· Pope Francis gives a reflection on what it means to the catholic, universal, and one in the diversity that is the Church ·
And prayer for peace in the Middle East and for the victims of Lampedusa
The Church is like a great orchestra; it is “the orchestra of God”. In God's orchestra, each member - by expressing his particular characteristics and uniqueness - has a vital role to play in giving life to a harmonious symphony whose conductor is the Holy Spirit.
This was the image of the Church which Pope Francis proposed this morning, 9 October, at the Wednesday General Audience. Continuing his series of catechises dedicated to the Creed, the Holy Father reflected on the Church as “one, holy, catholic”. Today, he focused on her catholicity. The Pope explained that the term 'catholic' derives “from the Greek 'kath' olon' which means 'according to the whole', or the 'totality'”. The Church is Catholic, he explained, because “she is the space, the home in which the faith is preached whole and entire, and in which the salvation brought to us by Christ is offered to all”.
Regarding the Church's universality, Pope Francis noted that the word helps us to understand that the Church is a home open to “all peoples”. Yet it is also means that she is present in all of her universality even in her smallest parts, such as a parish church.
Regarding her unity, the Pontiff stated that unity is to be understood in a way that includes the diversity of her single members. Indeed, the Pope insisted, her wealth is to be found precisely in her diversity. “This is what is beautiful about the Church: each one brings his own gift - which God has given him – in order to enrich others”. This is why “when there's gossip,” he warned, “there is no harmony, but only conflict. And this is not the Church. The Church is the harmony of everyone. Never gossip about one another, never argue”.
Therefore, the Bishop of Rome added, let us accept the others, “let us accept that there is a proper variety,” because uniformity kills life. The life of the Church is variety, he continued, “and when we want to impose this uniformity on everyone we kill the gifts of the Holy Spirit”. It is therefore necessary to keep alive this diversity which so enriches the Church.
In greeting the various groups who were present at audience, the Holy Father renewed his appeal for prayer for peace in the entire Middle East, and for the victims of the recent tragedy in the lake of Lampedusa.
St. Peter’s Square
Nov. 20, 2019
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