Pope Calls For Signs of Unity in Divided World

Addresses Members of Catholic-Orthodox Commission

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI told a delegation of Catholic and Orthodox theologians that the unity of the Body of Christ is an «essential dimension» of the Church and of its mission in the world.

The Pope said this today upon receiving in audience members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.Speaking in English, the Pontiff urged those who participated in the sixth meeting of the commission, held in Rome, to continue seeking «reconciliation and communion in the Body of Christ, which is the Church.»

The unity of Christians is an «essential dimension of the Church to the world,» toward which «we all have a duty to work,» said the Holy Father.

«The world needs a visible sign of the mystery of unity that binds the three divine Persons and, that two thousand years ago, with the Incarnation of the Son of God, was revealed to us,» he added.

Benedict XVI noted that the meeting took «important steps precisely in the study of the Church as communion. The very fact that the dialogue has continued over time and is hosted each year by one of the several Churches you represent is itself a sign of hope and encouragement.»

«We need only cast our minds to the Middle East — from where many of you come — to see that true seeds of hope are urgently needed in a world wounded by the tragedy of division, conflict and immense human suffering,» the Pope said.

«The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has just concluded with the ceremony in the Basilica dedicated to the great apostle Paul, at which many of you were present,» the Holy Father continued. «Paul was the first great champion and theologian of the Church’s unity.

«His efforts and struggles were inspired by the enduring aspiration to maintain a visible, not merely external, but real and full communion among the Lord’s disciples.

«Therefore, through Paul’s intercession, I ask for God’s blessings on you all, and on the Churches and the peoples you represent.»

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