Catholics Should be “sign of unity” in a Divided Society: Vatican cardinal

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

The Catholic Church cannot be an authentic witness to unity in diversity if it only mirrors the divisions found in society, Cardinal Kurt Koch said Friday.

Koch told CNA June 5: “The Second Vatican Council in its constitution about the Church says that the Church is the sacrament of salvation, the sacrament of unity, and how we can demonstrate this beautiful sign of unity in the Church when we are divided?”

Catholics cannot help build Christian unity when “we are the mirror of the tensions and the divisions in the society,” he noted. “And in this sense, it seems to me very important to refind the unity in plurality, in diversity. Because the diversity and plurality are not in opposition to unity.”

According to the Swiss cardinal, “today we have many, many tensions, many conflicts, many problems, and this shows that to refind Christian unity is [even] more important.”

He added that it was clear that Catholics “can be credible in the ecumenical situation only when we can refind unity in our own Church.”

Koch spoke to CNA on the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which he has led since 2010.

The office for Christian unity was first established as a secretariat on June 5, 1960, by St. Pope John XXIII, a few years before Vatican II would emphasize the importance of ecumenism for the Church.

Cardinal Koch said: “How we can find unity in a plurality is a great challenge for the Church, and only when we can resolve this problem in Christianity can we help in the society to refind better unity in many, many diversities, and many, many splits.”

He also spoke about the ongoing protests in the United States following the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody, calling it “a very difficult situation.”

He said he supported non-violent actions against racism because racism is a sin which violates the Christian teaching that every human being is made in God’s image, regardless of skin color.

He said that Christians in the U.S had a duty to oppose “the very important sin” of racism.


ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
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