This Monday begins the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity culminating in the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. In a Chapter Talk Abbot Robert alerted our attention to the significant teaching and example of recent popes.
Pope John Paul Ii in his encyclical on Christian Unity, Ut Unum Sint (That They May Be One), doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge the sins in the Church that caused the division and that prolonged the division for five-hundred years in the Western Church and almost one-thousand years between the Church of the East and West. In the past fifty years great strides have been made toward reunion. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople accepted Pope Francis’ invitation to attend, in a place of honor, the Mass of Papal Inauguration after Francis’ election. Theologians have done much to resolves misunderstandings of formulas of belief and publish joint statements of reconciliation, primarily with the Anglican communion and the Lutheran Church. To have the Archbishop of Canterbury address the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization in the Church, at the Vatican shows the depth of Pope Benedict’s commitment to ecumenism. Pope Francis continues this openness, concentrating on renewal within Catholicism as a way to remove the obstacles that motivated the division in the first place…We can only hope and pray for what the next fifty years will bring in the irrevocable commitment (John Paul II) to the reunion of Christianity
Please dedicate yourself for the next eight days to prayer for the unity of all Christians and the practical unity of all Christian churches as the one flock of Christ.