Vatican wants to propose new type of papal office


 The Vatican wants to present a document on Thursday that could have far-reaching consequences for relations between the Christian churches. The text was prepared by the Pope’s ecumenical authority, the Vatican press office announced.

The paper is entitled “The Bishop of Rome – Primacy and Synodality in the Ecumenical Discussions and the Responses to the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint”. It takes up an encyclical from 1995 by Pope John Paul II. The doctrinal text, which was groundbreaking for Christian unity at the time, had promised a new self-understanding and a different way of exercising the papal office, especially with regard to the churches of the East.

At the time, the Pope had invited the other Christian churches to seek, in a “brotherly, patient dialogue” with Rome, ways in which the papal office could be understood as a “service of mercy” to all churches. The Vatican’s ecumenical department then set up its own dialogue forums with several churches, which consulted for decades. The results are now available.

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