The Pope to Bartholomew: united we help those who suffer hunger, war and poverty

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The Pope to Bartholomew: united we help those who suffer hunger, war and poverty

By Salvatore Cernuzio/ lastampa.it

Message of the Pontiff on the feasts of St. Andrew: “ While centuries of mutual misunderstanding, we can work together today for peace, for the abolition of all forms of slavery, for the respect and dignity of every human being and for the care of creation”

In a world like today’s wounded by conflicts, by new forms of slavery, by a lack of respect for human dignity and for the care of creation, “the unity of Christians s a sign of hope that must radiate ever more visibly. The invitation expressed by Pope Francis in his letter to Patriarch Bartholomew, sent on the occasion of the traditional exchange of delegations for the feasts of their respective Patrons, is an invitation that manifests hope: on 29 June in Rome for the celebration of Saints Peter and Paul and on 30 November in Istanbul for Saint Andrew.

In a historical moment in which the dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches is consolidated after “centuries of mutual misunderstandings” but, at the same time, internal lacerations are at risk due to the question of the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church, Bergoglio invokes full unity as the ultimate goal of every believer. “United - he writes in his message - we give a more effective response to the needs of so many men and women of our own time, especially those who suffer from poverty, hunger, illness and war”.

Let there never be a lack of dialogue between “our Churches”. “ While centuries of mutual misunderstanding, differences and silence may seem to have compromised this relationship, the Holy Spirit, Spirit of unity, has enabled us to recommence a fraternal dialogue”, Francis affirms, recalling how the reunion is thanks to Patriarch Athenagoras and St Paul VI, who with their historic visit to the Holy Land in 1964 allowed them to “rediscover those bonds of communion that have always existed” between the two communities.

“Our Churches - says Pope Francis - have safeguarded the Apostolic tradition with great care, along with the teaching of the first Ecumenical Councils and the Church Fathers, despite the differences that developed in local traditions and in theological formulations, which need to be more deeply understood and clarified. At the same time both Churches, with a sense of responsibility towards the world, have sensed that urgent call, which involves each of us who have been baptized, to proclaim the Gospel to all men and women”.

It is for this reason, the Bishop of Rome reiterates, that “today we can work together today in the search for peace among peoples, for the abolition of all forms of slavery, for the respect and dignity of every human being and for the care of creation”. And through “through encounter and dialogue on our journey together over the last fifty years, we already experience being in communion, even though it is not yet full and complete”, the Pontiff emphasizes in reference to sacramental unity.

Hence some personal notes, at the end of the letter: first of all, Francis expresses his “ profound gratitude” to Bartholomew for his presence at the Day of Prayer and Reflection for Peace in the Middle East, held last July 7 in Bari, which was attended by representatives of the Churches from that “deeply troubled area”. “It is a source of great comfort to share with Your Holiness the same concerns about the tragic situation of our brothers and sisters in the region”, he writes. Then he assures the “brother” Patriarch of his prayer that God “source of great comfort” may grant us Christians to “be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another”.

The Pope’s message was read by Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, who led the Vatican delegation in Istanbul and participated today in the solemn Divine Liturgy in the Church of San Giorgio al Fanar, where the Pope’s message was handed over to Bartholomew and read publicly. After a conversation with the Patriarch, Koch then met the Synodal Commission in charge of relations with the Catholic Church. Next to him in the delegation were Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Department, and Monsignor Andrea Palmieri, Undersecretary. In Istanbul the nuncio to Turkey, Archbishop Paul F. Russell, also joined the delegation.

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 17:56
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