theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox
Churches will resume in the fall, says Cardinal Walter Kasper,
president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The resumption of the dialogue was one of the proposals Benedict XVI
made to the delegation of the ecumenical Patriarchate of
Constantinople, during its visit to Rome last week.
In statements Saturday on Vatican Radio, Cardinal Kasper confirmed
that the delegation communicated "officially that in the fall we will
be able to take up again the international dialogue with all the
The official theological dialogue, which is carried out by a Catholic-
Orthodox International Mixed Commission and includes representatives
of the Catholic Church and of the various Orthodox Churches, has been
blocked since 2000, when disputes arose at a meeting in Maryland.
The disputes were over the "Theological and Canonical Implications of
Uniatism." The latter is the term used by the Orthodox when speaking
of Christians, in traditionally Orthodox countries, who are in union
with the Pope.
During a visit to Moscow from June 20-23, Cardinal Kasper was assured
of the Russian Orthodox Church's willingness to take part in the
He said that the topic the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue will first
address is "What Does Church Mean in Reality?"
"Therefore, we will talk about the ecclesial community and, in this
context, we will address the crucial question with Orthodoxy, namely,
the primacy of the Petrine ministry," the cardinal explained.
"In this ambit, later, it will also be possible to resume the
question of the 'Uniate' Church," he said. "I think that at present
these are the aspects that must be considered. It will not be an easy
discussion, but we will finally address openly the problems that
exist between us."
Of his trip to Moscow, Cardinal Kasper said, "The atmosphere was
cordial and courteous; I would not describe it as warm, but certainly
"We have reasoned in the areas where we can collaborate, especially
in the social and cultural field, and how we can offer a common
testimony against the present secularism. There are possibilities of
"We have also said that it would be desirable if meetings were
verified between monasteries, considering the great importance that
monasticism has in the Orthodox Church," he added. "The prospects are