Pope Francis: Speaking the Language of the Heart

In a moving video, Pope Francis speaks about Christian unity to an American Pentecostal conference. He expresses his joy that that the conference attendees have come together to worship God, and speaks movingly of the simple grammar of the language of the heart: love God, love our neighbor.

But he speaks also of his nostalgia, his yearning for Christian unity:

We are kind of… permit me to say, separated. Separated because … sin … has separated us, all our sins. The misunderstandings throughout history. It has been a long road of sins that we all shared in. Who is to blame? We all share the blame. We have all sinned. There is only one blameless, the Lord. I am nostalgic [yearning], that this separation comes to an end and gives us communion.

He then speaks humbly but powerfully about the ways that God brings us back together.

The striking thing about the video is how much he makes use of the language of family—he introduces the idea of separation in the Church by speaking of separated families, and he reminds us of the reunion of Joseph with his brothers in Egypt. He speaks of Anglican Bishop Tony Palmer, who invited him to give the message, as his “brother bishop.” Throughout, he speaks to his Pentecostal listeners as a  brother.

Watch the whole thing. It’s a profound expression God’s love for us and of the possibility of realizing our kinship in Christ.

9 thoughts on “Pope Francis: Speaking the Language of the Heart

  1. This was amazing! I cannot wait to see the fruit of this in Central and South American countries where Pentecostals & Catholics are at odds with each other. We are seeing tangible fruit of Charles Colson and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus (Evangelicals & Catholics Together).

  2. Meanwhile of course there are now well over 35,000 different and differing Christian denominations, sects and sub-sects all competing for their share in the market place of whats-in-it-for-me consumerist religiosity.
    Furthermore, all of the major institutional denominations are armed to the teeth, especially when they are either State religions or closely associated with the State, thus giving the State “religious” legitimacy via that association.

    Remember too, that Jesus who had no worldly or institutional religious power, and certainly did not bless the powers that were in his time and place, was completely unwelcome to the ecclesiastical establishment in his time and place, even to the degree that they conspired with the Roman State to have him executed.

    If Jesus happened to re-appear again would he be recognized by any of the above 35,000 outfits?
    Would he be recognized and indeed even welcome at the Vatican?

  3. Pingback: Christian unity? “You’re gonna talk about tonight for a long time” |Archivum Secretum

  4. As a Latin American I’m quite dismayed at the Pope’s openness towards Pentecostals. They spread anti-Catholic sentiment all over the region and have zero interest in ecumenism and in fact consider Catholicism a pagan non Christian faith. Weak leadership and bad catechesis has cost the Church millions of should in Latin America. My own country has gone from over 90% Catholic in the 50’s to probably less than 65% percent Catholic today. Ecumenism in Latin America cannot be treated the same as in Europe.

  5. Jose Ma –
    What if this is the start of a change of attitude amongst Pentecostals toward Catholics? Perhaps they could start to ask questions and have dialogue instead of buying into the propaganda perpetuated by the likes of Jack Chick. The fact that Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ, addressed this gathering is inspiring. If he can take take that step toward his “enemy”, perhaps I can too.

  6. It almost sounds too good to be true. I’m certainly amongst those evangelicals who mourn the church’s fragmented-ness. Pope Francis’ words are like a balm. I long for the day when we can work out our differences and all be one communion – might be a long way off, but I pray that it might happen. However, what Francis says at 03:01 sets alarm bells ringing. Of course evangelicals believe that only Christ is blameless and that nobody else is. But Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary – that is, not that she bore Christ as a virgin, but that she was born without Original Sin. As far as I understand, in Catholicism that makes her completely sinless. This wouldn’t be so important if the Immaculate Conception were simply a doctrine that a Catholic could disagree with, but it’s an official dogma. You have to believe it to be a Catholic. I do not understand how the Catholic Pope can say “there is only one blameless, the Lord” and be speaking the truth as far as his understanding of the truth is concerned, because the Virgin Mary would be seen as blameless as well as Christ. Unless there’s a theological technicality distinguishing “sinless” from “blameless” that non-Catholics wouldn’t understand, or unless “the Lord” somehow incorporates Mary too from a Catholic perspective, which again non-Catholics wouldn’t understand, the Pope’s statement isn’t consistent with the official dogmas of his church, at least as far as the people he’s addressing can understand it. If there’s some kind of technicality that means he isn’t actually saying what he appears to be saying, shouldn’t he be transparent about that? On the other side of the coin, might Pope Francis actually not believe in the Immaculate Conception? Maybe as an evangelical, being not much more clued-up about Catholic theology than the people that the Pope was addressing, there’s something I’m missing. I really hope I am missing something. I want to trust him, especially when he speaks of the “language of my heart”, but this is puzzling.

    • My assumption would be that the Pope is referring to sins involved in divisions between catholics and protestants. Since those divisions occurred almost a millennium and a half after Mary was taken up into Heaven, its not likely that anyone would blame her for it.

    • Mary’s role is completely subordinate to Christ so in Catholic talk when one talks about the One Holy and Blameless One, Jesus Christ, it shouldn’t be understood as taking away from Mary’s unique gift of sinlesness. Mary is immaculate because of Christ. He is the cause of her holiness.

  7. I thought the 30 minutes of introduction that Tony Parker did were just as important as the Pope’s message. It was a good reminder that relationship is really want drives reconciliation. Good thoughts about Christian unity will only get you so far. We actually need to be in relationship with others in order to be reconciled to one another.

    (That being said, I am very uncomfortable with Copeland style theology. But if that is where God is going to work, that is where God is going to work.)

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