Pope Francis reflected during the General Audience on the Church's “nature” and how it has made decisions, according to what is written in the Acts of the Apostles.
The pope recalled how St. Paul's preaching to the pagans created controversy among the first Christians, mainly those who had been Jewish. Since the new Christians had a different culture, it was discussed if they should be made to follow rules such as the law of Moses.
SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In our catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we now consider Saint Paul’s first missionary journey. Following a fierce persecution, Paul and Barnabas – prompted by the Holy Spirit – set off to spread the Gospel abroad. As a result, the Good News was also preached to the Gentiles.
This initially caused a lively controversy, as to whether a strict adherence to the Mosaic Law was required of these converts. To discern God’s will in these matters, the Apostles gathered in Jerusalem, and came to a new and shared understanding. The “Council of Jerusalem” shows us that the way of resolving issues among Christians is an attentive listening to others, yet always under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray that God will strengthen in us the desire to embrace the path of dialogue, and to listen patiently to one another, and to the voice of the Lord.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, and the United States of America. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!