From APD, January 26, 2016: Monday night at the end of a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis asked for “forgiveness for the behavior of Catholics towards Christians of other Churches” which has not reflected Gospel values. His words were released in a report distributed by Vatican Radio, the official broadcast voice of the Roman Catholic Church.
“We cannot let the weight of past faults continue to contaminate our relationships,” the leader of the Catholic faith said. He also stated that all service rendered to the cause of the one gospel gives glory to the one Lord, Jesus Christ, evidently referring to Ephesians 4:1-5 and expressing support for the work of other groups.
The Pope made it clear that his goal is for Christians to collaborate in various activities, affirming what he called the need for divided Christian communities to walk together in the way of the Lord. He stated that “we can make progress on the path to full visible communion not only when we come closer to each other, but above all as we convert ourselves to the Lord.”
Metropolitan Gennadios of the Orthodox Church and Anglican Archbishop David Moxon joined the Pope as he walked into the Basilica of Saint Paul where the vespers was held, and joined him in the final blessing. In addition to extending forgiveness to other Christians for the behavior of Catholics, Pope Francis also said, “I invite all Catholics to forgive if they … have been offended by other Christians.”
“We do not know what he specifically had in mind when he asked for forgiveness,” a veteran Adventist leader told Adventist Today. “It is a broad expression and we cannot with honesty put words in his mouth and include a long list of specifics from the past history of conflict with Protestants and others. I do not think he is apologizing for the honestly-held theological positions of Catholic theology. We do need to be careful how we respond to this. It would be wrong to be unkind.”
APD is the Adventist news service in Europe.