Retreat to familiar positions

Retreat to familiar positions

How does ecumenism continue to develop? According to Catholic theologian Dorothea Sattler, she is currently experiencing a "standstill that need not be". The theologian from Munster criticizes the attitude of the Roman Catholic side.

On the one hand, there is a broad awareness and appreciation that "only in the community of all Christians can we see the fullness of God's gifts," Sattler said in an interview with the magazine "Christ in der Gegenwart. At the same time, he said, it perceives polarization within the denominational communities, for example, in the treatment of women or same-sex partnerships. Since the interview was conducted beforehand, Sattler does not address the current debate on assisted suicide.

The theologian criticized that on the Roman Catholic side there is currently "little willingness to take on board the findings of theology". Instead, one retreats to positions that one has known for years are no longer tenable, for example, on the question of apostolic succession in the ministry."

Rejection of the Vatican

She also referred to the Vatican's objections to the paper "Together at the Lord's Table" by the Ecumenical Working Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologians. In the paper, the theologians advocate mutual participation in Eucharist and Lord's Supper celebrations of the respective other denomination. The Vatican's refusal to do so shows that "great efforts are still needed in the reception of ecumenical insights," Sattler said.

Referring to the excommunication of Martin Luther (1483 to 1546) 500 years ago, the theologian said that such an exclusion from the church community was lifted with death. A formal step to lift the exclusion is therefore not necessary.

Nor do such "painful memories" heal by a legal act alone. Rather, what is needed is a comprehensive work of remembrance. Looking at individual events does not help. "We have to tell the whole story, including the interactions," the theologian said. Luther, for example, had also acted impulsively, not taking up offers of discussion from Rome and thus contributing to the dramatization of the situation.

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