Friday, January 26, 2007
Pope calls for honest Christian dialogue
By FRANCES D'EMILIO,
Associated Press Writer, Thu Jan 25
Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday called for honest dialogue among Christians as he expressed sadness over tensions between churches following centuries of divisions.
Benedict presided at a prayer service in St. Paul Outside the Walls Basilica in Rome to mark the end of a week of prayer dedicated in churches around the world to efforts aimed at uniting Christians.
"Honest and loyal dialogue constitutes the typical and indispensable instrument in the search for unity," Benedict said.
Christians were praying "so that all the disciples of Christ be one, and so ... they can give harmonious testimony to the men and women of our times," said Benedict, who is devoting much of his papacy to achieving Christian unity.
In his homily, Benedict said through such encounters as Thursday's service it has been possible to perceive the joy of brotherhood, together with sadness for the tensions that remain.
The Vatican is eager for Christian churches to work together on positions they can share, such as opposition to abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriages.
Benedict reached a milestone on the path toward possible Christian unity two months ago when he met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, in Istanbul.
Tensions with the Orthodox Church in Russia kept the late John Paul II from making his hoped-for pilgrimage there. Vatican officials said this week they are hoping Benedict can go to Moscow but that there are no concrete plans despite improving relations with Russian Orthodox.