In his opening address at the 2021 spring meeting of the U.S. bishops on Wednesday, conference president Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles made a passionate call for unity.
Archbishop Gomez reminded fellow bishops that “only a Church that is united can heal the brokenness and challenge the injustices that we see more clearly now.”
“We have been living through some extraordinary times,” the archbishop said. “We’ve seen a pandemic shut down our civilization, including the Church, for more than a year. We’ve lived through riots in our major cities, rising social divisions and unrest, and maybe the most polarized election our country has ever seen.”
He also said that “the Church’s mission will be shaped for years to come by the troubles of these recent months.”
“I was noticing, even before the pandemic, how often Pope Francis talks about the importance of unity — not only among peoples, but also unity within the Church,” Archbishop Gomez said, as he quoted Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti in its call for unity among the human family.
Gomez observed that it is “not realistic to expect the Church to stay immune from the pressures of division. Those pressures are all around us. The Church is divine, she is the Body of Christ. But we are all human in the Church, after all. And we are living in a secular society where politics is becoming the substitute religion for a lot of people.”
“So, we need to guard against the temptation to think about the Church in simply political terms,” he said.
He then quoted Pope Francis’ recent homily for Pentecost Sunday: “Today, if we listen to the Spirit, we will not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left. … The Paraclete impels us to unity … the harmony of diversity. He makes us see ourselves as parts of the same body, brothers and sisters of one another….”
The above comes from a Jun. 16 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.