Monday, January 28, 2013

Pope: peace through dialogue for Holy Land and the Christians who live there

May the Middle East, "so important in God's plan of salvation, be led, through constructive dialogue and cooperation, to a future of justice and lasting peace". Today's meeting with members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, gave the Pope occasion to renew his hopes for peace in the Holy Land and for the ecumenical journey.

First, Benedict XVI recalled the 10 years of the Commission's work, " as examined from an historical perspective the various ways in which the Churches expressed their communion in the early centuries. During this week devoted to prayer for the unity of all Christ's followers, you have met to explore more fully the communion and communication which existed between the Churches in the first five centuries of Christian history. "

"In acknowledging the progress which has been made - he added -, I express my hope that relations between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches will continue to develop in a fraternal spirit of cooperation, particularly through the growth of a theological dialogue capable of helping all the Lord's followers to grow in communion and to bear witness before the world to the saving truth of the Gospel. "

"Many of you - he said - me from areas where Christians, as individuals and communities, face painful trials and difficulties which are a source of deep concern to us all. Through you, I would like to assure all the faithful of the Middle East of my spiritual closeness and my prayer that this land, so important in God's plan of salvation, may be led, through constructive dialogue and cooperation, to a future of justice and lasting peace. All Christians need to work together in mutual acceptance and trust in serving the cause of peace and justice in fidelity to the Lord's will".

" May the example and intercession of the countless martyrs and saints who down the ages have borne courageous witness to Christ in all our Churches  - he concluded - sustain and strengthen all of us in meeting the challenges of the present with confidence and hope in the future which the Lord is opening before us".

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