Pope urges Catholics to be united

Catholics cannot hope to achieve unity with other Christians if they cannot be united themselves, Pope Francis has told a general audience.

“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,” he urged.

Speaking to a gathering of at least 50,000 people, Pope Francis explained the Second Vatican Council’s concept of the Church as the “body of Christ”.

“The Church is not a charitable, cultural or political association, but a living body, that walks and acts in history,” he said. “And this body has a head, Jesus, who guides, feeds and supports it.  This is a point I want to emphasise: if the head is separated from the rest of the body, the whole person cannot survive.”

He continued: “Let us remember this well: being part of the Church means being united to Christ and receiving from him the divine life that makes us live as Christians; it means remaining united to the Pope and the bishops who are instruments of unity and communion, and also means overcoming personal interests and divisions, in order to understand each other better, to harmonise the variety and richness of each member; in a word, to love God and the people who are next to us more, in the family, in the parish, in the associations.”

Pope Francis revealed that earlier that morning he had spent over half an hour in prayer with an evangelical pastor, praying for unity in the Church.

“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.


Vatican Radio

Catholic News Service

Vatican Information Service

Image: Vatican News

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