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Saturday, 16 November 2002


Dear Bishop Wagle,
Distinguished Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome to the Vatican this Delegation from the Lutheran Diocese of Nidaros, in Rome for the Feastday of Saint Olav, Patron of Norway.

I well remember, during my visit to Norway and the other Scandinavian countries in 1989, the ecumenical service in the Cathedral of Nidaros in Trondheim with your predecessor, the Right Reverend Kristen Kyrre Bremer. It was a sign of new and deeper ecumenical relations between us, improved relations which, in 1993, enabled the Lutheran Church to allow the Catholic community to celebrate in the old mediaeval cathedral the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the re-establishment of the Catholic Church in Norway. Let us thank God who has helped us to make such progress.

We are committed to moving further ahead on the path to reconciliation. The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification between the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church, signed in 1999, paves the way for more extensive common witness. It brings us a step closer to the full visible unity which is the goal of our dialogue.

May the Lord help us to treasure what has been achieved so far, and may he sustain us in our efforts to hasten its development into ever broader cooperation. At the beginning of the new millennium the Lord is calling all his followers: "Duc in altum! – Put out into the deep!" (Lk

5:4). May we ever remain open to the surprising work of the Holy Spirit among us. God bless you!

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