EG 246: Christian Divisions

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdalenePope Francis offers some commentary on Christian disunity in this section of Evangelii Gaudium:

246. Given the seriousness of the counter-witness of division among Christians, particularly in Asia and Africa, the search for paths to unity becomes all the more urgent. Missionaries on those continents often mention the criticisms, complaints and ridicule to which the scandal of divided Christians gives rise. If we concentrate on the convictions we share, and if we keep in mind the principle of the hierarchy of truths, we will be able to progress decidedly towards common expressions of proclamation, service and witness. The immense numbers of people who have not received the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot leave us indifferent. Consequently, commitment to a unity which helps them to accept Jesus Christ can no longer be a matter of mere diplomacy or forced compliance, but rather an indispensable path to evangelization. Signs of division between Christians in countries ravaged by violence add further causes of conflict on the part of those who should instead be a leaven of peace. How many important things unite us! If we really believe in the abundantly free working of the Holy Spirit, we can learn so much from one another! It is not just about being better informed about others, but rather about reaping what the Spirit has sown in them, which is also meant to be a gift for us. To give but one example, in the dialogue with our Orthodox brothers and sisters, we Catholics have the opportunity to learn more about the meaning of episcopal collegiality and their experience of synodality. Through an exchange of gifts, the Spirit can lead us ever more fully into truth and goodness.

Another example that comes to mind involves online reticence from Catholics about things, programs, and language that sounds “too Protestant.” Such people are living in a centuries-old past in which they are little better than illegal immigrants.

Pope Francis could have been more critical of this situation, and he would have been within the bounds of correctness. Do we seek, find, and acknowledge how the Holy Spirit is active in other Christians? Do we accept the gift that involves through observation, imitation, and dialogue?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Evangelii Gaudium, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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