The Church thrives under conditions of persecution, war, and oppression. Attack Her, mock Her, publicly humiliate Her, kill Her members – and She will rise stronger than before. Christ promised that “the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church” – and His words have been proven true, through two millennia.
But although the Church has survived and even thrived under persecution, she faces a greater threat – internal division.
Disunity among Christians is nothing new. The Church has faced division since Her very inception. St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 3:4) chastises those following different preachers in the Church. Schism ripped apart the Eastern and Western Churches. The Great Western Schism produced three different men who claimed to be Popes at one time.
These divisions continue today. Dissent from clear Church teaching is common among many self-described Catholic scholars and professors. Divisions between devotees of the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms of the Mass in the Roman rite gives rise to threatened schism. Popular preachers and priests (such as Fr. Corapi) refuse to accept Church discipline. These are only a few of the disunities that plague the modern Church.
Disunity also severs common believers with each other. Common quarrels, petty arguments, complaints, backbiting in parishes – these are all ever-present among self-professed Christians.
The end result of this disunity is chaos. Who would join a Church where the members are divided against one another?
A clear mark of the true Church is that it is one. The Church is united in faith and belief. And Her members act with one accord, using their many talents to bring others to God.
Christ designed the Church with this end in mind. Jesus’ prayer for the apostles echoes through 2000 years: "I pray also for those who will believe in me... ...that they all may be one."
God grant that we, the members of the Church may be one.