Francis addressed the Pentecost Vigil for the Golden Jubilee of Catholic Charismatic Renewal. “Those who kill Christians before they kill them do not ask them, ‘Are you orthodox? Are you Catholic? Are you Evangelical? Are you Lutheran? Are you Calvinist? ' No! 'Are you Christian?' Today there are more [martyrs] than in the early days."
Rome (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis this afternoon spoke to some 50,000 people gathered at the Circus Maximus in Rome to pray on Pentecost vigil marking the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
In his address, the pontiff said that Christian unity, which is the work of the Holy Spirit, is needed today more than ever, for the peace of the world at a time in which so many have been martyred, killed because they were Christian, not because they were Catholic, Orthodox or Evangelical.
Next to the pope on the big stage, under the sign 'Jesus is Lord' in several languages, stood Michelle Moran and Gilberto Barbosa, respectively presidents of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services (ICCRS) and of Catholic Fraternity, which organised the meeting, and Rev Giovanni Traettino of the Pentecostal Church of Reconciliation in Caserta, a friend of the pontiff from the times the latter was archbishop of Buenos Aires.
In his meditation, Pope Francis talked about Pentecost. Christian unity, he said, is for the mission, to proclaim that Jesus is the Lord, to announce the Good News to all the nations, to show that peace is possible, although it is not easy to do so in today's world. Yet, in the name of Jesus one can do it. We have differences, he explained, but we seek a "reconciled diversity".
"Today," he noted, "we have chosen to gather here, in this place, as Rev Traettino said, because here during the [period of] persecutions Christians were martyred for the amusement of those who watched. Today there are more martyrs than in the past! Today there are more martyrs. Christians. Those who kill Christians before they kill them do not ask them, ‘Are you orthodox? Are you Catholic? Are you Evangelical? Are you Lutheran? Are you Calvinist? ' No! 'Are you a Christian?' Today there are more than in the early days."
The pope then talked about the 50 years of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, calling it "a current of the grace of the Spirit! Why current of grace? Because it has neither founder nor statute or government bodies. Clearly, in this current, many expressions were born that certainly are human works inspired by the Spirit, with various charisms, all in the service of the Church. But against the current, one cannot build dams, nor lock up the Holy Spirit in a cage!"
"The Church counts on you," he said. "Share the baptism in the Holy Spirit with everyone in the Church, praise the Lord non-stop, walk together with Christians of various Churches and Christian communities in prayer and action, for the neediest. Serving the poorest and the sick is what the Church and the pope expects from you, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, but also from you all, all of you who have entered this current of grace! Thank you!"