Cardinal Arizmendi: The challenge of building Unity

If anyone needs me, I’m here!

Photo by Magda Ehlers: Pexels

Cardinal Felipe Arizmendi, bishop emeritus of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and responsible for the Doctrine of Faith at the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate (CEM), offers Exaudi readers his weekly article titled “The challenge of building Unity.”



One of the greatest treasures is having a united family. There may be problems, differences, perhaps offenses and misunderstandings, but when there is dialogue and mutual forgiveness, when they support each other, everything returns to peace. How beautiful it is to be together on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, name days and the celebration of sacraments, as well as in illnesses or deaths! Everyone helps and accompanies each other;family sharing is enjoyed. The same thing when we meet groups of friends, colleagues, contemporaries, school. Or when the priests of a presbytery, religious and diocesan, live together fraternally. Or in the assemblies of our episcopate, when we meet again, we pray and work together, we joke and share work, projects and problems.

In our Church, at the universal, national, diocesan or parish level, we can and must discuss, analyze different points of view and different pastoral proposals, but the most beautiful thing is to remain united, in peace and harmony. But sometimes confrontation prevails, leading to division. Schisms greatly damage the ecclesial community. For this reason, it is very painful that some disqualify Pope Francis, ignoring him as if he were not the legitimate Successor of Peter. Previous Popes also suffered greatly from these internal divisions. To counteract this work of the devil, which is division, it is encouraging how much is done to rebuild unity, as when we were one Church in the first century, without divisions with Orthodox and Protestants. In the year 2025, we will celebrate the 1,700 years of the Council of Nicaea, when the entire Church was united, On that occasion, attempts are made to seek new paths of ecclesial unity.

In our country, before and after the elections, there are many divisions, not only between parties, which live up to their name, dividing the people. There are divisions due to economic, cultural, educational, racial, religious and even sports issues. Criminal groups fight among themselves for control of their territories, because the ambition for money leads them to want to destroy others and remain absolute owners, not only economically, but also politically. With the majority support that the voters gave to the party in power, its leaders feel they are owners of the truth and the good, and they despise those who are now a minority. If they create forums, hopefully it is to listen to other points of view and correct or complement their own, not only to disguise or justify their own positions. Beyond the parties is the country, but some do not care about it, only their own ambitions.


The Mexican episcopate, one month into the electoral process in our country, issued a timely message, of which I share some phrases:

“Many citizens may feel satisfied; others, for different very valid reasons, have experienced the results with frustration, but there must be respect between each other to build our future together, since we all form the same country. Let the feeling of winners or losers not prevail, but rather that of citizens of the same country that we must build with the talent of all, without exclusion. Mexico must be a land of freedom and opportunities for all, in an environment of justice and peace that we all long for.

At this moment, let us remember the words of Jesus: “May they all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you” (John 17:21). This prayer inspires us to seek unity in our nation, beyond our differences.

We also make a respectful call to all Mexicans, to go beyond the electoral contest and place themselves now with courage and hope, with the awareness that the future of our country needs everyone, young and old, civil society and armed forces, communicators and educators, businessmen and social leaders, workers and peasants, professionals, merchants and the entire working class.

Work together for the common good of our nation, overcoming divisions and building bridges of dialogue and reconciliation. In this spirit, each of our families, our communities in all areas, political parties and public servants, the different churches and religious groups, all, without distinction, must respond to a vocation of greatness and unity, as appropriate to Mexico and its history.”


Let’s each ask ourselves what we should do so that there is peace, harmony and unity in our own family. If we have to forgive ourselves, let’s not let any more time pass. If anyone needs me, I’m here! And in our group or community, let us do everything we can to preserve or rebuild social peace, respect for others, and fraternal solidarity.