World Needs Signs of Unity, Pope Tells Focolare Friends

In His Message to Ecumenical Congress

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 27, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In a message to the bishop-friends of the Focolare Movement meeting in Rome, John Paul II emphasized the importance of ecumenical dialogue and the world's need for signs of unity.



The 22nd International Ecumenical Congress, which has gathered metropolitans as well as Orthodox, Syro-Orthodox, Armenian-Apostolic, Anglican, evangelical Lutheran and Catholic bishops, had to change its venue from Istanbul to Rome due to the recent terrorist attacks in the Turkish city.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who received the prelates on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity which he heads, read the papal message which highlighted the program of this annual ecumenical event: "You Are One in Christ Jesus."

"It is a more timely topic than ever: It can give a valid answer to the grave lacerations that afflict today's world," John Paul II said.

The Holy Father expressed the hope that the congress will strengthen the prelates in their "ecumenical commitment and accelerate the way toward full unity for which Jesus prayed to the Father and for which he offered his life."

"You know well how concerned I am about the unity of Christians and how, since the beginning of my pontificate, I have dedicated my constant attention to it," he said.

It is the force of love that "impels us toward one another and helps us to be predisposed to listening, dialogue, conversion and renewal," the Pope said.

He added: "Only an intense ecumenical spirituality, lived in docility to Christ and in full receptivity to the inspirations of the Spirit, will help us live with the necessary drive this intermediate period during which we must review [...] the lights and shadows in our path of reconciliation."