson (below) spoke very warmly of Archbishop Rowan's leadership. It made me very proud of our Anglican Primate.

The full text of the Archbishop's address can be found here.



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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Lutheran World Federation Assembly in Stuttgart

From 20 - 27 July, Lutherans from around the world will gather in Stuttgart for the 11th Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).  I have been asked to be one of the representatives of the Anglican Communion at the Assembly, along with Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the Primate of Canada, and the Revd Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, the Director of Unity, Faith and Order of the Anglican Communion. I was also an Anglican delegate to a previous Assembly in 1997 in Hong Kong.

Archbishop Rowan Williams will pay a special visit to the Assembly on 22 July to give a keynote address. The Archbishop will also have brief meeting with members of our parishes in Stuttgart and Heidelberg as well as Episcopalians from Karlsruhe.

The Assembly of the LWF is every 6 or 7 years and brings together delegates from over 140 member Churches. All the Lutheran Churches which have signed the Porvoo Agreement, and which are in communion with the Church of England are members. (Many other Anglican provinces have agreements of communion with other Lutheran Churches besides, such as the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada). The Church of England also has close links, through the Meissen Agreement, with the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD), which brings together 22 Lutheran, Reformed and United regional Churches. The Lutheran Churches of EKD are members of the LWF. I look forward to meeting many Lutheran colleagues with whom we collaborate very closely in this Diocese in Europe.

The theme of the Assembly is "Give us this day our daily bread". This petition from the Lord’s Prayer has been chosen to challenge Lutherans to define prophetic responses to all injustice that threatens life in abundance: exclusion, poverty, lack of safe water, HIV and AIDS, neoliberal globalization, interreligious conflict and human rights violations.

A significant ecumenical action will take place during the week. The Lutherans will ask for forgiveness, first from God, and then from Mennonite brothers and sisters from the Anabaptist tradition. The Lutheran reformers, Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon, gave theological support to a violent 16th century persecution of Anabaptists. These actions remain vivid in Anabaptist memory. A study commission has enabled Lutherans to come to terms with this painful history, and this world body will now ask forgiveness of their Anabaptist sisters and brothers. The LWF will pray “that God may grant to our communities a healing of our memories and reconciliation.”

The website of the LWF Assembly is here.
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Sunday, 18 July 2010

Petertide Ordinations: The Revd Tuomas Mäkipää

It was a Thomas celebration! The Feast of St Thomas the Apostle, the ordination of Tuomas, in the Church of St Thomas, Kefalas, Crete. On Saturday 3 July, I ordained the Revd Tuomas Mäkipää to the priesthood, along with the Revd Tony Lane about whom I will write later. St Thomas's Church is where Fr Tony is serving as Assistant Curate, within the Greater Anglican Chaplaincy). Fr Tuomas is the Assistant Curate at St Nicholas, Helsinki.



Over 120 people gathered as the coolness of the evening approached, and the sun fell on the Mediterranean horizon. The traditional period of silence kept before the singing of Veni Creator Spiritus was interrupted by a chorus of cicadas. Clergy from Finland, Austria, Turkey, Greece, England and Crete took part and members of the congregation came from as far away as Australia and Zimbabwe. The preacher was the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, the Senior Chaplain in Athens.

In the picture below from left to right: Suvi Mäkipää, Fr Tuomas, Fr Rupert Moreton (chaplain of St Nicholas, Helsinki) and the Revd Dr Jaakko Rusama (Church of Finland)
The website of St Nicholas Helsinki is here.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Revd Eric Lewis, RIP

It is with deep sadness I received the news that the Revd Eric Lewis, a former priest in this diocese, died suddenly last Saturday 10 July, just outside his home in Lampeter. Fr Eric was the chaplain of Holy Spirit Costa Blanca from 2001 to 2007 when he retired to his native Wales. His ministry in Costa Blanca laid the foundations for the strong parish life enjoyed in its 8 congregations, now served by three priests and a licensed reader as well as a number of active retired clergy with Permission to Officiate. Fr Eric was a much loved pastor in what is one of the largest parishes in our diocese. We send the assurance of our prayers to Maria his wife.

Fr Eric's funeral is on Monday 19 July at Lampeter University. Holy Spirit Costa Blanca will be sending representatives to the service.

O God, receive thy servant Eric in his sudden death and take him into thy holy keeping; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Bishop Kurt Koch to Head Roman Catholic Ecumenical Office


Photo: Ch-info.ch

The Vatican has announced that Bishop Kurt Koch of Basel will be the new President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU). Bishop Koch succeeds Cardinal Walter Kasper, who retired on 1 July. Bishop Koch, aged 60, was also the head of the Swiss (RC) Episcopal Conference. Upon his appointment to the PCPCU he becomes an archbishop.

