On the occasion of the Week for Christian Unity, the Pope hopes for “significant progress”

Source: FSSPX News


On January 17, during his weekly general audience, Benedict XVI expressed a wish that significant progress be made on the long and difficult road to Christian Unity. The pope was speaking on the eve of the opening of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated every year from January 18 to 25. He also expressed the wish that Jews and Christians work together for justice and peace in the world.

  “The way to unity, wanted by everyone, remains long and arduous”, he said, but invited the faithful “not to be discouraged” and to rely above all, on Christ’s help. He said he had felt this desire for unity several times and “in very moving ways during his recent visit to Turkey when he met Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople.

 Benedict XVI considered that the desire for unity could not be “limited to one week every year”, and he stressed the importance of prayer. “Unity is a gift from God and the fruit of the action of His Spirit. This is why prayer is so important”. The Sovereign Pontiff commented on the theme chosen for 2007, which is taken from the Gospel according to St. Mark: “He makes the deaf hear and the blind see”. This theme, he explained, “reminds us that all Christians, deaf and mute because of original sin” become capable “of hearing the word of God and proclaiming it” through the grace of Baptism.

 During the audience, Benedict XVI also mentioned the Judaeo-Christian day of Prayer which takes place every year in some countries, on the eve of Christian Unity Week. A day aimed at promoting “mutual recognition and esteem”, and “developing friendship between Jews and Christians “ who “must work together for justice and peace in the world”. He affirmed that Judaeo-Christian friendship should “also be founded on prayer.”

On January 25, the pope presided over the celebration of Vespers in the Roman Basilica of St. Paul-Outside-the Walls in the presence of representatives of different Christian denominations, which brought the week to a close.