Vatican City, December 1, 2014 (kath.net/KAP/red). [While acknowledging the dedication of the Swiss people to neutrality and peace and noting that several Christian denominations have coexisted in Switzerland for centuries,] Pope Francis spoke against joint celebrations of the Eucharist by Catholics and Protestants. “If we have to hide our Eucharistic faith under the pretext of obliging others, then we are not taking our own treasure or our dialogue partners seriously enough,” he said on Monday to the Swiss bishops [who were making their ad limina visit] at the Vatican. In ecumenical dialogue the Bishops must make sure that the faithful of every confession can live out their faith “unmistakably and free of confusion” and “without glossing over the differences at the expense of the truth”.
At the same time the Pope exhorted the Swiss bishops not to blur the lines between priests and lay people. It is good to appreciate and support lay involvement, but this must be done “while clearly maintaining the difference between the universal priesthood of all the faithful and the ministerial priesthood”. The bishops must communicate to their faithful the meaning of the truths of the faith for their liturgical, parish, family and social life. They should “carefully” select their co-workers in this task.
Moreover the Pope warned against an excessive dependence of the Catholic Church in Switzerland on governmental programs. If the Church avoids reliance on programs “which through economic means may impose a lifestyle that has little to do with Christ,” then she “will make the Gospel more visible” in her institutions. He called for more in-depth study of the relation between Church and State.
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