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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis encourages Lutherans and Catholics to continue to strive for unity

President, Lutheran World Federation
“With gratitude we come today to share our joy and our hope as we, Catholics and Lutherans, continue our journey from conflict to communion.”

Pope Francis met with representatives of the Lutheran World Federation on the 491st anniversary of the Augsburg Confession. The Augsburg Confession, originally an attempt to avoid a schism in Western Christianity, was later adopted as the principal Lutheran confessional document.

“...From the conflict we experienced for centuries and centuries, to the communion that we seek, and to do this, we must put ourselves in crisis. A crisis that is a blessing from the Lord.”

Pope Francis noted the “shared treasures” common to all Christians: one God, one body and one baptism.

“Holy Baptism is the primordial divine gift at the basis of all our religious efforts and our commitment to reaching full unity. Because ecumenism is not an exercise of ecclesial diplomacy. It is a journey of grace.”

He encouraged all Christians to continue on this journey toward complete unity.

“It will be important to examine with spiritual and theological humility the circumstances that led to the divisions, trusting that, though it is impossible to undo the sad events of the past, it is possible to reinterpret them as part of a reconciled history.”

On behalf of the World Lutheran Federation, the Archbishop of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, Musa Filibus, gave the Pope a paten and chalice made by the Taizé Community, a global community of Catholics and Protestants.

To conclude their meeting, the Pope invited everyone present to pray together, for the “restoration of full unity among Christians.”