Priests attacking each other is bad enough, but in the Church of the Nativity, at Christmastime? It boggles the mind, yet I’ve seen another video of the same sort and know it has happened often.
Every priest or lay person I have talked to who returns from the Holy Land talks about the bitter divisions there between Christians. Msgr. Charles Pope elaborates on his own experiences there as well, which confirm the worst rumors.
These brawls are one shameful consequence of Christian disunity.
Christ prayed to our Father that:
Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
“…that the world may believe that you have sent me…”
What instead does the world see?
I had one friend tell me that the Armenian and Eastern Orthodox were more or less in communion with each other. From this video, it looks much more like “less” than “more.”
Such bitterness and enmity. Why? How can Christians do this to each other? It’s completely unacceptable. It doesn’t matter who started it, doesn’t matter who swept some dirt three inches beyond his partition of the church.
If Catholics have been involved in these disgraceful brawls, they would do better to relinquish their thirty square feet of space to one of these other Churches than commit such sins in the church of Christ’s birth. (I have heard great things, however, about the Franciscans of the Holy Land and their custody of various places.)
Non-Christians see these videos and laugh, shaking their heads in disbelief. It’s hard to imagine a more effective way to discredit ourselves.
Let us repudiate these actions whenever they happen and refuse to take part in Satan’s plan to prevent healing of the schisms from the Church. Christ prayed for us to be perfectly one and gives us the grace for it; He can heal the schisms, but He will not force us to do it; instead, He invites us to cooperate with Him to achieve reunion.