VATICAN CITY, 12 DEC 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican the Holy Father received the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and its president, Cardinal Walter Kasper. The session is dedicated to the theme "The Reception and Future of Ecumenical Dialogue".

This topic, the Pope said, "presents two essential dimensions: on the one hand the discernment of the path taken up to now and, on the other, the identification of new paths to follow, seeking to overcome together the differences that unfortunately persist in the relationships between the disciples of Christ".

"Without a doubt, theological dialogue constitutes an essential ingredient for re-establishing the full communion that we all aspire to and, therefore, it must be sustained and encouraged. This dialogue is developed more in the context of ecclesial relations that . broaden it and involve not only pastors but the entire People of God".

The Holy Father, with respect to the progress made, mentioned "relations with the Orthodox Churches and the ancient Eastern Orthodox Churches, both for what they bring to theological dialogue as well as for the consolidation and growth of ecclesial fraternity" and spoke of the last document of the International Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches entitled "Ecclesial Communion: Conciliar Character and Authority", affirming that "it safely opens a positive perspective of reflection on the relationship between the primate and sinodality in the Church, a crucially important point in the relations with our Orthodox brothers and sisters".

In conclusion, Benedict XVI recalled that the plenary session had given special attention to the "Harvest Project" (ecumenical consensus/convergence on some fundamental aspects of the Christian faith identified in the papers of the first four international bilateral dialogues to those who participated in the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council). The results of the dialogue with "the Lutheran World Federation, the World Methodist Council, the Anglican Communion, and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches are found 'in an intermediate stage of the journey and it is useful and opportune to objectively analyze the results obtained'".


Teachings of Christ

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 ESV)


At Your baptism in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * “You have come, and You have appeared , O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Monasticism itself is a perpetual labor of conquering passions and uprooting them in order that, being in a pure and immaculate state, one may preserve oneself before the face of God. This, then, is your task! Give your attention to it, and direct all your powers towards it.

St. Theophan the Recluse