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Catholic, Orthodox must show each other mercy, pope says


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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Professing the same faith in the mercy of God, Catholics and Orthodox must do more to ensure mercy marks the way they treat each other, Pope Francis told a delegation from the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

"If, as Catholics and Orthodox, we wish to proclaim together the marvels of God's mercy to the whole world, we cannot continue to harbor sentiments and attitudes of rivalry, mistrust and rancor," the pope said June 28.

The delegation, led by Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, was in Rome to represent Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at the pope's celebration of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the patron saints of the church of Rome.

Since 1969, the patriarchs have sent delegations to the Vatican for the June 29 feast and the popes have sent a delegation to Turkey each year for the feast of St. Andrew, patron of the patriarchate.

Metropolitan Methodios is the Orthodox co-president of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation. Pope Francis used his presence at the Vatican as an opportunity to praise the "fruitful work" of the North American group. "Instituted more than 50 years ago, this consultation has proposed significant reflections on central theological issues for our churches, thus fostering the development of excellent relations between Catholics and Orthodox on that continent," the pope said.

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