Augsburg, November 1 (ENI)—The Vatican's senior official for ecumenism has suggested that the joint declaration signed this weekend between the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation could provide a model for other ecumenical agreements.

Cardinal Edward Cassidy, the Australian-born president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, speaking to journalists in Augsburg before the official signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, described the document as a "fine way of working in dialogue."

"We have discovered something we didn't realize existed before we came to it," he added. Pointing to the results of the first Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC*I), he said there had previously been bilateral discussions whose results had been officially received by the participating churches. But the method adopted in the joint declaration might be a "better way", he suggested.

However, describing the joint declaration as being "very much a Lutheran-Roman Catholic document", he played down the idea that other confessions might be invited to add their name to the joint declaration.

Before becoming president of the pontifical council, Cardinal Cassidy, who is now 75 years old, had a long career as a diplomat in the Vatican's embassies—apostolic nunciatures—in India, Ireland, El Salvador, Argentina, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Southern Africa and The Netherlands.

Asked whether he felt that at a time when there was convergence on doctrinal matters, there were new sources of divisions between churches because of ethical or social issues—as has been suggested in recent weeks by Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, Germany—Cardinal Cassidy said that there had "certainly" ...

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