Benedict XVI explained that the Second Vatican Council “placed the ecumenical search at the centre of life and of the Church’s work.” It is up to “the responsibility of the entire Church and of all the baptised, who must augment the partial communion that already exists among Christians until achieving full communion in truth and charity,” he added.
This is why prayer for unity “must then be an integral part of the prayer life of all Christians, in all times and places, especially when people from different traditions come together to work for victory in Christ over sin, evil, injustice and the violation of human dignity.”
Benedict XVI reminded faithful that “since the birth of the modern ecumenical movement, over a century ago, there has always been a clear awareness of the fact that a lack of unity among Christians prevents a more efficient announcement of the Gospel, because it destroys or jeopardizes our credibility. How can we give a convincing testimony if we are divided?”
And if it is true that “as far as the fundamental truths of the faith are concerned, there is far more that unites us than divides us,” “divisions over practical and ethical questions do remain, spreading confusion and mistrust, weakening our ability to pass on” the Gospel.
In this sense, according to Pope Benedict XVI, ecumenism “is a great challenge for the new evangelisation, which will be more fruitful if all Christians together announce the truth of the Gospel and Jesus Christ, and give a joint response to the spiritual thirst of our times.”