Mennonites Hear Benedict XVI’s Call for Unity

Benedict XVI Meets With Christian Delegates

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 19, 2007 ( The Mennonite and Catholic search for the unity of the Lord’s disciples is important, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today when he received in audience the delegates from the Mennonite World Congress.

The Holy Father said: “In the ecumenical spirit of recent times, we have begun to have contacts with each other after centuries of isolation.

“Since it is Christ himself who calls us to seek Christian unity, it is entirely right and fitting that Mennonites and Catholics have entered into dialogue in order to understand the reasons for the conflict that arose between us in the 16th century. To understand is to take the first step towards healing.”

“Mennonites are well known for their strong Christian witness to peace in the name of the Gospel, and here, despite centuries of division, the dialogue report ‘Called Together to be Peacemakers’ has shown that we hold many convictions in common,” affirmed the Pontiff.

He added: “We both emphasize that our work for peace is rooted in Jesus Christ ‘who is our peace, who has made us both one … making peace that he might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross.’

“We both understand that ‘reconciliation, nonviolence and active peacemaking belong to the heart of the Gospel.'”

But, cautioned the Pope, “Our witness will remain impaired as long as the world sees our divisions. Above all, what impels us to seek Christian unity is our Lord’s prayer to the Father ‘that they may all be one … so that the world may believe that you have sent me.'”

The Holy Father concluded, “It is my hope that your visit will be another step towards mutual understanding and reconciliation.”

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