“I pray that there be no schism,” Pope Francis said on Tuesday, in response to a query regarding “strong criticisms” he has faced and the possibility of US Catholics breaking communion, “but I am not afraid.” The Pope made his remark during the in-flight press conference en route to Rome from Mauritius, where he had just concluded a visit that had seen him also in Mozambique and Madagascar.
The Rome bureau chief for the New York Times, Jason Horowitz, asked the question, point blank: “Are you afraid of a schism in the American Church?” It’s not exactly surprising that schism should be on the Pope’s mind. After all, his office is given for the unity of the Church. It is, however, his job to fear schism above everything else, and to do anything except compromise the integrity of the faith in order to avoid it.
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