Pontiff Praises Ecumenical Study of St. Augustine

Urges Symposium to Find Points of Convergence

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 3, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has urged a symposium bringing together Orthodox and Catholic theologians to study St. Augustine to discover points of convergence between the two traditions.

The Pope said this in a letter he sent today to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, on the occasion of the 11th Inter-Christian Symposium, which began today in Rome.
The three-day meeting was organized by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality of the Pontifical University Antonianum and the Aristotle Orthodox Theological Faculty of Thessalonica.
The Catholic-Orthodox symposiums, aimed at promoting unity, have taken place alternatively in locations with Catholic or Orthodox majorities since 1992.

The symposium chose for its current theme of study: «St. Augustine in the Western and Eastern Tradition.»

Benedict XVI noted the topic to be apt for mutual reflection. He explained: «The saint of Hippo, a great Father of the Latin Church, is, in fact, of fundamental importance for theology and for the West’s very culture, whereas the reception of his thought in Orthodox theology has revealed itself to be rather problematic.»

«Hence, to know with historical objectivity and fraternal cordiality the doctrinal and spiritual riches that make up the patrimony of the Christian East and West,» he continued, «it is indispensable not only to appreciate them, but also to promote better reciprocal appreciation among all Christians.»
The Holy Father said he hoped the symposium would be a success, and that «it discovers doctrinal and spiritual convergences that are useful to build together the City of God, where his children can live in peace and in fraternal charity, based on the truth of the common faith.»

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