Why do we do that? Catholic Life Explained

Q: If we are all meant to be united in Christ, why is there so much division in the Church?

A: Each Sunday, we profess that we believe in “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” The Church is indeed one because her source is the Trinity, and she is founded by Christ. The Church also exists in the fallen world and is made up of fallen people. Sometimes, there are tensions over what we believe as Catholics. Who is Jesus really? Are we affected by original sin? How do our traditional sexual ethics play out amidst medical and technological developments? Doctrinal disagreements are rarely just about ideas… they occur within a context. 

Tensions are influenced by various social and political factors of the time period. For example, Martin Luther’s attempts at reform gained followers, in part, as a reaction against poor moral practices within the Catholic Church. When the schism between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church occurred in 1028, tensions between the two culturally different regions had been brewing for centuries.

Division still occurs within the bounds of the Church today. Oftentimes, this is about pastoral or practical matters. These questions can vary. Should we incorporate Latin back into the liturgy? What is the best way to reach the youth in our parish? These may not be articles of faith, but people have strong opinions about what ought to be done. We can remember the prayer of Christ – “that all might be one” – and do what we can to grow in understanding and respectful dialogue.