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Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has paid tribute to Australian Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, who spearheaded ecumenical and interfaith efforts for the Church underneath Pope John Paul II.
The cardinal died, aged 96, in Newcastle on 10 April.
The funeral is predicted to be held at St Mary’s Cathedral however a date has not but been set.
“I used to be notably saddened by the information in the present day of the demise of Cardinal Edward Cassidy on the age of 96,” Archbishop Fisher mentioned on Saturday after listening to the information.
A exceptional legacy
“This Sydney-born cardinal left a exceptional legacy on our Church, particularly within the discipline of ecumenism throughout the preach of Pope John Paul II when he served as President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
“He led some fantastic initiatives within the Nineties which nurtured unprecedented dialogue between our Church and fellow Christians and he additionally helped lead historic progress in dialogue with non-Christian faiths.
Archbishop Fisher mentioned Cardinal Cassidy was a proficient canon lawyer and diplomat, serving as Apostolic nuncio in Eire, El Salvador, Argentina, Taiwan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Burma, Lesotho, the Netherlands and India.
A profound impression
“Few different Australians have had such a profound impression on the Catholic Church on the worldwide stage and I’m certain he’ll proceed to encourage church leaders for a few years to come back.
“Cardinal Cassidy was a most charming man and put that blend of allure and religion to excellent use in service of the Church’s diplomatic missions and ecumenical efforts. He was at all times most encouraging to me as a younger bishop. Could he relaxation in peace.” he mentioned.
Cardinal Cassidy was for a few years probably the most senior Australian to have labored within the Vatican.
Ecumenism is a precedence – not a ‘specialisation’
On the time of his demise he was the President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Selling Christian Unity and had additionally headed the Vatican’s Fee for Spiritual Relations with Jews, charged with the particularly delicate conduct of the Church’s relationship with the Jewish folks.
From Lutherans to Anglicans to Orthodox church buildings and the Anglican Communion he additionally oversaw and directed the Vatican’s relations with others faiths and denominations around the globe.
“How can we be at relaxation once we see that church we love wounded in its catholicity, unable to be the church that our Lord needs it to be?” he requested in 1993 on the opening of a six-day Vatican assembly of leaders of ecumenical commissions, declaring that ecumenism is a Church precedence and never simply an space of specialisation for people.
Listening to different voices
He was a powerful and chronic supporter of the work of diocesan and nationwide ecumenical commissions, which he considered important on the grass roots degree for educating Catholics in ecumenism and serving to set tips for ecumenical formation in seminaries.
He additionally inspired these concerned within the work of ecumenism to ask representatives from different church buildings to take part in vital Church actions – together with synods, conferences and liturgical occasions – of their dioceses and at a nationwide degree.
Involving different Christians in occasions comparable to Church synods and alluring them to make their very own contributions was a persistent theme all through his profession, which he described as “a concrete dedication to concrete ecumenism.”
‘Catholics must do extra’
In direction of the tip of his time period in workplace he advised the Synod of European bishops in 1999 that Catholics wanted to take progress in direction of non secular unity extra severely.
Nevertheless, “the variety of these not so satisfied remains to be an impediment to additional progress.” he mentioned.
He additionally remained sensible concerning the problem of pursuing Christian unity, cautioning that Catholics wanted to be affected person, discovering instruction and comfort within the Gospel story of the Apostles fishing all evening with out a chew.
Ecumenists usually discover themselves in an analogous scenario, he mentioned.
“We toil and but we don’t at all times see any actual progress,” he advised contributors in 1992 throughout ceremonies marking the tip of a year-long ecumenical celebration in Sweden of the 600th anniversary of the canonisation of St Bridget, a saint honoured by Catholics and Lutherans in that nation.
A cardinal’s name: Catholics should convert to Ut Unum Sint
He constantly known as known as for the resumption of official Catholic-Orthodox talks which had been halted a decade earlier, mentioning that beneficial time was being wasted on points that had been extra sensible than theological.
He strongly supported Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint which known as for Christian unity and invited Christian theologians and leaders of different church buildings to discover with the pope how he may train his primacy as bishop of Rome in ways in which may higher serve the unity of all of the church buildings.
“I’ve no hesitation in claiming that the encyclical Ut Unum Sint has made a beneficial contribution to the ecumenical motion,” Cardinal Cassidy mentioned after its launch. Nevertheless, he added, “there may be nonetheless a lot work to be executed throughout the Church of Rome earlier than Pope John Paul’s imaginative and prescient of the ecumenical dedication is absolutely shared by all of the members of his church.”
In 1999, he was dispatched bearing a private letter from Pope John Paul II as his private consultant to the dying Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin of Etchmiadzin; each the Cardinal and the-then pope had been near the Patriarch, particularly in ecumenical affairs.
He was made a cardinal by St John Paul II in 1991, after having spent most of his profession within the Vatican’s diplomatic corp.
A profession that just about by no means occurred
Nevertheless, his profession as a prime official of the Catholic Church virtually by no means occurred.
As a highschool pupil in Parramatta a neighborhood priest discouraged him from getting into the seminary as a result of he had not accomplished his secondary training and had not been a pupil in a Catholic faculty.
Leaving faculty, and with Australia caught up within the world battle of World Struggle II, he labored for the NSW public service earlier than deciding to argue his case for acceptances as a candidate for the priesthood to Sydney Archbishop Norman Gilroy. The gamble paid off: The Archbishop accepted him and he entered the seminary in 1943.
Ordained alongside him in 1949 was Edward Clancy, who would go on to change into the Archbishop of Sydney from 1983 to 2001 and who, like him, would someday be appointed a cardinal by Pope John Paul II.
From Wagga priest to Vatican diplomat
Initially stationed within the Diocese of Wagga he was despatched to Rome to check Canon Regulation in 1952. He joined the Vatican diplomatic service in July 1955, spending almost 30 years as a Vatican diplomat in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa.
He was later appointed to the Secretariat of State, the place he served for nearly two years in a task equal to the Pope’s chief of employees.
He was named president of the Pontifical Council for Selling Christian Unity in 1989 and elevated to the rank of cardinal in 1991. He retired from the Pontifical Council in 2001 on the age of 76.
Cardinal Cassidy was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 1990 in “recognition of service to faith and to worldwide affairs”.
Australian Catholic Bishops Convention President Archbishop Mark Coleridge mentioned Cardinal Cassidy’s pleasant and down-to-earth model had been amongst his hallmarks whereas serving on the Vatican.
Whereas Cardinal Cassidy was extremely regarded for a number of causes, it was on the Pontifical Council for Selling Christian Unity that he “shone”, Archbishop Coleridge mentioned.
“Cardinal Cassidy confirmed not solely diplomatic talent and political astuteness, but additionally human authenticity and customary sense,” he mentioned.
“There was a simplicity in all of it – the simplicity of a person known as to excessive workplace within the Church however together with his eyes firmly on Jesus Christ.”