Pope: divisions and money are the devil’s weapons to destroy the Church
Receiving the bishops attending the refresher seminar sponsored by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Francis recommended they ensure that everything is put in place for evangelization and the various pastoral activities "are not damaged or nullified by existing divisions or those that can be created. " "The devil enters through our pockets and destroys with tongues, with gossip that divides and the habit of gossip is a habit of terrorism."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Divisions and money are the weapons that the devil uses to destroy the Church. This gives bishops the responsibility to combat these realities and counter the "gossip" that often fuels conflicts recommended the Pope in his address to participants in the refresher seminar for the bishops of mission territories, promoted by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, received in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican.
"Each of you - Francis told them - was placed as pastor in his diocese to govern the Church of God in the name of the Father, of whom make present the image; in the name of Jesus Christ his Son, by whom ye were made masters, priests and guides; in the name of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the Church (cf. ibid., n. postsin. Pastores Gregis, 7). The places to which you come are different and far between, and belong to the largest constellation of so-called 'mission territories'. Therefore each one of you has the great privilege, and at the same time the responsibility, of being at the vanguard of evangelisation. A picture of the Good Shepherd, you are sent to take care of the flock and go in search of the sheep, especially those distant or lost; as well as to seek new ways to proclaim, to meet the people; helping those who have received the gift of Baptism to grow in faith, so that believers, even those who are 'luke warm' or non-practicing, again discover the joy of faith and evangelizing fruitfulness (cf. ibid., n. Evangelii gaudium, 11). I therefore encourage you to meet even the sheep that do not yet belong to the fold of Christ: in fact, "evangelization is essentially connected with the proclamation of the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or have always rejected him" (ibid., 14 ) ".
" In missionary work you are able to call upon various collaborators. Many lay faithful, immersed in a world marked by contradictions and injustices, are willing to seek the Lord and to bear witness to Him. It is up to the bishop, first and foremost, to encourage, accompany and stimulate all the attempts and all efforts made to keep hope and faith alive. The young Churches of which you are Pastors are characterised by the presence of a local clergy, often numerous, but at times scarce, indeed meagre. In any case, I invite you to pay attention to the preparation of presbyters in the seminary years, without neglecting to accompany them in their continuing formation after ordination. Know how to offer them a concrete and tangible example. As far as possible, seek to participate with them in the main formative moments, always considering the personal dimension too. Do not forget that for the bishop, the closest of the close is the priest. Every priest must be aware of the closeness of his bishop. When a bishop receives a telephone call from a priest, or a letter, he must answer immediately, immediately! The same day, if possible. But that closeness must begin in the seminary, in formation, and continue. For the bishop, the closest of the close, is the priest "
"The dynamism of the sacrament of the Order, the vocation itself and the Episcopal mission, like the duty to observe carefully the problems and practical questions of the society to be evangelised, require that every bishop tend towards the fullness of maturity in Christ. Also through the witness of one’s own human, spiritual and intellectual maturity, focused on pastoral charity, may Christ’s charity and the Church’s care for all mankind shine ever more brightly in you ".
"Pay close attention to what can be done to favour evangelisation, and to ensure that the various pastoral activities they promote are not damaged or inhibited by divisions, either already present or that may be created. Division is the weapon the devil employs most to destroy the Church from within”, he explained. “He has two weapons, but the main one is division: the other is money. The devil enters through our pockets and destroys with the tongue, with idle chatter that divides, and the habit of gossiping is a habit of ‘terrorism’. The gossip is a ‘terrorist’ who throws a grenade – chatter – in order to destroy. Please, fight against division, because it is one of the weapons that the devil uses to destroy the local Church and the universal Church. In particular, differences due to the presence of different ethnic groups in the same territory must not penetrate into the Christian communities to the point of prevailing over their own good. These are challenges that are difficult to resolve, but with the grace of God, prayer, penance, it can be done. The Church is called to place herself above tribal and cultural connotations and the bishop, the visible principle of unity, has the task of ceaselessly building up the particular Church in the communion of all her members ".