By Alex Cosgrave
Pentecost Sunday should be made a worldwide day for ecumenical celebration in all churches, according to Cardinal Suenens of Belgium, a leading figure in Catholic charismatic renewal.
The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has not had a strong enough impact, said the Cardinal: "Pentecost is easier to remember and plan for and should rank with Christmas and Easter as an important celebration for Christian people."
In a new 109 page document called "Ecumenism and
Charismatic Renewal: Theological and Pastoral Orientations." Cardinal Suenens said that charismatic renewal is -a very special grace for ecumenism", because it can bring all Christians together in "a common faith in the actuality and power of the Holy Spirit."
In what might be seen as the first ecumenical guidelines for charismatic prayer groups. he encourages charismatics to continue their efforts towards spiritual ecumenism but warns Catholics not to take part in groups which totally ignore denominational differences.
In particular, involvement with the Unification Church, whose members are commonly known as the Moonies, and with the Church of Scientology is "incompatible with membership of the Catholic Church" said Cardinal Suenens.
Charismatics should have a solid education in Catholic doctrine before becoming involv ed in ecumenical groups, said the Cardinal. Every faith involved in an ecumenical group should have the power of veto when particular activities would offend any denomination.
As an example the Cardinal warned of the danger of disregarding the Church's rules on intercommunion. "This is not primarily a danger of disobedience but of compromising the efforts towards visible unity by taking for granted that all our ecumenical concerns are already resolved," he said.