2013-09-25 - Pope Francis said today that Christians must bear witness to the God-given unity of the Church, because the world needs a model of God’s plan for peace and reconciliation for the whole human family. The Pope was speaking to pilgrims and visitors this morning at his weekly general audience.

When we affirm our faith, Pope Francis said, we affirm that the Church has one faith, one sacramental life, a single apostolic succession, a common hope. The definition is clear, he said, but we must ask ourselves whether we really live by this creed.

Am I one of those who “privatise” the Church for their own group, for their own country, for their own friends? – the Pope asked. When I hear about my brothers and sisters of faith who suffer, who are persecuted, does this really touch my heart? It is important, the Pope said, to feel that we are part of the Church, part of the one family of God.

Gossip, Pope Francis continued, damages our Church, our parishes, our communities – our true riches are those which unite us, not those which divide. And finally, the Pope reminded us that our unity is driven by the Holy Spirit, the “engine” of all harmony.