To progress along the way to unity
At 5 p.m. on Sunday 22 October, the Holy Father
John Paul II received in audience the delegations of the other Christian
Churches which had attended the ceremony for the beginning of his
ministry as Supreme Pastor. The meeting took place in the private
library of the Apostolic Apartment. After receiving the various
delegations separately, the Holy Father delivered the following address
to all representatives of the other Christian Churches.
Beloved brothers in Christ,
We wish first of all to thank you from the bottom of
our heart for having come here today. Your presence, in fact, bears
witness to our common will to establish closer and closer ties among us
and to overcome the divisions inherited from the past. These divisions
are, we have already said, an intolerable scandal, hindering the
proclamation of the good news of salvation given in Jesus Christ, and
the announcement of this great hope of liberation which the world needs
so much today.
At this first meeting, we are anxious to tell you of
our firm resolution to go forward along the way to unity in the spirit
of the Second Vatican Council and following the example of our
predecessors. A fine stretch has already been covered, but we must not
stop before arriving at the goal, before realizing this unity which
Christ wishes for his Church and for which he prayed.
The will of Christ, the witness to be borne to
Christ, that is the motive that incites one and all of us not to tire or
become discouraged in this effort. We are confident that he who began
this work among us, will give us abundantly the strength to persevere
and carry it out successfully.
Please say to those whom you represent, and to
everyone, that the commitment of the Catholic Church to the ecumenical
movement, such as it was solemnly expressed in the Second Vatican
Council, is irreversible.
We rejoice at your relations of brotherly trust and
collaboration with our Secretariat for Unity. We know that you are
searching patiently, along with it, for the solution of the differences
that still separate us, and the means of progressing together in more
and more complete faithfulness to all aspects of the truth revealed in
Jesus Christ. We assure you that we will do everything to help you.
May the Spirit of love and truth grant that we may
meet often and in increasing closeness, more and more in deep communion
in the mystery of Christ our one Saviour, our one Lord. May the Virgin
Mary be for us an example of this docility to the Holy Spirit which is
the deepest centre of the ecumenical attitude; may our answer always be
like hers: I am your servant, let it be to me according to your word
(cf. Lk 1:10).