VATICAN CITY, 12 DEC 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican the Holy Father received the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and its president, Cardinal Walter Kasper. The session is dedicated to the theme "The Reception and Future of Ecumenical Dialogue".

This topic, the Pope said, "presents two essential dimensions: on the one hand the discernment of the path taken up to now and, on the other, the identification of new paths to follow, seeking to overcome together the differences that unfortunately persist in the relationships between the disciples of Christ".

"Without a doubt, theological dialogue constitutes an essential ingredient for re-establishing the full communion that we all aspire to and, therefore, it must be sustained and encouraged. This dialogue is developed more in the context of ecclesial relations that . broaden it and involve not only pastors but the entire People of God".

The Holy Father, with respect to the progress made, mentioned "relations with the Orthodox Churches and the ancient Eastern Orthodox Churches, both for what they bring to theological dialogue as well as for the consolidation and growth of ecclesial fraternity" and spoke of the last document of the International Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches entitled "Ecclesial Communion: Conciliar Character and Authority", affirming that "it safely opens a positive perspective of reflection on the relationship between the primate and sinodality in the Church, a crucially important point in the relations with our Orthodox brothers and sisters".

In conclusion, Benedict XVI recalled that the plenary session had given special attention to the "Harvest Project" (ecumenical consensus/convergence on some fundamental aspects of the Christian faith identified in the papers of the first four international bilateral dialogues to those who participated in the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council). The results of the dialogue with "the Lutheran World Federation, the World Methodist Council, the Anglican Communion, and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches are found 'in an intermediate stage of the journey and it is useful and opportune to objectively analyze the results obtained'".


Teachings of Christ

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 ESV)

Holy Angels

O Supreme Leaders of the heavenly armies, * we, who are unworthy, ever beseech you, * that through your prayers you may surround us * with the shelter of the wings of your immaterial glory, * watching over us who fervently fall down and cry out: * “Deliver us from perils, * for you are the commanders of the Powers on high!” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Supreme Leaders of the armies of God * and ministers of the Divine Glory, * princes of angels and guides of men, * ask for us what is expedient for us and for great mercy, * for you are the leaders of the Bodiless Hosts. (Kontakion - Tone 2)

Random Proverb

"The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing." (Proverbs 9:13 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

While the Bridegroom tarried, they slumbered and slept: Give ear, ye prudent, to our Lord's parable, for it is all light. All of them slept, both the foolish and the wise -- Which signifies that the good and the wicked die until the resurrection. The same sleep comes upon the ten of them, which is as much as to say, That death is the same for all creation without distinction. One was the sleep of the wise and of the foolish, For one is death, both of the righteous and of sinners. The good die, as the wise virgins slept; And the bad die, as the foolish also slept. Behold, all creation looketh for the coming of the Bridegroom, Christ, Who cometh at the end with His angels. But since He hath tarried, all generations slumber and sleep with the sleep of death, while looking for when He cometh.

A Homily on the Ten Virgins by Mar Jacob, Bishop of Serugh