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Resolve Church conflicts by following apostles' example, says Pope

Pope Francis said that Church conflicts might be resolved if we follow the example of the apostles and the earliest believers in the faith, a throng of pilgrims heard as part of yesterday's Sunday Angelus/Regina Coeli message in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. The early Christians were struggling to care for the newly growing community, the Pope reflected, “the apostles took the situation in hand - they called a large meeting also with the disciples, discussing the question together,” Francis said. “Seeking advice, discussing, and praying--this is how problems in the Church are resolved, with the certainty that gossip, envy, and jealousy can never lead us to concord, harmony or peace,” said the Pope.

More photographs of Pope Francis and the massive crowd in St. Peter's Square from around the world.
More photographs of Pope Francis and the massive crowd in St. Peter's Square from around the world.
Photo by Handout

There are always difficulties in life, and there will be difficulties in how to deal with situations in the Church, “The problem is how one confronts them, problems are never, in fact, solved by pretending that they do not exist!” the Pope exclaimed. The Holy Father then used the example of the earliest believers, where the Greek or Gentile widows complained that their needs were being neglected in favor of Hebrew or Jewish members in the distribution of the Church's goods of charity. “This happens also in our parishes!” the Pope declared.

“The apostles make a proposal that is accepted by all: they will devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, while seven men, deacons, will provide service at the tables for the poor,” the Pope taught. The men were not chosen because they were experts, but instead because they were “honest men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom; and constituted in their service through the laying on of hands by the apostles.” The Holy Spirit also "crowned" this new arrangement with his ratifying presence, the Pontiff explained. “This tells us that when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide, he leads us to harmony, to unity and respect for different gifts and talents. Do you understand? No small talk, no envy, no jealousy! Get it?”