Pope Pleased by Restart of Catholic-Orthodox Talks

«We Must Seek Out God’s Will,» He Tells Joint Panel

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received members of the joint coordinating committee of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

In his address to the panel today, the Pope expressed his happiness at the resumption of dialogue following years of «serious internal and external difficulties.»

On Sept. 12, Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople made known the decision of the Orthodox Churches to reactivate the commission. It was decided that the first meeting of this new phase of dialogue would be held this week in Rome.

The Holy Father noted that the renewed dialogue will consider two aspects: «On the one hand, eliminating the remaining differences, and on the other, upholding the fundamental desire to do everything possible to re-establish full communion, which is so essential for the community of the disciples of Christ, as the preparatory document of your work makes clear.»

«We must seek out God’s will,» Benedict XVI continued, «though it may not correspond to our simple human projects. We must achieve full unity of the Church and reconciliation among Christians, even at the cost of submitting our own will to the will of the Lord.»

The Holy Father stressed that, in order to advance along the path of unity, we must «ask the Lord’s help … because unity is above all a gift of God,» and «invite all Christians to joint prayer.»

The mixed coordinating committee has 10 Catholics and 11 Orthodox.

It is headed by Ioannis, metropolitan of Pergamo, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who are also heads of the International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

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