A reader sent me this text from the Holy Father’s Wednesday Audience today:
Before greeting the Italian pilgrims, I still have three announcements.
The first: I have learned with great joy the election of Metropolitan Kirill as new Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias. I invoke upon him the light of the Holy Ghost for a generous service to the Russian Orthodox Church, trusting him to the special protection of the Mother of God
In the homily pronounced on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of my Pontificate, I said that it is the "explicit" duty of the Pastor "the call to unity", and, commenting upon the Gospel words regarding the miraculous catch of fish, I said, "although there were so many, the net was not torn"; I continued after these Gospel words, "Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it has been torn!". And I continued, "But no – we must not be sad! Let us rejoice because of your promise, which does not disappoint, and let us do all we can to pursue the path towards the unity you have promised. Let us remember it in our prayer to the Lord, as we plead with him: yes, Lord, remember your promise. Grant that we may be one flock and one shepherd! Do not allow your net to be torn, help us to be servants of unity!"
Precisely in the accomplishment of this service of unity, which qualifies, in a specific way, my ministry as Successor of Peter, I decided, a few days ago, to grant the remission of the excommunication in which the four bishops ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988, without pontifical mandate, had incurred. I fulfilled this act of fatherly mercy because those prelates repeatedly manifested to me their deep suffering for the situation in which they found themselves. I hope that this gesture of mine will be followed by the solicitous effort by them to accomplish the ulterior steps necessary to accomplish full communion with the Church, thus testifying true fidelity and true recognition of the Magisterium and of the authority of the Pope and of the Second Vatican Council.
The third announcement.
While I renew with affection the expression of my full and unquestionable solidarity with our brothers receivers of the First Covenant, I hope that the memory of the Shoah leads mankind to reflect on the unpredictable power of evil when it conquers the heart of man.
May the Shoah be for all a warning against forgetfulness, against denial or reductionism, because the violence against a single human being is violence against all. No man is an island, a famous poet write. The Shoah particularly teaches, both old an the new generations, that only the tiresome path of listening and dialogue, of love and of forgiveness lead the peoples, the cultures, and the religions of the world to the hoped-for goal of fraternity and peace in truth. May violence never again crush the dignity of man!
This image of the net which is not torn expresses what I have been trying to get across, perhaps the main point I have been stressing.
People of good will can differ about truly difficult questions which are not spelled out with crystal clarity concerning our Faith and the Church.
There is room for differences without breaking the unity the Lord desired and prayed for at the Last Supper.