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  • Nicholas Sheehy LC

Where division leads


Lk 11:15-26 When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. “When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”



Where does division lead? Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, is credited with the maxim “divide and conquer,” adopted later by Julius Caesar. It would become a mainstay of Roman foreign policy in the Empire as generals tried to expand Rome’s territory. When entering into new territory, traitors were sought to facilitate the defeat of the enemy.


Some key elements of this technique could be encouraging division among the people that prevent anybody from challenging the sovereign. It could be helping those willing to cooperate with the sovereign, something like collaborators in the new regime. They would try to foster strife and enmity among the local rulers. Finally, they could encourage meaningless expenditures that reduce the capacity for military spending.


Does this not seem similar to much of what is happening to the Church today? There is so much effort to distract from the essential message. It seems like there is a coordinated attack to divide and conquer. This comes from the evil one. We may not always agree with concrete policy decisions, but we should be able to maintain the unity of the Church.


God hates division, and Jesus gave us his Vicar on Earth, the Pope, to ensure unity. Someone who is divided from the Pope is building a kingdom that will fall under its own weight. It is only with Peter in the Barque of Peter that we can maintain the hope that the Church brings to the world.


Division leads to destruction, but we are in time to work for the unity of the Church, beginning with faithful adherence to the teachings of the Pope, the Bishop of Rome whom Jesus has established to make sure that the gates of Hell will never prevail. Let’s pray for the Pope and give him our faithful service.

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