Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Today Pope Francis spoke in St Peter’s Square before some 30,000 members of the Renewal in the Holy Spirit Movement. Those present included Card Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Church; Card Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Card Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference; several Eastern Orthodox patriarchs, as well as Anglican and Lutheran bishops and Pentecostal pastors.
In his address, the pontiff said, “It is preferable that every service, even in the Church, come to an end. There should be no lifelong leader. This happens in some countries ruled by a dictatorship. [. . .] The only irreplaceable thing in the Church is the Holy Spirit and Jesus is the one Lord."
The event included music by various artists, including Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and Israeli singer Noa. A letter was read on the ‘Ways of Unity and of Peace: Voices of Prayer for the Martyrs of Today and for a Spiritual Ecumenism,’ a theme the saw the pontiff insist on Christian unity, which has been undermined by divisions among Christians.
Francis also prayed for unity. "Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit. He shall guide us towards unity. He is the one who has the charisma to make a difference in the Church. He also unites."
"Send us the Holy Spirit so that it can teach us all that Jesus has taught us,” Francis said. “Let it remind us of what Jesus said. Jesus, for all of us you asked the Lord the grace of unity in this Church of yours, not ours. History has divided us. Let Jesus help us take the road of unity or reconciled diversity. Lord, you always do what you promised. Give unity to all Christians. Amen!"
The pope returned to one of his main issues, namely the "ecumenism of blood", noting that "the enemy" does not ask whether one is Catholic, Orthodox or evangelical, but kills that person because he or she is a Christian. "If the enemy unites us in death who are we not to be united in life."
Speaking about the Copts killed in Libya, he noted, "Egyptian Copts were not Catholic; they were Christian, and are our martyrs because they gave their life for Christ."
In his mostly unprepared address, the pope also warned against the temptation of power, which “leads to vanity, [and] a sense that one can do anything.” This is all the devil’s work. “The devil comes in through the wallet, which is his front door.”
"How many leaders turn into peacocks? [. . .] Although I prefer the term servant, every leader believes him or herself indispensable. Yet, it is the devil who tempts them, who leads them to believe that they are indispensable in whatever task they undertake." It is devil who "leads them to want to be in command, to be in the middle. Step by step, one slips into authoritarianism, [and] favouritism."
"Secular leaders must spiritually and materially foster those who come after [them]. It is preferable that every service, even in the Church, come to an end [at some point]. There should be no lifelong leader. This happens in some countries ruled by a dictatorship. This is the devil’s temptation. He turns servants into masters. Such temptation leads to vanity."
Finally, the pope called on the members of the Renewal of the Holy Spirit movement "to undertake initiatives that create bonds of trust and cooperation with the bishops who have pastoral responsibility to guide the Spirit. Undertake initiatives so that all currents can come together in ties of cooperation with their bishops wherever they are. You Charismatics have the special grace to work for Christian unity."