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Week of Prayer: Card. Koch (Holy See), “recovering unity also means overcoming the injustice of division” between the Churches

“Recovering unity also means overcoming the injustice of division” between the Churches. Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said this in an interview with SIR news agency on this year’s theme – “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16: 18-20) – for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January). “The fundamental injustice in Christianity – the cardinal explained – is division because Jesus wanted one Church. In this sense, as the Second Vatican Council pointed out, division is a serious wound, is contrary to the Lord’s will, and damages the Church and the Gospel proclamation”. Pope Francis will kick start the celebrations by presiding at the Vespers in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls on Friday, 18 January, at 5.30pm. Cardinal Vicar Angelo de Donatis will also participate. It is the Pontiff who traditionally closes the celebrations for the Week of Prayer, but this year he will be in Panama for World Youth Day. “The Holy Father’s decision is beautiful”, Card. Koch remarked. “This shows two things. First, ecumenism is very dear to the heart of the Holy Father. And second, the fact that the Vespers will be celebrated at the beginning of the Week this year is a further sign that prayer for unity is the foundation and source of the whole ecumenical movement. As we pray for unity, we Christians express our condition, that is, that we cannot make unity happen by ourselves. We men and women can create divisions, as our past and our present both show us. Unity is always a gift of the Holy Spirit, and prayer is the best preparation for receiving this gift of the Spirit”.

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