In response to Satan’s use of division to isolate men from God and from each other, Jesus Christ reveals the unity and fraternity of the Blessed Trinity and establishes His Holy Catholic Church to draw men into communion with God and each other. Since the Ascension, the Church has drawn men together in unity and fraternity in their local parishes and today there is great need to reinvigorate the building of bonds of brotherhood in parishes by putting into practice the principles which helped the early Church flourish and by building upon the long tradition and broad base of the Knights of Columbus and the many emerging efforts to evangelize men in local parishes.
Jesus calls men to unity and fraternity
Beginning with the division Satan caused in his rebellion against God, Satan has relentlessly attacked and used division to separate men from God and from each other. Jesus Christ enters the world in the Incarnation and reveals the Divine Fraternity of the Blessed Trinity and establishes His Holy Catholic Church to draw men into union and fraternity with the Blessed Trinity and with each other so they might find true and lasting happiness.
Satan uses division to conquer men
Beginning with the division in the angels Satan caused when he rebelled against God (CCC 391-395), Satan sows division between God and man, and between man and man, to continue his war against God. At Eden, Satan divided Adam and Eve, isolating and seducing Eve, who then persuaded Adam to join the rebellion against God (Gen 3); this rebellion led to deep division between God and man, and between man and woman which continues today (CCC 1707). Satan effectively used division to break down the fraternity between God and man.
Satan, during the time of the Incarnation continued to sow division, sought to separate the Son from the Father (Mt 4:1-11), Peter from Jesus (Mt 16:22-23), and Satan eventually conquers and separates Judas from Jesus and the Apostles, and Judas betrays Jesus (Lk 22:3-6).
Across time, Satan has continued to sow division to break down fraternity in the Church as one of his key weapons. These divisions and the loss of fraternity in the Church, which God mysteriously allows, have plagued the Church since the rebellion and betrayal of Judas: the heretical movements in the early Church (CCC 465-467); the great schism which separated the Roman Catholic Church from the Orthodox Church (CCC 838); and the heresies of the Protestant revolution (CCC 838) and the ongoing shattering of Protestants into tens of thousands of separate denominations. Even today, the Catholic Church continues to suffer with various groups who are sowing heresy and division.
Jesus builds His Church upon unity and fraternity
At Eden, God revealed that Satan’s plan of rebellion to sow division between God and man and build an evil fraternity between Satan and man would not go unopposed; God revealed that Satan and man would never build broad and lasting fraternity and there would be a perpetual war between Satan and the sons of Adam (Gen 3;15).
To conquer and defeat Satan and his strategy of sowing division, the Almighty Father sent the Son and eventually the Holy Spirit into the world to build the great fraternity of the Holy Catholic Church, a fraternity which draws its power from the Divine Fraternity of the Blessed Trinity. At the start of Jesus’ public ministry, Satan immediately attacks, seeking to divide the Son from the Father in an attempt to build fraternity between Satan and the Son; Satan’s attempt to divide the Father and the Son fails (Mt 4:1-11). Jesus launches His public ministry by immediately extending the Divine Fraternity of the Trinity to mankind by exclusively recruiting men to be His 12 Apostles and forming a Catholic band of brothers; emphasizing the fraternal brotherhood that His men are to have, Jesus calls them “brethren” (Mt 23:8, 28:10, Jn 20:17).
Jesus warns the Apostles to fight against Satan’s evil attacks, teaching them to pray to the Almighty Father, “deliver us from the Evil One” (Mt 6:13; CCC 2850-2854). Jesus confirms that His men must remain unified and that division leads to collapse (Mt 12:25, Mk 3:25) and warns of Satan’s attacks to divide men (Lk 11:22) and that many will become divided and broken (Lk 12:49-53). Jesus reveals that Satan will attempt to divide Peter from Jesus and that Peter must turn back and strengthen the unity of the brethren (Lk 22:31-34).
In the end times, Jesus will return with the “fury of the wrath of God Almighty” (Rev 19:15) to make war (Rev 19:11) and will lead the armies of Heaven (Rev 19:14) to violently destroy Satan and the evil men of the earth who seek to sow division and oppose Him (Rev 19:15-21) and God will restore unity on earth under His Divine rule (Rev 21).
The Church seeks to build unity and fraternity
After the Ascension, the Apostles continued Jesus Christ’s emphasis on building unity and fraternity in small house Churches and over time, the Church continued to grow by establishing strong bonds of brotherhood among men in local parishes.
The early Church urged unity and fraternity
Immediately after the Ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven, the Apostles remained united in their brotherhood and confirmed the necessity of fraternity in building the Church (Acts 2:42). As the Church continued to grow, the Apostles continued to emphasize the need for men to draw close together to be unified in fraternity (Heb 10:25; CCC 2178) and to avoid division (1 Cor 1:12-13).
The Apostles continued to emphasize the central importance of fraternity among Catholic men which draws men to the Divine Fraternity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1 Cor 1:9, 1 Jn 1:3). The Apostles considered themselves to be so close in fraternity as to be brothers, and as they learned from Jesus (Jn 20:17), they commonly referred those who shared the Catholic faith as “brethren” (Jn 21:23, Acts 1:1; and hundreds of additional examples).
St. Peter emphasized the need for unity and deep fraternity and urged Catholic men to form and sustain a holy brotherhood (1 Pet 2:13-17, 5:9) to withstand Satan’s ongoing efforts to isolate and attack men (1 Pet 5:8). St. Paul also warned against division among Christians (Rom 16:17, 1 Cor 1:10-17, 11:18, Gal 3:27-28), urging men to remain unified in “one mind” in Jesus Christ (Phil 2:1-2).
The Church continues to draw men together in unity and fraternity
The Church confirms that men are to reject division (Gal 3:27-28, CCC 791) so they can experience the fraternal peace and love (CCC 1878, 2304) that comes to those drawn in unity into the Communion of Saints (CCC 715, 830-822, 866, 956-957), a fraternity of men which imitates of unity of the Blessed Trinity (CCC 1702, 1890).
The unity and fraternity of Catholic men is the result of drawing together in brotherhood in the Sacraments. In the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, men become Catholic and are united in true spiritual fraternity when they come adopted sons of God (CCC 1709, 1996-1997). The unity and fraternity of Catholic men is sustained through the Sacrament of Penance (CCC 1469, 1484) that repairs the divisions that sin can cause between men and through the Sacrament of the Eucharist (CCC 1369) which unite all Catholic men in Christ. The grace of the unity men receive through the Sacraments bind them together in fraternal charity (Mt 6:2-4; CCC 2447) which strengthens them to assist their brothers who experience sickness and suffering (CCC 1516).
The parish is where unity and fraternity is built
Through their fraternal priesthood, the Apostles drew increasing numbers of men into unity and fraternity in small house churches during the early years of the Church (Rom 16:3-5, 1 Cor 16:19-20, Col 4:15, Philem 1-2) and eventually parishes were established where men were drawn together in the fraternal unity of the priesthood (CCC 877, 1268); the Church continues to describe parishes as a “house” (CCC 1181, 1186) where men are drawn together in unity and fraternity and gather with their spiritual family. It is in the parish, where men are unified in the Eucharistic community (CCC 2226), to receive the sacraments, to pray (CCC 2691) and build fraternal love (CCC 2179). It is in the Catholic family home, the parish, that Catholic men grow in human solidarity by getting to know each other (CCC 821) and to build the bonds of deep and unbreakable brotherhood (CCC 1939).