Statement from Catholic Bishops' Conference

 The Pope's letter is a collegial act to the Bishops of the Catholic Church. In a deeply humble letter, the Pope explains his decision to lift the excommunications of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre and offers a heartfelt apology for the mistakes made and the unintended consequences of that decision. He thanks 'our Jewish friends' for quickly helping to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the friendship and trust that has existed throughout his pontificate and that of John-Paul II.

The Pope expresses his strong commitment to inter-religious dialogue, especially with those of the Jewish faith and ecumenical dialogue with other Christians. He reveals his passion for reconciliation and in a rallying call to all in the Church to give better witness, the Pope emphasises that the fundamental priority of the Church is to lead men and women to God.

Essential to this task is the need for unity and it is the Petrine Office that is the centre and promoter of the unity of the Church and, as such, a prophetic voice as to how individuals and nations across the world should relate. As part of our Lenten journey the Pope calls on all of us to put our trust in the Lord who protects us and guides our steps along the way to peace.

Source: CCN

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