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Pope prays that dialogue with Lutherans will lead to ‘perfect, visible unity’

CWN - January 19, 2010

On the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25)-- and the feast of St. Henrik, patron of Finland-- the Pope received a Finnish Lutheran delegation, as has been customary for the past quarter century.

“This occasion marks the 25th anniversary of your annual visits to Rome,” Pope Benedict said. “The Churches of East and West, both of whose traditions are present in your country, share a real, if still imperfect, communion. This is a motive to regret the troubles of the past, but it is surely also a motive which spurs us to ever greater efforts at understanding and reconciliation, so that our brotherly friendship and dialogue may yet blossom into a perfect, visible unity in Christ Jesus.”

“You mentioned in your address the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, now ten years old, which is a concrete sign of the brotherhood rediscovered between Lutherans and Catholics,” he added. “In this context, I am pleased to note the recent work of the Nordic Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in Finland and Sweden on questions deriving from the Joint Declaration. It is greatly to be hoped that the text resulting from the dialogue will contribute positively to the path which leads to the restoration of our lost unity.”

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