ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
28 August 1998
Dear Friends in Christ,
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:3). In the bond of faith, I greet you as you gather for the Annual Plenary Meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. I extend a special word of appreciation to Bishop Mark Santer, whose term as the Anglican Co-President of the Commission is coming to a close. I thank you for all that you have done to inspire the work of the Commission in these years.
In exploring further the question of teaching authority in the Church as you are doing at this Annual Meeting, you seek to know more deeply the mind of Christ and what he intends for his Church. At a time when many people are deeply uncertain and anxious, it is important for Christians to reaffirm that truth does exist, that it can be known, and that Christ has established a teaching authority within the Church to safeguard and make known the truth of faith. A loss of confidence in the truth has lead to a crisis of culture, which does not leave the disciples of Christ untouched. In such a situation, the voice of apostolic authority should sound as a diakonia of the truth, a humble and tenacious service to the truth of Revelation. Our task is to preach that Christ is the absolute and universal Truth rising from the very depths of the Trinity, that he can be known, and that humanity finds its true freedom in knowing the Truth which he is (cf. Jn 8:32).
In my Encyclical Letter Ut Unum Sint, I have made it clear that “the mission of the Bishop of Rome is particularly directed to recalling the need for full communion among Christ’s disciples” (No. 4). It is my fervent prayer therefore that the Spirit of Truth will continue to guide your work, so that as we move towards the Third Millennium of the Christian era, repenting of old sins and celebrating new hopes, Anglicans and Roman Catholics may know the joy which is ours when brothers and sisters dwell in unity (cf. Ps 133:1). “Glory be to him whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ever ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20). May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you.
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