Joint Declaration by the Pope and Chrysostomos II

 — June 16, 200716 juin 2007

[Vatican City – VIS] Following this morning’s private meeting, and their exchange of speeches, the Pope and His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, signed a Joint declaration in the presence of the Catholic and Cypriot Orthodox delegations.

In the declaration, Benedict XVI and the archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus declare their “sincere and firm desire, in obedience to the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to intensify the search for full unity among all Christians. … We wish the Catholic and Orthodox faithful of Cyprus to live fraternally and in full solidarity. … Furthermore, we wish to support and promote theological dialogue which, through the competent international commission, is preparing to consider the most onerous questions that marked the historical event of division. It is necessary to reach substantial agreement over full communion in the faith, in sacramental life and in the exercise of pastoral ministry.”

The Holy Father and His Beatitude Chrysostomos II affirm that during their meeting they “examined the situation of the divisions and tensions which, for more than 30 years, have characterized the island of Cyprus, with the tragic everyday problems that also affect the lives of our communities and of individual families.” They also considered “the situation in the Middle East, where war and contrasts between peoples risk spreading, with disastrous consequences. We have invoked the peace ‘that comes from above.’ Our Churches intend to play a role of pacification in justice and in solidarity and, in order for this to come about, it is our desire to promote fraternal relations between all Christians and faithful dialogue between the various religions that are present and operate in the region.”

After making a call for all those who raise their hands “against their brothers” to lay down their arms, the joint declaration calls for “every effort to be made to ensure that human rights are always defended, in all countries.” Of these, “the primary right is that of freedom of religion. Not to respect it constitutes a grave offence to the dignity of man. … And hence, to profane, destroy or plunder the places of worship of any religion is an act against humanity and the civilization of peoples.”

“At a time of growing secularization and relativism, Catholics and Orthodox in Europe are called to offer renewed witness on ethical values,” write the Pope and Chrysostomos II. Referring to the European Union, they highlight how “it cannot be limited to merely economic cooperation, it needs solid cultural foundations, shared ethical positions and openness to the religious dimension. It is necessary to revive the Christian roots of Europe, which have made its civilization great over the centuries, and to recognize that the Western and Eastern Christian tradition have, in this sense, a joint task to accomplish.”

The Pope and the archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus indicate that “the rich heritage of faith and the solid Christian tradition of our lands must encourage Catholic and Orthodox to a renewed determination to announce the Gospel in our time, in order to be faithful to our Christian vocation and to respond to the needs of today’s world.”

On the subject of bioethics, the two men express their “serious concern” for the way in which this question is handled. And they affirm that “the exploitation of human beings, abusive experimentation and genetic experiments that do not respect ethical values, are an offense to life, threaten the wellbeing and dignity of each human being and cannot and must not be justified or permitted at any moment of existence.”

The Holy Father and His Beatitude Chrysostomos II invite the leaders of nations “to favor and promote a fair distribution of the earth’s resources, in a spirit of solidarity with the poor and with all the deprived people of the world.”

At the end of the declaration, they express their concern for “the risk of the destruction of creation” highlighting in this context how the environment “needs respect and protection from all those who live in it.”

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Posted: June 16, 2007 • Permanent link:
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