Pope Francis: ‘Barbarity of war’ should inspire new push for Christian unity

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff


Pope Francis’ general audience in St. Peter’s Square, May 4, 2022. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Vatican City, May 6, 2022 / 06:05 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said on Friday that the “barbarity of war” should inspire a new push for Christian unity.

The pope made the comment in an address to members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on May 6, the 72nd day of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The conflict between the two predominantly Orthodox Christian nations has tested relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as within Eastern Orthodoxy.

In his speech, Pope Francis said that Christian communities needed to recognize they were on a journey of faith together with the members of other confessions.

When a community tried to go it alone, he said, it ran the risk of “self-sufficiency and self-referentiality, which are grave obstacles to ecumenism.”

“And we see it,” he commented. “In some countries, there are certain egocentric revivals — so to speak — of some Christian communities that are a turning back and unable to advance. Today, either we all walk together or we cannot walk. This awareness is a truth and a grace of God.”

The pope noted that he had often described 21st-century conflicts as “a piecemeal World War III.”

“However, this war, as cruel and senseless as any war, has a greater dimension and threatens the entire world, and cannot fail to challenge the conscience of every Christian and every Church,” he said.

Quoting from his 2020 encyclical Fratelli tutti, the pontiff went on: “We must ask ourselves: what have the Churches done and what can they do to contribute to the ‘development of a global community of fraternity based on the practice of social friendship on the part of peoples and nations’? It’s a question we need to think about together.”

The pope suggested that efforts to improve relations between Christians in the 20th century were motivated partly by the horror of two world wars.

“Today, in the face of the barbarity of war, this longing for unity must be nourished anew,” he commented.

“To ignore divisions among Christians, whether out of habit or out of resignation, is to tolerate that pollution of hearts which makes fertile ground for conflicts.”

“The proclamation of the gospel of peace, that gospel which disarms hearts even before armies, will be more credible only if proclaimed by Christians finally reconciled in Jesus, Prince of Peace.”

Members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity were in Rome to attend a May 3-6 plenary meeting on the theme “Towards an Ecumenical Celebration of the 1,700th Anniversary of Nicaea I (325-2025).”

Among the speakers was Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who addressed plenary participants remotely about the ecumenical situation in Ukraine amid the war.

In his speech, the pope said that members of the pontifical council were making a “valuable contribution” by reflecting on how to celebrate the anniversary of the First Council of Nicaea “in an ecumenical manner” in 2025.

The council, held in 325 A.D., was called by the emperor Constantine to confront the Arian heresy, which denied Christ’s divinity. The council promulgated the Nicene Creed, which is still accepted by Orthodox, Anglican, and other Protestant denominations.

“Despite the troubled events of its preparation and especially of the subsequent long period of reception, the first ecumenical council was an event of reconciliation for the Church, which in a synodal way reaffirmed its unity around the profession of its faith,” the pope said.

“The style and decisions of the Council of Nicaea must enlighten the present ecumenical journey and lead to new concrete steps towards the goal of fully restoring Christian unity.”

“Since the 1,700th anniversary of the First Council of Nicea coincides with the Jubilee year, I hope that the celebration of the next Jubilee will have a significant ecumenical dimension.”

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, led by the Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, traces its roots back to 1960, when Pope John XXIII established the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. It was given its current title by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

The pontifical council — located on the Via della Conciliazione, the road leading from St. Peter’s Square to the Castel Sant’Angelo — will be renamed the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity when the new Vatican constitution comes into force on June 5.

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  1. We read: “Despite the troubled events of its preparation and especially of the subsequent long period of reception, the first ecumenical council was an event of reconciliation for the Church, which in a synodal way reaffirmed its unity around the profession of its faith.”

    In WHAT KIND of “a synodal way”?

    In truth, the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.) actually questioned whether Arius’s innovations were consistent with what had been received and affirmed by the universal Church from the beginning (and as Providentially supplied by the deacon Athanasius in his “Incarnation” in 318 A.D., even shortly before Arius hit the stage).

    This kind of “synodality” requires similar actions today repudiating the new novelties of the German synodal way. Nicaea retained the mysterious unity of three Persons in the Triune Oneness; the threat today is to the incarnational mystery of the unified human person–body and soul, faith and reason, Christian revelation and natural law (i.e., the Providentially supplied Veritatis Splendor, 1993); and of the Eucharistic Church itself as more than a likely federation of diverging “continental” factions and older and fragmentary Protestant sects.

