The Missing Pope of Christian Unity
|Evensong and Benediction at The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham|
'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.