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Pope to bishops: look out for the Devil

Pope Francis greets bishops at his general audience (AP)

The Devil’s favourite weapon for destroying the Church is division, Pope Francis has told new bishops.

He told them to be careful to make sure that everything meant for promoting pastoral activities and evangelisation “does not get damaged or undermined by divisions that are already present or may be created”.

The Pope spoke during a meeting with 96 bishops ordained in the past two years and named to dioceses in the Church’s mission territories. The new bishops were participating in a seminar, often referred to as “new bishops’ school”, sponsored by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

Introducing the 96 missionary bishops to the Pope, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the congregation, said 43 of the bishops were from Africa, 36 from Asia, 13 from the Americas and four from Oceania.

Speaking off-the-cuff to the new bishops, the Pope said: “The weapon the Devil has most at the ready for destroying the Church from within is division.”

His other weapon, the Pope said, is money. “The Devil comes in through the wallet and he destroys with the tongue, with gossip that divides” and hurts the local and universal Church, he said.

“Please, fight against divisions,” the Pope said, emphasising the need not to let ethnic, cultural or tribal differences be a source of harm for the Christian community. The bishop, as a visible figure of unity, “has the task of ceaselessly building” communion among all members of the particular Church.

The Pope also urged the bishops to be close to their priests and guide their constant formation.

“When a bishop gets a telephone call from a priest or he receives a letter, answer right away, the same day if possible,” he said.


Global Church to hold days of prayer for abuse survivors

Pope Francis has approved the establishment of a day of prayer for survivors of abuse, it was announced this week.

According to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, it will be up to each nation’s bishops’ conference to decide when the memorial should be held.

The commission also said that its members had been giving talks to new bishops and major Vatican offices as part of a mandate to develop and educate the Church about best practices.

Members, it said, had spoken recently with officials at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as well as at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, which trains priests for service in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps.

Members, who were in Rome in early September, were also set to address the Congregation for Clergy and to speak at seminars for recently appointed bishops; the training seminars are organised by the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

The commission developed a proposal for a universal Day of Prayer after a request by a clerical abuse survivor from Canada.


Faithful reclaim Detroit streets

For several weeks over the summer Catholics went out on the streets of Detroit at night to pray for peace.

The initiative, called Taking Back the Night, was started by the archdiocese’s Office of Black Catholic Ministries. The group offers intercessions for loved ones and the community, mixed with Hail Marys and Our Fathers. Placards read “Pray for Detroit” or “Honk for Peace”. “When I hear a honk, I know what we’re doing is right,” said organiser Leon Dixon Jr.