Yesterday, March 14, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Evangelical Lutheran Christuskirche on the Via Sicilia in Rome. A joint prayer service was conducted in German at which both the Supreme Pontiff and a Lutheran pastor delivered homilies. Emphasizing the ways that Catholics and other Christians could bear a common witness to Christ despite the lack of eucharistic communion between themselves, the Holy Father invited his listeners to be thankful that "we are here together on this Laetare Sunday, that we sing together, that we listen to the Word of God together, that we listen to each other, all looking to the one Christ and, thus, rendering testimony to the one Christ."
But the Holy Father also cautioned his audience not to be content "with the successes of the ecumenism of recent years."
He noted that still "we cannot drink of the same chalice and we cannot be together around the altar."
The Pontiff continued, "This should make us sad because it is a sinful situation, but unity cannot be created by men."
"We must entrust ourselves to the Lord, because he is the only one that can give us unity," the Holy Father affirmed. "Let us hope that he will bring us to this unity that we now await."
As we prayerfully await the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, we would do well to reflect on these words of the Holy Father. We are all called to play our parts in the historic drama that is unfolding in our time, but it is God Himself who will bring about true unity in His Church.
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