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Ecumenism Expert Detects New Papal Style

Director of Pro Unione Center Offers Perspective

ROME, JULY 25, 2006 ( Ecumenism has changed considerably with Benedict XVI, says the director of an organization whose courses include a focus on interreligious dialogue.

“The Pope has adopted a more episcopal model for his ministry,” said Father James Puglisi, director of the Pro Unione Center in Rome. “In fact, if one looks at the first stamps, they are without the tiara and with the inscription ‘Episcopus Romae.’ This is of great importance for the Orthodox.”

Father Puglisi, who is also general minister of the Franciscans of the Atonement, spoke with ZENIT on the occasion of a three-week course that his center offered to 16 students from the United States, England and Spain.

The summer course offered guidelines on ecumenism and interreligious dialogue from the Catholic point of view.

The priest told ZENIT that “half of the students were ordained ministers and the other half laity. Almost half were Catholics, while others came from Protestant churches.”

Among the topics addressed during the course, special attention was given to the present state of the promotion of Christian unity.

Father Puglisi noted Benedict XVI’s innovations and added: “His approvals of the Eastern episcopal elections are no longer in the Vatican Web site section ‘Resignations and Appointments,’ but on a separate page for relations with the Catholic Eastern Churches with the expression ‘we received the decision’ of a Synod and ‘I accept in the episcopate.'”

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