Sat 1st Nov 2014 | Last updated: Fri 31st Oct 2014 at 16:19pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo

Latest News

Conflict between Christians makes Christ’s body suffer, says Pope

By on Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Pope Francis shakes hands with a boy before today's general audience (AP)

Pope Francis shakes hands with a boy before today's general audience (AP)

The Church is the body of Christ, but when Catholics fight among themselves or Catholics and other Christians are in conflict with one another, they make Christ’s body suffer, Pope Francis has said.

Speaking at his weekly general audience the Pope said: “Don’t make the body suffer with our divisions and conflicts.”

With an estimated 80,000 people gathered under the hot sun in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said that “today, before leaving home,” he had spent more than half an hour with an “evangelical pastor” and they prayed together for Christian unity.

“Unity is a grace we must ask from the Lord so that he would free us from the temptation of division, fights among us, selfishness and complaining about each other – how much damage, how much evil that chatter creates,” he said.

“How much damage is created by divisions among Catholics and between Christian communities. Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians – why are we divided? We must try to bring unity.”

“Pray that the Lord would give us unity,” he said.

The problem, though, isn’t only a matter of differences between Christian denominations, he said. “How can we have Christian unity if we are unable to find unity among us Catholics? To have unity in our families? How many families are fighting? Seek unity.”

“Let us pray to the Lord to make us members of the body of Christ, ever more united to Christ, help us not to make the body of Christ suffer with our conflicts, our divisions,” he said.

Continuing a series of audience talks about the Second Vatican Council’s descriptions of the church, Pope Francis focused his talk on the Church as the body of Christ.

Describing the church as Christ’s body emphasizes that it is “a living reality. The church is not a charitable, cultural or political association, but a living body, that walks and acts in history,” he said.

And like any real body, he explained, the church has a head — Jesus Christ, “who guides, feeds and supports it” — and if Catholics are not firmly united to Jesus, the head, then the body dies.

“Let us remain united to Jesus,” Pope Francis said. “Let us trust in him, direct our life according to his Gospel, nourish ourselves with daily prayer, listening to the Word of God, participating in the sacraments.”

Being part of the body of Christ also means recognizing that different members have different functions, but they are all vital for the health of the body, he said. Being united “means being with the pope and the bishops, who are instruments of unity and communion.”

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis recalled that tens of thousands of pro-life Catholics from around the world had joined him for Mass June 16 to celebrate “the Gospel of Life.”

“Once again I want to ask everyone to welcome and witness to the ‘Gospel of Life,’ to promote and defend life in all its dimensions and in all its phases,” he said. “The Christian is one who says ‘yes’ to life, who says ‘yes’ to the living God.”

  • Guest

    What disunity is he talking about? What is his proposed model of unity?

    Without answers to these questions, which are a strange omission if they are in the original speech, this homily reads like a politician’s campaign for “change”.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    What disunity is he talking about?

    The hermeneutic of rupture, and lack of charity in Catholics towards each other, to start with

    What is his proposed model of unity?

    Catholic Christianity

  • Peter

    Is that the kettle calling the pot black, darling?

  • http://www.credobiblestudy.com/ Irenaeus of New York

    All love seeks unity.

  • James M

    It looks as though his homilies might make a very good book, if they were edited. He seems to have a knack of expressing ideas that can be very complex, in a way that anyone can understand. Maybe he’ll get round to it.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    You are not a Catholic, “phil” — unsurprisingly, you do not understand the nature of Charity

    It does NOT include abandoning Faith in Christ nor disobeying the Church nor pandering to the destructive influence of virulently hateful anti-Catholics such as yourself

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Meanwhile, Thought Crime is now a reality in France :

    http://www.france24.com/fr/20130619-mariage-homosexuel-jeune-condamne-deux-mois-ferme-ecroue-prison

    That’s right, publicly demonstrating against this despicable “gay marriage” law in France will land you two months of jail.

    Horrifying !!!

    As the article points out, meanwhile — members of organised gangs of armed robbers preying on users of the public transport system get away with a warning and a suspended sentence…

  • Struans

    “Do what I do, not what I say” ??

    Let’s see something from the church of Rome that puts meat onto his wish for unity. Otherwise it’s the same old line: “everyone else is wrong, we’re right, and we’d really really like it if you woke up and realised that we’re right – oh and by the way, we know we’re right so don’t try to get us to change, you need to wake up and smell the incense”.
    S.

  • Peter

    Oh no, not another Peter! It’s not Cordoba Pete because as a Muslim he wouldn’t use the word “darling”.

  • AugustineThomas

    You do realize that the Catholic Church is the pole of Christendom and Cristendom ended barbarism and birthed modernity?

    Catholics have the right to believe they’re right after all the good their religion has done.
    There are bad Catholics, but there are statistically more bad secularists and less good ones.

