Baptists leaders from around the world met with Pope Benedict XVI this morning at the Vatican as the second round of Baptist-Catholic talks continued. Saying that the lack of unity among Christians contradicts Christ’s will, Benedict XVI told the Baptist delegation that the world needs “our common witness to Christ and to the hope brought by the Gospel.”
This meeting in Rome is the second round of ongoing discussions that Members of the Baptist World Alliance are holding with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The theme for this meeting is: "The Word of God in the Life of the Church: Scripture, Tradition and Koinonia."
That theme, the Pope told the delegates, "offers a promising context for the examination of such historically disputed issues as the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, the understanding of Baptism and the Sacraments, the place of Mary in the communion of the Church, and the nature of ... primacy in the Church's ministerial structure.”
In an approach that seems to be characteristic of all Benedict XVI’s efforts to promote dialogue, he said, "[i]f our hope for reconciliation and greater fellowship between Baptists and Catholics is to be realized," he added, "issues such as these need to be faced together, in a spirit of openness, mutual respect and fidelity to the liberating truth and saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
"Today, as ever, the world needs our common witness to Christ and to the hope brought by the Gospel," Pope Benedict concluded. "Obedience to the Lord's will should constantly spur us, then, to strive for that unity so movingly expressed in His priestly prayer: 'that they may all be one. so that the world may believe.' For the lack of unity between Christians 'openly contradicts the will of Christ, provides a stumbling block to the world, and harms the most holy cause of proclaiming the good news to every creature'."