Monday, August 21, 2006

Experts hope to get derailed Catholic-Orthodox dialogue back on track

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Theological dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox churches has been derailed for six years. In mid-September, 60 ecumenical experts will try to get it back on track.

The Catholic-Orthodox international dialogue commission is meeting in the Serbian capital of Belgrade Sept. 18-25, in what Pope Benedict XVI has optimistically described as a "new phase in dialogue."

That the encounter is taking place at all has been described as a big step forward by Vatican officials. Representatives from 10 Orthodox churches, including the Russian Orthodox Church, will attend.

But church officials also recognize that it wouldn't take much to send the whole enterprise off the rails again.

For one thing, the two main topics of the meeting are papal primacy and the role of Eastern Catholic churches -- two of the sorest points in Catholic-Orthodox relations.

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