Pope says Catholics, Orthodox must work for unity

Catholics and Orthodox have a responsibility to work toward full unity in accordance with the will of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI has said.

Catholic News Service reports that he spoke on Thursday with a committee preparing for a full meeting of the international Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, the pope said he rejoiced at the desire to "take up again and pursue the dialogue which, over the past few years, had known serious internal and external difficulties."

The last meeting of the international Catholic-Orthodox dialogue was held in 2000 to discuss the role and theological implications of the agreements that led to the formation of the Eastern Catholic churches. That meeting ended without any conclusions or decisions agreeable to Orthodox and Catholics.

Fifteen autonomous Orthodox churches, meeting at the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Turkey, agreed in September that the dialogue should be restarted.

The decision, the pope told Orthodox and Catholic members of the preparatory committee, "constitutes a great responsibility. It is indeed a question of achieving the will of the Lord who wants his disciples to form a harmonious community and to witness together to the brotherly love that comes from the Lord."

Pope Benedict said, "in this new phase of dialogue," Catholics and Orthodox must work to eliminate the differences remaining between them and resolve "to do everything to re-establish full communion, which is an essential good for the community of Christ's disciples, as is underlined in the preparatory document you are working on."

The committee was meeting in Rome last week; a statement providing a brief history of the dialogue was released by the Vatican on Thursday, but it was not clear if further information would be published immediately.

Catholics, Orthodox have responsibility to work for unity, pope says (Catholic News Service 16/12/05)

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19 Dec 2005