Ecumenism of Blood


The fact that Pope Francis gives interviews to both the religious and secular press is no longer a surprise. Time magazine chose him as “man of the year” because of his more relaxed and open approach to the media. This attitude was expressed in an interview that was published in the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa on 15th December. The conversation began with a reflection on Christmas but then proceeded to other topics including interesting comments on the Pope’s views on Christian unity.

Is Christian Unity a Priority for You?

It was this question that was abruptly posed to Pope Francis during his interview with La Stampa. He responded with the following: “Yes, for me ecumenism is a priority. Today there is an ecumenism of blood. In some countries they kill Christians for wearing a cross or having a Bible and before killing them they do not ask them whether they are Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic or Orthodox. Their blood is mixed. To those who kill we are Christians. We are united in blood, even though we have not yet managed to take necessary steps towards unity between us and perhaps the time has not yet come … Those who kill Christians don’t ask for your identity card to see which Church you were baptized in. We need to take these facts into consideration.”

Click here for the remainder of Dr. Leonardo De Chirico’s article:

About the author

Chris Castaldo (PhD, London School of Theology) is the lead pastor at New Covenant Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Talking with Catholics about the Gospel and coauthor of The Unfinished Reformation.


  1. ‘The unity of these martyrs with the Roman Catholic Church may be “imperfect”, but their unity with Christ is perfect and this is what really matters.’ (Leonardo’s last sentence)
    Another very insightful article by de Chirico. Thank you, Chris.

    Honestly, I never heard about an ‘ecumenism of blood’ before reading de Chirico’s entry, yet it makes complete sense to me.
    Christ is the Head of His church – not the pope or any Christian leader – and all who are united to Christ through His Spirit who graciously adopts them by that birth from above (Jn 3), all of these will through God’s spiritual power alone, and NEVER by those human efforts called ecumenism, quasi automatically prove to be the scriptural unity required, for it is written,

    “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32)

    Such a thing always only happens after believers’ personal Pentecost, that is, after having been baptized with Christ’s Spirit, not only with water. Water baptism equals nothing as long as Christians reject Christ by professing conformity to this world. Media, politics, economics, even social services of the church – though in themselves a good thing – have nothing to do with which Christ has commanded us (cf. “The Sermon on the Mount” for example).

    In my humble opinion, the most important messages which should shine their light on the world through professing Christians should be “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” for, thus, “the whole law is fulfilled in one word” (Gal 5:14), and Christians should “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) by Jesus and the apostles, not neglecting the prophecies of the OT, to be sure.

    We are to uphold the truth of Scripture against all odds.
    May we not go on “selling seashells at the seashore” by making the slightest compromise in order to become an unscriptural unity with other people. Amen.

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