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Pentecost is celebration of unity in diversity, pope says


  • Pope Francis prays during a Pentecost vigil marking the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal at the Circus Maximus in Rome June 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis greets the crowd after celebrating Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 4. In attendance were thousands of people celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Catholic charismatic renewal. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pilgrims from Nigeria wait for the start of Pope Francis' celebration of Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 4. In attendance were thousands of people celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Catholic charismatic renewal. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • Pope Francis blesses himself with holy water as he celebrates Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 4. In attendance were thousands of people celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Catholic charismatic renewal. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • A priest distributes Communion as Pope Francis celebrates Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 4. In attendance were thousands of people celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Catholic charismatic renewal. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
  • A Swiss Guard is seen as Pope Francis greets the crowd after celebrating Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 4. In attendance were thousands of people celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Catholic charismatic renewal. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Holy Spirit continues to give Christians different gifts and to call them to share those gifts with each other in a community marked by forgiveness and "unity in diversity," Pope Francis said on Pentecost.

"In a way both creative and unexpected," the pope said, the Holy Spirit "generates diversity, for in every age he causes new and varied charisms to blossom. Then he brings about unity: he joins together, gathers and restores harmony."

With tens of thousands of Catholic charismatics from around the world and with dozens of Pentecostal and evangelical leaders present, Pope Francis celebrated Pentecost Mass June 4 in St. Peter's Square and concluded a five-day celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Catholic charismatic renewal.

In his homily at the Mass, the pope said Christians can block the unity in diversity desired by the Holy Spirit by focusing on their differences rather than on what they share.

"This happens when we want to separate, when we take sides and form parties, when we adopt rigid and airtight positions, when we become locked into our own ideas and ways of doing things, perhaps even thinking that we are better than others," he said.

"When this happens," the pope said, "we choose the part over the whole, belonging to this or that group before belonging to the church" and taking pride in being "Christians of the 'right' or the 'left' before being on the side of Jesus."

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