Vatican's chief ecumenist on angling for Anglicans

In my column last Friday, I wrote about Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican's top officer for ecumenical relations, presenting his new book Harvesting the Fruits on Oct. 15.

Although the Vatican conducts dialogues with all three main branches of Christianity -- the Orthodox churches, the churches of the Reformation, and the Pentecostal and Evangelical movements -- Harvesting the Fruits focuses on the Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans and Reformed churches.

When Kasper was asked last about rumors that the Traditional Anglican Communion, a breakaway bloc of conservative Anglican churches, might soon be incorporated into the Catholic church, he seemed to want to play down the impact of such a move on Anglican-Catholic relations.

"We are not fishing in the Anglican lake," Kasper insisted. "Proselytism is not a policy of the Catholic church."

That said, Kasper added that "if in conscience some [Anglicans] want to become Catholics, we cannot shut the door."

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He also noted that negotiations with the Traditional Anglican Communion are not being handled by his office, but by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. And of course, the fruits of those negotiations became known today: Pope okays new structures to absorb disgruntled Anglican conservatives.

Read more about Kasper's book here: Harvesting the Fruits (Scroll down near the bottom.)

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