Peace In The Church

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This article in America magazine  Titled "Peace in The Church"  by Peter Feldmeier, Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo, is written for the Fifth Sunday of Easter but it is useful to post it this week.

 In it he says :

"When I look at the state of the universal church today, I do not see an enviable peace. Nor do I see it in the local church. In fact, my university church is a bit of a magnet for the disgruntled intelligentsia of the diocese. 

How can we return to the early church’s deep sense of peace? 

In truth, we cannot, because in many respects it never existed.

 One needs only to read St. Paul to see that not all was well with either local churches or the universal church. 
Paul publicly denounced Peter as a hypocrite in Antioch (Gal 2:11-14); he cursed any Christian who disagreed with him on the essence of the Gospel (Gal 1:8); he dressed down the Corinthians, who were in disarray (1 Cor 11:17-12:31); he recognized that some fellow preachers had really bad motives (Phil 1:15); he literally begged the Philippians to be of one mind and heart (Phil 2:1-5); and finally, he reminded his detractors that he was “not at all inferior to these super-apostles” (2 Cor 12:11). 

This is starting to sound like the church I know...

Luke is giving us an ideal church rather than the messy one that existed, but that does not mean he is falsifying things. 

Rather, Luke is pointing toward an ideal. 

He tells us that it is possible to know deep peace even while enduring persecution from the outside and challenges from within.......

 Jesus tells us that he is the vine and his true disciples are the branches. He reminds us that without him we wither and die, but with him and through him we flourish and produce great fruit."
"If we want the church to be at peace, we should gracefully (and even gratefully) accept that it includes leaders in their legitimate role and firebrands who are allowed to be firebrands.

 We need solicitous faithful as well as superiors willing to be stretched and challenged. 
And we need Barnabas-types, faithful guarantors who know how to bring them together skillfully. 

Above all, we need to recognize that we all live through Christ our life."

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