Celebrate Diversity with the Roman Catholic Church
Oct 1, 2018
I am probably going to be read as a heretic by a few as they read this but the scandal of Christian separation weighs heavily upon me. The Protestant reforms of Christianity begin with the Roman Catholic Church not serving her members very well. The arrogance of the hierarchy was at its height as they were building St. Peter’s Basilica. It was to be the largest church building in the world to prove the mighty nature of the Catholic Church. At that point in history the Church was attempting to influence world politics through use of political power rather than the present day use of a moral presence.
As the Protestant reforms began to grow, and the Roman Church lost political power, an argument began growing between the two as to who was right in God’s eyes and who was heretical. There was a “right” and a “wrong” with both sides accusing each other. In the argument we lost sight of a unity within Christ and each side began teaching that the other was going to hell. The Roman Church was characterized as the new Babylon (a place of great corruption) and we characterized the Protestants as not having the “true faith”. This fight went from the 1400’s to well into the 1900’s. Finally at the Second Vatican Council the bishops of the Roman Church declared the Protestants were our brothers and sisters and they shared with us the Holy Spirit. With this, Christianity had a chance to heal, but the warriors of the years resisted the idea and in fact they continue to do so today.
With the election of Pope Francis this ecumenical healing has begun in earnest. Francis meets our Protestant brothers and sisters where they are and invites them to continue proclaiming Jesus Christ. He gives witness to today’s gospel “If they are not against us they are for us.” The early Church envisioned a unity amid diversity (which you certainly can read in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians).
There are great gifts in the Roman Catholic Church (as well as great shames) and there are those who through their studies are drawn to join us especially because of our sacramental life and our ancient history. It is time to stop arguing and instead
appreciate the wide diversity of the body of Christ.