DAILY CATHOLIC     THUR-FRI-SAT-SUN     May 13-16, 1999     vol. 10, no. 94

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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POPE'S ROMANIAN VISIT OPENS PATH TO UNION WITH ORTHODOX

Statements by Apostolic Nuncio Jean Claude Perisset

          BUCHAREST, MAY 10 (ZENIT).- Archbishop Jean Claude Perisset, Apostolic Nuncio in Bucharest, told the 'Fides' news agency that "the Pope's presence in a country of Orthodox majority is proof that the doors are wide open on the path to unity." John Paul II's visit to Bucharest, from May 7-9, became the first trip of a Bishop of Rome to a country with an Orthodox majority. Romania is the seat of the second largest Orthodox patriarchy in the world in terms of numbers; Moscow is the first. According to Archbishop Perisset, who was one of the architects of this trip, first as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and later as Apostolic Nuncio, "the visit surpassed all expectations, because it has shown concretely that the Pope, the first person responsible for the unity of the Church, brought thousands of faithful together around Christ -- both Catholic and Orthodox --, in two important liturgical celebrations."

          Perisset summarized the visit in three words: "joy, hope and unity." Joy, because "the Pope has been welcomed as the messenger of hope that Romania so very much needs, because of the difficult socio-economic conditions." Hope, especially for ecumenism, "because the presence of the Pope in a country of an Orthodox majority is proof that the doors of the path toward unity are wide open." Unity, because we have seen the Catholic and Orthodox leaders "talk and pray together for reconciliation."

          Among the reactions the Nuncio heard in Bucharest was that of an Orthodox priest who told a Catholic Bishop as the Pope's plane took off: "I feel sadness in my heart, because our father has gone." ZE99051006


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May 13-16, 1999       volume 10, no. 94
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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