Conversion is a prerequisite to ecumenism, Pope Francis says

by Elise Harris

Vatican City, Jan 19, 2017 / 03:42 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For Pope Francis, personal conversion is pretty much the key to the Church’s success in all of her activities, from Church governance to pastoral work, from Curial reform to evangelization and dialogu

He reiterated this point in a Jan. 19 speech to an ecumenical delegation from Finland, telling them that “true ecumenism is based on a shared conversion to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Redeemer.

“If we draw close to him, we draw close also to one another,” he said, and pointed to his trip to Sweden last fall for a joint-commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Francis noted that at one of the ecumenical events held during his visit both Catholics and Lutherans recognized that Martin Luther’s original intention “was to renew the Church, not divide her.”

“The gathering there gave us the courage and strength, in our Lord Jesus Christ, to look ahead to the ecumenical journey that we are called to walk together,” he said, and urged members of the delegation to pray fervently “so that we may experience this conversion which makes reconciliation possible.”

Pope Francis spoke to members of the Ecumenical Delegation of the Lutheran Church of Finland who traveled to Rome for their annual pilgrimage marking the feast of St. Henrik, the country’s patron.

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