POPE HIGHLIGHTS LINK IN 2 OF HIS PRIORITIES

Says New Evangelization Hinges on Christian Unity

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 2, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is reiterating the importance of Christian unity for the success of the new evangelization.

The Pope spoke of these two papal priorities and their interrelatedness in a letter addressed to the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch.

The letter was on the occasion of the 12th Inter-Christian Symposium, promoted by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at the Pontifical Athenaeum Antonianum and by the Orthodox Theological Faculty at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki.

The four-day symposium concluded today and was focused on the theme “The Witness of the Church in the Modern World.”

Recalling the establishment of a pontifical council for new evangelization, the Holy Father affirmed that the symposium theme is “of great current importance and is at the center of my concern and prayers.”

“In the course of the centuries the Church has not failed to proclaim the salvific mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but this same proclamation today needs a renewed vigor in many of the regions that were the first to receive the light and that are experiencing the effects of a secularization capable of impoverishing man in his deepest dimension,” he reflected.

The Pontiff suggested that two contradictory phenomena mark the modern world: “On one hand there is a generalized distraction and also an insensitivity in regard to transcendence; on the other, there are numerous signs that attest to an ongoing profound nostalgia for God in many hearts, which manifests itself in many different ways and which brings many men and women to an attitude of sincere searching.”

The Catholic and Orthodox Churches share the same cultural and economic context and thus the same challenges, the Pope reminded. He said that the symposium has important ecumenical consequences, as the discussions will clarify the common problems and the differences in points of view.

Benedict XVI affirmed the importance of the ecumenical efforts for the cause of evangelization by citing Paul VI: “As evangelizers, we must offer Christ’s faithful not the image of people divided and separated by unedifying quarrels, but the image of people who are mature in faith and capable of finding a meeting-point beyond the real tensions, thanks to a shared, sincere and disinterested search for truth. Yes, the destiny of evangelization is certainly bound up with the witness of unity given by the Church. This is a source of responsibility and also of comfort.'”

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