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Pope affirms commitment to ecumenism

March 20, 2013

At a March 20 audience for representatives of non-Catholic religions who had attended his inaugural Mass the previous day, Pope Francis underlined the commitment of the Catholic Church to ecumenical unity.

Meeting the "fraternal delegates" in the Clementine Hall--where he sat in an armchair rather than the throne usually reserved for the Pontiff--Pope Francis listened first to the greeting given by Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. Speaking on behalf of all those present, the Ecumenical Patriarch said that the Petrine ministry involves an "elevated, serious, and difficult task."

Pope Francis began his own remarks by thanking "my brother Andrew" for his greeting--a reference to the Patriarch's representation of the patron saint of Constantinople. He expressed his gratitude for the prayerful support of the other religious leaders.

“For my part, I wish to assure, in the wake of my predecessors, the firm wish to continue on the path of ecumenical dialogue," the Pope told the Christian representatives present. Next he saluted the "distinguished representatives of the Jewish people, to whom we are bound by a very special spiritual bond." Finally he spoke to representatives of other religions, beginning with the Muslims, assuring them of the determination of the Catholic Church to work cooperatively for the good of mankind.

During his address the Pope voiced his enthusiasm for the Year of Faith declared by his predecessor Benedict XVI, and said that he hoped it "will be an inspiration for everyone's journey of faith."


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  • Posted by: jasoncpetty3446 - Mar. 20, 2013 6:42 PM ET USA

    While the ecumenism stuff gives me the willies because it is so rarely done with dignity, the notion of "Peter" addressing his brother "Andrew" is kind of awesome.