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Twenty-First Century Crusades?

 Prediction 7: The Pope taking radical steps to bring all sheep back into fold.

Pope Seeks to Heal Orthodox, Catholic Rift

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Unifying all Christians and healing the 1,000-year rift between Catholics and the Orthodox is "particularly urgent," Pope Benedict XVI said in a message released Monday.

In the message to a Catholic-Orthodox symposium on Sunday, the pope called for intensified prayers and dialogue to help heal the rift, which he has said would be a fundamental priority of his pontificate.

"The search for the full, visible union among all the disciples of Christ is seen as particularly urgent in our times, and for this one feels the need for a more profound spirituality and an increase in reciprocal love," the pope said.

The Catholic and Orthodox churches split in 1054 over several questions, including the issue of the primacy of the pope. More recently, relations between the two sides have been made tense by Orthodox charges of aggressive Catholic missionary work in eastern Europe and by property disputes.

Theological dialogue was interrupted four years ago, but in June both sides announced that talks would resume.

Benedict said it was "unfortunate" that the lack of full unity meant that Orthodox and Catholic priests couldn't jointly celebrate Mass.

"Realizing full communion of Christians must be an objective for all those who profess faith in" one church, he said.

The symposium, held in the town of Assisi, was organized by the Pontifical Antonianum University and the theology department of the University of Thessaloniki in Greece.

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