    Just be happy the Pope speaks with love. It’s easier to just tell you the truth about the brokenness of unorthodox culture, but he takes the difficult path and speaks with love no matter how much you try to curse him for speaking the truth.

  • AugustineThomas

    God bless Pope Francis!

  • Toshi quaraba

    The Gospel of Life is Christ Himself:” I am the way, the life and the truth no one comes to the Father but by Me” – We must be careful in defining “conflict” – is differing between Orthodox, Catholic and Protestants a “conflict”? It will be if we define unity as ” being with the pope and the bishops, who are instruments of unity and communion.”. How shall we achieve this unity? Compromise on the part of the Vatican or on the part of Constantinople or the Protestants at large? We live in a word of suffering and this search for unity is demanding strengths and resources which could be used to lessen famines and hatred among people. Christians can surely be united in the love of Christ, regardless of their flavours of Christianity. Protestants and Orthodox have said yes to God and Life, otherwise they will not be Christians. If we seek unity, at what price? Are we to impose unity on our separated brethren if such unity demands submission to the Pope?

  • Hermit Crab

    Samuel Butler’s “Erewhon” has become the present. His world of criminals who are pitied for their crimes, and (supposed) invalids who are put in jail for being ill, is our world now. The triumph of Bloomsbury.

  • Struans

    You choose to think that the pope and his church has the infallible truth. It’s your choice. There’s the ‘protestant’ conundrum at the centre of life for all Romanists. How do you resolve that one? An appeal to the Holy Spirit having informed you? Or do you lack free will and just happened to have rocked up at the gates of the right spiritual house, and not the house of one of the heathens or schismatics?
    It is good that your pope speaks with love. He is clearly a good man. Whether he speaks the truth though is a decision for all people to ask themselves. Romanists have to ask it too, or else be in denial.
    S.

  • Erin Pascal

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful message from Pope Francis. I believe that unity as well as harmony is the key. If we remain united to Jesus and put our trust in Him, as what Pope Francis said, as well us strengthen our faith through prayer, then all would be better. May God bless our Pope!

  • Struans

    Hello JP. Long time no hear and all that. Just sailing by the CH. I’ll leave all you obedient papists to it.
    I’m heartened that you see honesty in my ‘heresies’!
    S.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    “Let us remain united to Jesus,” Pope Francis said. “Let us trust in
    him, direct our life according to his Gospel, nourish ourselves with
    daily prayer, listening to the Word of God, participating in the
    sacraments.”

    Here is the KEY.

  • Guest

    How do you know?

  • Timotheos

    True Christians THANK God for the gift of unity. They don’t ASK him for it! Why? Because the Church already possesses unity. It is one of the four marks of the Church. “I believe in ONE, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” The Church is indefectibly One. Christ prayed that all His followers be one before He died on the Cross, and His prayer was heard and granted. All true Christians are united.

    Now if you’re one of these miserable heretics who don’t believe this and insist on ‘praying’ for something the Church already possesses, then your ‘prayers’ are evil and deeply offensive to God. Give up you wicked disbelief, humbly convert to the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and thank God profoundly for this wonderful gift that true Christians already possess. Then your prayers will be heard.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    :-)

  • andHarry

    ‘ Being united “means being with the pope and the bishops, who are instruments of unity and communion.”

    I’m afraid this is where it all breaks down.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    This knowledge is provided by reading transcripts or reports of his homilies.

  • andHarry

    ‘ An appeal to the Holy Spirit having informed you?’

    That’s the Way I went down after I received the Holy Spirit at the age of 32; after sampling and looking at other ways. My flesh and blood inheritance had placed me under one of Peter’s successors, but I drifted and searched; and have eventually settled on following the Holy Spirit, with the promise of a leading into all truth to each believer personally. I happily gave up on Peter’s successor; preferring the first leader of the church.

  • Struans

    If I understand you correctly, you follow Christ, not the pope of Rome. I’m with you pal, if so.
    S.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Whereas in reality, following Christ leads inexorably to Catholicism, which in turn requires obedience to the Church, which in turn is obedient to the Pontiff.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    I’m afraid this is where it all breaks down

    Simply saying so does not magically turn it into the truth.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    I think the Pope was most worried in that sermon about left- and right-wing Catholics tearing each other verbally apart with no regard for charity.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    I don’t quite get your argument here. We believe both that the Holy Spirit has indeed informed us, and that we have freely chosen to be what we are, while also believing (like all Christians) that we were chosen first by Christ.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    I would have said he’s talking about the disunity of different Catholics attacking one another without charity.

    I agree that his proposed model of unity is Catholic Christianity.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    One can believe that unity already exists but pray that it may be made real in the lives of Catholics.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    They’re available online at http://www.news.va/en/sites/reflections, with some video clips.

