In his homily at morning Mass, Pope Francis told the faithful Monday that Satan is out to divide the Church by sowing ambition, jealousy and greed among its members.
Commenting on the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, where Paul reprimands the early Christians for their quarrels, factions and infighting, Pope Francis said that “the devil has two powerful weapons to destroy the Church: divisions and money.”
On the one hand, the Pope said before a group of faithful in the chapel at the Saint Martha residence where he lives in the Vatican, divisions destroy the Church by attacking its unity. This happened from the beginning, when “ideological and theological divisions tore at the Church.”
The devil engages in a “dirty war” by sowing divisions, the Pope said, “like terrorism.” In this way, he spreads “jealousies, ambitions, ideas, but to divide!” he said.
These divisions in the Church, Francis said, “do not let the Kingdom of God grow and they do not present the Lord as He is.”
Satan’s attacks aim to strike the Church at the very center of Christian unity, “the Eucharistic celebration,” Francis said.
He noted Paul’s criticism of the Corinthians who made distinctions between rich and poor even during the Eucharistic celebration. In contrast, Francis said, Jesus “prayed to the Father for unity.”
“But the devil tries to destroy it,” he said.
“I ask you to do everything possible not to destroy the Church with divisions, whether they are ideological, or stem from greed, ambition or jealousy.”
“And above all, pray and guard the source, the root of unity of the Church, which is the Body of Christ,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome