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Pope Francis emphasizes: parishes should not be places of gossip and division

August 27, 2014

Pope Francis devoted his August 27 general audience to two of the marks of the Church: her holiness and unity.

The Church, he said, is “one because she has her origin in the Triune God, mystery of unity and full communion,” and “holy because she is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his Holy Spirit, and filled with his love and salvation.”

The Church’s members, Pope Francis continued, are sinners who are not faithful to Jesus Christ, and thus the Church’s holiness beckons sinners to convert. Christ, the Pope added, walks with sinners and stands ready to forgive them.

After recalling Jesus’ prayer for unity after the Last Supper (John 17) and the unity of early Christians (Acts 4:12), the Pontiff devoted most of the remainder of the audience to divisions in parishes. While he said he was not asking those assembled in St. Peter’s Square to “cut off the tongue,” he did ask them to pray for the grace not to gossip and not to “look at the defects of others, rather than their skills.”

Calling for prayers for the unity of all Christians, Pope Francis said that division is a “grave sin” that is the “work of the devil, who is by definition the one who separates.”


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  • Posted by: shrink - Aug. 28, 2014 3:38 PM ET USA

    "... division is a grave sin that is the work of the devil.." Indeed it is. The question is this: is it usually sinful to comment on the divisions that one observes?