· Vatican City ·

To the Hong Kong Christian Council

Praying and working together

 Praying and working together  ING-021
24 May 2024

On Wednesday morning, 22 May, Pope Francis received a delegation from the Hong Kong Christian Council and reflected on how, as Christians, we are called to move forward together on the path to Christian unity. Speaking to the group before the General Audience, the Pope thanked the delegation for their visit. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s words.

Thank you! Thank you very much for this visit, which is a true consolation: to see all the brothers united, Christian brothers and sisters united. A great Orthodox bishop, Zizioulas, who died more or less a year ago, used to say that we would achieve unity between Christian Churches only on the day of the final judgment. But, “in the meantime”, he said, “we must pray together and work together”. This is very important: working together, because we all believe in Jesus Christ; praying together, praying for unity.

Another great Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, said this beautiful phrase when he received Pope Paul vi: “Let us do something: let us put all the theologians on an island, so they can argue amongst themselves, and we can go ahead in peace”. Very nice! The important thing: we have the same Baptism and this makes us Christians. We have many enemies outside. We are friends! Enemies outside; here, friends. It is true when I say enemies, because it is a reality the Lord told us about: the Church will always be persecuted. Martyrdom of the faith has always been in the history of our Churches, always, is it not true? Let us go forward.

Something very beautiful happened when Paul vi went to Uganda. He spoke about Catholic and Anglican martyrs. They are martyrs. And when those Coptic people were martyred, I too immediately said that they are also “our” martyrs, they are everyone’s martyrs. There are two baptisms: one, that we all have — the Baptism we received — and the other, what the Lord calls “the Baptism of blood”: martyrdom. And we all know what martyrdom is, because of the many Christians who gave their life for faith.

Thank you, thank you very much! And I would like us all to pray the Lord’s prayer, together.

Following the recitation of the Lord’s prayer, the Holy Father greeted the delegation in English.

Thank you very much for your visit.