Keeping up with Pope Benedict can be a difficult task, even for the strong; the pope does so much work in given week that most people would wilt. However, because he has such an excellent staff, much is possible. Key to understanding Benedict’s ecumenical work is his openess to collaborating with the Spirit and with others Chrisians for full visible communion desired by Christ and the Church, particularly since Vatican II. Additionally, his insistence on spiritual ecumenism is always noteworthy because without prayer none of ecumenical diagolue work makes a bit of sense. Plus, the pope raises the all-important matter of harvesting the fruit already done by the churches. So often we work hard on some document or event but fail to assess the fruit of the document or event to see what fruit there is and how it’s maturing. The lack of critical and honest engagement with the issues and the prudential enactment of the dialogue is fraustrating to lots of people. It is likely that many people have missed the news of of the Pope’s recent meeting with a delegation from the Evangelical Luthern Church in America (ELCA) on Wednesday, 10 February 2010, where he said (emphasis added):
“Since the beginning of my Pontificate, I have been encouraged that relations between Catholics and Lutherans have continued to grow, especially at the level of practical collaboration in the service of the Gospel. In his Encyclical Letter Ut Unuum Sint, my beloved Predecessor Pope John Paul II described our relationship as “brotherhood rediscovered” (n. 41). I deeply hope that the continuing Lutheran-Catholic dialogue both in the
I conclude by renewing the wish expressed by my Predecessor, during whose Pontificate so much was accomplished on the road to full visible unity among Christians, when he said to a similar delegation from the
Upon you and all those entrusted to your pastoral care, I cordially invoke the abundant blessings of Almighty God.