VATICAN CITY — The search for Christian unity is an enterprise that has taken the time and energy of scholars and popes. Recently it got a helping hand from an iPhone and YouTube.
Those involved in ecumenism insist on the power of prayer to heal Christian divisions and on the importance of involving not only high-powered theologians, but Christians of every community and every walk of life. They need to meet each other, get to know each other, help each other and pray with and for each other.
Putting those sentiments into practice, Pope Francis agreed to record a message to a group of Pentecostals in the United States. His guest, a bishop from a Pentecostal Christian community, did the camera work with an iPhone.
The pope’s message can be seen here, it begins at about 31:35 after Bishop Tony Palmer delivers a speech to a Kenneth Copeland Ministries about the importance of Christian unity for preaching salvation in Christ to the world. The bishop, who also serves as international ecumenical officer for the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, a group that is not affiliated with the Anglican Communion, takes a much simpler view of the path full Christian unity than the pope and the mainline Christian churches do.
The translation used for the English subtitles on the video are not precise, but the pope’s sincerity is clear.