Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The blood of the Christians belonging to Churches and traditions, victims of persecution and violence because of the faith they profess "will feed a new era of ecumenical commitment", which, through dialogue, " are not secondary elements of the life of the Churches. " This was the Pope’s reflection today in a meeting with members of the International Anglican-Catholic Commission, gathered in Rome for an examination of the relationship between the universal Church and the local Church with particular reference to the processes of discussion and decision making on moral and ethical issues.
Francis in his speech stressed that although has not yet reached the goal of the "serious dialogue which, founded on the Gospels and on the ancient common traditions", could lead to "that unity in truth for which Christ prayed" - advocated in the historic meeting, which took place in 1966 between Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey - "we believe that the Holy Spirit continues to push us in that direction, despite difficulties and new challenges."
“Your presence here today – he continued - is an indication of how the shared tradition of faith and history between Anglicans and Catholics can inspire and sustain our efforts to overcome the obstacles to full communion. Though we are fully aware of the seriousness of the challenges ahead, we can still realistically trust that together great progress will be made”.
“Shortly you will publish five jointly agreed statements of the second phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue, with commentaries and responses. I offer my congratulations for this work. This reminds us that ecumenical relations and dialogue are not secondary elements of the life of the Churches. The cause of unity is not an optional undertaking and the differences which divide us must not be seen as inevitable. Some wish that, after fifty years, greater progress towards unity would have been achieved. Despite difficulties, we must not lose heart, but we must trust even more in the power of the Holy Spirit, who can heal and reconcile us, and accomplish what humanly does not seem possible”.
“There is a strong bond that already unites us which goes beyond all divisions: it is the testimony of Christians from different Churches and traditions, victims of persecution and violence simply because of the faith they profess. The blood of these martyrs will nourish a new era of ecumenical commitment, a fervent desire to fulfill the last will and testament of the Lord: that all may be one (cf. Jn 17:21). The witness by these our brothers and sisters demands that we live in harmony with the Gospel and that we strive with determination to fulfill the Lord's will for his Church. Today the world urgently needs the common, joyful witness of Christians, from the defence of life and human dignity to the promotion of justice and peace”.
Pope Francis concluded : “Together let us invoke the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to be able to respond courageously to "the signs of the times" which are calling all Christians to unity and common witness. May the Holy Spirit abundantly inspire your work”.