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Bishops affirm Catholic Church's commitment to Christian unity

 Two Catholic Bishops have affirmed the Church's commitment to Christian unity ahead of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which began yesterday/

Scriptural inspiration for this year's theme comes from Ezekiel. The aim is that Christians around the world will pray: "that they may be one in your hand" Ezekiel. 37: 17.

Bishop Michael Evans, Bishop of East Anglia, stresses that we should all strive for a deepening of understanding:

"Our unity as God's Family and Christ's Body is vital to our Christian life and mission, and nothing should lessen our commitment to striving for ever deeper unity, whatever obstacles ­ old and new ­ arise. Prayer and work for Christian Unity is our sharing in Christ's prayer that we be one, as he and his Father are one."

The Bishop of Clifton, the Rt Rev Declan Lang, calls for Christians to view the week as an opportunity to build 'creative relationships':

"The week of prayer for Christian unity reminds us that ecumenism is central to the Gospel of Christ and that all Christians have a responsibility for building up creative relationships between different Christian traditions. This better enables us to work together for the common good of our society especially in relationship to the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable."

"I value my membership of the committees for Anglican and Roman Catholic dialogue and also belonging to the committee for Catholic and United Reformed Church dialogue. This has provided the opportunity for a sharing of theology and spirituality as well as promoting ecumenical action in different parts of the country."

Mgr Andrew Faley, Assistant General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, points out that there are plenty of opportunities for shared prayer:

"Christians have great opportunities in their own traditions and sharing their traditions with other Christians to pray together through the Scriptures, through Lectio Divina, through the prayer of the Church so together we are grounded in prayer".

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity runs from 18 to 25 January.