Pope to Catholic and non-Catholic bishops: Unity is not uniformity; it is communion
Pope Francis met with bishops who are friends of the Focolare Movement. Not all are Catholic. That's because part of the charism of the Focolare Movement is to promote dialogue and fraternity.
Several of them directed words of affection to the Pope at the beginning of their meeting.
The Pope reflected on the idea of unity within the Church and clarified that unity does not mean uniformity.
"Pope, bishops, we are at the service not of an exterior unity, of uniformity, no, but of the mystery of communion that is the Church in Christ and in the Holy Spirit."
The bishops present are participating in a meeting organized by the Focolare Movement in Castel Gandolfo, near Rome. Unable to travel to Rome, many followed the meeting, including the audience with the Pope, online.
Some 180 prelates representing 45 countries and 70 churches and ecclesial communities participated online.
"Amid the shadows of a closed world, where many dreams of unity are shattered, where a project for all is missing and globalization navigates without a common route; where the scourge of the pandemic risks exasperating inequalities, the spirit calls us to dare—to have the boldness—to be one, as the title of your meeting says. Dare to be one. Starting with the awareness that unity is a gift."
The Focolare Movement, which organized the ecumenical meeting, was founded in the mid-20th century by Chiara Lubich. Its charism is strongly shaped by a desire for unity. At the beginning of 2021, members elected Chiara Lubich's second successor: Margaret Karrem, from Israel.