Pope says God's grace could make Christian Unity possible
John Paul II has begun a week of Prayer for Christian Unity by saying that full unity among Christians is possible, with God's grace.
This week, representatives of the world's two billion Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant Christians are meeting for ecumenical prayer with the theme "We have this treasure in clay jars."
Before praying the midday Angelus with the crowds gathered in St Peter's Square on Sunday, the Holy Father explained the theme in terms of the frailty of the human condition, "to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us".
"The reconstruction of the unity of all the baptised is, in effect, a gift from God, and our effort alone is not sufficient to bring it about," he said. "But when Christians come together, see themselves as brothers, collaborate to alleviate sufferings, and pray for unity, they contribute to make the face of Christ and his glory shine."
The Pope urged the faithful in their prayers this week to "ask the Lord to make the communion among Christians grow to fullness, in truth and charity."
John Paul II will close the week of prayer on Saturday, when he presides over the celebration of vespers in Rome's Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
World Council of Churches: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2003
Program for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2003 (Zenit)
21 Jan 2003