EG 98: Christian Civil Wars

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneFor Evangelii Gaudium 98-101, Pope Francis urges believers to say “No to warring among ourselves.”

98. How many wars take place within the people of God and in our different communities! In our neighborhoods and in the workplace, how many wars are caused by envy and jealousy, even among Christians! Spiritual worldliness leads some Christians to war with other Christians who stand in the way of their quest for power, prestige, pleasure and economic security. Some are even no longer content to live as part of the greater Church community but stoke a spirit of exclusivity, creating an “inner circle”. Instead of belonging to the whole Church in all its rich variety, they belong to this or that group which thinks itself different or special.

It strikes me this can be taken several ways. The “special” group might be a layer within the Church: bishops, clergy, or lay ministers. It might be religious life or a particular brand of spirituality within a particular community. It could be geographical. (“My parish is better than yours.”) It could be cultural and/or ethnic. It could be ideological. It could be one of the many special communities that have sprung up in the past century. It could extend across denominational lines.

To be sure, identifying with a group and having a sense of self-esteem is not, in itself, wrong. It is when such self-identifications are at the root of exclusion, alienation, or even an antigospel attitude.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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