Pope: Catholic Lutheran Brotherhood Rediscovered


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(10 Feb 10 - RV) On Wednesday Pope Benedict XVI received a delegation led by Bishop Mark Hanson from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

In his address to them, the Holy Father said he was encouraged that relations between Catholics and Lutherans have continued to grow, since the beginning of his pontificate, especially at the level of practical collaboration in the service of the Gospel.

He went on to recall Pope John Paul II's Encyclical Letter Ut Unum Sint, in which the late Pope described the relationship between Catholics and Lutherans as "brotherhood rediscovered" (No. 41).

"I deeply hope - continued Pope Benedict - that the continuing Lutheran-Catholic dialogue both in the United States of America and at the international level will help to build upon the agreements reached so far. An important remaining task will be to harvest the results of the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue that so promisingly started after the Second Vatican Council. To build on what has been achieved together since that time, a spiritual ecumenism should be grounded in ardent prayer and in conversion to Christ, the source of grace and truth. May the Lord help us to treasure what has been accomplished so far, to guard it with care, and to foster its development".

Pope Benedict concluded by "renewing the wish expressed by my predecessor, during whose Pontificate so much was accomplished on the road to full visible unity among Christians, when he said to a similar delegation from the Lutheran Church in America: "You are most welcome here. Let us rejoice that an encounter such as this can take place. Let us resolve to be open to the Lord so that he can use this meeting for his purposes, to bring about the unity that he desires. Thank you for the efforts you are making for full unity in faith and charity" (Address to the Bishops of the Lutheran Church in America, 26 September 1985)".