Pope praises ecumenical progress with Lutherans

Pope John Paul II expressed his optimism on the dialogue with Lutherans this Monday during the encounter with an ecumenical delegation from Finland.

“Once again this year I am pleased to welcome your ecumenical delegation on its visit to Rome for the feast of Saint Henrik, Patron of Finland,” said the Pope. “In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,” he added, “I wish to express my gratitude for the ecumenical progress made between Catholics and Lutherans in the five years since the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.”

“A promising sign of this progress on our path to full and visible unity,” the Pope continued, “has been the establishment of a new dialogue group between Lutherans and Catholics in Finland and Sweden.”

“It is my hope that Lutherans and Catholics will increasingly practice a spirituality of communion, which draws on those elements of ecclesial life which they already share and which will strengthen their fellowship in prayer and in witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he concluded.

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