By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Seeing young people involved in ecumenical initiatives is a sign of the Holy Spirit at work, Pope Francis said.
The Holy Spirit is the one “who rejuvenates the church in harmony, inspires paths of communion and grants wisdom to the young and prophecy to the old,” he told members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.
The pope met at the Vatican Jan. 26 with the commission members, who represent the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church, Coptic Orthodox Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Syrian Orthodox Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and Eritrean Orthodox Church.
Young Oriental Orthodox priests and monks in Rome as part of an exchange program to learn more about the Catholic Church also were present for the papal audience. A delegation of young Catholic priests were invited to travel to Etchmiadzin, Armenia, last year at the invitation of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
“The involvement of young people in bringing our churches closer together is a sign of the Spirit,” the pope said.
“May this ‘dialogue of life’ continue under the banner of the Spirit! And let us not forget it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony,” he added.
Visiting one another is important, he said, because it allows “the ‘dialogue of charity’ to go hand in hand with the ‘dialogue of truth’ that your commission pursues.”
Exchanging visits, letters, delegations and gifts are all “a sign and means of communion,” he said, and “these gestures, grounded in recognition of the one baptism, are not merely acts of courtesy or diplomacy, but have an ecclesial import and can be considered true ‘loci theologici.'”
“I am convinced that the ‘dialogue of charity’ should be understood not simply as a preparation for the ‘dialogue of truth,’ but as itself a ‘theology in action,’ capable of opening new horizons on the journey of our churches,” he said.
“The dialogue of charity, the dialogue of truth and the dialogue of life: three inseparable ways to advance on the ecumenical journey that your commission has encouraged over these past 20 years,” he told the group.