The Pope of Christian Unity Connects New Evangelization and Healing the Divisions in the Body of Christ. Do We
The Pope made clear that the goal of authentic ecumenism is the visible unity between divided Christians
Unity is on the one hand the fruit of faith and, on the other, a means - almost a prerequisite - for an increasingly credible proclamation of the faith to those who do not yet know the Savior or who, while having received the proclamation of the Gospel, have almost forgotten this valuable gift.
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity gathered in Rome this week to consider the connection between the New Evangelization and authentic ecumenism. The Pope of Christian Unity, Benedict XVI, gave the following insights:
"We cannot follow a truly ecumenical path while ignoring the crisis of faith affecting vast areas of the world, including those where the proclamation of the Gospel was first accepted and where Christian life has flourished for centuries.
"On the other hand, we cannot ignore the many signs indicating a persistent need for spirituality, which is made manifest in various ways. The spiritual poverty of many of our contemporaries, who no longer perceive the absence of God in their lives as a form of deprivation, poses a challenge to all Christians".
Then he called those who had gathered to return to the fundamentals of the faith, the encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ noting, "we, believers in Christ, are called upon to return to the essential, to the heart of our faith, to bear witness to the living God before the world."
"We must not forget what it is that unites us: our faith in God the Father and Creator, revealed in His Son Jesus Christ, effusing the Spirit which revives and sanctifies. This is the faith we received in Baptism and it is the faith that, in hope and charity, we can profess together."
"In the light of the primacy of faith we may also understand the importance of the theological dialogues and conversations in which the Catholic Church is engaged with Churches and ecclesial communities."
"Even when we cannot discern the possibility of re-establishing full communion in the near future, such dialogue facilitates our awareness, not only of resistance and obstacles, but also of the richness of experience, spiritual life and theological reflection, which become a stimulus for ever deeper testimony".
The Pope made clear that the goal of authentic ecumenism is the "visible unity between divided Christians."
However, he noted "we must also recognize that, in the final analysis, this unity is a gift from God, and may come to us only from the Father through His Son, because the Church is His Church. From this perspective we see, not only the importance of invoking the Lord for visible unity, but also how striving after this end is relevant to the new evangelization."
"It is good to journey together towards this objective, provided that the Churches and ecclesial communities do not stop along the way, accepting the various contradictions between them as normal or as the best they can hope to achieve. It is, rather, in the full communion of faith, Sacraments and ministry that the strength of God, present and working in the world, will find concrete expression".
Finally, the Pope told those gathered, "Unity is on the one hand the fruit of faith and, on the other, a means - almost a prerequisite - for an increasingly credible proclamation of the faith to those who do not yet know the Savior or who, while having received the proclamation of the Gospel, have almost forgotten this valuable gift."
"True ecumenism, recognizing the primacy of divine action, demands above all patience, humility, and abandonment to the will of the Lord. In the final analysis, ecumenism and new evangelization both require the dynamism of conversion, understood as the sincere desire to follow Christ and to fully adhere to the will of the Father".
Upon his election to the Chair of Peter some observers indicated Pope Benedict's age would make him a "caretaker" Pope. His pace and contributions have demonstrated that those observers were absolutely wrong. He has proven to be an indefatigable and tireless missionary and a treasure to the whole Church.
He is exactly what he said in his self assessment which was given when he began his service, a "simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord" He has written three encyclicals, three apostolic exhortations and two books about Jesus of Nazareth, with the third installment soon to be available.
He is a scholar of the highest order, yet able to communicate with simplicity and beauty, because he is a man of deep prayer; a man in communion with the Risen Lord. He has given continual, deep and spiritually profound teaching to the faithful - including some of the finest hagiography in centuries - during his Wednesday Catechesis.
He made Church history, when Motu Propio, he released the Apostolic Constitution on Groups of Anglicans which began the healing of the divided Western Church. Two Ordinariates have already been formed and more will follow. The fruits of these Ordinariates will be recounted by future historians as among the most important events in the Third Millennium of the Church.
He has earned the great respect of Patriarchs and leaders of the Orthodox Church and is making ...
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