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Friday, January 25, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 25 JAN 2008 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received members of the joint working group of the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches.

  Addressing them in English, the Holy Father pointed out how "the World Council of Churches and the Catholic Church have enjoyed a fruitful ecumenical relationship dating back to the time of Vatican Council II The Joint Working Group, which began in 1965, has worked assiduously to strengthen the 'dialogue of life' which my predecessor, Pope John Paul II, called the 'dialogue of charity'. This co-operation has given vivid expression to the communion already existing between Christians and has advanced the cause of ecumenical dialogue and understanding.

  "The centenary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity", he added, "offers us an opportunity to thank Almighty God for the fruits of the ecumenical movement, in which we can discern the presence of the Holy Spirit fostering the growth of all Christ's followers in unity of faith, hope and love. To pray for unity is itself 'an effective means of obtaining the grace of unity', since it is a participation in the prayer of Jesus Himself. When Christians pray together, 'the goal of unity seems closer'".

  "On this day, then, we think back with gratitude to the work of so many individuals who, over the years, have sought to spread the practice of spiritual ecumenism through common prayer, conversion of heart and growth in communion. We also give thanks for the ecumenical dialogues which have borne abundant fruit in the past century".

  The Holy Father concluded his address by saying that "the reception of those fruits is itself an important step in the process of promoting Christian unity, and the Joint Working Group is particularly suited to studying and encouraging that process".
AC/ECUMENISM/JOINT WORKING GROUP            VIS 20080125 (310)

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