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Catholics and Orthodox should unite to save Christian Europe, Pope says

CWN - February 12, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI opened a February 12 meeting with visiting bishops from Romania by paying tribute to the Catholics in that country who "in the period of persecution, showed dauntless attachment to Christ and His Church, and maintained their faith intact." Thanks to their fidelity the Catholic faith endured in Romania, and shows new growth today, the Pontiff said.

Pope Benedict took note of a rise in the number of priestly and religious vocations in Romania, attributing that growth in large part to the health of Christian family life there. But he warned that the family is under attack by "the scourges of abortion, corruption, alcoholism and drugs, as well as birth control by methods contrary to the dignity of the human person." He encouraged the bishops to protect the faith among young people, making a firm commitment to education and public witness to Christian principles.

"In this context the witness of fraternity between Catholics and Orthodox is particularly important," the Pope remarked; "may it prevail over divisions and dissent, and open hearts to reconciliation."

The Pope returned to the same theme later in his address to the Romanian bishops, who were completing their ad limina visits. He called for cooperatives efforts by Catholic and Orthodox leaders in "the defense of the Christian roots of Europe and of Christian values, as well as joint witness on such themes as the family, bioethics, human rights, honesty in public life and ecology."

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