Dealing with Divisions in the Church

Division is a part of the human condition. We endure divisions in family, government, work, and even in our Church. Most of us expect this kind of animosity among politicians, but it can be difficult to comprehend when we see it between members of our faith.

“With every papacy, there are those Catholics who agree and don’t agree with the Holy Father, but those voices seem to be a little more amplified this time in the papacy of Francis,” remarked John Harper, host of Morning Air®.

With rumors swirling of an alleged schism in the Church today, how should we respond?

“This is something that the Church has always had to deal with; we ought not to be afraid of breaks in the Body of Christ. We don’t want them; as the Holy Father says, he prays that it never happens, but there’s always the danger that some small group of people—it’s usually very small—set themselves up as more Catholic than the Church,” explained Msgr. Stuart Swetland, host of Go Ask Your FatherTM and Religion Correspondent on the Relevant Radio® network.

This kind of division is nothing new for the Church. Popes and Saints have fought to protect the Catholic Church from various heresies and schisms that have arisen through the centuries.

“There’s always this temptation to set yourself up and we see it today. … The Church allows certain things and people don’t like that the Church allows certain things,” says Msgr. Swetland. For example: “The Mass in the vernacular, some people don’t like that, they say that the Mass must be in Latin. As if Jesus used Latin in the Mass—which he didn’t.”

“There’s people who, usually through a faulty reading of the Gospel and a faulty reading of history, set themselves up as more Catholic than the Church and that creates divisions in the Body of Christ. That’s why the Pope argued against that kind of rigidity that would reject the fullness of Catholicity,” explained Msgr.

Amid division, we pray for unity, that the Church might be one and work together to bring Christ’s light to the world.

“I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” 1 Corinthians 1:10

Listen to the full segment:

Tune in to Morning Air weekdays at 6-9am ET / 3-6am PT only on Relevant Radio.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.