In the midst of ongoing conflicts, European Christians must intercede with prayer and work actively together toward peace and dialogue.
Pope Francis said these words this morning in the Vatican when addressing the Joint Committee of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE).
Noting how the committee intends to support the ecumenical journey in Europe, “where many of the divisions that still exist between Christians had their beginning,” Francis said, “today, thank God, the situation is very different.”
The ecumenical movement, the Pope stated, has enabled the Churches and the Ecclesial Communities in Europe “to take great steps on the way of reconciliation and peace.””
Initiatives–including the recent European Ecumenical Assemblies and the Charta Oecumenica, written in Strasbourg in 2001–are reasons “for great hope for surmounting the divisions, though in the awareness of the long way ahead towards the full and visible communion among all believers in Christ.”
Despite all its difficulties, moving forward in this way, he said, “is already an integral part of the process of reconciliation and of communion that the Lord asks of us and makes us fulfill.”
“The closer we are to Christ, the more we will be united among ourselves.”
Only by speaking with one voice, the Pope said, will the Churches and Ecclesial Communities in Europe be able to give effective answers to the new and decisive challenges they find themselves in today.
“Facing the attitude with which Europe seems to address the dramatic and often tragic migration of thousands of persons fleeing from war, persecutions and misery, the Churches and Ecclesial Communities in Europe have the duty to collaborate to promote solidarity and hospitality,” the Pope said.
The Holy Father concluded thanking them for their ecclesial service, imparting his Apostolic Blessing, and reminding them to pray for him.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-joint-committee-of-the-conference-of-european-churches-cec-and-the-council-of