Pope Says World Insecurity Points Up Need for Unity Among Christians

Receives Delegation of Lutheran Evangelical Church

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Current world tensions should lead Christians of various confessions to proclaim together the values of the Gospel, says John Paul II.

The Pope made this proposal today when he received 25 members of a delegation of the Lutheran Evangelical Church of the United States, which is making an ecumenical journey to Istanbul, Rome and Canterbury.

«In a world situation filled with danger and insecurity, all Christians are called to stand together in proclaiming the values of the Kingdom of God,» the Holy Father stressed. «The events of recent days make this duty all the more urgent.»

John Paul II explained that the «quest for full communion among all Christians is a duty which springs from the prayer of the Lord himself.»

Progress in this area was reflected in the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification signed in 1999, the Pope observed.

«In that document we are challenged to build on what has already been achieved, fostering more extensively at the local level a spirituality of communion marked by prayer and shared witness to the Gospel,» he said.

The Pontiff took advantage of the occasion to greet Bishop Mark Hansen, who has just been elected president of the Lutheran Evangelical Church of the United States and vice president of the World Lutheran Federation.

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