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Monday, January 24, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 23 JAN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below.

  In his remarks he reflected on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes place annually from 18 to 25 January and the theme of which this year is drawn from the Acts of the Apostles: "one in the Apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer". The Pope pointed out that "it is highly significant that this theme should have been proposed by the Churches and Christian communities of Jerusalem, meeting in ecumenical spirit. We know how many trials our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land and the Middle East have to face. Their service is ... strengthened by a witness which, in some cases, even goes so far as the sacrifice of their lives. And so, while we joyfully welcome the points for reflection suggested by the communities living in Jerusalem, we gather close around them and this becomes another factor of communion for us all.

  "Today too", he added, "in order to live in the world as a sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of unity among men, we Christians must base our lives on these four pillars: life founded on the faith of the Apostles transmitted through the living Tradition of the Church, fraternal communion, the Eucharist and prayer. Only in this way, remaining firmly united to Christ, can the Church carry out her mission effectively, despite the limits and shortcomings of her members, despite her divisions".

  The Holy Father then went on to refer to this Sunday's Gospel reading in which St. Paul, concerned about disagreements in the Christian community of Corinth, poses the question: "Has Christ been divided?" By saying this, the Pope explained, the Apostle is affirming that "any division in the Church is an offence to Christ. At the same time he is saying that it is in Christ, the one Head and Lord, that we can become united by the endless power of His grace".

  "A serious commitment to convert to Christ is the way that leads the Church - at a time that God will decide - to full visible unity. One sign of this are the ecumenical meetings taking place throughout the world over these days", he concluded.
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