World Media Watch

Catholic-Orthodox Unity Talks to Reopen

THE TABLET, Sept. 15 — Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches were “fundamentally the one Church of Jesus Christ,” The Tablet reported.

Speaking at the 19th annual conference of the Sant'Egidio community in Lyons (see story above), the cardinal announced the restarting this autumn of the Catholic-Orthodox international theological commission, which had been suspended for four years during a row over a dispute over Church property and proselytism.

Cardinal Kasper, speaking in a round-table session, said of Catholics and Orthodox: “They are the one Church in different liturgical, theological, spiritual and canonical forms. These differences are legitimate.”

He laid down five challenges for both Churches: admitting sins and seeking forgiveness; overcoming mutual ignorance, prejudices and lack of understanding; the mutual exchange of gifts (such as different forms of governance for the Churches); strengthening cooperation in order to speak with a single voice to secularized Europe; recognizing that the path to full community is a spiritual process.

The cardinal told The Tablet that obstacles to full communion were both of principle and practice. The Orthodox have concerns regarding the definition of papal infallibility and this would be addressed by the commission in the autumn, said the cardinal: “The full unity of the Church — East and West — is a hope that will not disappoint.”

Bishops Warn of ‘Affluenza’ Epidemic

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, Sept. 15 — Catholic bishops have decried the nation's culture of waste and busyness, warning that Australians are victims of “the disease of affluence,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

In their annual social justice statement, the bishops cited an Australia Institute study that claimed more than $10 billion is spent each year on products and services that no one uses. This figure was probably conservative, the bishops said.

“If Australians were to undergo a health check we could well be diagnosed as suffering from the ravages of the disease of affluence,” the statement said. “Some may be more mildly affected than others, but the sickness is pervasive and we are all its victims.”

The report said the bishops' criticism echoes the urgings of Pope Benedict, who has challenged Catholics to reject “runaway consumerism” and secularism.

Study: Dutch Doctors Skirt Edge of Euthanasia Laws

AHN, Sept. 6 — A new study finds that doctors in the Netherlands, the first country to legalize euthanasia for terminally ill people, are actually hastening the deaths of sick children sometimes at the boundaries of what the law allows, All Headline News wire service reported.

Researchers looked at 64 deaths of ill children during a four-month period. Of those, 42 cases involved medical decisions that could hasten death. Doctors were given immunity against prosecution and their responses were kept anonymous in the government-sponsored study.

The decisions ranged from withholding life support, a practice accepted in the United States, to administering drugs such as morphine with the intention of ending suffering and hurrying death.

The report said only one case involved doctor-assisted death at the parent's request.