Pope in Sweden: Catholics and Lutherans are Asked to Star in the Revolution of Tenderness

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
31 Oct 2016

The earth is the only one and it is our home. We must take care of it, not only from a scientific point of view, but more so, from a spiritual view. Everything within it is connected. Pope Francis' vision of integral ecology in Laudato Si' is of a new relationship between God, the earth and humanity. It is vital that we all act in solidarity to protect, preserve and propagate the interests of our home and its peoples. Fr McDonagh was one of many consultants in the drafting of Laudato Si' in 2015. He recently participated in discussions at the Vatican on the encyclical's implementation. This event provides the opportunity to hear about some global and local perspectives and action on the implementation of the recommendations. There will be an opportunity for questions.

The trip to Sweden was an ecumenical journey in which Lutherans and Catholics proved that what they have in common is much more important than that which separates them.

Look how he was received in Malmö Arena, after traveling there in an electric car. The number two in command from the Lutheran World Federation summed up the spirit of this meeting between Christians.

REV. MARTIN JUNGE - Secretary, The Lutheran World Federation
"During the common prayer, we have committed to leave past conflict behind us and move forward by embracing God's call to unity. We have repented for wrongdoings of the past. We have prayed for the healing of wounds and clouded memories, and we have affirmed our commitment to common witness."

The pope listened to intense testimonies of collaboration between Catholics and Lutherans from many different places.

"We cannot change the climate but we can change the system, so let us refirm ourselves as one to build a one better and peaceful world for all."

MSGR. HÉCTOR GAVIRIA - Director of Caritas (Colombia)
"One of the worst massacres in Colombia took place in 2002 in a territory in the tropical rainforest, when the community sought refuge in a chapel when an improvised bomb exploded  killing more than one hundred people."

"As a mother, as a Christian, I decided I refused this situation, and I decided to create in 1993 an association, Maison Shalom, House of Peace, to welcome all those suffering children."

ROSE LOKONYEN - Olympic Refugee Team (South Sudan)
"As a refugee, it does not mean you are not a human being. When we were taken to Brazil, I was selected as flag bearer to represent 65 million refugees in the world. As a refugee you are just a human being like the others. Refugees should be treated as equally as others."

MSGR. ANTOINE AUDO - Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo (Syria)
"Christians of the world, Muslims between East and West, people of good will, do not leave our beloved Syria to be destroyed and fragmented."

The president of the Lutheran World Federation explained that this historic meeting sends a strong message to the world.

BISHOP MUNIB A. YOUNAN - President, Lutheran World Federation
"When religious people work for unity and reconciliation, religion can promote the flourishing of  human communities. This is the reason we commit ourselves to say, 'No more  xenophobia, no more hatred in the name of religion.'"

The Lutheran leader himself is a Palestinian refugee, and he knows the consequences of war. Hence, his words were part of his strong advocacy to persuade governments around the world to favor the weakest.

BISHOP MUNIB A. YOUNAN - President, Lutheran World Federation
"Set aside political interests and work not only for the dignity of your own nation but the dignity of every child of God in this world."

Pope Francis also was touched by the testimonies from different climate migrants, displaced persons and war refugees. As such, he made a request to the world.

"I would like to thank all those governments that assist refugees, displaced persons and asylum-seekers. For everything done to help these persons in need of protection is a great gesture of solidarity and a recognition of their dignity."

The pope recalled that Lutherans and Catholics are called to revolutionize the world and they can do it together.

"For us Christians, it is a priority to go out and meet the outcasts and the marginalized of our world, and to make felt the tender and merciful love of God, who rejects no one and accepts everyone. To us, the Christians of today, we are asked to be the stars in this revolution of tenderness."

One step further in this revolution, and in the approach of Catholics and Lutherans, was an agreement signed together during the meeting to help victims of war, natural disasters and poverty. With their signatures, Caritas Internationalis and the Lutheran World Federation main humanitarian organization commit themselves to cooperate from now on.

Before concluding, there was a special prayer for peace in Syria and then the pope and the Lutheran Secretary General gave a joint blessing.

It was a meeting full of strong gestures and words that represent a new milestone along the path of reconciliation among Catholics and Lutherans.