Pope repeats Catholic commitment to ecumenical unity

Pope Francis reaffirmed the commitment of the Catholic Church to ecumenical unity at a meeting with several dozen representatives of Christian churches and other world religions who had attended his inauguration.

“For my part, I wish to assure, in the wake of my predecessors, the firm wish to continue on the path of ecumenical dialogue,” he said.

The Pope was greeted by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I — the first Orthodox patriarch to attend a papal inauguration since 1054 — who also reiterated the need for the churches to shun worldly distractions and to work on the unity between Christians.

Pope Francis listened to the words of the patriarch seated on an armchair rather than the throne that is customarily used in the Clementine Hall.

He thanked Bartholomew I, calling him “my brother Andrew”, since the patriarchs of Constantinople are considered the successors of the Apostle Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter.

He then said that, thanks to the presence at the inauguration Mass of representatives of the various churches, he felt “in an even more urgent fashion, the prayer for unity of all believers in Christ, and together to see somehow prefigured the full realisation of full unity, which depends on God’s plan and our loyal collaboration”.

Addressing the representatives of the Jewish communities, the Pope emphasised “the very special spiritual bond” that they have with Christians.

The Pope then greeted those belonging to other religious traditions, first of all the Muslims who “adore the one, living, and merciful God and who call upon him in prayer”.

Then, addressing all those gathered, he said: “I really appreciate your presence. In it I see a tangible sign of the desire to grow in mutual respect and co-operation for the common good of humanity.”

The Pope also expressed a feeling of closeness “to all men and women who, although not claiming to belong to any religious tradition, still feel themselves to be in search of truth, goodness, and beauty”.


Vatican Radio

Vatican Information Service

Vatican Insider

Image: Patheos

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