I did not want to post so much today, but this is necessary. The Church is imploding from within. There are so many enemies at the gate, that we must become aware of our sins in causing problems within the Church.
Some problems cannot be avoided and must be directly addressed, such as heresy or schism.
In Corinthians, Paul writes of factions, most likely connected to rumours, quarrels, and other types of slander. Some translations use the term divisions, some factions.
I have noticed this happening more and more. The lack of charity among those who care about the Faith is almost as horrendous as the absence of charity among those who hate it.
Let me define these groupings, ending with schisms, to encourage an examination of conscience.
All these definitions are from the Oxford Dictionary on line.
One, factions. This is usually a political term, and refers to groupings, such as those we see in Egypt-Morsi and non-Morsi followers. those who want a Muslim theocracy, those who want a secular state and so on.
In the Church, factions could be ideologues, like those who have departed from the teachings of the true Church and want to change the Church's teachings on marriage, for example. If these people start acting politically, they become a faction.
Two, rumours. Rumours may be true or false, and involve talking about other people. As you know, I am from the Midwest, where MYOB is the rule for all-Mind Your Own Business. To me, rumour does not have to be false to be undermining a parish or community. Rumours involve gossip, which is a sin
Three, quarrels. Now, there are some people who are confused about quarrels and arguments. That is because in the common language these mean the same thing. But, a quarrel involves anger, and subjectivity, as well as a lack of charity. A rational argument, as we see in Aquinas, or in debates, is an art being lost. This demands objectivity and the belief in objective truth.
Too many arguments, in the classical meaning, become quarrels, as people do not know how to argue points. I taught debate and logic, and when students finally learned to think objectively and avoid the fallacies. they understood the difference between formal argument and quarrels. For example, many Egyptians in the past three weeks have held up signs in Cairo stating they had no quarrel with the American people, but only Obama's policies. Arguments turn into quarrels when facts and objectivity are set aside.
Four-divisions, which are much more serious, and here I take the second definition for my purposes here. Divisions are created when people take sides. Now, sometimes what we believe in and who we are as Catholics create divisions. Christ Himselft said He came to divide, and that is part of the truth of being in the world but not of the world.
Divisions, however, can happen within the Church, and we can see that daily. The reason for divisions could be varied.
But, we may cause division just by being good, orthodox Catholics.
49 I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled?
50 And I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized: and how am I straitened until it be accomplished?
51 Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation.
52 For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against his father, the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
54 And he said also to the multitudes: When you see a cloud rising from the west, presently you say: A shower is coming: and so it happeneth:
55 And when ye see the south wind blow, you say: There will be heat: and it cometh to pass.
56 You hypocrites, you know how to discern the face of the heaven and of the earth: but how is it that you do not discern this time?
If we are truly salt to the Earth, we shall cause divisions if we are orthodox. It just happens. It happens in families in parishes, in schools, in dioceses. Sadly, for those who love the Church, such divisions, usually lead to schism and even excommunication.
The last category today, as I could go on to heresies, is schism. Schism means that some people have decided to leave the Church either formally or informally. An individual who chooses disobedience may be in schism by being part of a schismatic group. Some of the Protestants started off in schism but quickly fell into heresy. One's immortal soul is in danger if one follows either a schismatic leader or a heretic.
St. Paul speaks to divisions in 1 Corinthians. Remember, the devil wants disruption. He is not only the Father of Lies, but the Father of Chaos and Confusion. Where there are factions, rumours, quarrels, divisions and schisms, you can be sure he and his minions are active.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I am of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I give God thanks, that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Caius;
15 Lest any should say that you were baptized in my name.
16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanus; besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ should be made void.
18 For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness; but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God.