Magazine article The Christian Century

Pope, WCC Leader Reaffirm Unity Quest

Magazine article The Christian Century

Pope, WCC Leader Reaffirm Unity Quest

Article excerpt

Putting behind them a controversial document, Pope Benedict XVI met with leaders of the World Council of Churches June 16 and reaffirmed the Catholic Church's "irreversible" commitment to the search for Christian unity.

* Both the pope and Samuel Kobia, secretary general Of the WCC, indicated that they will ignore the strains caused by Dominus Iesus (Lord Jesus), which asserted that only Catholics are assured of salvation. The document was issued in 2000 by Benedict, who was then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's top authority on church doctrine.

Since his election as pope on April 19, however, Benedict has repeatedly stressed the need for ecumenical dialogue to "rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers." The Catholic commitment "to the search for Christian unity is irreversible," Benedict told the WCC delegates. He urged "concrete gestures" toward this goal.

Kobia said he wanted to work with the Roman church on responding to issues such as the decline of Christianity in Europe and its growth in Africa. "We could seek together a stable place of moral clarity and confidence amid today's turbulent human landscape of shifting values, uncertain hopes and crumbling commitments," Kobia said at the papal audience, according to a prepared text of his address released by the WCC.

At a news conference in Rome afterward, Kobia said the WCC was willing to help improve relations between the Vatican and Eastern Orthodox churches, which have been strained in recent years. …

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