GENEVA - General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko, has expressed thanks to Walter Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), for his contribution to the "growth in unity of the universal church of Jesus Christ," both theologically and in terms of ecclesial relations. In a congratulatory letter for the occasion of Kasper's 70th birthday March 5, Noko says he is grateful for the "excellent personal and professional relationship," they have shared over several years.
Together in confessing the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, Noko says he hopes the Roman Catholic Church and communion of churches which is the Lutheran World Federation will "continue on their path of rapprochement, contributing thereby to the wholeness of the ecumenical movement."
The achievement and celebration of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), affirmed by representatives of the LWF and Roman Catholic Church on 31 October 1999 in Augsburg, Germany, would "certainly remain a high point of our cooperation," Noko continues. The two leaders were among the ten dignitaries who signed the Official Common Statement affirming the JDDJ. Noko adds that he knows that both sides are strongly committed to following up the work in all possible ways.
Pope John Paul II named Kasper, who is German, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on 3 March 2001 to succeed Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy. Kasper had been Secretary of the PCPCU since March 1999. He was elevated to the office of Cardinal on 22 February 2001. A proven expert in ecumenical affairs, he taught dogmatic theology at the University of Muenster from 1964, and held the chair in dogmatics of the Catholic theology faculty in Tuebingen from 1970. In 1989 he became Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Germany.
By Albert H. Lee