division amongst Catholics. I hate it. And the worst of the worst is when those who are fostering this division are priests or religious or even bishops.
Not that we have to agree on everything. Or even to tolerate everything – heresy and sin are very real. But when we see uncharitable speech and interpretations between Catholics, we should immediately recognise that the devil is at work.
If someone says or does something that might be interpreted badly, try to find the most charitable interpretation, until you can clarify with them. If you can’t find a good interpretation, assume good intentions, and try to correct your brother or sister. If you can’t do this, pray for their conversion.
If someone is accused of a sin or crime, consider them innocent until proven guilty (unless you are a prosecutor, in which case you must play devil’s advocate). Do not pass rash judgment.
The Catholic media is terrible for this. Whenever they do this, they are just following the pattern of the world’s journalism. I have largely abandoned Catholic news media as a result. It is bad for the soul.
The fact is, these people are attacking the Church – attacking Christ Himself. It is a grave sin.
I have probably done this more than I am aware. It is very easy to judge and accuse and divide. Thinking about it, I have probably done this more to non-Catholics, and it is wrong no matter who is the target. Especially when talking politics, I often use very harsh words. I think I’ll have to mention this in my next confession…
I expect most people don’t fully realise what they are doing when they foster divisions in this way. It isn’t natural, being a Christian. I recommend we follow the rule, to always pray for a person twice as much as we criticise them, in time and in effort.
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all…
Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds.
-Ephesians 4:1-6, 17
God bless you!
Disagreement does not have to lead to division, but the smallest thing, in other people’s eyes can loom large if it affects you personally. I knew a church where the vase in front of one popular saint’s statue was held down by a full pack of blue tack. The statue had been given by the mother of the person wielding the sticky stuff who in effect claimed ownership of the statue, the vase, and the right to fill it. The flower arrangers were wise enough to let her get on with it; life is too short. And too short for many of the other quarrels which look petty against eternity. You could, of course, have quoted 1Corinthians on divisions: ’twas ever thus. A word in season!
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