»

Pope Francis: “Dialogue Doesn’t Distance Us from Truth”

From today: 

“Your presence is the sign of the profound bond that unites the Church of Constantinople with the Church of Rome in faith, in hope, and in charity,” Pope Francis said this morning on receiving the delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarch, which had arrived in Rome to celebrate the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. The tradition of exchanging visits for the occasions of the respective patronal feasts dates back to 1969. The Pope emphasized that “fraternal gathering is an essential part of the journey towards unity.”

“The search for unity among Christians is an urgent task—you have said that ‘it is not a luxury, but an imperative’—from which, today more than ever, we cannot prescind. In our world that hungers and thirsts for truth, love, hope, peace, and unity, our witness demands that we should at last be able to proclaim, with one voice, the good news of the Gospel and celebrate together the Divine Mysteries of our new life in Christ. We are well aware that unity is primarily a gift from Gift that we must pray for unceasingly, but we all have the task of preparing the conditions, of cultivating the soil of the heart so that this extraordinary grace may be received.”

Francis praised the Mixed International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches’—which is headed by Metropolitan Ioannis and Cardinal Kurt Koch—fundamental contribution to the search for full communion. “The Commission has already produced many common texts and is now studying the theological and ecclesiological relationships between primacy and synodality in the life of the Church.” In this regard, the Pope commented on the significance of, today, “being able to reflect together in truth and charity on these issues, starting from what we have in common without, however, concealing that which still separates us. This isn’t a theoretical exercise: it demands in-depth knowledge of one another’s traditions in order to understand them and sometimes also to learn from them. I am speaking, for example, of the Catholic Church’s reflection on the meaning of episcopal collegiality and the tradition of synodality that is so characteristic of the Orthodox Churches.”

“It comforts me,” he added, “knowing that Catholics and Orthodox share the same conception of dialogue that doesn’t seek a theological minimalism on which to reach a compromise, but that rather is based on the deepening of the truth that Christ has given to his Church and that we, moved by the Holy Spirit, never cease to understand better. This is why we shouldn’t be afraid of encounter and true dialogue. It doesn’t distance us from the truth but rather, through an exchange of gifts, leads us, under the guidance of the Spirit of truth, to the whole truth.”

The Holy Father concluded his address to the ecumenical delegation, which tomorrow will attend a Eucharistic celebration presided by the Pope, by calling upon Sts. Peter and Paul, patrons of the Church of Rome, and the Apostle Andrew, patron of the Church of Constantinople, to intercede “for our faithful and for the needs of the whole world, especially the poor, the suffering, and those who are unjustly persecuted for their faith.”


»