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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Ecumenism is a common journey, not a lab experiment, pope says

The path toward Christian unity can’t be found isolated in a laboratory hashing out theological differences, but rather by walking together on a common journey, Pope Francis said.

While theological dialogue is necessary, Catholics and Anglicans can continue to “help each other in our needs, in our lives and help each other spiritually,” the pope said on 26th February while answering questions from parishioners of All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome.

“This cannot be done in a laboratory; it must be done walking together along the way. We are on a journey and while we walk, we can have these (theological) discussions,” he said.

The pope made history as the first pontiff to visit the Anglican parish, which was celebrating the 200th anniversary of its establishment in Rome.

Invited by the Anglican community, Pope Francis took part in an evening liturgy and blessed an icon of Christ the Saviour to commemorate the occasion.

The prayer service included a ‘twinning’ pledge between All Saints’ Anglican Church and the Catholic parish that shares its name in Rome. As Pope Francis looked on, the priests of both parishes signed a pledge to collaborate in joint retreats, works of charity and sharing meals with each other.

Picture: Pope Francis speaks during an evening prayer service at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Rome on 26th February. It was the first time a pope has visited an Anglican place of worship in Rome. (CNS photo/Maria Grazia Picciarella, pool).