Cautioning About the "Clots" in the Body of Christ

Papal Household Preacher Speaks of Church as Instrument of Peace

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 30, 2003 ( The Church has a responsibility to be an instrument of unity and peace among all people, says the Papal Household preacher.

At a Lenten meditation Friday in the presence of the Pope and officials of the Roman Curia, Capuchin friar Father Raniero Cantalamessa said: “The impotence to change human logic and to make reasons for peace triumph in the world makes us feel even more urgently these days the need to make the Church shine as a prophetic sign of unity and peace in a world lacerated by discord.”

Using a medical analogy, the friar said: “Embolisms — the solid, liquid or gaseous clots that form in the veins and arteries — are a mortal danger for the human organism and, if they are not removed in time, impede the free circulation of blood and can cause serious damage, including paralysis. The Body of Christ also, which is the Church, knows this danger.”

“In this case, the embolisms are the obstacles to communion: when forgiveness is not given, when there are chronic enmities …, bitterness, disdain, anger, slander, malice,” he said.

“If we want to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace, it is necessary to have an X-ray periodically, namely, a good examination to be sure that there are no embolisms” of our own doing, the preacher said.

He delivered his meditation in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

“Work is being done at the ecumenical level to remove with patience the great embolisms that have formed between Church and Church,” Father Cantalamessa said.

“But the commitment must continue at a more one-on-one level, between communities and communities, between category and category within the Church itself — for example, between the clergy and the laity, between men and women — and, lastly, between person and person,” he said.

“Banish envy and everything that is mine is yours, and if I banish envy, all that you possess is mine. In ecclesial communion, the charism of one becomes the charism of all,” Father Cantalamessa emphasized.

“In the Body of Christ, what each member is and does, he is and does for all,” he added. “The evident sign that one possesses the Spirit is not to speak in tongues and do miracles, but to love unity.”

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