    To inclusively bundle the now openly proclaimed rainbow contradictions of Marx/Batzing/Hollerich within a package-deal celebration in A.D. 2025 may still be synodal in some crock-pot sense, but would fatally adulterate the fidelity, clarity, historical and anti-doublespeak fact of Nicaea.

    So, if the celebration is to be real, best to clean house before the guests arrive.

    • You ask: WHAT KIND of “a synodal way”?

      I want to say: “You KNOW. THAT sodomitic way to synodal ‘unity’.”

      Farce of farce. A Catholic who considers unity with sin is an oxymoronic use of the intellect God gave to his Homo sapiens. A pope who does not fraternally correct his brothers is weak, deluded, or worse.

      God help us to remember that our unity arises from one and only one source: Christ. He chastises those he loves. Those who don’t love Him won’t know the difference between sin and grace until God shows them their place on that scale.

      • Oh, come now, Meiron, in “walking together” (synodality) what could possibly go wrong?

        Take, for example, the historical precedent of the inspired Children’s Crusade. Oh, wait, victimized in that “walking together” were tens of thousands of the young of nearly all ages, mostly French and some German, who either died en route or ended up in the prostitution rings of Christian Europe or as slaves in Muslim Baghdad and Alexandria. That went well….

        Butt, the difference now, or course, is that today’s more inclusive (!) parade is too much in the eager hands of the self-announced slaveholders and witless enabler-pimps of the modern rainbow counterculture—the front-end Marx and Batzing of the German “synodal way,” and the back-end relator for the 2023 Synod-on-Synodality, Luxembourg’s Hollerich.

        Hollerich, positioned midway between France and Germany of the earlier crusade, and today the media-signaled midwife for an inclusive/victimized European continental synod.

        Witless pimps? Do the math. How is it that a non-genetic “sexual orientation” that by its nature is oriented against reproduction is still growing so fast in numbers?

        • You, Peter, ask very good questions. What could possibly go wrong with midwife cardinals (those who help to birth red birds?), slaveholders, and enabler-pimps walking backward toward the climactic Synod-on-Synodality while seeking to teach our children?

          The exponential growth of anti-reproductive unity is cancerous. It is odiferous, slimy, and very stupid.

          [In trying to find a word that rhymed with synod, I learned about cyprinid fish. Cyprinid fish are soft-finned fish typically having toothless jaws and cycloid scales. The Diplozoon paradoxum parasite is commonly found on the gills of European cyprinid fish. I presume you’ll catch the poetically just drift of such unseemly irrelevance].

          • Forgot to advise you to check Wikipedia’s entry on the Diplozoon paradoxum parasite. It exhibits heterosexually monogamous behavior for the duration of its life.

          • Hardly “unseemly irrelevance”!
            In catching up on the cycloid (Wikipedia) we find the names of such scientists/inventors as Galileo, Descartes, Pascal, Huygens and Leibniz. With these names, and with the cycloid-associated parasite you mention, we must be getting close to the SCIENCE that Bats-sing and Hollerich invoke in their positioning (so to speak) to upend the morality of binary/ complementary, heterosexual and human sexuality!

            Their inspiration for subverting Church morality and governance is the Diplozoon paradoxum PARASITE (on the gills of the European cyprinid fish which has cycloid scales)…

            The heterosexual/monogamous sex life of this lowly parasite clearly indicates that other and more advanced stages of evolution must transition into a homosexual and self-terminating stage–the “third option” of Demographic Winter. It’s all so clear now, Bats-sing’s appeal to science…

            Butt, the inequity of it all!

            Quick, alert the media and enabler Fr. James Martin! The LGBTQ “community” is still too exclusive. What about the really Big Picture, adding the not-quite evolved FBPRB (Fornicators, Bigamists, Polygamists, Rapists and Beastialists)?

            With G.K. Chesterton: “There are many ways to fall down, but there’s only one way to stand up straight.”

  2. Latin ecclesiology remains the primary obstacle and no amount of positive publicity about some initiative in Rome will change this fact.

  3. The sin of Sodom was that her citizens were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned for the poor. – the Bible (It sounds like the smug, self-righteous among us today are the real Sodomites)

    • No doubt about that. It began in the Garden of Eden. But what made it worse in Sodom was the corrupt, abnormal sexual behavior of the citizens.

  4. Though fragile, life is sacred and a precious gift. Peace and harmony are vital for the precious gift to blossom and reach to its fullness.

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