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Pope tells Greek bishops pray for unity, have perseverance in working for recognition

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.theindiancatholic.com/newsread.asp?nid=4193 Pope tells Greek bishops pray for unity, have perseverance in working for recognition Vatican City (CNA)
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2006
      http://www.theindiancatholic.com/newsread.asp?nid=4193

      Pope tells Greek bishops pray for unity, have perseverance in working for
      recognition

      Vatican City (CNA) -- Pope Benedict XVI greeted members of the Greek
      Episcopal Conference Oct. 30 at the Vatican, expressing hope that one day
      the Greek Orthodox Church, which makes up the majority of the Greek
      population will one day be reunited with the Catholic Church.
      The bishops were visiting the Vatican as part of their "ad Limina" visit.

      The Pope told his brother bishops that there is a need, "to intensify
      prayer so as to accelerate the coming of that blessed day when it will be
      granted us to break the Bread together, and drink together from the same
      Chalice." On this subject, he expressed his hope for the opening of "ever
      greater prospects of constructive dialogue between the Greek Orthodox
      Church and the Catholic Church," and for an increase in "shared spiritual,
      cultural and practical initiatives."

      "Moreover," the Holy Father continued, "it is my pleasure to send my best
      wishes to His Beatitude Christodoulos, archbishop of Athens and of all
      Greece," and through him "to the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church
      and to all the faithful."

      The Pope also encouraged and affirmed the Greek Catholic bishops in their
      desire to finally receive a "recognized juridical status," in Greece. The
      Greek government currently only recognizes the Greek Orthodox Church, and
      there remain tensions between many Greek Orthodox and the minority of Greek
      Catholics who are present in their communities.

      "Dialogue on this question is underway," the Holy Father offered, "a
      dialogue in which the Apostolic See is not the main player."

      "Apart from dialogue, this question also requires perseverance," the Pope
      said. "It is unnecessary to add that the Catholic Church seeks no
      privileges, but only asks for her identity and mission to be recognized, in
      such a way as to be able effectively to make her contribution to the
      overall wellbeing of the noble Greek people, of which you are an integral
      part. With patience and respect for legitimate procedures it will be
      possible, with everyone's commitment, to achieve the desired agreement."

      As it is, the Pope noted, there is an "abundant influx" of Catholic
      immigrants to Greece who face the Greek bishops and clergy with, ""new
      requirements of ministerial service that are not easy to meet."

      Bearing in mind the diversity of languages and rites of the faithful, said
      Pope Benedict, "I believe the development of constructive dialogue with
      other episcopates is more than ever appropriate." From this, he added, will
      emerge "prudent decisions" on how to find the ministers and resources
      necessary. "Obviously, respect for specific identities must be borne in
      mind, but without sacrificing ... the life and plans of the Churches that
      Christ entrusted to you."

      The Holy Father called upon the prelates "to continue your efforts to
      encourage vocational pastoral care;" on the one hand "carefully cultivating
      the seeds of vocation," and on the other, "inviting Christian communities
      to pray more intensely" for a greater number of priestly and religious
      vocations, He also emphasized "the spiritual needs of so many immigrants
      who have found a dignified and cordial welcome in your country. This," he
      added, "is the style typical of your people."

      The Holy Father concluded his talk by recalling the distress felt by many
      communities "at the internal displacement of their faithful. Many of them
      are scattered over the territory and this leads to difficulties in their
      relationships with their respective pastors. It is also phenomena such as
      this that reveal the importance of affective and effective unity among you
      bishops through greater internal coordination."
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