East and West Form One Church, Says Pope
Addresses Visiting Bishops From Ukraine
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 24, 2007 (Zenit.org).-
Benedict XVI affirmed that Eastern and Roman Catholics are united in forming one Church.
The Pope said this today when receiving in audience the bishops of the Latin rite of Ukraine, in Italy for their five-yearly visit and accompanied by Greek-Catholic bishops from that country. They visited Benedict XVI at the papal summer residence south of Rome.
The Holy Father stated: "In the variety of its rites and historical traditions, the one Catholic Church in every corner of the earth announces and bears witness to the one Jesus Christ, the Word of salvation for all men and for all of man."
It is for this reason that the effectiveness of all our pastoral and apostolic projects depends, above all, on faithfulness to Christ."
The Pope asked for an intensified collaboration between the Latin-rite bishops and the Greek-Catholic bishops in Ukraine "for the good of the entire Christian people."
Testimony"Animated by this spirit," the Pontiff told the prelates, "it is not difficult for you [...] to intensify cordial cooperation between Latin bishops and Greek-Catholic bishops, for the good of the entire Christian people. Thus you have the opportunity to coordinate your pastoral plans and your apostolic activities, always offering testimony of that ecclesial communion which is also an indispensable condition for ecumenical dialogue with our brethren in the Orthodox and other Churches."
The Holy Father suggested to the Latin and Greek-Catholic bishops that they meet at least once a year, reaching "agreement between yourselves in order to make pastoral activity ever more harmonious and effective. I am convinced that fraternal cooperation between pastors will be an encouragement and a stimulus for all the faithful to grow in unity and apostolic enthusiasm, and that it will also favor fruitful ecumenical dialogue."
Benedict XVI highlighted the prelates' efforts "to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel in the dear land of Ukraine, sometimes encountering no small number of difficulties but always supported by the awareness that Christ guides his flock with a sure hand, the flock that he himself entrusted to your hands as his ministers."