'Baptism is stronger than differences': Pope Francis addresses the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
In his general audience during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis focused on the common baptism Christians share, saying the strength of this bond is stronger than existing divisions.
Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "We are truly the Holy People of God, even if, due to our sins, we are not yet a people fully united," the Pope said in his Jan. 20 general audience, adding that "the mercy of God, which works in baptism, is stronger than our divisions."
The Pope's audience, which took place in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, fell during the Week of Prayer Christian Unity. It runs Jan. 18-25, and is organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, the Commission on Faith and the Order of the World Council of Churches.
This year's theme, "Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord," is taken from chapter two of the First Book of Peter, and was chosen by a group from Latvia, which is home to a strong presence of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christians.
In his address, Francis pointed to a 12th century baptismal font in the Lutheran Cathedral of Riga in Latvia, where St. Mainardo evangelized.
The font, he said, is sign of the origin of the faith recognized by all Christians in Latvia, and explained that this origin "is our common baptism."
Referring to the Second Vatican Council document "Unitatis redintegratio", the Pope affirmed that baptism "establishes a sacramental bond of unity which links all who have been reborn by it."
Above all, this shared baptism means that all are sinners and are in need of being saved, redeemed and freed from evil, he said.
When Christians say that they share one baptism, it's an affirmation that all of them - Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox included - share the experience of being called from "unforgiving darkness and alienation from the encounter with the living God," who is full of mercy.
Francis noted that despite our common roots, all Christians unfortunately experience egoism, which plants seeds of division, closure and contempt in our minds and hearts.
By restarting from our baptism, Christians again "plunge into the source of mercy and hope, from which no one is excluded," he said.
This experience of shared grace creates "an indissoluble bond between us Christians, such that, by virtue of baptism, we can consider ourselves truly brothers," he said, adding that the more we welcome this grace and mercy, the more we belong to the one, Holy People of God.
"We also become capable of announcing his marvelous works to all, beginning from a simple and fraternal witness of unity," Francis observed.
He said a good way for all Christians to work together in this announcement is by performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are "a concrete witness of unity among us Christians: Protestants, Orthodox and Catholics."
Pope Francis concluded his speech by pointing to the common mission Christians have in transmitting the mercy they have received in baptism to others, beginning with the poor and abandoned.
"During this Week of Prayer, we pray so that all of us disciples of Christ find a way of collaborating together in order to bring the mercy of the Father to every part of the world," he said, and greeted pilgrims present from different countries around the world before leaving the building.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for FEBRUARY 2018
Say 'No' to Corruption. That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.
by Catholic Online
- St. Patrick: Saint of the Day for Saturday, March 17, 2018
- 'Living Lent': Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent - Day 34
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Monday, March 19th, 2018 HD Video
- 'Living Lent': Sunday of the Fifth Week of Lent - Day 33
- 'Living Lent': Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Day 32
- Daily Readings for Saturday, March 17, 2018
- Daily Reading for Sunday, March 18th, 2018 HD
- The Earth is Dying: Human impact continues to shape the future of the planet HD
- Thousands of students walk out of schools to protest gun violence HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, March 17th, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education