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Pope visits Anglican church in Rome, recalls St. Paul’s humility in face of divisions

February 27, 2017

Pope Francis visited All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome on February 26 as part of the church’s commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the first Anglican worship service in Rome.

Invited to preach in the context of a choral evensong service, the Pope said that “when we, the community of baptized Christians, find ourselves confronted with disagreements and turn towards the merciful face of Christ to overcome it, it is reassuring to know that we are doing as Saint Paul did in one of the very first Christian communities.”

Reflecting on a passage from St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, Pope Francis said that the Apostle “grasped the fact that he was ‘fed by mercy’ and that his priority was to share his bread with others: the joy of being loved by the Lord, and of loving him.”

St. Paul “teaches that only in realizing we are weak earthen vessels, sinners always in need of mercy, can the treasure of God be poured into us and through us upon others,” the Pope continued. “If we recognize our weakness and ask for forgiveness, then the healing mercy of God will shine in us and will be visible to those outside; others will notice in some way, through us, the gentle beauty of Christ’s face.”

The Pope added:

As Catholics and Anglicans, we are humbly grateful that, after centuries of mutual mistrust, we are now able to recognize that the fruitful grace of Christ is at work also in others. We thank the Lord that among Christians the desire has grown for greater closeness, which is manifested in our praying together and in our common witness to the Gospel, above all in our various forms of service. At times, progress on our journey towards full communion may seem slow and uncertain, but today we can be encouraged by our gathering.

 
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