The New Ecumenism of Pope Francis: “An Ecumenism of Blood”

43702d4a5aVatican Insider is a project run by the daily newspaper La Stampa. The website provides comprehensive information on the Vatican, the activities of the Pope and the Holy See, the Catholic Church’s presence on the international scene and on religious issues. It is an independent multimedia tool, produced in three languages: Italian, English and Spanish and is distributed through the website www.VaticanInsider.com. It boasts a staff of qualified Vatican correspondents, flanked by some of the most prestigious international names in the field of religious and Vatican-based information.

It provides free news and in-depth reports seven days a week and offers its partners exclusive journalistic services, inquiries, interviews and information packages. In the December 14 issue there is an interview with Pope Francis, titled” Never Be Afraid of Tenderness.” This interview includes some insights about Pope Francis’ views of ecumenism and mission. Because of my calling to this specific vocation I share this excerpt:

Question – Is Christian unity a priority for you?

Yes, for me ecumenism is a priority. Today there is an ecumenism of blood. In some countries they kill Christians for wearing a cross or having a Bible and before they kill them they do not ask them whether they are Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic or Orthodox. Their blood is mixed. To those who kill we are Christians. We are united in blood, even though we have not yet managed to take necessary steps towards unity between us and perhaps the time has not yet come. Unity is a gift that we need to ask for. I knew a parish priest in Hamburg who was dealing with the beatification cause of a Catholic priest guillotined by the Nazis for teaching children the catechism.  After him, in the list of condemned individuals, was a Lutheran pastor who was killed for the same reason. Their blood was mixed. The parish priest told me he had gone to the bishop and said to him: “I will continue to deal with the cause, but both of their causes, not just the Catholic priest’s.” This is what ecumenism of blood is. It still exists today; you just need to read the newspapers. Those who kill Christians don’t ask for your identity card to see which Church you were baptized in. We need to take these facts into consideration.

What a profound insight. Today, says Pope Francis, there is an “ecumenism of blood.” We are not asked, when called to give an account of our faith: To what church, or sect, do you belong? We die as ONE blood-bought people of Christ. “We need to take these facts into consideration,” says Francis. Amen!

Here’s the link to the full interview: http://www.lastampa.it/2013/12/14/esteri/vatican-insider/en/never-be-afraid-of-tenderness-5BqUfVs9r7W1CJIMuHqNeI/pagina.html.

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