Benedict XVI Sends Message to Protestant Synod

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 8, 2005 ( Benedict XVI sent a message to the national synod of the Reformation Church of France, the country's main Protestant community, who thanked the Pontiff for this "gesture of consideration."

Archbishop Claude Feidt of Aix en Provence, Catholic representative at the meeting being held in that city, read the text sent Saturday by the Vatican secretariat of state in the Pope's name. The meeting ended today.

In the message, the Pope greeted "cordially all the participants" in the synod, "assuring them of his prayers," stated the president of the synod, Marcel Manoel.

"It is the first time that our synod has received such a message," the assembly's president told Agence France-Presse. "We receive it as a gesture of consideration."

The synod of the Reformation Church of France has 350,000 members. The theme of the assembly is "To Confess Jesus Christ in a Secular Society."

The Reformation Church of France is the main church of the Protestant Federation of France, which represents some 900,000 people.