As some 3000 participants gather in Brazil to commence the ninth General Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Pope Benedict XVI has sent his encouragement for the gathering and prayers that Christians can effectively work together to share the divine love of God with the world.
The Pope’s message was sent to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who is representing the Vatican in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
The Assembly is being held from February 14th through the 23rd and will explore the theme: "God in Your Grace, transform the world."
In his message, the Holy Father writes that "Mindful of our shared baptismal faith in the Triune God, the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches seek ways to cooperate ever more effectively in the task of witnessing to God's divine love.”
“After 40 years of fruitful collaboration,” he said, “we look forward to continuing this journey of hope and promise, as we intensify our endeavors towards reaching that day when Christians are united in proclaiming the Gospel message of salvation to all."
Pope Benedict concluded his message with assurances of his spiritual closeness and reaffirmed "the Catholic Church's intention to continue a solid partnership with the World Council of Churches."
Some 340 churches and ecclesial communities are being represented at the gathering. The Catholic Church is not an official member of the World Council of Churches although it has been a longtime partner and collaborator.