Pope Francis in Bahrain reflects on unity and witness as the cornerstones of ecumenism
On 4 November, at the end of the second day of his apostolic journey to the Kingdom of Bahrain, Pope Francis led an ecumenical prayer meeting (scroll down for video), with the participation of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and other Christian leaders from the region, as well as Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.
In his address, Pope Francis reiterated that divisions among Christians “have wounded the Lord’s holy body.” However, he said, “the Holy Spirit, who joins all the members together, is greater than our divisions according to the flesh … it is right to say that what unites us far exceeds what divides us.” Reflecting on the reading chosen for the service, describing the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Pope Francis focused on two main themes: unity in diversity and witness of life.
Firstly, the Holy Father emphasized that unity does not mean uniformity, but embraces diversity, accepting one another with our differences, which he stated “is the spirit of our ecumenical journey.” Secondly, regarding the “witness of life”, Pope Francis called to mind that at Pentecost, the experience of the Spirit led Christ’s earliest disciples “to go out into the world”, affirming at the same time that the Christian faith “is not a privilege to be claimed, but a gift to be shared”.
Pope Francis concluded that “unity and witness are both essential”, and invited Christians to entrust “our shared journey” to the Holy Spirit; and to pray for “a new Pentecost that will open new horizons and quicken the pace of our journey of unity and peace.”
Photos © Vatican Media