I have not yet met Archbishop Koch so am not aware of his experience or knowledge of the Anglican Communion. However, my Old Catholic colleagues in Switzerland tell me that he is an excellent theologian and ecumenist. The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse, has spoken of Archbishop Koch’s “openness and deep ecumenical commitment”.  He has served on as a member of the International Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. He has also served on the International Catholic-Lutheran Commission for Unity, so it may be that I might meet him at the Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation next week, where I will be one of the Anglican Communion's representatives. 

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Vendée: Confirmation and Admission of New Reader


One of the newest parishes in the diocese hosted its first confirmation service last Sunday. All Saints, Vendée became organised formally within the diocese on Palm Sunday 2007. It is a large pastoral area, about 1/3 the size of Wales, carved out of the chaplaincy of the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes. Its priest-in-charge is the Revd Brian Davies. Confirmation candidates came from All Saints, as well as the "neighbouring" parishes of Poitou-Charentes and Ranton, and were supported by clergy and readers from the three parishes. Since 2007, under Fr Brian's leadership, All Saints Vendée has grown to having three regular worship centres and just under 100 on the electoral roll.

Also on Sunday I had the pleasure of admitting Mr John Matthews as a reader in the Church of England and licensing him to serve in both the Vendée and Poitou-Charentes. He joins Mr Robin Kenyon who is already a licensed reader in All Saints. John, wearing his blue reader's preaching scarf, is in the photo below with the Revd Michael Hepper (left) of Poitou-Charentes and the Revd Brian Davies.

Fr Brian leaves All Saints at the end of November to take up a new appointment as assistant priest in the Aquitaine. His pioneering work in the Vendée has borne much fruit and he will leave for his successor a well organised and vibrant parish in this part of France.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Eurobishop is One Year Old

Today, 14 July, the Eurobishop blog is one year old. In that year there have been 221 articles on topics that I thought might be of interest to the people of this Diocese in Europe and to others who are interested in Anglican life on this continent (as well as in Morocco and Turkey).

I have been pleasantly surprised by the reception of Eurobishop and the many comments passed on to me about how the blog has become an effective and valued way to help people within our loosely-knit diocese feel more connected. The feedback I have received is overwhelmingly positive, so I am encouraged to continue to communicate with the diocese and beyond through this medium.

As I look over the past articles, these are the kinds of things that I have covered:

  • news and developments in congregations
  • brief reports on meetings: deaneries, archdeaconries, diocesan synod, training events etc
  • new clergy appointments and ordinations
  • Church of England or Anglican Communion news items which may be of interest to our diocese
  • ecumenical news items which touch upon our life in some way
  • resources, book reviews
I would value your comments on what sort of articles you would find useful or enjoy. I would also appreciate hearing from you about any ideas for the development and improvement of this site. What do you think about the balance of pictures and text? Should there be a page on the blog for upcoming events in the diocese? (I think there is a way of doing this). Should I invite guest articles or opinion pieces?

I am open to all suggestions!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Porvoo Collaboration in Spain!


One of the congregations in the parish of Costa del Sol East, Spain, meets each week in San Miguel Roman Catholic Church in Calahonda. Unfortunately, San Miguel's has suffered some structural damage: the facade of has fallen off, and it is not possible to continue to use it until repaired. The Porvoo Agreement has come to the rescue. The nearby Norwegian Church were quick to offer our Anglicans hospitality for their services. In the photo above, the Revd Mette Buvik from the Church of Norway presides with the Chaplain of Costa del Sol East, the Venerable David Sutch.

Mette already has Permission to Officiate in the chaplaincy, a provision made possible as under Porvoo, the Church of Norway and the Church of England are in communion. This latest collaboration strengthens the collaboration under the Porvoo agreement in the Norwegian and English diasporas.

The website for the parish of Costa del Sol is here.

Proposal for Women Bishops Moves to the Next Stage

Women bishops of the Anglican CommunionImage by scottgunn via Flickr
After close to 12 hours of debate, on Monday, the draft measure to permit the ordination of women as bishops was approved by the General Synod. It was passed by a sizable majority: 373 in favour; 14 against, 17 abstentions. Earlier in the debate an amendment put forward by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York which would have strengthened provision for those who cannot in conscience accept the ministry of a woman bishop was narrowly defeated, by 5 votes in the house of clergy. Archbishop Rowan remarked that the voting shows the synod is committed to seeing women as bishops while it is also profoundly committed to a "maximum generosity" towards those who cannot in conscience accept this development.

The decision taken on Monday leads to the next step in the process: the draft measure is now to be sent to dioceses for discussion and approval by diocesan synods. The Archbishop of Canterbury remarked that this next stage of consideration in dioceses is not only part of a mechanical legislative task but a process of discernment as well, given that there is depth of feeling on all sides of this issue in the Church of England. The proposed legislation will therefore be a major item on the agenda of our own diocesan synod at its next sessions from 30 May to 3 June 2011.

