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Pope Francis: Shared Martyrdom Is ‘Deeper and Stronger’ Than Differences Among Denominations

Asks Today’s Martyrs to ‘Help Us Understand That All the Baptized Are Members of the Same Body of Christ’

 

As witness to Christ to the point of death has become a shared experience for Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, this “communio martyrum” is a sign that is “deeper and stronger” than the differences dividing the denominations, says Pope Francis.

The Pope said this in a message to Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, released today on the occasion of the Global Christian Forum Consultation, which concluded Wednesday in Tirana, Albania.

“I think with great sadness of the escalating discrimination and persecution against Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere throughout the world,” the Pope said. “Your gathering shows that, as Christians, we are not indifferent to our suffering brothers and sisters.”

The Holy Father observed: “In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our Churches and Ecclesial Communities.

“The communio martyrum is the greatest sign of our journeying together. At the same time, your gathering will give voice to the victims of such injustice and violence, and seek to show the path that will lead the human family out of this tragic situation.”

The Pope assured the group of his spiritual closeness and voiced his prayer that the “martyrs of today, belonging to many Christian traditions, help us to understand that all the baptised are members of the same Body of Christ, his Church.”

“Let us see this profound truth as a call to persevere on our ecumenical journey towards full and visible communion, growing more and more in love and mutual understanding,” the Pope said.

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