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Pope underlines need for honesty in ecumenical dialogue

Catholic World News - June 28, 2013

Welcoming a delegation of Orthodox prelates to Rome, Pope Francis said that the annual visits by representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are “the sign of the profound bond that unites the Church of Constantinople with the Church of Rome.”

Each year the Patriarchate of Constantinople sends a delegation to join the Pope in celebrating the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, patrons of the Rome diocese. (In exchange the Vatican sends a delegation to Constantinople for the feast of St. Andrew, the patron of the patriarchate.) Pope Francis met with the Orthodox prelates on June 28, the eve of the feast.

Commenting on the need for ecumenical progress, the Pope said: “In our world that hungers and thirsts for truth, love, hope, peace, and unity, our witness demands that we should at last be able to proclaim, with one voice, the good news of the Gospel and celebrate together the Divine Mysteries of our new life in Christ.” Unity is a gift from God, he said, but while praying for that gift the faithful are also obligated to work toward the goal of full communion.

The Pope praised a mixed Catholic-Orthodox theological commission for its efforts, “starting from what we have in common without, however, concealing that which still separates us.” He said that this honest but respectful approach is essential to ecumenical progress. “It comforts me,” the Pope said, “knowing that Catholics and Orthodox share the same conception of dialogue that doesn't seek a theological minimalism on which to reach a compromise, but that rather is based on the deepening of the truth that Christ has given to his Church and that we, moved by the Holy Spirit, never cease to understand better.”

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