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Do not give up on ecumenical dialogue, Pope tells German Lutherans

December 18, 2014

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Pope Francis received a delegation from the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany and the ecumenical commission of the nation’s Catholic episcopal conference on December 18 and called on those involved in ecumenical dialogue to focus on the “next possible step” rather than abandon the journey.

Recalling progress in ecumenical dialogue over the past five decades, including the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (1999), the Pope said that “the common goal of the full and visible unity of Christians sometimes seems to recede into the distance.”

“Of greatest timeliness are the questions about the dignity of the human person at the beginning and the end of his life, as well as those of the family, of marriage and of sexuality-- questions that should not be ignored or neglected, only because one does not wish to jeopardize the previously achieved ecumenical consensus,” he continued.

The upcoming fifth centenary of the Reformation, the Pope added, should not be a “triumphalist celebration,” but instead an occasion of common prayer, common confession of the Triune God, and a common plea to the Lord Jesus Christ for “pardon for the mutual guilt.”


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