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Protect Church unity, Pope Francis urges the faithful

Catholic World News - September 25, 2013

At his general audience on Wednesday, September 25, Pope Francis spoke on the importance of unity in the Church.

“Wherever we go, even in the smallest parish, in the furthest corners of this earth, there is the one Church; we are at home, we are with our family, we are brothers and sisters,” the Pope said. He likened the Church to a family: “the members may be far away, spread around the world, but the strong bonds that unite us all hold firm regardless of the distance.”

The Pope challenged the faithful to ask themselves whether they serve that Church unity, or undermine it. He criticized “those who would 'privatize' the Church for their own group, their own nation, their own friends.” The impulse to divide the Church, he said, reflects a “form of selfishness that indicates a lack of faith.”

In the life of the Church, the Pope observed, “at times there arise misunderstandings, conflicts, tensions and divisions, which cause harm and then the Church does not have the face we would like, she does not manifest her charity, as God would want.” Tragically, he said, “We create those lacerations!” He encouraged Catholics to consider the damage done by the divisions among Christians, and the enormous amount of work necessary to overcome those divisions. “God gives us unity,” he said; but men’s failings create divisions.

The Pope asked the faithful to practice humility and charity in order to protect the unity within the Church—a “unity in diversity, which is harmony.”

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