Pope Francis: Gospel witness way to unity
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the participants in the 33rd Ecumenical Meeting of Bishops, Friends of the Focolare Movement this Friday. The meeting opened on November 3rd, and concluded with the audience at the Vatican. For four days, nearly forty Catholic and non-Catholic Church leaders from nearly thirty different countries met to explore the theme: “The Eucharist, mystery of communion”.
In remarks to the participants in the conference, Pope Francis praised the gathering as a “bright and attractive sign” of the common faith in Our Lord, Jesus Christ. “In fact,” said Pope Francis, “if we, as Christians, desire to respond in a meaningful way to the many problems and dramas of our time, then we need to speak and act as brothers, so that everyone can easily recognize [that we belong to Christ, the One Lord].”
The Holy Father also renewed his appeal on behalf of all those suffering religious persecution, and denouncing the lack of effective protections for authentic religious liberty around the world. “The fact that [people in] many countries lack the freedom to express religion publicly and to live openly according to the requirements of Christian ethics; the persecution of Christians and other minorities; the sad phenomenon of terrorism; the plight of refugees caused by war and other reasons; the challenges of fundamentalism and on the other extreme, exaggerated secularism; all these really challenge our conscience of Christians and pastors,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded saying that all these challenges are a call seek with renewed commitment, perseverance and patience, the ways that lead to unity – “that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21), and in order that we ourselves might be full of confidence and courage.