Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is presiding at a seminar dedicated to the theme: "The Search for Christian Unity: Where We Stand Today." The event has been jointly organized by the pontifical council, the office of ecumenical and inter-religious affairs of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea.
The aim of the seminar, being held in Seoul, South Korea, from July 17 to 21, "is to provide an opportunity for Asian bishops and others working in the field to reflect on the realities of ecumenical relations in Asian countries, and to develop effective pastoral approaches," says a communique from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity made public today.
This seminar forms part of a series organized by the pontifical council to consider various themes associated with ecumenism. The first two seminars took place in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Dakar, Senegal, in July 2005 and "were aimed at presenting the principles of ecumenism and motivating participants to respond to the complex ecumenical situation" on the continent of Africa. Another seminar in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in September of the same year "focused on the issue of Pentecostalism and its growth in Brazil."
"The seminars have been planned in response to the needs expressed by the bishops themselves to find a pastoral response to the emerging challenges, particularly the rapid growth of new religious movements (Pentecostal, Evangelical and Charismatic)", the communique explains.
"The seminar in Seoul has been timed to coincide with the World Methodist Conference, to be held there from July 20 to 24. ... At this conference it is expected that the Methodist Churches will adopt the Joint Declaration on Justification agreed between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999, and a solemn celebration of the Word of God will mark this extended agreement, to be signed in the presence of Cardinal Kasper and Rev. Ismael Noko, secretary general of the Lutheran World Federation."