The Missing Pope of Christian Unity

Evensong and Benediction at The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
Vatican Radio reports today on Pope Francis presided over evening Vespers at Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls Basilica where he was joined by members of the many different Christian Churches present in Rome.

'Christ, dear friends, cannot be divided! This conviction must sustain and encourage us to persevere with humility and trust on the way to the restoration of full visible unity among all believers in Christ. Tonight I think of the work of two great Popes: Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II. In the course of their own lives, both came to realize the urgency of the cause of unity and, once elected to the See of Peter, they guided the entire Catholic flock decisively on the paths of ecumenism. Pope John blazed new trails which earlier would have been almost unthinkable. Pope John Paul held up ecumenical dialogue as an ordinary and indispensable aspect of the life of each Particular Church. With them, I think too of Pope Paul VI, another great promoter of dialogue; in these very days we are commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of his historic embrace with the Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople.

The work of these, my predecessors, enabled ecumenical dialogue to become an essential dimension of the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, so that today the Petrine ministry cannot be fully understood without this openness to dialogue with all believers in Christ. We can say also that the journey of ecumenism has allowed us to come to a deeper understanding of the ministry of the Successor of Peter, and we must be confident that it will continue to do so in the future. As we look with gratitude to the progress which the Lord has enabled us to make, and without ignoring the difficulties which ecumenical dialogue is presently experiencing, let us all pray that we may put on the mind of Christ and thus progress towards the unity which he wills.

Your Holiness, Holy Father. There was another Pope, too, who you surprisingly neglected to mention on Saturday, who has received praise for his work for Christian Unity and the project of ecumenism, as those separated from Holy Mother Church seek to remove the barriers to full unity with the Bride of Christ. With some he succeeded and with others he made generous gestures to try and embrace them, even though they were perceived as being 'out of touch' with the modern Church. What was his name now? Nice man, grey hair, nice vestments, gentle manner with an obvious disposition of kindness. No? Oh what was his name, now? Lives a few doors away from Your Holiness, I believe.


Neil Telford said…
It's probably bad form to give credit to a living Pope. Besides, Ratzinger and later Pope Benedict's supposed overtures towards ecumenism were not well received by the other churches (oops, ecclesial communities).
Yes, I noticed too.

I found it simply bizarre that Benedict should have been omitted like that, completely inexplicable!

I am sure that I am wrong, but it is difficult not to think that whoever wrote the speech (and it may not have been drafted by Francis initially) actually intended to set aside Benedict's contribution to Christan Unity.

Tereze Avila said…
GOOD ONE!!! AND SO TRUE... And thank you for your articles and great observations. These really helps to see through this jungle of his words and actions...
The Observer said…
No, it's not a surprising omission. Pope Francis has already made known that he didn't support Anglicanorum coetibus when it was issued by his predecessor. While sharing the same emphasis on dialogue instead of conversion as other modern churchmen, Pope Benedict XVI ran afoul of the liberal clergy (of which Pope Francis as Cardinal Bergoglio was a part) when he dared to provide non-Catholics with a chance to convert to the Catholic Church.
Joe Potillor said…
but, but he's an ideologue of the Logos ;)…he can't be mentioned, don't you know how this works?
viterbo said…
How can there be unity when the Catholic Conscience has become Catholic compromise?

dialogue seems to produce little more than scattering, not in-gathering. For unity we need to pray so that God changes hearts to give us the Grace to want to be of One Mind, in His One Church which cannot be in disagreement (a different Mind) with its Apostolic forefathers. the 'ministry' seems now unable to be of one mind with any Popes who preceded John XXIII.

'so that today the Petrine ministry cannot be fully understood without'...Our Eucharistic Lord? His Church? Apostolic succession? The Real Presence? The History of the Papacy? Latin? red shoes? the Kingship of Christ? consolidating the strong faith of the sheeple? rich benefactors? the oath against modernism? the Mass of all ages? Fatima? my predecesor?

Keep us posted so we understand (but possibly not) how the petrine ministry must be understood tomorrow.

To say so much and say so little whilst insinuating so much. It seems the vatican has come to believe that people cannot be converted. That people must be dissolved/dialogued into the Faith. Or maybe that the Faith must be dissolved/dialogued into the world. Who can say?

Oksfud Englush Dictionary of Vati-yes-we-can usage:
DIALOGUE: meeting other people where they shouldn't be and encouraging them to stay there; having a history lobotomy; having a Benedict XVI allergy; knowing what coprophagia means.
It is no honour to be in his list of Popes "of Christian Unity" who "guided the entire Catholic flock decisively on the paths of ecumenism on "new trails which earlier would have been almost unthinkable".

As "The Observer" obeserved: "Pope Francis has already made known that he didn't support Anglicanorum coetibus when it was issued by his predecessor."

The reason is that Pope Benedict´s ecumenism in this regard was the ecumenism that earlier would have been thinkable.
Ronald Crane said…
Ronald Crane
As a member of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, I count Benedict XVI as the ecumenical Pope. He brought many of us into the Church. Thank God for him.
Kristin LA said…
Consider that the word pontiff means bridge. Now think of what the purpose of a bridge is: to allow one to cross from one side to the other. Pope Benedict had it right with Anglicanorum. Ecumenical dialogue is like two parties meeting in the middle of the bridge for a chat then turning and walking back whence they came. Why is that to be praised?
I don't participate in my parish's "Lutheran Anglican Catholic covenant" potlucks because I don't believe in what they stand for. Those people are welcome to become Catholics.
Celia said…
Kristin makes the point perfectly. Pope Benedict wanted people back in the Catholic Church. 'Ecumenism' as it's been practised for the last few decades is about being nice to members of other ecclesial communities-much good that's done. Women priests, remember?
The main effect of ecumenism seems to have been to make Catholics more Protestant.
Anonymous said…
I disagree about giving credit to a living pope. Francis gave credit to Benedict on other issues so why not this one? It is like others have said because of the situation for Anglicans to come in while still retaining their customs.
@Neil Telford,

Bad form? Srsly?

At what point, from his first appearance on the Loggia, has this man shown the slightest sign of being concerned with "bad form"?
Gertrude said…
...what Benedict stored, Francis scattered.
ATDP said…
Now, Rolling Stone mag:
AngryCat said…
"Oksfud Englush Dictionary of Vati-yes-we-can usage:

Someone forgot: "Not being a self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian Rosary-counter"

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