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  • » 01/25/2018, 20.04

    VATICAN

    For pope when Christians from different confessions are killed they become martyrs together



    “Christians are called to hold together the memory of what God has accomplished in them,” said Pope Francis to mark the end of the 51st Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. “We thus wish to pray together, uniting our voices even more. Even when divergences separate us, we recognise that we belong to the people of the redeemed, to the same family of brothers and sisters loved by the one Father."

    Rome (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis cited the ecumenism of the blood today, a particularly significant day on the journey towards Christian unity, at the end of the celebration of the Second Vespers of the Solemnity of the Conversion of Saint Paul Apostle, which marks the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christians unity, whose theme this year was ‘Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power’ (Exodus, 15-6).

    The pope took inspiration from today’s reading, Exodus. In it Moses sings the praises of God on the shores of the Red Sea. "Many ancient Fathers,” Francis said, “understood this liberating passage as an image of Baptism. It is our sins that have been drowned by God in the living waters of Baptism. Much more than Egypt, sin threatened to make us slaves forever, but the power of divine love overwhelmed it.”

    “Saint Augustine (Sermon 223E) interprets the Red Sea, where Israel saw God’s salvation, as an anticipatory sign of the blood of Christ crucified, source of salvation. All of us Christians have passed through the waters of Baptism, and the grace of the Sacrament has destroyed our enemies: sin and death. After leaving the waters, we reached the freedom of the children; we emerged as a people, as a community of saved brothers and sisters, as 'fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God' (Eph 2:19). We share the fundamental experience: God’s grace, his powerful mercy in saving us. And precisely because God has carried out this victory in us, together we can sing his praises."

    Over the past century, the various Christian confessions have "finally understood" that we are "together on the shores of the Red Sea. In Baptism we have been saved and the grateful song of praise, which other brothers and sisters sing, belongs to us, because it is also ours. When we say we recognise the baptism of Christians of other traditions, we confess that they too have received the Lord's forgiveness and his grace is working in them. And we welcome their worship as an authentic expression of praise for what God does. We thus wish to pray together, uniting our voices even more. Even when divergences separate us, we recognise that we belong to the people of the redeemed, to the same family of brothers and sisters loved by the one Father."

    As it happened to Israel after liberation, "even today's Christians encounter many difficulties along the way, surrounded by so many spiritual deserts, which cause hope and joy to dry up. There are also serious dangers on the way, which put life at risk: how many fellow Christians today suffer persecution in the name of Jesus! When their blood is shed, even if they belong to a different confession, together they become witnesses of faith, martyrs, united in the bond of baptismal grace. Together with the friends of other religious traditions, Christians today face challenges that demean human dignity: they flee situations of conflict and misery, they are victims of trafficking human and other modern forms of slavery, they suffer hardship and hunger in a world that is increasingly rich in means but poor in love, where inequalities continue to grow. But like the Israelites of the Exodus, Christians are called together to hold the memory of what God has accomplished in them. By reviving this memory, we can support one another and, armed only with Jesus and the sweet power of his Gospel, face every challenge with courage and hope."

    At the end, the pope thanked Metropolitan Gennadios, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; Bishop Bernard Ntahoturi, personal representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome; and the ecumenical delegation of Finland, whom he had received this morning, for their presence.

    During the meeting, Francis again spoke about the importance of the "common celebration" of the 500 years of the Reformation. "The ecumenical dimension in our prayer and meetings, in which there were no traces of past disputes or conflicts, was essential for the common commemoration of the Reformation all over the world. Our commemoration was celebrated in a very different spirit, because we understood the event of the Reformation as an invitation to face together the loss of credibility of Christianity, an invitation to give renewed strength to the common confession of the One and Triune God. The year that has just ended reminded us of the time when unity among Christians was not yet broken. This is why Lutherans and Catholics were able to celebrate the commemoration of 2017 only one way: in ecumenical communion."

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    See also

    07/12/2017 15:11:00 VATICAN – LUTHERANS
    For the pope, Catholics and Lutherans can no longer afford to be adversaries or rivals

    During his meeting with the president of the Lutheran World Federation, Francis said that the “painful divisions that kept us distant and in conflict for centuries, have brought us in recent decades to a journey of communion.”



    01/11/2016 13:03:00 SWEDEN – VATICAN
    Pope in Sweden: Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians

    In his first and only public Mass in Sweden, Pope Francis gives an updated list of the beatitudes and extols the one about meekness, which “is a way of living and acting that draws us close to Jesus and to one another.” And “The saints bring about change through meekness of heart.” He thanks the president and General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. The saints of everyday life are “those mothers and fathers who sacrifice for their families”. At the end, a prayer for Our Lady is recited.



    29/10/2016 13:37:00 VATICAN
    Pope’s Sweden trip, a step forward in closer relations with Lutherans

    In an interview, Francis says that "one cannot be Catholic and sectarian, you must attempt to get along with others." The importance of "coming together" to avoid “being locked into rigid perspectives, because in these there is no possibility of reform."



    02/11/2016 17:23:00 INDIA – VATICAN
    Bishop of Vasai: marking 500th anniversary of the Reformation to boost ties with Lutherans

    "Thanks be to God [that] Pope Francis has inaugurated a new phase in ecumenical relations." We must understand the historical context in which the Reformation occurred. A "common solution" does not exist, but a path towards "full unity" has opened. We do not celebrate the Protestant Reformation, but we rediscover that the Church is always in need of reform.



    31/10/2017 16:37:00 VATICAN – LUTHERANS
    Catholics and Lutherans, 500 years after the Reformation on the way towards unity

    A joint statement highlights the steps taken this year, full of “remarkable ecumenical events”, noting “We recognize that while the past cannot be changed, its influence upon us today can be transformed to become a stimulus for growing communion, and a sign of hope for the world”.





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