Pope Encourages Unity Among Catholics and Evangelicals, Stresses Unity in Body of Christ

Pope Francis speaks as he leads a Pentecost vigil mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican May 18, 2013. | (Photo: Reuters/Stefano Rellandini)

The Pope addressed unity within the Catholic Church and other Christian communities during his series of weekly talks on the nature of the Church.

"How much damage is caused to the Church by divisions among Christians, by being apart, by narrow interests," said the Pope in his weekly address. "The divisions among us, but also the division between the communities: evangelical Christians, Orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians: why are we divided?"

He encouraged his audience to pray and work for unity within the Body of Christ. He also illustrated the relationship between Christ and his church.

"The image of the body helps us to understand this deep bond between Church and Christ," he said. "The image should be a reminder that as members of the Church we must allow Christ to work through us, he added, noting that "being part of the Church means being united to Christ and receiving from him the divine life that makes us to live as Christians."

He even cited the words of St. Paul, explaining how he observed that the body has many different parts.

"There is no dull uniformity but the richness of the gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes," he continued.

The Pope stressed that believers must learn to overcome selfishness and divisions and touched on the importance of remaining in union with the Pope and the diocesan bishop, along with avoiding conflicts with other members of the Church.

He concluded speaking to his midday audience by touring St. Peter's Square in the popemobile. While riding around he stopped and invited a down syndrome man into the vehicle to sit in his seat. The man, Alberto di Tullio, caught the Pope's attention with the soccer jersey he was wearing as it belonged to the Pontiff's native Argentina.

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