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Calls for closer cooperation between different churches

More than ‘theoretical discussions,’ what unites Christians is encounter, and a willingness to ‘challenge one another,’ Pope Francis said as he marked the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

“Christian unity will not be the fruit of subtle theoretical discussions in which each party tries to convince the other of the soundness of their opinions,” the Pope said during vespers at St Paul Outside the Walls Basilica last Sunday (right).

“To plumb the depths of the mystery of God, we need one another, we need to encounter one another and to challenge one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who harmonises diversities and overcomes conflicts.”

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally celebrated between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul.

Those present at this year’s Vespers included Ecumenical patriarch representative Metropolitan Gennadios, Archbishop of Canterbury representative David Moxon, and various other representatives of churches and ecclesial communities.

Pope Francis’ address was largely focused on St John’s Gospel account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. “He has no problem dealing with Samaritans, who were considered by the Jews to be heretics, schismatics, separated,” the Pope said. “His attitude tells us that encounter with those who are different from ourselves can make us grow.”

In the Gospel account, Jesus asks the woman for a drink, but the Pope observes that His is more than a physical thirst: “It is also a thirst for encounter, a desire to enter into dialogue with that woman and to invite her to make a journey of interior conversion.”

The Holy Father also noted Jesus’ patience and respect for the woman before revealing himself. “His example encourages us to seek a serene encounter with others. To understand one another, and to grow in charity and truth, we need to pause, to accept and listen to one another.”

“In this way, we already begin to experience unity,” he said.


—Read the full version of this story in January 30 edition of the SCO in parishes from Friday.




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