VATICAN CITY - Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox must pray
together and work hand-in-hand helping the poor, Pope Francis
told thousands of Catholic charismatics and members of other
If the devil "unites us in death, who are we to divide
ourselves in life?" he said, adding that all Christians can
and must pray together, as they have all received the same
baptism and are striving to follow Christ.
More than 30,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square July 3
to take part in an ecumenical gathering of reflection, prayer
and song dedicated to praying for unity and for those killed
for their Christian faith around the world. Italian tenor
Andrea Bocelli and Israeli singer Noa were part of the lineup
The pope invited members of the Renewal in the Spirit to St.
Peter's Square as the Italian branch met for its national
meeting July 3-4. Leaders from the Lutheran, Anglican and
Orthodox faiths as well as Louie Giglio, founder and leader
of the Passion Movement in the United States, also attended
The pope said Christian unity was the work of the Holy
Spirit, which meant Christians need to pray together in a
"spiritual ecumenism, an ecumenism of prayer."
He said some people may not realize they can pray with
Christians of other denominations, adding that people must do
so because "all of us have received the same baptism, all of
us are following the path of Jesus, we want Jesus."
"All of us have caused these divisions in history, for many -
but not good - reasons. But now is the time that the Spirit
is making us think how these divisions will no longer do,
that these divisions are a counter-witness and we must do
everything to go together" in prayer, charity, work and
reading the Bible because "then the Spirit will do the rest."
The "blood of martyrs" is already uniting divided Christian
communities, he said, as the indiscriminate persecution and
murder of Christians worldwide has shown.
Those who hate and target Christians are not interested in
finding out whether they are Lutheran or Methodist, he said;
it is enough that they are committed to Jesus Christ. The
killers "aren't confused, they know there is a common root
there" and they have no problem recognizing it as the devil
guides them, he said.
The pope asked that Christians work together to help people
have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, encouraging the
formation of small groups based on one-on-one relationships
since "huge gatherings often just end there" with little
He also reminded leaders not to forget they are really
The devil tempts founders and leaders to believe they are
indispensible and that they, not Jesus, are the ones in
charge, he said.
"Forgive me for saying so, how many leaders become peacocks?
Power leads us to vanity" and pride, which can also lead to
corruption, he said.
Soon a religious movement or association can become tainted
by authoritarian or selfish rule and the community can no
longer be "renewed by the Spirit," he said.
Positions of leadership in the church should come with term
limits, the pope said. "There are no leaders for life in the
There is no other Lord than Jesus and there is no one in the
church who is indispensable except the Holy Spirit, he said.