» 03/20/2013, 00.00
Pope "determined" to continue towards Christian unity
Audience with fraternal delegations of the Christian Churches and other religious confessions present yesterday at mass for the beginning of his pontificate. For the Catholic Church, ecumenism is a "duty". The "very special spiritual bond" that binds Christians to Jews. Twice repeated to Muslims "the importance of the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions." Non-believers who seek the truth "our precious allies in efforts to defend the dignity of man."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope
Francis has a "strong desire" to continue the ecumenical journey towards
the "noble cause" of Christian unity, he is confident that the
"fraternal dialogue" with the Jewish people will continue, he
presence of Muslims at the ceremony marking the beginning of his pontificate,
with which to promote "friendship and respect between men and women of
different religious traditions", a phrase repeated twice. And
all believers "can do much" not only to promote peace and justice,
but also to "keep thirst for the absolute alive in the world, not allowing
a one-dimension vision of the human person prevail, where man is
reduced to what he produces and consumes: this is one of the most dangerous
pitfalls for our time. " This
morning's meeting with 33 delegations from churches and religious
denominations, Christian and non-Christian, who attended the inaugural mass of
the new Pope was an insight into this pontificate's line regarding relations
Christians and religions, and even those who "do not even belong to any
religions but who feel close to the truth and beauty".
The Pope responded to the warm
greetings of Patriarch Bartholomew and calling him Andrew, the name of the
apostle founder and patron of the Patriarchate. "Yesterday
morning - he adds - during Holy Mass, through your presence, I recognized the spiritual
presence of the community you represent. In this manifestation of faith, the prayer
for unity among believers in Christ
seemed even more urgent to men and together somehow to see prefigured this full
realization, which depends on the Divine plan and our sincere cooperation.
Francis then made a double
reference to the link between the beginning of his pontificate, the Year of
Faith and the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II. He
announced that want to continue the initiative of the Year of Faith, "a
truly inspired" idea of Benedict XVI and then he quoted John XXIII. "Together
with you - he said - I can not forget how the council's significance for the
ecumenical journey. I like to remember the words that Blessed John
XXIII, of whom we will soon mark 50 years since his death, when he gave his
memorable inauguration speech: "The Catholic Church therefore considers it
her duty to work actively so that there may be fulfilled the great mystery of
that unity, which Christ Jesus invoked with fervent prayer from His heavenly
Father on the eve of His sacrifice. She rejoices in peace, knowing well that she is intimately associated with
"Yes, dear brothers
and sisters in Christ, let us all be intimately united to our Saviour's prayer
at the Last Supper, to his invocation: ut unum sint. We call merciful
Father to be able to fully live the faith that we have received as a gift on
the day of our Baptism, and to be able to it free, joyful and courageous
testimony. The more we are faithful to his will, in thoughts, in words and in
deeds, the more we will truly and substantially walk towards unity".
the "Jewish people" he recalled "very special spiritual
bond" that ties them to Christians. Citing
"Nostra Aetate" he repeated that " the Church of Christ
acknowledges that according to God's saving design, the beginnings of her faith
and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the
prophets".(Decree Nostra Aetate, 4). I thank you for your presence and trust
that with the help of the Almighty, we can continue that fruitful fraternal
dialogue that the Council wished for. And that it is actually achieved, bringing many fruits, especially
during the last decades".
the Muslims whose presence is " a tangible sign of the wish to grow in
recipricol trust and in cooperation for the common good of humanity," the
Pope stressed that "the Catholic Church is aware of the importance of the
promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different
religious traditions - this I wish to repeat this: the promotion of friendship
and respect between men and women of different religious traditions."
"We know - he concluded - We know how much violence has been
provoked in recent history by the attempt to eliminate God and the divine from
the horizon of humanity, and we feel the need to witness in our societies the
original openness to transcendence that is inherent in the human heart. In this
we feel the closeness also of those men and women who, while not belonging to
any religious tradition, feel, however the need to search for the truth, the
goodness and the beauty of God, and who are our precious allies in efforts to
defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between
peoples and in the careful protection of creation.. "
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