Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pope Francis says diversity in the Church work of Holy Spirit

Pope Francis recently said that "the Holy Spirit is the source of diversity in the church. This diversity is very rich and beautiful. But then the same Holy Spirit creates unity. And in this way the church is one in diversity." The Holy Spirit, according to Pope Francis, is behind the diversity in the Church. He has affirmed that Pentecostals and other Protestants are part of the fabric of the Church family, and that the Holy Spirit creates unity in diversity. 

Even within the Catholic family, there is diversity. Within the Roman Communion, there are over twenty Rites, including Melkite, Byzantine, Ukrainian, and the largest, the Roman Rite. The diversity of Roman Catholicism also includes Old Roman Catholics, Old Catholics, and Independent Catholics.

Old Roman Catholics typically descend from the ancient Catholic See of Utrecht via the Apostolic line of Archbishop Arnold Harris Mathew. Utrecht was granted administrative autonomy in 1145, which was confirmed by various Popes and Councils, and thus Old Roman Catholics maintain that they have never split from the Catholic Church. Traditional Catholic liturgy and doctrine (usually pre-1955) is a common hallmark of Old Roman Catholicism, which may be found in many parts of the world today.

Old Catholics share a similar heritage with Old Roman Catholics, but diverged at the First Vatican Council over the issue of Papal Infallibility. The See of Utrecht today is Old Catholic and also has a parallel Roman Catholic diocese. There are various Old Catholic jurisdictions around the world today. 

Independent Catholics sometimes stem from Old Catholicism. Others come from Apostolic lines such as Roman Catholic Bishop Duarte-Costa in Brazil. Still others may be found in traditional Catholic organizations such as the Society of Saint Pius X, founded by Roman Catholic Archbishop Lefebvre to preserve the traditional liturgy and doctrine of the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. 

All these lineages, and others not mentioned here, form the diverse fabric of the Roman Catholic tradition. Much like a large family, not everyone always gets along. However, as the Holy Father recently stated, "this diversity is very rich and beautiful."