VATICAN CITY, JAN 19, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received an ecumenical delegation from Finland for the occasion of the Feast of St. Henry, patron saint of that country, which is celebrated today.
Addressing the delegates in English, the Pope noted how "in recent times relations between Christians in Finland have developed in a way that offers much hope for the future of ecumenism. Readily they pray and work together, bearing common public witness to the Word of God.
"It is precisely this convincing testimony to the guiding and saving truths of the Gospel that all men and women seek or need to hear," he added. "On the part of Christians this demands courage."
"In the Joint Declaration on Justification, Lutherans and Catholics have covered a considerable distance theologically. Further work remains and so it is encouraging that the Nordic Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in Finland and Sweden is examining the topic of 'Justification in the Life of the Church'."
The Holy Father concluded by expressing the hope "that these conversations will effectively contribute to the quest for full and visible unity of the Church, while at the same time offering an ever clearer response to the fundamental questions affecting life and society."