| POPE OPENS FOURTH AND FINAL HOLY DOOR OF JUBILEE 2000
VATICAN CITY, JAN 18, 2000 (VIS) - At 11 this morning, in the presence of representatives of
23 Christian Churches, communions and organizations, Pope John Paul opened the fourth and final
Holy Door of the Jubilee Year 2000 at the patriarchal basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the Walls, and
presided at an ecumenical celebration.
In his homily, the Pope recalled that "the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity starts today in Rome
with this celebration which sees us united here. I wanted the opening of the Holy Door in this
basilica to coincide with this event ... in order to underline the ecumenical dimension which must
mark the Jubilee Year. At the start of the new Christian millennium in this year of grace which
invites us to a more radical conversion to the Gospel, we must turn with ever more heartfelt
supplication to the Holy Spirit, asking for the grace of our unity."
"We, representatives of diverse peoples and nations, of various Churches and ecclesial
communities," he continued, "know that we are still divided brothers, but we have put ourselves
with a decisive conviction on the path which leads to full unity of the Body of Christ."
"Welcome to this encounter which marks a step forward towards unity in the Spirit in which 'we
have been baptized'," affirmed the Holy Father. "We have received one Baptism. This places a
sacramental bond of unity among those who, through it have been regenerated."
"Christ is the door to our salvation, which leads to reconciliation, peace and unity. .. The humble
symbol of a door which opens bears within it an extraordinary richness of meaning: it proclaims to
all that Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life."
Recalling St. Paul's words that "we are all baptized in One Spirit to form one body," Pope John
Paul asked: "Can a body be divided? Can the Church, the Body of Christ, be divided? From the
first Councils, Christians have professed together that the Church is 'one, holy, Catholic and
apostolic'. With Paul, they know that one alone is the body, one alone is the Spirit, one alone is the
hope to which we have been called."
"In this year of grace," he observed, "the awareness of our own responsibility for the divisions
which mark the history of the mystical body of Christ must grow in each of us."
The Holy Father said that "in this basilica built to honor St. Paul, ... we ask pardon of Christ for all
that in the history of the Church has prejudiced His plan for unity. With trust we ask Him, the door
of life, the door of salvation, the door of peace, to sustain our steps, to make lasting the progress
already undertaken, to grant us the support of His Spirit, so that our commitment may be ever
more authentic and efficacious."
"My wish in this solemn moment," John Paul II concluded, "is that the year of grace 2000 will be
for all of Christ's disciples an occasion for a new impulse for the ecumenical commitment."
At the end of his homily, the Pope said, in off-the-cuff remarks: "'Unitade! Unitade!' This cry that
I heard during my visit to Bucharest comes back to me now as a powerful echo. 'Unitade!
Unitade!' the people cried during the celebration of the Eucharist. All Christians, Catholics,
Orthodox and evangelical Protestants, cried together 'Unitade! Unitade!' Thank-you for this voice,
for this consoling voice of our brothers and our sisters. Perhaps we too can leave this basilica,
shouting like them: 'Unita, unita; Unite, Unity.' Thank-you." Following the ceremony, there was a
lunch at St. Paul's Abbey for all participants. After lunch, the Holy Father spoke briefly, naming
each delegate present and thanking them personally for their participation in today's ecumenical