The ecumenical dimension of the Pope's Visit to Lebanon

2012-09-21 L’Osservatore Romano

A big step forward in achieving unity with the Christian Orthodox Churches. It is in this way that Cardinal Kurt Koch,  President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, described the most recent Apostolic Visit of Benedict XVI to Lebanon. The Cardinal, who participated in the Visit as member of the Holy Father's entourage, gave our newspaper the following interview in which he analyzes the ecumenical meaning of the Visit in light of his experience alongside the Pope.

Much has been spoken about Christian and Muslim dialogue following the Pope's recent Visit to Lebanon and a bit less about the ecumenical aspect of the visit. In this regard, what did this Apostolic Visit mean?

 Given the current tensions it is perhaps natural that the relations between Christians and Muslims  received attention.  I am sure that this Visit served to deepen ecumenical relations and to give  new impetus to the search for full unity among Christians.  Moreover one could say that it is true that the Catholic Church, despite the differences among the rites, is profoundly with the Holy See and the Holy Father. One could also state that the relations between the Catholic Church and all the Eastern Orthodox Churches are getting better, as evidenced by the meeting in Charfet which took place with enormous cordiality.

What was the experience of the Middle Eastern Orthodox community during the Pope's Visit?

 We have received various indications and all included extremely positive comments. In these difficult times and in the crucial context of the Middle East, I would say that that it is great sign of the willingness to deepen the faith and strengthen all ecclesial realities.

Mario Ponzi