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Christian unity would spur New Evangelization, Pope notes

January 18, 2012

During his regular weekly public audience on January 18, Pope Benedict XVI centered his remarks on the opening of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The Pope placed the annual week of prayer in the context of his oft-repeated call for a “new evangelization” of traditionally Christian societies. “How can we give a convincing witness if we are divided?” he asked. He said that work to promote the Gospel will naturally be “more fruitful when all Christians proclaim together the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and give a common response to the spiritual thirst of our times.”

Pope Benedict, who has been devoting most of his Wednesday audiences to a series of talks on Christ’s prayers, touched on that theme as well, observing that the purpose of the annual Week of Payer is to “invoke that extraordinary gift for which the Lord Jesus prayed during the Last Supper: 'That they may all be one.’”

Speaking to several thousand people in the Paul VI auditorium, the Holy Father traced the historic development of the annual week of prayer. (For more historical background, see today’s separate CWN headline story.) He remarked that today the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity “is one of the most effective annual expressions ... of the impetus which Vatican Council II gave to the search for full union among all Christ's disciples.”


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