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Church, as one body, requires unity, Pope tells audience

Catholic World News - June 19, 2013

Continuing his series of weekly talks on the nature of the Church, Pope Francis spoke to his midday audience on June 19 about the Church as the Body of Christ.

“The image of the body helps us to understand this deep bond between Church and Christ,” the Pope said. The image also should be a reminder that as members of the Church we must allow Christ to work through us, he added, noting that “being part of the Church means being united to Christ and receiving from him the divine life that makes us to live as Christians.”

Membership in this body, the Pope continued, can mean playing different roles. Citing the words of St. Paul, he observed that the body has many different parts. “There is no dull uniformity but the richness of the gifts that the Holy Spirit distributes,” he said.

However, membership in one body presumes unity, the Pope said, “and it also means learning to overcome selfishness and divisions.” He spoke about the importance of remaining in union with the Pope and the diocesan bishop, and avoiding conflicts with other members of the Church. “How much damage is caused to the Church by divisions among Christians, by being apart, by narrow interests!” the Pope lamented. “The divisions among us, but also the divisions between the communities: evangelical Christians, Orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians: why are we divided?” He urged the faithful to pray and work for unity.

At the conclusion of his midday audience, the Pope toured St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile, as is his custom, to greet the public. He stopped to invite a young man with Down Syndrome up into the car to sit in his seat. The young man, Alberto di Tullio—who was obviously delighted by the experience—had apparently caught the Pontiff’s attention because he was wearing the jersey of the national soccer team from the Pope’s native Argentina.

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