  • andHarry

    ‘If I understand you correctly, you follow Christ, not the pope of Rome. I’m with you pal, if so.’

    Right. I go back to the Followers of the Way when the church was led by the Holy Spirit; the spirit which led the apostles and all the other saints with varying degrees of success; contrast Stephen with Peter for instance. I am free in Christ, not Darwin, Marx, Keynes or Francis, and led by the Holy Spirit. ‘There is no other name given under Heaven… ‘ A simple childlike acceptance of the message is the answer. The church of the ‘wise and learned’ is a maze in which one can easily be lost.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    I did say “to start with” ; but that’s hardly the entirety of his comments.

    One could also add those non-Catholic Christians who are virulently anti-Catholic, and who remain outside of Full Communion mainly for the sake of perpetuating their own worldly prejudice and spite.

  • Struans

    I feel close to the spirit you express.
    S.

  • Struans

    Have you tried explaining your theory to the Orthodox?
    There’s no monopoly of theories of church governance. Your church merely has a system copied from secular powers; and by the luck of being in a part of the world that did a lot of colonising, your lot are relatively numerous at present.
    S.

  • James M

    Thanks :) I’ll look out for it – and for on-line reviews

  • James M

    Unity can always be more fully realised than it is – it’s like the Holiness, Catholicity & Apostolicity of the Church: a reality experienced in the present, the pledge of a reality not yet experienced to the full, and a vocation to realise. Because the Church is already One “in Christ”, its unity needs to be fully realised in time and space, inside the Church & in the world to which Christ sent His disciples.

  • LET’S

    Hey, he’s said nothing wrong. Francis has said to be united in Christ! This is beautiful and Christ is the ONLY truth. This discourse should be applauded by all of those who follow the Way. Rid yourself of all passion. Do you not know that Christ Jesus is alive! If the Pope aims to be a figure of unity, we should say “amen” to that, should we not? Francis is a submissive servant to us, and likewise so should we be submissive servants to each other. He admits that unity is ultimately in Jesus not in the Papal authority. He submits all authority to Jesus. This is GREAT. may god bless Francis!

  • LET’S

    What is his proposed model of unity?

    “Let us remain united to Jesus,” Pope Francis said.

    Is this answer to vague for you? Well the bible must be vague to you to.

  • LET’S

    “Let us remain united to Jesus,” Pope Francis said.

  • LET’S

    We are all tempted to be consumed by our own worldly prejudice and spite, but Jesus has set us free. Are the words that you type here Christ’s words? You should try to save those who are consumed b their own worldly prejudice and spite, not scold us.

  • LET’S

    39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive glory from people…
    43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in my name, you will receive him 44 how can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
    (John 5:21 ESV)

  • LET’S

    AMEN!!! 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said “Into your hands I commit my spirit!” (John 23:46 ESV)
    We are united, isn’t it beautiful.
    But why must I convert to the Holy Roman Catholic Church? This tears my hear apart. I’m in tears. Where must I go to please God!? Which church must I attend?! I’m a wreck.
    I only have NIV and ESV at home, but some people, maybe, disapprove of those texts. no.

    I know where Christ’s church is: It is in himself. He is my Synagogue, my Temple, my Steeple, my Tower, my refuge, in whom God dwells.

  • JL

    I agree with you on the fact that we should thank God for the unity we already have. However, theory and practice are only the same in theory. Saying that we have unity because we claim it through the Creed does not mean our opinions don’t differ from it to a certain extent. We’re human, remember? We’re not perfect! Thus, our unity is not perfect, it can still be improved and this is why we pray. It can’t be evil to ask God to help us be more like him and to make His will at our best, right? James M noticed this aspect too. Thank you for taking the time to think on the topic, James!

    Now I want to fully understand what you mean by “convert to the Catholic Church.” Isn’t converting to God what we should do, and not converting to an institution? Don’t get me wrong, I support the Catholic Church, I am Catholic myself. Here is the point I want to establish: God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are Christians our center of unity. We can throw at each other countless arguments about “why my church is better than yours,” but what I believe we NEED to do is to remember this center of unity. We are one in Christ. We should see that having different interpretations should bring us together for the common good and the Truth instead of building arrogance saying, “I have the truth.” No, you don’t have the Truth. You know one aspect of it. Truth is a sculpture which needs to be seen from all its possible angles to be fully understood and appreciated. I think that the unity Pope Francis was talking about is the understanding that we should working with each other instead of against one another, and to not be offended by one’s different belief because it may hold part of the Truth. Plus, hearing one’s opinion and understanding the logic behind it does not force you to agree. It can shake your opinion and can be scary though. Also, taking a stand for action can lead to conflict. But full understanding makes the difference between Loving and judging, and Love focuses on common ground and unity before dealing with differences. When it does deal with differences, it does so with Compassion. (Sorry for the length of the text… ^^’)