“Just being together is not unity, but ultimately an evasion of it.”

Pope Benedict is the Pope of Christian Unity.

From a reader:

I have been noticing when I have time to check your blog the references and arguments you make about Benedict XVI being the unity pope.  Probably like yourself I have had the privilege of pursuing my entire theological career in the shadow of Ratzinger/Benedict, so having something of a continuous historical context for interpreting the Holy Father’s words has helped a lot.  Maybe you feel the same way.

I came across this quotation from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in a collection of his work for daily reflection ("Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year," Ignatius Press, 1992, p. 28 for January 18th) given to me by my wife for Christmas.  It first appeared in L’Osservatore Romano 7, no. 30-31 (1977) p. 13. 

The reason I am sending it to you, beyond the obvious one that he says here exactly what you have opined, is because of the date of the piece, 1977

So, his views on unity have been forged neither by the accidents afforded by opportunity nor by the demands forced by crisis.  [Exactly.]

I hope you enjoy it.

"The summons to the peace of Christ is not to be confused with a longing for that good nature that is, in reality, only weakness, that would like to shield itself from the vexations that arise when one openly defends his convictions.  The demand for unity in the Church is not, then, to be identified with the wish that everyone would agree about everythingJust being together is not unity, but ultimately an evasion of it.  The admonition, ‘Be nice to one another’, is certainly not to be scorned, but it does not reach the height of the Gospel because it spares us the effort of setting out on the way to truth and so of really coming together."

Pope Benedict is the Pope of Christian Unity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Patrick J. says:

    So succinct and straight to the marrow. Unity for unity’s sake is not enough. Not when truth is compromised. Yes let us “be nice” but also uncompromising truth bearers. I know, easier said than done, but this is our challenge. We have to pray for unity, as did our Lord upon His bodily ascension from this earth.

  2. Melania says:

    Thank God for the Holy Father and his moral and intellectual clarity. How desperately that is needed these days.

    Too often people mistake what is “nice” for what is good. Frequently, the nice thing to do is also the good or right thing to do. However, there are also many instances where this is not true. This is one of them.

    The Pope has as his goal true unity, not syncretism. God bless him.

  3. ssoldie says:

    The kind (not nice) thing to do is tell the truth, even if it hurts, and one does not compromise the truth for the sake of unity, ever.

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