"An important remaining task will be to harvest the results of the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue that so promisingly started after the Vatican Council II. To build on what has been achieved together since that time, a spiritual ecumenism should be grounded in ardent prayer and in conversion to Christ, the source of grace and truth. May the Lord help us to treasure what has been accomplished so far, to guard it with care, and to foster its development". - Pope Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, 10 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Following today's general audience, the Pope met with a delegation from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, led by Bishop Mark Hanson.

Addressing the group in English, the Holy Father expressed the hope that "the continuing Lutheran-Catholic dialogue both in the United States of America and at the international level will help to build upon the agreements reached so far.

"An important remaining task", he added, "will be to harvest the results of the Lutheran-Catholic dialogue that so promisingly started after the Vatican Council II. To build on what has been achieved together since that time, a spiritual ecumenism should be grounded in ardent prayer and in conversion to Christ, the source of grace and truth. May the Lord help us to treasure what has been accomplished so far, to guard it with care, and to foster its development".

Benedict XVI concluded by renewing the wish expressed by his predecessor John Paul II addressing a similar Lutheran delegation in 1985: "Let us rejoice that an encounter such as this can take place. Let us resolve to be open to the Lord so that He can use this meeting for His purposes, to bring about the unity that He desires. Thank you for the efforts you are making for full unity in faith and charity".

AG/UNITY/AMERICAN LUTHERANS                                          VIS 100210 (230)

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