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Monday, January 17, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 15 JAN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received an ecumenical delegation from Finland for the occasion of the Feast of St. Henry, the country's patron saint.

  "Every year", said the Pope, addressing the group in German, "this meeting bears witness to the friendship and co-operation that exist between Lutherans and Catholics and, in general, among all Christians in your country".

  "Although the goal of the ecumenical movement - complete unity in the faith - has not yet been reached", dialogue has produced many points of agreement, Benedict XVI noted. Among these he highlighted the declaration "on the doctrine of justification in the life of the Church", and gave assurances that further study of this theme will contribute, among other things, "to a shared viewpoint on the nature of the episcopal office".

  "At the same time", he went on, "we are all aware that the ecumenical journey has, in some ways, become more difficult and challenging. In this light, your annual pilgrimage to Rome for the Feast of St. Henry is an important event and a stimulus to our efforts. It helps us to look back with joy at the goals we have achieved and forward to the future with the desire for responsible compromise".

  "In view of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity", the Pope concluded, "let us ask the Spirit of Truth to impel us to ever greater love and fraternity".
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