Finnish Ecumenical Delegation Visits the Holy Father


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VATICAN CITY, 18 JAN 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received an ecumenical delegation from Finland for the occasion of the Feast of St. Henry, patron saint of that country, which falls tomorrow.

Addressing the group in English, the Pope recalled how this year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the delegation's annual visit to Rome.

"The Churches of East and West, both of whose traditions are present in your country, share a real, if still imperfect, communion. This is a motive to regret the troubles of the past, but it is surely also a motive which spurs us to ever greater efforts at understanding and reconciliation, so that our brotherly friendship and dialogue may yet blossom into a perfect, visible unity in Christ Jesus", he said.

The Pope also mentioned the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, signed ten years old, describing it as "a concrete sign of the brotherhood rediscovered between Lutherans and Catholics".

Benedict XVI likewise expressed his pleasure at "the recent work of the Nordic Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in Finland and Sweden. ... It is greatly to be hoped", he concluded, "that the text resulting from the dialogue will contribute positively to the path which leads to the restoration of our lost unity".