Receives Finnish Ecumenical Delegation
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI called for courage to overcome division among Christians, when receiving an ecumenical delegation from Finland during the week dedicated to praying for Christian unity.
"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," said the Pontiff to the Finnish delegation today, on the occasion of the feast of the country's patron, St. Henrik.
"On the part of Christians this demands courage," said the Pope to the group led by Catholic Bishop Józef Wróbel of Helsinki, and Bishop Simo Peura of Kapua of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.
Benedict XVI said that on the ecumenical path "our first task will perhaps be to rediscover in a new way the living God present in our lives, in our time, and in our society."
The Bishop of Rome applauded the signing of the Joint Declaration on Justification in 1999, with which "Lutherans and Catholics have covered a considerable distance theologically."
The Pope added: "Further work remains, and so it is encouraging that the Nordic Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in Finland and Sweden is examining the topic 'Justification in the Life of the Church.'
"In recent times relations between Christians in Finland have developed in a way that offers much hope for the future of ecumenism."
Today they work and pray "readily" together, "bearing common public witness to the word of God."