These efforts continue today. On May 8, 2005, for instance, less than a month after his election, Benedict XVI sent greetings and prayers to the national synod of the Reformed Church of France. On their side many Protestant churches have made an effort on the international level to promote dialogue and some form of unity through the World Council of Churches that was formed in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1948. This is a major forum for the various Christian churches to dialogue with one another with the goal of seeking reunification. The Catholic Church did not become a member of this council, preferring to carry out individual dialogues with particular churches. Most Orthodox churches have chosen to join the World Council. The Orthodox play a role within the World Council of Churches, though there are times when the Orthodox theological perspective is at variance with the more liberal Protestant theology of the council.
Pope John Paul II was elected to the papacy in October 1978. His pontificate, lasting nearly 27 years, was one of the longest in the history of the Catholic Church. He took part in the Second Vatican Council and worked toward unification with the Orthodox churches.
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