By Michaela Koller
MUNICH, Germany, OCT. 26, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The leader of the ecumenical Taizé community has expressed his gratitude to Benedict XVI for the Pope’s efforts and courage in promoting Christian unity.
Brother Alois Loser particularly noted the Holy Father’s work to bring unity with the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X. He made this observation as he received the 2009 prize for ecumenism in the Catholic Academy of Bavaria.
He told ZENIT that the Pontiff’s efforts to reconcile with the society founded by Marcel Lefebvre is “an important initiative.”
Brother Alois also expressed satisfaction with advances in Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. In that vein, he noted the relationship between the Taizé community and the past and present leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“We have good relations,” he said. “Patriarch Kirill has been with us twice.”
As the Taizé leader accepted the prize, he lamented the persistent division among Christians.
“What unites us is much more important than what divides us,” he said. “Christians should not continue to lose energies in small wars, which at times occur even within the Churches themselves.”
“While Christians live divided, the message of the Gospel cannot be understood,” he warned, adding that reconciliation is “the heart of the Gospel.”
Brother Alois called for regular inter-confessional nights of prayer for young people, “in important places,” such as borders, prisons, and urban areas in crisis.
The prize is a 10,000 euro ($16,328) award. The previous winner was Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Brother Alois said to help fund a Taizé project to print one million Bibles and distribute them in the People’s Republic of China.