Vatican – While Pope Francis presided over the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passions, the preacher of the papal house called on bishops and all Catholics to check their consciences for ways in which they could harm the unity of the Catholic Church.
Francis presided at the liturgy on April 2 in front of the cathedral altar in St. Peter’s Basilica, but as usual, the preacher of the papal house, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, delivered the sermon while the pope and more than two dozen cardinals listened.
“The Catholic Brotherhood is wounded,” the cardinal said. “The divisions between the churches tore the tunic of Christ to pieces, and even worse, each torn strip was cut into even smaller fragments.”
With only about 150 people present due to the limitations of COVID-19, Cantalamessa explained that he was talking “about the human element of it, because no one will ever be able to tear the true tunic of Christ, his mystical body animated by the Holy Spirit. is “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic” and will remain so until the end of the world. “
God’s protection of the Catholic Church, he said, “does not justify our divisions,” but makes them even more reprehensible and must inspire greater efforts to heal divisions.
“The most common reason for fierce divisions among Catholics,” said the 86-year-old cardinal, “is not dogma, nor are the sacraments and ministries – none of the things that we preserve completely and universally through the only grace of God. “
Instead, he said, “the divisions that polarize Catholics stem from political options that grow into ideologies that take precedence over religious and ecclesiastical considerations and lead to a complete renunciation of the value and obligation of obedience in the church.”
“This is a sin in its original sense,” said Cantalamessa, who was appointed preacher of the papal house in 1980 by St. John Paul II and has served in that role ever since.
When support for political candidates, parties or politicians takes precedence over building the kingdom of God and the unity of his body, the church, it is time for a “serious examination of conscience” and baptism, he said.
“Feeding division is the work par excellence of one whose name is ‘diabolos,’ that is, the divider, the enemy who sows weeds, as Jesus mentions in the parable,” in the Gospel of Matthew.
Catholic bishops and priests “must be the first to make a serious examination of conscience,” the cardinal said. “They need to ask themselves where it is that they are leading their flocks – to their position or the position of Jesus.”
The Catholic Church is called to be a force for the unity of all Christians, he said, and that is why Catholics must pray and work for the peace and unity that Jesus desires for his disciples.
The liturgy began with Francis, assisted by two monsignors, lying on the floor of the basilica in front of the altar. Later, after reading the Passion according to St. John, the pope also led the worship of the cross.
Only a few hours after the evening liturgy, the pope was to preside over the Way of the Cross in St. Peter’s Square. Service meditations are written by children and adolescents and reflect the crosses worn by many children around the world, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.