NEW REFLECTIONS SOUGHT ON ROLE OF POPE

VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- During an ecumenical service held on February 25 at the Coptic Catholic cathedral in Cairo, Pope John Paul II urged all Christians to reflect on the best way in which the papacy could fulfill be "a service of love" to unite all believers.

Speaking at a "liturgy of the Word," which brought together 1,500 people from all of Egypt's major Christian groups, the Holy Father stressed the message of the Gospel reading, which had included the prayer of Jesus "that all may be one."

"Once again I would like to invite Church leaders and theologians to study this subject with me, in fraternal and patient dialogue," the Pope said. He insisted that "sterile polemics" should be avoided, and that all Christians should pray "that the Holy Spirit will give us light," so that the churches can work together to restore true unity.

"My dear brothers, there is no time to lose on this subject," the Pope exclaimed. He urged all Christian leaders to avoid discord, and to show "true charity, grounded in complete fidelity to the one savior, Jesus Christ, and in mutual respect for all ecclesial traditions and sacramental practices." Such an attitude, he said, is "an essential element of the search for perfect communion."