At the start of the annual week of prayer for Christian Unity, Archbishop Murphy-O'Connor, delivered a wide-ranging address on the future of ecumenism on Thursday. Giving the De Lubac Lecture at Salford University, the Archbishop celebrated what had been achieved on the ecumenical journey in recent years and underlined the Catholic Church's irrevocable commitment to visible Christian Unity. Reflecting on this journey he recognised that it has at times been difficult, "but it is well worth the hardships that bear fruit in dialogue". "It is because we have to suffer, to wait, to endure the ups and downs of the ecumenical pilgrimage," he says, " that we are able to hope." He put ecumenical developments in context and particularly the Vatican document, Dominus Iesus. He also placed emphasis on the encouragement given by Pope John Paul II in his most recent document Novo Millennio Ineunte. Looking to the future, the Archbishop highlighted six aims of ecumenism: * To build on recent achievements by continuing ecumenical dialogue on aspects of doctrine and morality. "It is remarkable that... discussions on the nature of the Papacy and the exercise of Papal ministry among fellow Christians can take place. There are still, however, thorny questions on morality and, in particular, sexual morality." * To find ways of symbolising our ecumenical commitment by joint action and witness. *To foster spiritual ecumenism which lies at "the heart of the ecumenical movement" and which involves "interior conversion, newness of attitudes and unstinted love". * To set realistic and achievable goals at parish, diocesan and national levels. * To practise ecumenism at local level: "How good it is when local clergy get together and promote amongst their people the attitudes that unite them. It is in your villages, your towns, your cities, that Christians must be seen to be at one". *To cultivate the virtues of patience and hope. Quoting Cardinal Cassidy, who said in a recent speech, "We must never forget that the journey we have undertaken is one to which we have been called by the Lord. It is He who has sent us on this journey and it is in Him that we place our hope - and, as we all know, this is a hope that does not deceive us."
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