FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
EST GERMANY'S first ecumenical council, held at Augsburg and attended by about 10,000 Catholics and Protestants, ended last Saturday with a plea for "repentance and prayer."
This was made by Cardinal Julius Doepfner, of Munich, in the closing open air service held in the Augsburg Rosenau sports stadium.
Organised jointly by the Kirchtentag Movement and the Central Committee of German Catholics, the assembly marked a significant move in ecumenical cooperation. Meetings between the two Churches on educational subjects had been held in previous years; but this was the first united event of worship, study and witness.
The assembly was split into two parts, with preparation sessions of theologians and lay experts on Wednesday and Thursday, and an 'Open Congress' from Thursday evening until Saturday. Ecumenical
worship, bible study, and discussion groups were held throughout Augsburg in parish churches during the four days.
KEY THEMES Mixed marriages, the role of the Pope, mariology, ecumenical liturgy, inter-Church relations, Christian responsibility for community care, immigration in Europe and the Churches' concern for the Third World, were key themes for study.
Bishop Dizfelbinger Chairman of the Council of West German Protestant Churches. appealed to the faithful to draw 'practical consequences' from the various working group discussions.
The groups recommended, among other things, that the two Churches should no longer regard different denominations as an obstacle to marriage; that there should be an 'intelligible' inter-confessional handbook of the Christian faith; that Jews should be able to participate in ecumenical meetings between Catholics and Protestants; and the establishment of common centres for Catholic and Protestant congregations.