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Pope: Catholic-Orthodox understanding is profound, though imperfect

Catholic World News - November 30, 2012

In a message to the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Pope Benedict XVI has described the ecumenical link between Rome and Constantinople as “a profound and genuine communion, if still imperfect, which is based not on human motives of courtesy or convenience but rather on our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Pope’s message to the Ecumenical Patriarch was read during a celebration of the Divine Liturgy as the Orthodox prelate celebrated the feast of St. Andrew, the patron of the Constantinople see. Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, lead a Vatican delegation to join in the celebration, in a renewal of an annual ecumenical gesture. (The Ecumenical Patriarchate sends a delegation to Rome each year for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.)

The Pope’s message said that the Catholic and Orthodox churches share a dedication to “the proclamation of God's merciful love for contemporary man, so often distracted and incapable of reflection on the meaning of his own existence, and as such often misled by plans and utopias that can lead only to disillusionment.” That vital work, the Pontiff said, should not be endangered “as a result of our weaknesses and divisions.”

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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Nov. 30, 2012 2:26 PM ET USA

    If you have ever been so fortunate to observe Patriarch Bartholemew, you pray, as I do, that the church he leads will soon be one in full communion with the Catholic Church. He is an extraordinary man in many ways, and would be an extraordinary--dare I think--successor to our current Holy Father.

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