Pope prays for Christian Unity with ecumenical delegation from Hong Kong

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Pope prays for Christian Unity with ecumenical delegation from Hong KongPope Francis greets a delegation from the Hong Kong Christian Council and prays for Christian Unity together with the members of the delegation.

Pope Francis on Wednesday received a delegation from the Hong Kong Christian Council and reflected on how, as Christians, we are called to move forward together on the path to Christian unity.

Speaking to the group before the General Audience in a room inside the Paul VI Hall, the Pope thanked the delegation for its visit.

The Hong Kong Christian Council, a Protestant Christian ecumenical organization founded in 1954, is a member of the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia.

Describing the visit as a “real consolation,” the Holy Father expressed his joy to see Christians united in faith.

He recalled the late Orthodox Bishop Zizioulas, who had said that Christian unity would only be realized “on the day of the final judgment.” But “in the meantime,” he said, “we must pray together and work together.”

"This is very important: working together because we all believe in Jesus Christ; praying together, praying for unity," he said.

Put theologians on an island!

The Pope also recalled the late Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Athenagoras I, who was received by Pope Paul VI and said: “Let's do one thing: put all the theologians on an island and let them argue among themselves, and we shall move forward in peace.”

Pope Francis went on to remark on the fact that Baptism makes us "all Christians together" and that, he said, makes us friends while we have many “enemies outside.”

The Pope explained that enemies are a reality, just as it is a reality that “the Lord told us: the Church will always be persecuted."

"The martyrdom of faith is always present in the history of our Churches,” he said.

Two Baptisms

Finally, he mentioned Pope St. Paul VI's Apostolic Visit to Uganda in 1969, when he spoke of the Catholic and Anglican martyrs, whom he said, are all martyrs for the same faith.

“There are two baptisms: one that we all have—the Baptism that we received—and the other, the one that the Lord says is ‘the Baptism of blood’: martyrdom. And we all know what martyrdom is for so many Christians who have given their lives for faith."

Pope Francis concluded asking those present to join him in the Lord’s Prayer.

Linda Bordoni
Source: vaticannews.va/en