At the end of the European Ecumenical Assembly in Wittenberg/Germany, February 18th 2007
Munich/Wittenberg, February 20, 2007
WE ARE CHURCH Germany supports the concrete request of Dr. Horst Koehler, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, for a new impetus in the ecumenical movement and for using the opportunity for ecumenism wholeheartedly.
In his address to the Ecumenical Assembly in Wittenberg Dr. Koehler appealed to the bishops not to resign when facing crises and setbacks and not to ignore the issue of ecumenism.
The Catholic reform movement welcomes Dr. Koehler’s emphasis on the local parishes’ strong desire for more togetherness and more convergence. Certainly this expresses the wishes and feelings of very many Christians.
The President literally: "I do have the impression that the ecumenical movement needs a new impetus, and this includes all of us. This is why you, dear participants, are now here in Wittenberg. I can tell you – and you surely know this already yourselves – that many people in our country are wishing indeed a significant progress in cooperation and mutual approval of the Christian Churches. The Eucharistic community is a big issue." Already at the visit of Pope Benedict to Germany in September 2006 the Protestant President found very clear words in favour of the ecumenical movement.
The President's appeal shows: Reconciliation between denominations and religions is a cornerstone of eminent importance for the cultural and political growing together of Europe.
In Wittenberg very many representatives of the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Churches pleaded for an extension of cooperation between Christian denominations. The reform movement WE ARE CHURCH therefore urgently asks these representatives to translate the vision of Christ's One Church into visible symbols and public Church policy. This theologically well founded vision has been claimed since long by the great majority of the people in the pews, the members of His church.
In the "Charta Oecumenica", drawn up n 1997 at the Second European Ecumenical Assembly (EEA2) in Graz/ Austria, signed and confirmed at the millenium's meeting 2001 in Strassbourg/ France and during the Ecumenical Church Convention 2003 in Berlin/ Germany, the churches have committed themselves “to work towards the visible unity of the Church of Jesus Christ in the one faith, expressed in the mutual recognition of baptism and in eucharistic fellowship, as well as in common witness and service.”
WE ARE CHURCH hopes that the representatives will follow at last the parishes' call to include the church's basis more seriously on their way to the Third European Ecumenical Assembly (EEA3 in Sibiu/Romania, September 4th to 8th 2007).
Translation: Christoph Rinneberg
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