Dialogue Will Unite Christians, Says Pope

Meets With Representatives of Christian Churches

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COLOGNE, Germany, AUG. 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI met with representative of some 30 Christian confessions, encouraging more positive progress in the ecumenical journey.

“I am well aware that many Christians in this country, and not only in this country, expect further concrete steps to bring us closer together,” the Holy Father said today to the religious leaders in the archbishop’s palace in Cologne, his headquarters during World Youth Day.

The Pope also recalled that in the 20th century Germany was one of the countries that gave greatest impetus to ecumenical dialogue.

“I myself have the same expectation,” he said in his address, which he delivered after being greeted by Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German episcopal conference, and Lutheran Bishop Wolfgang Huber of Berlin.

“It is the Lord’s command, but also the imperative of the present hour, to carry on dialogue, with conviction, at all levels of the Church’s life,” the Pope stated. “This must obviously take place with sincerity and realism, with patience and perseverance, in complete fidelity to the dictates of one’s conscience. There can be no dialogue at the expense of truth; the dialogue must advance in charity and in truth.”

For Benedict XVI “it is obvious that, in the end, this dialogue can develop only in a context of sincere and committed spirituality.”

“We cannot ‘bring about’ unity by our powers alone. We can only obtain unity as a gift of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, spiritual ecumenism — prayer, conversion and the sanctification of life — constitute the heart of the ecumenical movement,” explained the Holy Father.

“It could be said that the best form of ecumenism consists in living in accordance with the Gospel,” he concluded.

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