Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pope urges prayer for full unity between Catholics and Orthodox

10/10/2007 14:16
During his general audience Benedict XVI recalls the meeting of the Mixed Commission for theological dialogue between the two Churches currently underway in Ravenna, which, it had been previously speculated, the Pope and Ecumenical Patriarch were to have attended.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – A fresh appeal for Christian unity, in particular between Catholics and Orthodox was made by Benedict XVI today, who at the end of his general audience asked the faithful to pray for the successful outcome of the meeting of the International Mixed Commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church currently underway in Ravenna.

At the end of his weekly encounter with over 20 thousand faithful gathered in St Peter’s square – among them also a group of Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka – Benedict XVI recalled that the tenth plenary assembly of the mixed commission is taking place this week in Ravenna, Italy. It is “discussing a theme of particular ecumenical importance: ‘the ecclesiological and canonical consequences of sacramental nature of the Church – ecclesial communion, conciliation and authority’. I ask you to join me in prayer – concluded the pope – so that this important encounter help the journey towards full communion between Catholics and Orthodox, and that they may soon share in the one and same Chalice of the Lord”.
The mixed commission meeting began Monday and continues through to Sunday. It is made up of 60 members, 30 Catholics and 30 Orthodox, and is jointly presided by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and His Excellency Ioannis (Zizioulas), metropolitan of Pergamo. During Benedict XVI’s trip to Turkey last November the idea that pope and patriarch Bartholomew I attend the session had been launched, as a sign of the strong desire between the two Churches to proceed towards unity. However, rumour has it that some Orthodox leaders strongly opposed the idea, first and foremost the Patriarch of Moscow, who maintains that there is no existing hierarchical structure within the Orthodox Church equivalent to the Catholic Church – with one single leader – and that the primacy of the ecumenical patriarch – unlike the pope – is “an honorary” one.

The commission which is due to publish a document at the end of its working session was established in 1979 by Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I, and held its first assembly in Patmos-Rhodes in 1980. These meetings have confronted various questions, but were suspended for a number of years, because of the deep seated disaccord of the Oriental rite Catholic Churches, the so-called uniates.
Today, before his ecumenical appeal, Benedict XVI continued his reflections on the figures of the “Early Church Fathers”, speaking of St Hilary of Poitiers. The “great” 4th century bishop was remembered above all for his “defence of our faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ, Son of God and God as the Father”. He fought against the Arians, who believed Jesus was a created being, to confirm instead Christ’s divinity. In the words of the pope he “Hilary’s insight was the importance of our Trinitarian baptismal faith: I baptise you in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit”.

Benedict XVI’s final observation was that for Hilary, “humanity finds salvation in Christ alone”. By becoming human, Christ in fact took upon himself the nature of every man. “This is why the journey towards Christ is open to every individual” even if personal conversion is always required.


Annika-Kaatrina said...

please see this to help explain these enigmatic statements that seem to portray the Orthodox as opposed to unity.
There is a very interesting story before The Story.

Sophocles said...


Thank youn for the link. I remember reading that story then but at that time I was not posting news as I now am.

I usually don't comment after the articles I post but I have at times.