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Tuesday, 21 October 1986


Dear Friends in our Lord Jesus Christ,

It is a joy for me to welcome you, the participants in the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions. The city of Rome, hallowed as it is by the blood of the early Christian martyrs, is surely a place where all those who would bear witness to Christ today can find new strength and fresh inspiration.

The very word " communion " reminds us once again of the profound reflections on the nature of the Church to be found in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. The Decree on Ecumenism refers to those who believe in Christ and have been properly baptised as being "in a certain, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church".  It also proposes "full ecclesiastical communion"  as the goal of ecumenical work. As the Secretaries of Christian World Communions, you bear responsibility in the task of realising full communion of faith and sacramental life among all the baptised. It is a task to which you contribute in many ways. I have said before and I affirm once more that for the Catholic Church the search for Christian unity is a pastoral priority.

It is so important that the world in which we live – divided as it is in so many ways – should see the sign of reconciliation and peace among those who believe in Christ. The more our collaboration is marked by honesty, humility and charity, the more our joint witness will really be a sign to the world of that peace and communion to which all men and women are called.

I will shortly be in Assisi together with other Christian leaders, and leaders of other religions. Our common concern will be to pray for peace. It is in prayer and only in prayer that the shape of joint action and witness in the cause of peace is to be discerned. I invite you today – you and all those you represent – to pray also in these days that the world will know and enjoy that peace which passes all understanding.

May your meeting in Rome refresh you for the challenges that lie ahead. And may the peace of Christ be with you always.


© Copyright 1986 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana