Thursday, October 13, 2016

#PopeFrancis "... it is the mercy of God that unites us." to #Lutherans at #Vatican FULL TEXT - Video

 Pope Francis welcomed about 1 thousand pilgrims in the Vatican on Thursday. They were in Rome for  ecumenical preparations for the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran reformation. Remarks were also made by Lutheran Bishop Ilse Junkermann of Magdeburg, Parish President Joachim Liebig of the Lutheran Church in the Anhalt region of Germany, and Catholic Bishop Gerhard Feige, also of Magdeburg.
Please find the full text of the Holy Father's remarks, below:
Dear friends,
I 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. I address a cordial greeting to the Bishops who have accompanied you and thank you for supporting this wonderful initiative.
We give thanks to God because today, 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. Your enthusiastic presence in such large numbers is a clear sign of this fraternity, and fills us with the hope that it will continue to increase mutual understanding.
The Apostle Paul tells us that, by virtue of our baptism, we all form the one Body of Christ. The different members, in fact, are one body. This is why we belong to each other and when one suffers, all suffer, when one rejoices, all rejoice (cf. 1 Cor 12.12 to 26). Let us continue with confidence on our ecumenical journey, because we know that, beyond the many open questions that still separate us, we are already united. What unites us is much more than what divides us!
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.
Dear young people, I encourage you to be witnesses of mercy. While theologians carry on the dialogue in the doctrinal field, keep looking insistently for opportunities to encounter each other, to know each other better, to pray together and offer help to each other and to all those who are in need. Thus, free from prejudice and trusting only the Gospel of Jesus Christ, announcing peace and reconciliation, you will be the real protagonists of a new season of this journey, which, with God's help, will lead to full communion. I assure you of my prayers – and you, please pray for me, for I  need your prayers so much. Thank you!

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