Pope Benedict XVI received members of the joint coordinating committee of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches yesterday. At beginning of his address, the Pope expressed his happiness at the resumption of dialogue following years of "serious internal and external difficulties." On September 12 this year, Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, made known the decision of the Orthodox Churches to reactivate the commission, and it was decided that the first meeting of this new phase of dialogue would be held in Rome from December 13 to 16, 2005. The Holy Father pointed out that the renewed dialogue will consider two aspects: "On the one hand, eliminating the remaining differences, and on the other, upholding the fundamental desire to do everything possible to re-establish full communion, which is so essential for the community of the disciples of Christ, as the preparatory document of your work makes clear." "We must seek out God's will," the Pope went on, "though it may not correspond to our simple human projects. We must achieve full unity of the Church and reconciliation among Christians, even at the cost of submitting our own will to the will of the Lord." Benedict XVI stressed that, in order to advance along the path of unity, we must "ask the Lord's help ... because unity is above all a gift of God," and "invite all Christians to joint prayer." After recalling how the Vatican Council II Decree "Unitatis redintegratio" calls for mutual knowledge and dialogue, the Pope emphasised how this "will also contribute to 'multiple dialogue in the Christian world as it seeks its own unity'." The mixed coordinating committee has 21 members: ten Catholics and 11 Orthodox. It is headed by Ioannis, Metropolitan of Pergamo (ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who are also heads of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Source: VIS
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