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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Catholics and Lutherans together can bear witness to God’s mercy in our societies

Vatican City, 22 January 2015 (VIS) – “The fact that you come here together is itself a witness to the importance of efforts for unity. The fact that you pray together is a witness to our belief that only through the grace of God can that unity be achieved. The fact that you recite the Creed together is a witness to the one common faith of the whole of Christianity”. St. John Paul II addressed these words to the first Finnish ecumenical delegation of the Lutheran Church to come to Rome thirty years ago, and this morning, Pope Francis repeated them to the delegation present today on their annual ecumenical pilgrimage to celebrate the feast of St. Henry of Uppsala, the patron of Finland. The Pope mentioned that this year the visit coincides with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, to reflect this year on Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman at the well: “Give me to drink”.

“We are reminded that the source of all grace is the Lord himself, and that His gifts transform those who receive them, making them witnesses to the true life that is in Him alone”, said the Holy Father. “As the Gospel tells us, many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony. As you, Bishop Vikstrom, have said, there is so much that Catholics and Lutherans can do together to bear witness to God’s mercy in our societies. A shared Christian witness is very much needed in the face of the mistrust, insecurity, persecution, pain and suffering experienced so widely in today’s world”.

He continued, “This common witness can be sustained and encouraged by progress in theological dialogue between the Churches. The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine on Justification, which was solemnly signed some fifteen years ago between the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church, can produce further fruits of reconciliation and cooperation between us. The Nordic Lutheran–Catholic dialogue in Finland and Sweden, under the related theme Justification in the Life of the Church, has been reflecting on important questions deriving from the Joint Declaration. Let us hope that further convergence will emerge from that dialogue on the concept of the Church, the sign and instrument of the salvation brought to us in Jesus Christ”.

The Pope praises the service of the Public Security Inspectorate in the Vatican

Vatican City, 22 January 2015 (VIS) – This morning Pope Francis received in audience a group of agents from the General Inspectorate for Public Security in the Vatican, accompanied by their families. This institution will celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the presence of the Italian forces of order in the Vatican. The Pope thanked them for the work they carry out on a daily basis “with professionalism and dedication”. He continued, “We began a new year a short while ago, and we have many hopes and expectations. We also see on the horizon the shadows and dangers that trouble humanity. As Christians we are called upon not to lose heart or to be discouraged. Our hope rests upon an immovable rock: God's love, revealed and given in Christ Jesus, our Lord”.

In his address, the Holy Father recalled the comforting words of the apostle Paul: “'Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us'. … In the light of this firm hope, your work assumes a different meaning, that brings human and Christian values into play. Indeed, you have the task of protecting and supervising places of the utmost importance for the faith, and of guaranteeing the security of millions of pilgrims. Many people who come to visit the heart of Christian Rome frequently turn to you”.

He added, “May every person feel helped and protected by your presence and your care. … We are all called to be our neighbour's guardians. The Lord will call us to account for the responsibilities entrusted to us, for the good and the bad we have brought upon our neighbours”.


Vatican City, 22 January 2015 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation;

- Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata; apostolic nuncio, former vice-camerlengo of the Apostolic Camera;

- Ignazio Marino, mayor of Rome.

Other Pontifical Acts

Vatican City, 22 January 2015 (VIS) – The Holy Father has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Quimper, France, presented by Bishop Jean-Marie Le Vert, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

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