As Pope Francis makes his 17th Apostolic visit to Sweden for a joint commemoration of the Reformation together with leaders of the Lutheran World Federation, the President of the Federation says he reciprocates the Pope’s feeling of closeness between the two Churches.
Bishop Munib Younan, speaking about his own personal hopes for the visit notes, “we have behind us fifty years of deep dialogue between the Lutheran Church and the Catholic Church and this dialogue is built on issues and this is the reason we sighed the joint declaration…” He also says this commemoration consolidates that closeness which shows “we are brothers and sisters in Christ”.
He stresses that, “the division of the past must not determine our future today” and like the Pope, he emphasizes the urgency of Christian unity because of those being persecuted and killed for their Christian faith in different parts of the world including the Middle East .
Bishop Younan says when he returns to the Middle East he wants to bring back with him a message of unity, underlining that, “only unity will strengthen the Churches in Jerusalem, in the Holy Land and in the whole Middle East. This unity is not our work, it is the work of the Holy Spirit and we must take it seriously.”
Let us ask the Lord that his word, source of light and life, may help Christians be ever more united.