ROME - Pope John Paul II urged Christians to pull together in the service of peace Saturday, noting that efforts at Christian unity have not always measured up.
The pope spoke at a Vespers service in a Rome basilica to mark the end of a week dedicated to prayer for Christian unity, one of the goals of his papacy.
Listening to his homily were various Christian representatives, including Orthodox and Anglican. Relations between the Vatican and some Orthodox leaders have been particularly tense, since the demise of Soviet bloc communism permitted rivalries to flare up between Orthodox Christians and Catholics.
The pope told Christians to "unite our efforts in order to be at the service of peace and reconciliation, justice and solidarity, especially at the side of the poor and the least of the Earth."
While much progress has been made among Christians in overcoming their divisions, John Paul said: "We cannot fail to acknowledge realistically the difficulties, the problems and at times the disappointments which we still encounter.
"At times we sense a certain weariness, a lack of fervor," added the pontiff, who expressed hope that God would inspire "new fervor and courage."
By Albert H. Lee