2010-12-16 15:36:50

Pope Benedict reflects on Catholic-Lutheran dialogue

(VIS) This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received Bishop Munib A. Younan and Rev. Martin Junge, recently elected as president and secretary general of the Lutheran World Federation, who are leading a delegation on an official visit to Rome.
Beginning his English-language address to the group, the Pope highlighted "the many significant fruits produced by these decades of bilateral discussions" between Catholics and Lutherans.
"With God's help it has been possible slowly and patiently to remove barriers and to foster visible bonds of unity by means of theological dialogue and practical co-operation, especially at the level of local communities", he said.
"Last year marked the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification", the Pope noted, affirming that this "proved a significant step along the difficult path towards re-establishing full unity among Christians and a stimulus to further ecumenical discussion.
"In these years leading up to the five-hundredth anniversary of the events of 1517", he added, "Catholics and Lutherans are called to reflect anew on where our journey towards unity has led us and to implore the Lord's guidance and help for the future".
The Pope expressed his pleasure at the fact that "the International Lutheran - Roman Catholic Commission on Unity is preparing a joint text which will document what Lutherans and Catholics are able to say together at this point regarding our closer relations after almost five centuries of separation. In order to clarify further the understanding of the Church, which is the main focus of ecumenical dialogue today, the Commission is studying the theme: 'Baptism and Growing Church Communion'".
The Holy Father concluded: "It is my hope that these ecumenical activities will provide fresh opportunities for Catholics and Lutherans to grow closer in their lives, their witness to the Gospel, and their efforts to bring the light of Christ to all dimensions of society".

Listen to Pope's full remarks: RealAudioMP3

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