In a post on the Creed and the filioque a week back, I speculated on whether the Pope and Ecumenical Patriarch saying the Creed together (and other gestures at the events) indicated that some progress towards unity was being made.
Some intriguing comments by a papal aide were reported today on Zenit to the effect that it did indeed mean just that.
Aide: Pauline Year a Chance for Unity Says Timing Depends on Prayer, Charity and Faith
VATICAN CITY, JULY 6, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The Pauline Jubilee Year is an opportunity to make progress toward full Christian unity, says a Vatican spokesman.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, affirmed this in the most recent edition of Vatican Television's "Octava Dies."
"The solemn opening of the Pauline year at the Basilica of St. Paul and the celebration of the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Peter's Basilica, with the participation of several representatives of Christian Churches and communities and, in particular, of [Orthodox] Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, were new intense moments of ecumenical encounter," he said.
"And it is, in fact, in the proclamation of the Gospel and the liturgical celebration that the degree of ecumenism among Christians can be measured, because therein is the contact with the original community and only from there can the path toward unity begin," the spokesman added.
Noting that Bartholomew I also proclaimed this a year of St. Paul, the Jesuit affirmed: "St. Paul, author of the most ancient and ample writings of the New Testament, impassioned and conquered by Christ, missionary of universal horizons, has shown us how to see the Church concretely as the Body of Christ."
Recalling how the Apostle asked, "How could you lacerate my body?" Father Lombardi noted how the Pope asks himself and the faithful the same question.
"In the great Eucharistic celebration, the Pope and the patriarch were together near the altar for the liturgy of the word, for the homily and for the profession of faith, as well as for the kiss of peace and the final blessing," the spokesman said. "However, they were unable to be together during the Eucharistic liturgy.
"Hence, the ardent prayer continues to be necessary: 'Bring us together again, Lord, from all our divisions. There is only one bread, hence we, though many, are only one body.' When will there be full communion? It depends also on our prayer, on our charity and on our faith."