The Devil’s favourite weapon for destroying the Church is division, Pope Francis has told new bishops.

He told them to be careful to make sure that everything meant for promoting pastoral activities and evangelisation “does not get damaged or undermined by divisions that are already present or may be created”.

The Pope spoke during a meeting with 96 bishops ordained in the past two years and named to dioceses in the Church’s mission territories. The new bishops were participating in a seminar, often referred to as “new bishops’ school”, sponsored by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.

Introducing the 96 missionary bishops to the Pope, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the congregation, said 43 of the bishops were from Africa, 36 from Asia, 13 from the Americas and four from Oceania.

Speaking off-the-cuff to the new bishops, the Pope said: “The weapon the Devil has most at the ready for destroying the Church from within is division.”

His other weapon, the Pope said, is money. “The Devil comes in through the wallet and he destroys with the tongue, with gossip that divides” and hurts the local and universal Church, he said.

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