VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When the church has a problem to solve or a big decision to make, the Holy Spirit works by helping people discuss the issues openly and frankly, not by fomenting gossip and backroom deals, Pope Francis said.

“In a church where people always argue and there are factions, and brothers and sisters betray each other, the Spirit is not there,” he said in his homily May 8.

The pope dedicated his morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae to Our Lady of Lujan, patroness of his native Argentina, whose feast was celebrated that day.


“The Spirit is the one who brings something new, who moves the situation forward, who creates new areas, who creates the wisdom that Jesus promised” and who creates “harmonious unity among everyone,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.

The pope talked about the day’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles in which the First Council of Jerusalem met to solve a dispute concerning whether Gentiles converting to Christianity had to observe all the laws of Moses as the Jewish Christians did.

“How do they solve the problem?” the pope asked.

“They get together and each one gives his judgment, gives his opinion. They argue about it, but like brothers and not like enemies.

“They don’t form outside factions in order to win, they don’t go to civil authorities in order to win, they don’t kill in order to win. They seek the path of prayer and dialogue” so that even those who disagree with each other can come to an understanding, he said. “This is the world of the Holy Spirit.”

Christian harmony is not “a simple act of goodwill, but is fruit of the Holy Spirit,” he said, asking that the church stay faithful to the movement of the Holy Spirit.