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All Christians obligated to work toward unity, Pope stresses

Catholic World News - January 26, 2010

At an ecumenical prayer service closing the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on January 25, Pope Benedict XI said that the pursuit of full union among Christ’s followers “is not just a task for the few.” He exhorted all Christians to be mindful constantly of the need for unity, which is “a gift to be implored from God.”

The Church’s task of evangelization is hampered, the Pope said, by “the contradiction of division” among the faithful. True unity, he said, is “a particularly important prerequisite for a more credible and effective witness.” That witness is particularly needed today, he continued, "in a world characterized by religious indifference and even by a growing aversion towards the Christian faith.”

Acknowledging that theological disputes still separate Christians, the Pope said that a commitment to prayer and dialogue is needed to overcome those obstacles. Meanwhile, he said, the faithful can join in proclaiming “a content of Christ's message that we can announce together: the paternity of God, Christ's victory over sin and death with His cross and resurrection, and trust in the transforming action of the Spirit.”

Christians can and should also work together on matters of public interest, the Pope said, citing “protecting creation, promoting peace and the common good, defending the centrality of the human person, and the commitment to defeat the poverties of our time such as hunger, indigence, illiteracy and the unequal distribution of wealth.”

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