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A year of unity

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We have always had our share of enemies and critics over the years, but we must never turn on each other. Let's remain faithful to God, our Church and ourselves.

Ray
Flynn

Following the elevation of 17 new cardinals at the Vatican recently, I was interviewed by the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) station from London. Wherever I travelled throughout the world, particularly to non-English speaking countries, I always listened and watched BBC on TV to get all the breaking news and commentary. I always found the commentators to be on point and concise.

I watched on TV as Pope Francis told the 17 new cardinals that there is no place for Catholics with the "virus of polarization and animosity in our hearts, but they must be messengers of forgiveness and reconciliation." We must be positive about our Church and faith. Frankly, the reason why I am able to provide positive and accurate analysis of what the pope says, is because I learned as Vatican Ambassador not to bring my own interpretation of what the pope says, like some do. Often times, people in the media will bring their own opinion to what the pope says. They certainly are entitled to their own point of view, but news people should first report on what the pope actually said.

Recently, there have been varied opinions by some in the media leading to confusion among the faithful. Today, people are very disillusioned by the secular press, especially when it comes to reporting on the Catholic Church. They have a history of creating division among good Catholics. How many times have we heard a person say, "But I even saw it on TV." My hope is that we will continue to follow the message of the pope but then listen to informed and responsible commentators. Just because someone reports on national TV news doesn't mean that the viewer is receiving a completely accurate account of what the pope actually says.

I listened first hand to what Pope John II said over the years, often to read a different account in the press the next day. Most of the press does a good job in reporting the news fairly and accurately, but we must also be alert to any accounts that may cause division among good and faithful Catholics.

We have always had our share of enemies and critics over the years, but we must never turn on each other. Let's remain faithful to God, our Church and ourselves.

As Pope Francis said to the new cardinals, "you must be agents of unity in a divided world. Dedicate your lives to being ministers of forgiveness and reconciliation in a world -- and sometimes a Church -- often marked by hostility."

We just ended the amazing "Year of Mercy" in the Church. Let's make the coming year a year of unity in our Church. That means all of us coming together.

Raymond L. Flynn is the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and Mayor of Boston.

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