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Pope Francis calls for Christian unity, denounces divisions between Christians as a 'scandal'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 23rd, 2014
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis has explained that divisions between Christians are a scandal. During his general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father called for unity between Christians.

ROME, ITALY (Catholic Online) - Yesterday, during his general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis denounced divisions between Christians as a "Scandal" explaining, "Christ's name creates communion and unity, not division. He came to create communion among us, not to divide us!"

This week is the Week of Christian Unity in the Church, where Catholics pray for unity between all Christians. Pope Francis has rightly referred to it as a scandal because we seem to have forgotten the message of St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians.

Join Pope Francis in praying for Christian unity. Light a prayer candle now.

St. Paul encouraged his followers to accept and rejoice in the gifts other Christians share. During his time, the Church was divided mostly by geography, and the Church lacked a canon, but the faith was unified under the leadership of the apostles and their successors and united under St. Peter at the outset.

The Church further solidified over the next few centuries and eventually rose to become the only uniform institution of law and order following the collapse of the Roman Empire into various barbarian and independent states.

In the 11th century, the Great Schism occurred, and in the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation. Since the Reformation, protestants have split into smaller and smaller factions, some enjoying more success that others, but all of them divided and at various times engaged in conflict.

Luckily in the modern era, Christians are less divided, and rarely war with one another in a military sense, but we remain divided by critical issues.

At least on some of the basics, we can agree.

Now, more than ever, we need Christian unity. Christians stand imperiled by a rising tide of atheism, militant Islam, and other forces which are intolerant to our knowledge. Secularism represents a fundamental threat to our way of being as such forces seek to compel us to pay for morally objectionable practices and even, at times, to partake in them.

Not since the time of the pagan Roman Empire, have Christians faced such threats. If we remain divided, we remain imperiled.

Now is a time for Christian unity. If we cannot agree on every point, let us not mire ourselves in minutiae. Instead, let us be unified in Christ, united in faith, and work together to solve the world's problems and to protect the faith globally.

In the meantime, we should pray to end the scandal of division which troubles Christianity and pray for unity and peace for all Christians. Not to do this, as the Holy Father made clear, is a scandal in itself.

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

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