Pope Francis said the evangelization of secular society requires focusing on the essentials of Christianity in collaboration with other Christian churches.
The pope made his remarks Jan. 17 at a meeting with representatives of
the Lutheran Church in Finland, who were making their annual ecumenical
pilgrimage to Rome on the feast of Finland's patron, St. Henry.
meeting occurred one day before the start of the annual Week of Prayer
for Christian Unity.
Pope Francis told the group that ecumenical relations lately have been
undergoing "significant changes, owing above all to the fact that we
find ourselves professing our faith in the context of societies and
cultures every day more lacking in reference to God and all that recalls
the transcendent dimension of life."
"For this very reason, our witness must concentrate on the center of our
faith, on the announcement of the love of God made manifest in Christ
his son," the pope said. "Here we find space to grow in communion and in
unity, promoting spiritual ecumenism."
Pope Francis quoted the Second Vatican Council's decree on ecumenism,
which described "spiritual ecumenism" as consisting of "conversion of
heart and holiness of life, together with private and public prayer for
Christian unity," which form the "soul of the whole ecumenical