Vatican City, Nov 10, 2016 / 08:25 am
On Thursday, Pope Francis spoke about Christian unity and ecumenism, specifically what they are not. Namely, they aren’t about uniformity or the total absorption of one religion by another, but instead consist of a common communion in Christ.
“Ecumenism is true when Christians are able to shift the focus from themselves, from their arguments and formulations, to the Word of God who demands to be heard, accepted and witnessed in the world,” the Pope said Nov. 10.
“Because of this, the various Christian communities are called not to ‘compete,’ but to cooperate.”
Pope Francis addressed members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity gathered in Rome for their plenary assembly at the Vatican.
Throughout his pontificate Francis has placed a strong emphasis on ecumenism and interreligious dialogue. The last few months alone have included several ecumenical meetings, such as in Lund, Sweden, and in Georgia and Azerbaijan.
In his speech, the Pope gave three examples of what he considers to be “false models of communion” that don’t really lead to unity, but instead “contradict it in its true essence.”
The first of these, he said, is believing that unity is a result of human effort, when in reality, it is always and only a gift of the Holy Spirit.
“We humans are not able to create unity alone, nor can we decide on the forms and times. So what is our role? What must we do to promote unity among Christians?” he asked, explaining that “our task is to accept this gift and make it visible to all.”