Pope tells faithful to embrace diversity
Likens Christianity to a symphony with different instruments09 October, 18:07
(ANSA) - Vatican City, October 9 - Pope Francis on Wednesday called on the faithful to embrace diversity within Christianity at a general audience in which he spoke on the meaning of "catholic" as it pertains to the Church.
"The Church is catholic because it is home to everyone.
Everyone is a child of the Church and everyone is in that home," Pope Francis declared to a crowd of followers in St. Peter's Square estimated by the Vatican to number 60,000.
The pope spoke in rain-drenched robes, having toured the crowd as usual in his uncovered vehicle, and refused an umbrella despite the rain. The pope dried his face with a cloth offered to him. "The Church is catholic because it is the space in which the entire faith is proclaimed. The Church makes us encounter the mercy of God that transforms us because it is present in Jesus Christ. "In the Church, each of us finds what is necessary to believe, to walk as a Christian," Pope Francis declared. "We can say that it is like the life of a family. Each of us is given all that is necessary to grow and live. One cannot grow up alone, walk alone, isolated, but one walks and grows in a community, in a family," the pope said.
"The Church is catholic because it is the home of harmony, where unity and diversity know how to combine together," the pope continued.
"The Church is like a great orchestra in which there is variety. We are not all the same and we can't be all the same - each is different and has his merits and this is what is beautiful about the Church. Each of us brings his strengths to enrich the others". "Let's ask ourselves, in our communities, do we live in harmony or do we fight amongst ourselves? In my community parish, is there gossip? "If there is gossip, there is no harmony. And this fight is not the Church. The Church is harmony among everyone, never gossip of one against another, never fighting. We accept the other, we accept that there should be a just variety," the pope admonished.
"We have a tendency to make everything uniform, but uniformity kills everything. The Church is not uniformity," the pope concluded.
The pope also sent greetings to the bishops of Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox churches, expressing solidarity to those "in prayer and in pain for so many children of their land who have lost their lives in the tragedy of Lampedusa".
A fire on a boat carrying an estimated 500 migrants, largely of African origin, caused a shipwreck off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa last week. Only 155 survived.