This morning at the Vatican Pope Benedict XVI greeted a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, currently in Rome to attend celebrations to mark the closing of the Pauline Year on Monday 29th June, Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. On this occasion the pope highlighted the importance of ecumenical dialogue both at a theological and grass roots level. Your presence here the Holy Father went on to say is a sign of fraternity within the Church. And in this respect Benedict XVI praised the theological progress achieved by the International Catholic and Orthodox Commission which is due to meet in October to discuss the role of the Bishop of Rome. Finally, the Pope stressed, it is this climate of respect and love between us that has helped ovecome past controversies and tensions.
Here Pope Benedict encourages ecumenical dialogue at the grass roots level, something that takes place often now on the internet, where Christians of all traditions 'gather' to discuss what divides us and find ways to achieve reconciliation. At the same time Pope Benedict provides us with an example of how that dialogue should be conducted, with all civility, patience, hope, and charity.