10/23/2019, 10.33
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Pope: Divergences in the Church are resolved through dialogue and discernment

"The Church is called to always have its doors open, so that if someone wants to follow a motion of the Spirit and approaches seeking God, he will not meet with the coldness of a closed door." In Chile, a solution to the crisis should be sought in dialogue.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The "ecclesial method for conflict resolution" is based on dialogue and discernment carried out in the light of the Spirit. "It is the Spirit, in fact, that helps us to overcome closures and tensions and works on hearts so that, in truth and for the good, they reach unity," recalled Pope Francis in the catechesis for today's general audience.

At the end of the meeting he also launched an appeal for a solution to the crisis in Chile.

Speaking to the 20 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square and continuing the series of catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, Francis focused his meditation on the theme: "God had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles." (Acts 14:27). The mission of Paul and Barnabas and the council of Jerusalem (Biblical passage: from the Acts of the Apostles, 15, 7-11).

"The book of the Acts of the Apostles narrates that St. Paul, after the transforming encounter with Jesus, is welcomed by the Church of Jerusalem thanks to the mediation of Barnabas and begins to proclaim Christ. However, due to the hostility of some, he is forced to move to Tarsus, his hometown, where Barnabas joins him to involve him in the long journey of the Word of God ", which is narrated by the Acts. "Luke shows us that this journey begins after a strong persecution (see Acts 11,19); but this, instead of provoking a setback for evangelization, becomes an opportunity to widen the field where to spread the good seed of the Word. The Christians are not afraid, they must flee, but they carry the Word ".

"Paul and Barnabas first arrive in Antioch of Syria, where they stay a whole year to teach and help the community to take root (see Acts 11:26). Thus, Antioch becomes the center of missionary propulsion, thanks to the preaching with which the two evangelizers affect the hearts of believers, who are called "Christians" for the first time (see Acts 11:26)".

"The nature of the Church emerges from the Book of Acts, [a Church] which is not a stronghold, but a tent capable of expand its space (see Is 54: 2) and accommodate everyone. The Church is 'outgoing' or it is not Church, it is on the move, it is always expanding, it is "a Church with open doors" (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 46), "called to always be the Father's open house . [...] The Church is called to always be with the doors open, so that, if someone wants to follow a motion of the Spirit and approaches seeking God, he will not meet with the coldness of a closed door "(ibid., 47 ) ".

"But this newness of the doors open to the gentiles triggers lively controversy. Some Jews affirm the need for circumcision for salvation. They say: "If you are not circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved" (Acts 15: 1) ". "To settle the question, Paul and Barnabas consult the council of the Apostles and elders in Jerusalem, and what is considered the first council in the history of the Church takes place, the council or assembly of Jerusalem, to which Paul refers in the Letter to the Galatians (2,1-10). A very delicate theological, spiritual and disciplinary issue is addressed: the relationship between faith in Christ and the observance of the Law of Moses. the speeches of Peter and James, "columns" of the mother Church (see Acts 15: 7-21; Gal 2: 9) are decisive during the assembly. The two call not to impose circumcision on the gentiles, but only to ask them to reject idolatry and all its expressions. This decision, ratified with the so-called apostolic letter sent to Antioch, also represents the thought that Paul expresses in his letters: " For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value", but "the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."(Gal 5: 6) or" being a new creature "(Gal 6:15).

"What does the story of the Jerusalem assembly tell us? It offers us an important light on the ways in which to deal with differences and to seek the "truth in charity" (Eph 4:15). It reminds us that the ecclesial method for conflict resolution is based on a dialogue made of attentive and patient listening and on the discernment carried out in the light of the Spirit. It is the Spirit, in fact, that helps to overcome closures and tensions and works on hearts so that, in truth and for the good, they reach unity. This text helps us to understand synodality. It is interesting as the apostles write, they begin the letter by saying "the Holy Spirit and we believe that ...". "We ask the Lord to strengthen in all Christians, especially bishops and presbyters, the desire and the responsibility of communion. Help us to live dialogue, listening and encounter with our brothers and sisters in faith and with those who are distant, to taste and manifest the fruitfulness of the Church, called to be at all times "a joyful mother" of many children (see Psalm 113 9) ".

It was at the end of the meeting that Francis said he followed "with concern what is happening in Chile. I hope - he added - that, by putting an end to the violent demonstrations, through dialogue, efforts will be made to find solutions to the crisis and face the difficulties it has generated, for the good of the entire population”.

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