Week of Prayer for the unity of Christians

«The unity of Christians is an essential requirement of our faith», said Pope Francis on the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. «Unity is not the result of our human efforts, or the product of ecclesiastical diplomacy, but is a gift from heaven». As he explained, «we are not able to come to unity on our own, nor can we decide on the form and the times» in which such unity will occur.

We must therefore be attentive to all those who do not have a sincere disposition on this ecumenical path. Cooperation, dialogue and joint prayer are signs that this ecumenism is real, and that in many respects Christians are already united, although we must deepen that unity. All the theological and ecclesiological differences that have divided Christians will be overcome along this path. «We do not know how and when, but it will happen according to what the Holy Spirit wants to suggest for the good of the Church».

On the other hand, «the different theological, liturgical, spiritual and canonical traditions which have developed in the Christian world, when they remain rooted in an authentic way in the apostolic tradition, are a wealth and not a threat to the unity of the Church». «Trying to suppress that diversity goes against the Holy Spirit, who acts enriching the community of believers with a variety of gifts».

«The ecumenical task must lead us to seek together the way to successfully meet these obstacles … The Christian community, with its plurality, is called not to compete, but to collaborate».

Pope Francisco

Rome, 10/01/2017

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