If the majority of the 44 diocesan synods give their approval, the draft legislation returns to the General Synod in 2012 for any further drafting and final approval, which would require 2/3 majority in each of the three houses of laity, clergy and bishops, voting separately. If passed, the legislation then moves to parliament and must eventually obtain Royal Assent.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Canon Giles Williams Is Licensed to Holy Trinity Cannes

On 26 June, the Revd Canon Giles Williams was licensed by Archdeacon Ken Letts as the new chaplain of Holy Trinity, Cannes. He comes to our diocese from St John the Baptist, Woking, in the Diocese of Guildford, where he has been vicar since 1995.

Canon Williams has also spent 10 years as a missionary in Rwanda where he was the coordinator of an ecumenical Bible translation project with the United Bible Societies. The Bible in Kinyarwanda, very much the fruit of Canon Williams' work, was eventually published in 2005.

Holy Trinity is a congregation is made up of people from many nationalities and ages who live full time or part-time in this famous Riviera resort. The original Church was built towards the end of the nineteenth century. The present building dates from 1973. There is also a Reader in Holy Trinity, Mr David Sinclair. The parish website is here.

In the picture below, Archdeacon Letts reads the bishop's licence to Canon Williams.

We welcome Giles and his wife Christine (they have three grown sons), to the Diocese in Europe.

Monday, 5 July 2010

July 2010 Book Selection

Here is a selection of books for July, all reviewed by Dr Martin Davie, the Theological Secretary to the bishops of the Church of England. All who are keen to keep up with current theology will find this selection a good place to start.

9 reviews are below, featuring works on ethics, inter-religious dialogue, contemplative prayer, video games and theology (!), a commentary on Joshua, and a systematic theology from the brilliant Jürgen Moltmann.

Just click on the read more link. Gute Lektüre!

Friday, 2 July 2010

The Revd Rik Florentinus Ordained Priest


On Saturday 26 June, in the first of this year's Petertide ordination services, Bishop Geoffrey ordained the Revd Rik Florentinus to the priesthood in Christ Church Amsterdam. Fr Rik is serving as Assistant Curate of Christ Church, where the Revd Mark Collinson (above right) is Chaplain.


Rik, his wife Elise and their children are members of the ecumenical community Spe Gaudentes ("Rejoicing in Hope"), a religious community which seeks to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ ministering in the inner city of Amsterdam. Members of the community, pictured above, were present for the ordination. The presence of an Anglican priest in the community strengthens further a vital mission partnership between Spe Gaudentes and Christ Church.


Photos by RicoM

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Cardinal Kasper Retires

The Vatican announced last Friday 25th of June that Cardinal Walter Kasper, the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), would retire on 1 July. Cardinal Kasper has served more than 10 years as the head of this Vatican department during which time he has been a close friend of Anglicans.

The Cardinal is now 77. He was appointed to the PCPCU as Secretary in 1999 from being bishop of the German diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart. In 2000 he was made a cardinal and promoted to being the the Council's President.

Cardinal Kasper, although himself a noted theologian and former professor, always emphasised that ecumenism is not simply "done at the desk" as an academic exercise. "Dialogue is life, Dialogue is an integral part of the life of the Church". Thus he was a strong supporter of our theological dialogue, ARCIC, but was also instrumental in the establishment of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Mission and Unity, (IARCCUM) which is charged with promoting an ecumenism in joint witness, cooperation and life. I had the great privilege of working with him on both Commissions. While he has maintained that the goal of ecumenical dialogue is "full visible communion in faith, sacramental life, apostolic ministry and mission" he also stressed that the goal of unity does not mean uniformity, "but exists alongside cultural diversity, different liturgical rites, different forms of piety, different but complementary emphases and perspectives".

I remember a moving speech he gave at the last Lambeth Conference in which he raised our spirits reminding us to look beyond internal matters:
"But it is important that we not spend all our energy and resources worried only about Church problems. Perhaps we can all have the tendency of looking too much at our navels; in German we have a good word for this: Nabelschau. But our Christian model is not one who sits still, but Abraham, who was called to set out for a foreign land, to forge ahead in obedience to God. We too have been called to look outwards to the world, a world which is in much turmoil and which needs us Christians. It needs us not because we are better than others, but because in St Paul's words, we carry within us a treasure, which is Christ himself, crucified and risen, dwelling in our mortal bodies, in the Church. We carry within us a message of hope, a hope which the world desperately needs, and which is in short supply".
Speaking of his retirement, Cardinal Kasper said, "On one hand, at 77 to be retired is something altogether normal, in fact a liberation. On the other hand, however, I leave a work that I have done with enthusiasm." Anglicans in this diocese wish him every blessing in retirement.

Cardinal Kasper's successor has just been announced: Bishop Kurt Koch, presently the Bishop of Basel in Switzerland.