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Spirit's diverse gifts serve cause of Christian unity, Pope tells audience

Catholic World News - January 25, 2010

At his midday audience on Sunday, January 24, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which would close the following day. Referring to St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, which was read at the day’s Mass, the Pontiff said that in comparing the Church to a human body, “the Apostle is seeking to communicate is the idea of unity in the multiplicity of charisms, which are gifts of the Holy Spirit.” The variety of the Spirit’s gifts ensures that the Church will be diverse while remaining united, he said. The individual members of the Church have widely different gifts, but all are united in Christ through the Holy Spirit in “an intimate communion which transcends human capacities and supports them.”

Pope Benedict reminded the crowd in St. Peter’s Square that on Monday evening, January 25—the feast of the conversion of St. Paul—he would preside at an ecumenical Vespers service in the Roman basilica of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls, formally bringing to an end the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. “We will invoke from God the gift of the full unity of all Christ’s disciples,” he said, noting that genuine Christian unity will “make the proclamation of the Gospel more credible and effective.”

The Pope also mentioned that the day, January 24, was the feast of St. Francis de Sales. Recalling that St. Francis is the patron of journalists, he told the crowd that he was releasing his message for the World Day of Social Communications. [See today’s separate CWN headline story.]

Finally the Pontiff mentioned Blessed Josep Samso I Elias, a martyr of the Spanish civil war, whose beatification had taken place in Mataro, near Barcelona, the previous day. He said that during this Year for Priests, Blessed Samso, a Catalan priest, could “serve as a stimulus to priests in the diligent exercise of the pastoral ministry.”

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