John Paul II Receives U.S. Presbyterian Group

Stresses Urgency of Ecumenical Commitment

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VATICAN CITY, MAR. 22, 2001 ( When John Paul II received a U.S. Presbyterian delegation this morning, he reiterated the urgency of the ecumenical commitment at the beginning of the third millennium.

«The participation of so many churches and ecclesial communities in a number of the Jubilee events, testifies to our common thanksgiving for the great outpouring of grace that accompanied the Lord´s first coming,» he told his American guests. «It confirms our commitment to work for full Christian unity as we await his return in glory.»

John Paul II pointed out that, «despite the significant steps taken in recent decades toward the goal of visible unity, we must acknowledge that, as we cross the threshold of the new millennium, we take with us the sad heritage of the past, and we know that there is still a long way to go.»

Therefore, the Pope hoped that the Lord´s invitation to spiritual renewal would be accepted, the condition necessary «to overcome the barriers that still keep Christians apart.»

Lastly, the Holy Father expressed the hope that the conversations of the U.S. Presbyterian delegation with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, whose new president is German Cardinal Walter Kasper, will «bear abundant fruit for the ecumenical tasks ahead.»

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