Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Pope Benedict calls for unity of Christians

To mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Holy Father has made some remarks about the importance of, and difference between, fraternal communion and full eucharistic communion. These are particularly important concepts to consider at this time - we are called to full, eucharistic communion: how can we respond?

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, all the Lord’s followers are asked to implore the gift of full communion. This year’s theme – “They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42) – invites us to reflect on four pillars of unity found in the life of the early Church. The first is fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed by the Apostles. The second is fraternal communion, a contemporary expression of which is seen in the growing ecumenical friendship among Christians. The third is the breaking of the bread; although the inability of separated Christians to share the same Eucharistic table is a reminder that we are still far from the unity which Christ wills for his disciples, it is also an incentive to greater efforts to remove every obstacle to that unity. Finally, prayer itself helps us realize that we are children of the one heavenly Father, called to forgiveness and reconciliation. During this Week, let us pray that all Christians will grow in fidelity to the Gospel, in fraternal unity and in missionary zeal, in order to draw all men and women into the saving unity of Christ’s Church.

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