VATICAN CITY, DEC 6, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience members of the joint international commission sponsored by the Baptist World Alliance and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who are currently meeting in Rome to ponder the theme: "The Word of God in the Life of the Church: Scripture, Tradition and Koinonia."
That theme, said the Pope in his English-language address to the delegates, "offers a promising context for the examination of such historically controverted issues as the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, the understanding of Baptism and the Sacraments, the place of Mary in the communion of the Church, and the nature of ... primacy in the Church's ministerial structure.
"If our hope for reconciliation and greater fellowship between Baptists and Catholics is to be realized," he added, "issues such as these need to be faced together, in a spirit of openness, mutual respect and fidelity to the liberating truth and saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
"Today, as ever, the world needs our common witness to Christ and to the hope brought by the Gospel," Pope Benedict concluded. "Obedience to the Lord's will should constantly spur us, then, to strive for that unity so movingly expressed in His priestly prayer: 'that they may all be one... so that the world may believe.' For the lack of unity between Christians 'openly contradicts the will of Christ, provides a stumbling block to the world, and harms the most holy cause of proclaiming the good news to every creature'."
AC/UNITY/CATHOLICS:BAPTISTS VIS 071206 (270)