Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pope: Lutherans and Catholics walking on the road that goes from conflict to communion

"Lutherans and Catholics, we are walking on the road that goes from conflict to communion". 

This is the "joy" expressed by Pope Francis in the encounter with a thousand participants in the pilgrimage of the Lutherans from the German region of the Anhalt, received in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican.

"I am very happy - he told them -  am very happy to meet you on the occasion of your ecumenical pilgrimage, it started from the land of Luther, Germany, and ended here at the seat of the Bishop of Rome".
"We give thanks to God because today, - he continued - we Lutherans and Catholics, are walking on the road that leads from conflict to communion. We have come together already an important part of the way. Along the way we experience mixed feelings: grief for the division that still exists between us, but also joy for fraternity already found".

"At the end of this month, God willing, I will go to Lund, in Sweden, and together with the Lutheran World Federation, we will remember, after five centuries, beginning of Luther's reform and thank the Lord for fifty years of official dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics. An essential part of this commemoration will turn our gaze towards the future, with a view to a common Christian witness in the world today, which so thirsts for God and His mercy. The witness that the world expects from us is mainly that of making visible the mercy that God has toward us through service to the poor, the sick, those who have left their homeland to seek a better future for themselves and for loved ones. In being of service to the most needy we experience already that we are united: it is the mercy of God that unites us"

The hope is "that it mutual understanding can continue to grow " in the awareness that "by virtue of our baptism," "beyond many open issues that still separate us, we are already united. What unites us is much more than what divides us".

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