Mission is a prerequisite to unity, Pope says in Geneva

Catholic News Agency | 6/21/2018 | Staff
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Vatican City, Jun 21, 2018 / 08:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Speaking to ecumenical leaders Thursday, Pope Francis said Christian unity in many ways depends on a willingness to go out of oneself to meet the needs of others, and called for a “new evangelical outreach” among Christian communities.

In a June 21 speech, the pope voiced concern over what he said is a growing impression that ecumenism is divorced from missionary outreach, saying the mission aspect of Christianity “cannot be neglected nor emptied of its content.”

Outreach - Very - Identity - Gospel - Core

Missionary outreach, he said, “determines our very identity,” since the preaching the Gospel is core to the Christian identity. And while the ways in which this mission is carried out might vary, we must constantly remind ourselves that Christ's Church grows by attraction.”

To this end, Francis said a “new evangelical outreach” is needed among Christians of different confessions, who are called to be one people that “experiences and shares the joy of the Gospel, praises the Lord and serves our brothers and sisters.”

Francis - Conviction - Impulse - Christians - Unity

Francis voiced his conviction that “an increased missionary impulse” would spur Christians toward greater unity, leading to an “ecumenical spring” which, despite the “constant vacillations” among different denominational communities, would allow them to gather together around Jesus Christ.

The pope spoke during a June 21 ecumenical meeting in Geneva to mark the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches.

World - Council - Churches - WCC - Fellowship

Founded in 1948, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is a global fellowship of churches whose goal is to promote unity among different Christian confessions. With some 348 members worldwide, the organization has long been a driving force for ecumenism in Europe.

Members are present in 110 countries and represent over 500 million Christians, including Orthodox, Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran and Methodist churches, as well as many Reformed, United and Independent churches.

Majority - Members

The majority of the founding members initially...
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