Flash-point in talks on unity
From JAMES O'NEILL in ROME
Pope Paul's International Theological Commission has produced a study of Holy Orders and .Apostolic Succession. The study, according to the Rome Jesuit review Civilta Cattolica, may have great impact on the ecumenical movement. The review, in publishing the text of the study, said that it would have "great immediate importance, including its ecumenical observations."
Six principal points dealt with by the document are: The apostolicity of the Church and the common priesthood of the faithful; The original basis of the Church's apostolic foundation; The Apostles and the Apostolic Succession; The spiritual aspect of the Apostolic Succession; The Apostolic Succession and its transmission; Elements involved in an evaluation of non-Catholic ministries.
A central point of the commission's document is its insistence on the Catholic Church's traditional position that ordination is an essential requirement for the exercise of ministry in the Church.