On Wednesday, the Holy See's Press Office released the full contents of a letter from the Holy Father to the president of the Brazilian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha, on the occasion of the Campaign for Ecumenical Brotherhood. Pope Benedict praised the initiative and asked participants to "unite their forces to reconcile people with God, helping them and freeing them from the slavery of money."
Under the theme "Economy and Life" the 2010 Campaign for Ecumenical Brotherhood meets this year for the third time. In addition to the Catholic Church, five other Christian denominations are represented, each belonging to the National Council of Christian Churches in Brazil.
In his message to the Brazilian archbishop, which was read to inaugurate the Campaign, the Holy Father expressed the Lenten call to "be reconciled with God." He continued by citing the example of St. John Vianney, "who, in his time, knew how to transform the hearts and lives of many people, because he was able to make them feel the merciful love of the Lord."
The Holy Father also said that he hopes the Churches and ecclesial communities of Brazil have the same "success" as the Cure of Ars while they "unite their forces to reconcile the people with God, helping them and freeing them from the slavery of money."
The motto of the Campaign, "You cannot serve God and Mammon," was praised by the Pope because it shows the "intention of conversion." He reminded the participants that "slavery to money and injustice have their origin in the human heart, which contains the seeds of a mysterious coexistence with evil."
"This is why I encourage you to to persevere in your witness to the love of God, to the Son of God who became man, ... and to the only good that can satisfy the human heart," Pope Benedict wrote."We exist to show God to men." "And it is only where God is seen that life truly begins," he added.
Benedict XVI closed his message by imploring the "greatest blessings of God" over the 2010 Campaign for Ecumenical Fraternity which began on Feb. 17 and will run until March 28.
The campaign is meant to bring Brazilian Christian Churches together to improve dialogue and work towards continued solidarity.